What is the key to entertaining Americans? How to Understand Cultural Differences and Succeed

Mayumi Folio
Mayumi Folio

The word “foreigner” means a person from another country, but there are as many different manners and customs as there are countries.

Welcoming guests with hospitality tailored to the culture and customs of each country will make your hospitality more heartfelt.

In this issue, we will introduce a very successful hospitality project, focusing on useful points to know for entertaining Americans in Japan.

Please read this article and try to make your American entertainment a success.

American Hospitality Culture

Here, we would like to introduce what hospitality feels like to Americans.

Is there graft in the U.S.?

There is, of course, hospitality in the United States as well.

However, business is done well because of the friendship and trust that is created by alcohol, such as in Japanese and Asian business entertainment.

It is not a sense of

Of course, over a meal, spending time together can lead to a deeper relationship with each other, but it is questionable whether entertainment strongly affects business.

However, if the person is perceived as rude or having a problem with human nature, it can affect the business, and by entertaining, the relationship can be amicably connected.

The basic entertainment for Americans is mainly restaurant dining and golf.

And entertainment methods such as watching sports or theater together, or parties such as charity parties or get-togethers sponsored by companies are often held.

In terms of deepening interactions, this tends to have more impact.

Thus, it can be said that Americans have a slightly different sense of hospitality from that of Asia.


About American Hospitality Dining

In the U.S. and Europe, there is little sense of going out of one’s way to have a meal outside of work with business associates with whom one is not that close.

Normally, it is more pleasing to have breakfast or lunch together than dinner, but when entertaining visitors to Japan, the nuances are different.

When entertaining Americans who are visiting Japan, the land, culture, and language are different, so a smart escort is very much appreciated.

We recommend invitations to recommended good Japanese restaurants, introductions to authentic bars that are difficult to enter alone, Japanese cultural experiences, and other Japan guides that also serve as entertainment.

For entertaining Americans who come to Japan, let’s entertain them in a smart way with details that will help them enjoy Japan more!

Recommended Related Articles: 17 Restaurants and Izakayas in Tokyo for Entertaining Foreigners

Characteristics of Japanese Food Culture: 15 Japanese Food Experiences Popular with Foreigners and 13 English Sentences to Use at Dinner


American Entertainment and Drinking

When entertaining people from Asian countries, it is very important to know about alcohol, but many Americans, on the contrary, do not interject alcohol into their business.

Business is business,” they say, so there is little connection between work and private life.

However, we recommend that you entertain your guests in Japan in a way that allows them to enjoy their time together, while also providing them with a pleasant motive and purpose: “I want to introduce them to delicious Japanese sake and Japanese whisky! We recommend that you entertain your guests in a way that allows them to enjoy the time they spend with you, while also providing them with a pleasant motive and purpose for doing so.

As for alcohol, if you can include an atmosphere that can be experienced only in Japan, it will make your entertainment more memorable and meaningful.


Points to keep in mind when entertaining Americans for dinner

So, what points should we pay attention to when dining with Americans?

How to choose a restaurant for entertaining Americans

As is the case with many American visitors to Japan, we recommend that you take them to a Japanese restaurant with a refined and relaxed atmosphere.

Japanese food is very popular in the United States.

Therefore, choosing Japanese food for the dinner would still be a must.

However, it is not necessarily only traditional Japanese specialty restaurants.

For example, sometimes it is memorable to take them to a restaurant with an unusual flavor.

This is especially appreciated by guests who have been to Japan many times.

From the hottest concept restaurants to the nostalgic Dobata-yaki restaurants used to entertain former U.S. presidents, Tokyo has many Japanese-inspired restaurants and izakayas to choose from to suit your guests’ tastes and experiences.

Therefore, we recommend that a restaurant that will please Americans is one that has a high quality of Japanese culture or a space where they can experience “Japan”.

Recommended Related Articles: 17 Restaurants and Izakayas in Tokyo for Entertaining Foreigners


About Souvenirs

Unlike Asian cultures, there is little sense of souvenirs in American hospitality.

