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  • How to find out about sit down fees?

    I really want to meet more Japanese people and to do this getting out to izukayas would seem to be the way to go about it.
    The trouble is....my experiences with them have been bad. I tried to go to one with some friends once and we were really stung by a 1000 yen sit down fee.
    I know that it is normal for izukayas to have little fees, and I don't mind paying a few hundred, but 1000 is just insane. I don't want to be trapped by such crap again...and this has made me paranoid about going anywhere.
    Any advice for how to find out about these fees before its too late?
    I could just ask of course but...that doesn't give the best impression, really makes me look super cheap if it is a place with a reasonable fee!

  • #2
    Originally posted by -XoX- View Post
    Any advice for how to find out about these fees before its too late?
    I could just ask of course but...that doesn't give the best impression, really makes me look super cheap if it is a place with a reasonable fee!
    are you sure its not because you are foreigners? I've never heard of such fees for izakaya. Are you sure you are not referring to snack bars?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
      are you sure its not because you are foreigners? I've never heard of such fees for izakaya. Are you sure you are not referring to snack bars?
      It was written on the menu (which my Japanese speaking friend completley failed to notice. Thanks mate <_<). Not in Tokyo either so no trying to con foreignerism.

      Might have been a snack but it wasn't advertised as such and was a pretty naff one if so- that there could be more stealth snacks out there.....How do you spot them?
      Last edited by -XoX-; 2012-03-10, 07:28 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by -XoX- View Post
        It was written on the menu (which my Japanese speaking friend completley failed to notice. Thanks mate <_<). Not in Tokyo either so no trying to con foreignerism.

        Might have been a snack but it wasn't advertised as such and was a pretty naff one if so- that there could be more stealth snacks out there.....How do you spot them?
        Snacks usually have some kind of mama-san or female boss. A kara-oke machine is a dead give-away. The name for such charges in Japanese is 接待料.(settai-ryo). You are offered small plates of food before ordering anything. You are usually charged for these.

        Ask about them before sitting down.

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        • #5
          That place did have a woman working the bar...but she wasn't really dressed up or hot or anything. Just a normal woman. I've been in places before which don't charge rip off fees and are staffed by a women too.
          I don't think the is the bar person a man or a woman thing quite works....though I suppose making sure you go to one with an old guy staffing it is one way to know for sure if I'm being better safe than sorry. And the whole sticking my head in then going "Agghhh! A woman! Run away thing!" does seem a bit mad.

          Yeah, could ask, but as I said....seems a bit....stingy and weird. Plus my Japanese isn't awesome. I'm just wondering if there's any tricks to figuring it out before commiting.
          Last edited by -XoX-; 2012-03-10, 08:13 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by -XoX- View Post
            And the whole sticking my head in then going "Agghhh! A woman! Run away thing!" does seem a bit mad.

            Yeah, could ask, but as I said....seems a bit....stingy and weird. Plus my Japanese isn't awesome.
            Obviously Japanese is good enough to recognise it on the menu though.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by -XoX- View Post
              That place did have a woman working the bar...but she wasn't really dressed up or hot or anything. Just a normal woman. I've been in places before which don't charge rip off fees and are staffed by a women too.
              I don't think the is the bar person a man or a woman thing quite works....though I suppose making sure you go to one with an old guy staffing it is one way to know for sure if I'm being better safe than sorry. And the whole sticking my head in then going "Agghhh! A woman! Run away thing!" does seem a bit mad.

              Yeah, could ask, but as I said....seems a bit....stingy and weird. Plus my Japanese isn't awesome. I'm just wondering if there's any tricks to figuring it out before commiting.
              Quoting from Wikipedia :
              "Usually, you will be given an oshibori (wet towel) to clean your hands with; next an otōshi or tsukidashi (a tiny snack/an appetizer) will be served. This is local custom and usually charged onto the bill in lieu of an entry fee. Japanese people in Kantō region call it otōshi and Kansai people call it tsukidashi."

              Even hotel bars usually have 'cover charges', such as a music fee. If you want to avoid any surprises, check the menu before you sit down or directly ask about it. Y 1,000 sounds not too high. The Hyatt's Maduro charges Y 2,100 just to sit down...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                Obviously Japanese is good enough to recognise it on the menu though.
                My reading skills are a lot better than my speaking skills.