It is not customary to give gifts to people in the business community, especially to people you have never met before, and even people in the workplace only give small gifts at Christmas and other occasions.

Gifts are mostly sent on days like Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries, so since you are entertaining, you need to bring a gift.

There is no manner of

So when the Christmas season arrives, it is very much appreciated to send a Christmas card to an American who has become a close friend.

However, it is different if you want to give a souvenir to someone who has visited Japan and become close to you. If you want to give a souvenir to someone who has visited Japan and has become a friend of yours, it is a different feeling.

It will be a gift because you have become personally acquainted with them, and they will be happy to receive it.

A thoughtful gift will surely be appreciated.

However, it is safer to refrain from giving too expensive gifts, as many people feel like bribes.

Recommended reference article: [Christmas Cards for Important People] Importance and Manners of Writing Christmas Cards Overseas with English Example Sentences


It is important to know about contraindications and taboos in the diet

Americans are a multi-ethnic group, and some people have foods that are taboo according to their religion or culture.

Therefore, it is important to casually ask about what you cannot eat once the entertainment dinner has been decided.

Or if you know your partner’s religion and culture in advance, it is smart to make arrangements in advance.

This section describes those who have dietary taboos due to religion or custom.


What’s taboo in the Jewish diet

The dietary regulations are called “kashrut” and the creatures that are allowed to eat are called “kosher.

Kosher meal should not be eaten by animals that have two split hooves and do not ruminate on their food.

Therefore, we cannot eat pork.

Note that processed pork products such as bouillon and gelatin are also contraindicated.

Beef and chicken can be eaten, but blood is contraindicated, so be careful with raw meat and rare steaks.

Marine life without scales is kinky, so octopus, shellfish, shrimp, and crabs cannot be eaten, and hamburgers and stews are not allowed to have dairy products and meat in their stomachs at the same time.

Therefore, if you decide to have a dinner reception with Jewish Americans, first ask them in advance what they cannot eat.

If you don’t have a chance to ask, please consult with the restaurant in advance, but don’t be rude if you show up with a dish that focuses on fish and vegetables.

See: Kosher Japan, “What is Kosher?” (viewed May 23, 2023)

What is taboo in the Muslim diet

Even when entertaining Muslim Americans, care must be taken with the food.

The Muslim diet is called “halal meal” and consists mainly of meat from animals that have been treated with special slaughter methods.

Pork is a forbidden ingredient in Islam, so care must be taken with everything from the gelatin to the bouillon.

In addition, alcoholic beverages are generally prohibited.

Recently, the number of restaurants in Japan that serve Halal food has been increasing, so be sure to dine at such restaurants when entertaining Muslim Americans.

See: Japan Halal Church, “What is Halal?” https://jhalal.com/halal-cert/about-halal (viewed May 23, 2023)

What’s taboo in Hindu food

Hindus are more likely to avoid meat in general, which is common among Indian-Americans.

Some people eat meat, but they eat chicken, lamb, and goat meat.

However, eating cows is taboo because they are revered as sacred animals.

Pigs are considered unclean animals and are not eaten.

Other contraindications include all seafood, eggs, raw foods, and five pungent vegetables (garlic, chives, rakkyo, onions, and chives).

Vegetarian foods that do not contain five pungent roots or pungent roots are recommended, as well as yakitori, vegetable tempura and tofu dishes in the Japanese food guide.

Difference between vegetarian and vegan

Vegetarianism and veganism are dietary restrictions based on habit and ideology, not religion.

Vegetarians are basically people who consume only plant foods.

Some people eat fish, eggs, and dairy products.

Vegans are people who do not consume or use any food from animals.

Therefore, vegans are more thorough and seek to be plant-based.

For vegetarian and vegan American entertaining, vegetarian dishes unique to Japan, such as vegetarian and tofu dishes, are recommended.

The number of vegetarian-friendly restaurants is increasing, so let’s keep that in mind for dinners.

See also: Vegewel, “The Difference Between ‘Vegan’ and ‘Vegetarian’ You’ve Never Heard of! ” (viewed May 23, 2023)


Allergies and health issues

Some people have allergies that prevent them from eating certain foods.

And some people have health or pre-existing conditions that prevent them from eating certain foods, so ask casually in advance about this as well.

Since illnesses and other such matters are private topics, it is bad manners worldwide to visit deeply unless the other person is willing to talk about it.

If there is something you cannot eat, we will respond without asking any deeper questions.

If the recipient is unable to eat a particular food, whether due to allergy or health reasons, consult with the restaurant where you will be dining in advance.


Things to consider when planning for American hospitality

So, what kind of project will please Americans?

Here are some points to be especially careful about when entertaining Americans.


Americans hate nonsense?

Many Americans very much dislike what they perceive as a waste of time.

Entertainment that feels like a waste of time is very much frowned upon.

Some people, especially those with a wellness mindset, which is common among successful Americans in their 30s to early 50s, have an aversion to hospitality itself.

Therefore, rather than dinner entertainment, hospitality that provides “experiences” to make the time meaningful and enjoyable is better suited for this purpose.

The secret to success is to make good use of the other party’s time, for example, avoiding leisurely entertainment and combining a Japanese cultural experience during lunch time.

In American hospitality, it is important to respect the other party’s time in this way.


Sports entertainment popular with Americans.

The most common form of entertainment for Americans is golf.

Recently, people have been engaging in a type of entertainment where they deepen their friendship with each other through sports such as yoga, gym, and running.

It is a characteristic of Americans that many people go to the gym as if they were going out for a drink.

It could be said that business and sports are so closely connected to the people of the country.

So, if you want to organize a reception in Japan but your partner is a wellness type of person, it would be fun to entertain him or her with the keyword “Budo,” a sport that allows you to experience Japanese culture.

I am sure we will have a meaningful time together.


Planning gala parties and get-togethers for entertainment

Another way for Americans to get to know each other is through parties.

Galas and charity parties are great opportunities for executive Americans to deepen their friendships and socialize.

The advantage of a party is that you can freely interact with many people and actively participate in securing a wide range of personal connections.

While the occasion of entertaining is important, it is also very important for Americans to deepen friendships and acquaintances at parties.

So if you have a large number of people to entertain, planning a party is recommended.

Recommended related article: What is a Gala Party? How to hold a gala party in Japan? Thorough explanation of questions, dress code, planning ideas, and behavior!


In some cases, the entertainment itself is prohibited.

Some American companies and some people in official positions are forbidden from entertaining themselves.

If you suddenly invite them to a fancy ryotei restaurant because “it’s for entertainment,” they may leave because they cannot afford to be entertained.

This is especially true for people in official positions, so if you are in such a position, it is advisable to check through a secretary or other person before planning entertainment.

In this case, please note that souvenirs and other gifts cannot be given as they amount to bribes.


Six examples of Japanese cultural experiences recommended for entertaining Americans

Here are some recommended Japanese cultural experiences for entertaining Americans.

There can be a lot of anxiety about what to expect when entertaining Americans, such as food taboos and alcohol.

In such a case, how about entertaining with a Japanese cultural experience?

The experience, which can only be experienced in Japan, is very valuable and will be appreciated by Americans who value their time.

I would like to introduce seven Japanese cultural experiences that are especially recommended for Americans.

Recommended related article: Japanese cultural experiences popular among foreigners! Recommended 12 Experiential Sightseeing & VIP Entertainment


Zen experience entertainment

The first thing I would like to introduce is the Zen experience.

Many Americans, especially among those in their 30s and 40s, are living their lives with “wellness” in mind.

Wellness” refers to the overall attitude toward maintaining and improving one’s health in order to live better every day.

Among them, “Zen” is a very attractive Japanese culture for them.

Steve Jobs, who was strongly influenced by Zen, also attended a Soto Zen temple in San Francisco.

Even if you are not that familiar with Zen, there are many people who know about it, so having an authentic Zen experience in Japan can be quite a memorable experience.