                And my friend pointed it out to me when it came to bill paying time....

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                • #9
                  I have a friend who refuses the otoshi every time we go somewhere. They still try to stick it on the bill sometimes, but he takes care of that.

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                  • #10
                    I don't mind it at all. Hell of a lot better than tipping.
                    I think me and the Izakayas come out pretty square. Especially on Nomi-hodai nights.

                    Just the last 6 months though we have been given a (well) padded bill at an Izakaya. Both times it was just me and a gaijin buddy. Both times they gave the game up straight away...oh...terrible mistake..very sorry..
                    Last edited by twelvedown; 2012-03-10, 08:46 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                      are you sure its not because you are foreigners? I've never heard of such fees for izakaya. Are you sure you are not referring to snack bars?
                      do you not go out much?

                      these charges are quite normal, but I agree, don't like paying'em. I personally think its dishonest of any establishment to stick on a charge for something you didn't order and in may not even want. at the door I usually ask 'cover charge arimasuka?'

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                      • #12
                        Here is a way to know -Izakaya- every one of them will have the waiters (staff) scream "Hirasimasen" when people walk in, no way you could not hear that. That is an Izakaya, a reputable Izakaya normally never charges a sitting fee because they make their money off people eating and drinking a lot.

                        Snack- Usually a small place with a karaoke box, a mama-san and maybe one or two ugly gals. A snack will charge a fee because they do not make as much money as an Izakaya/

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                        • #13
                          Look at the people going to the Izakaya. If the Ojiisans aren't there there is probably a sit-down fee. Ojii are cheap and will not pay said fees generally, unless it's some hostess bar in Akiba. These guys are cool, and they will usually know some English in places like Kabuki-cho. My best friends in this country are all Ojii and Obaas. They know everything.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                            are you sure its not because you are foreigners? I've never heard of such fees for izakaya. Are you sure you are not referring to snack bars?
                            They exist. Though, it would not surprise me if some places try to target the unsuspecting foreigner. 1000 yen is more than I've seen though.

                            Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
                            Snacks usually have some kind of mama-san or female boss. A kara-oke machine is a dead give-away. The name for such charges in Japanese is 接待料.(settai-ryo). You are offered small plates of food before ordering anything. You are usually charged for these.

                            Ask about them before sitting down.
                            Great, but menus are not always available before you sit down. And, if after looking at the menu you decide that place is not for you. Leave.

                            Originally posted by -XoX- View Post
                            Yeah, could ask, but as I said....seems a bit....stingy and weird. Plus my Japanese isn't awesome. I'm just wondering if there's any tricks to figuring it out before commiting.
                            I suppose part of it is to prevent people from spending a long time there without ordering much - they have to make money, but focus on selling what people actually want - not a forced menu.

                            Originally posted by Effected After View Post
                            I have a friend who refuses the otoshi every time we go somewhere. They still try to stick it on the bill sometimes, but he takes care of that.
                            I raise a glass to your friend!

                            Originally posted by twelvedown View Post
                            Just the last 6 months though we have been given a (well) padded bill at an Izakaya. Both times it was just me and a gaijin buddy. Both times they gave the game up straight away...oh...terrible mistake..very sorry..
                            I would just walk out. When they came running after me, I would explain that if they are going to cheat, I will not pay anything. Then we renegotiate from 0% instead of 150% or whatever they raised the price to. I would video the whole thing and explain that it will go to YouTube unless they made good - real good.

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                            • #15
                              My wife and I went to the same Izakaya (Ikkyu) every Friday night for 7 years (because we could easily walk home from there).
                              We were charged around 300 yen each for a small appetizer. This was well and truly offset by the two or three free dishes we used to get as a "please try" from the kitchen, organizes by the "Mama-san", who was a lovely middle aged lady, who never forgot our anniversay or birthdays with free drinks. She also always kept our regular table for us each week and stocked my favouite nihonshu for me.
                              In return, we used to regularly give her small gifts.
                              Always a great, reasonably priced, night out.

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