Recommended related article: [What is it about Zen that attracts foreigners? The Relationship Between Meditation and Mindfulness through Zen Experience


courtesy services (e.g. to a military family)

Golf and other sports entertainment has become very mainstream among Americans.

If you are going to stay in Japan, why not entertain your guests with martial arts?

While budo is a traditional Japanese martial art, there is a uniquely Japanese philosophy of improving oneself through training.

In the martial arts experience, students choose from a selection of Japanese martial arts such as karate, sumo, kendo, iaido, aikido, and kyudo, and actually learn from expert instructors.

It can accommodate both experienced and novice players, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and both genders.

It can be enjoyed like a gym or yoga, so it is recommended for entertaining sports-minded Americans.

Recommended Related Article:

Sumo]: Sumo experience is very popular overseas! Points of explanation based on basic knowledge of rules and history, and how to watch a match.

Karate]: [Why karate is popular among foreigners]: A team-building example of Japanese spirit


Sake and Japanese Whiskey Entertainment

We want our guests to taste delicious Japanese sake, not just get drunk and mingle! We are always pleased to provide sake entertainment to Americans.

From a sake sommelier to enjoy sake tasting, to a tour of a sake brewery to taste freshly brewed sake, there is something for everyone.

Entertainment with sake has a lot of potential, such as

We also recommend entertaining with Japanese whisky, which is gaining popularity overseas.

It is very difficult to discover a nice little hideaway bar alone in a foreign land, so we are happy to take you to an authentic bar, which is a unique Japanese culture.

Recommended Related Article:

Japanese-Style Entertainment for Foreigners Very Popular Japanese Whisky Experience Abroad and Differences in Alcoholic Beverage Culture

Sake experience to entertain foreigners! Reasons for popularity, 5 sake recommendations and 6 event examples



If you are planning to entertain Americans in Tokyo, we recommend that you do so on a yakatabune.

This is a way to entertain guests while enjoying Japanese cuisine on an elegant yakatabune boat ride along the Sumida River.

By inviting geisha, you can enjoy the Japanese atmosphere even more.

Since time is limited for houseboat entertainment, it is easy to incorporate into your schedule, and if planned in conjunction with lunch time or dinner, you can guide your guests through their tight schedules without difficulty.

And being able to enjoy a relaxing time on a boat with an Edo-style atmosphere is a brief respite for busy people.


Flower arrangement and tea ceremony

Flower arrangement was one of the arts of the samurai, and was also enjoyed by Japanese warlords.

The “right person in the right place” in the language of flower arrangement often translates to business and is also suitable for team building.

Ikebana flower arrangement requires continuous determination to make the most of flowers in order to make them more beautiful.

As you concentrate on the modeling process, you may come up with hints for your business.

After the flower arrangement experience, you can treat your guests with a tea ceremony for a very emotional Japanese cultural experience.

The flowers arranged by the artist are displayed in the tokonoma (alcove), and tea is served in the tea ceremony room.

We can provide you with a very meaningful time for a leisurely reception.

Recommended related article: Why I recommend flower arrangement for foreign team building training



Sushi is the most popular Japanese food in America.

It would be interesting to incorporate the experience of actually making such sushi yourself into your entertainment.

Recommended for people with little time or for entertaining large groups.

Of course, you will be able to enjoy your own special sushi, so this is another Japanese cultural experience that is easy to set up at meal time.

For entertaining American executives, we also offer a private Japanese-style room where a sushi chef can come and make sushi directly on the spot.

It’s the perfect place for special guests to relax and enjoy themselves.

Also, if you cross sake with sushi, you can make a plan to enjoy both.



What is important in entertaining Americans is “smart planning without feeling wasteful.

Because they are people who keep their work and private lives separate, they are able to enjoy their personal pleasures to the fullest.

If you have come all the way to Japan, we want you to enjoy the wonderful things that Japan has to offer.

If hospitality planning is centered on that feeling, I am sure that American hospitality will be successful!

Recommended related article: What are the tips for successful business entertainment with foreigners?