BLOGDining wisely at a Ryotei2018.12.27

Successful marriage proposal at Ryotei

ByTakako Satake

Celebrate important milestones of your life at a Ryotei. These will become the most precious times of your life. However, it is actually difficult for those who have not visited a Ryotei before to know why they can spend a special time there or what they can do at a Ryotei. Ryotei are usually considered to be hard to enter. In this feature, Takako Satake, the vice proprietress of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero, one of the most renowned Kyoto-style cuisine Ryotei, will teach Ryotei beginners how to use Ryotei to enhance your special days.

The fist recommended occasion is when you propose marriage. You fell in love with someone and have being dating for a while. Eventually, you will have a feeling of spending the rest of your life with that person. This will be the right moment for proposing marriage at a Ryotei.

Hello, everyone. Welcome to our Ryotei. I'm Takako Satake, the vice proprietress of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero. Takeshigero is a long-established Ryotei with a history starting since 1716 when the founder moved from Mino Province (present-day Gifu) to Kyoto. It originally started as a tea house for people who were passing by to have a rest. I got married to Yoji Satake, the 11th generation chef of the Ryotei and have met a variety of customers since then.

Actually, many customers make a reservation at our Ryotei without telling us their plans of a marriage proposal. I sometimes noticed their secret plans from their subtle signs on the day when they visit us. Surprise proposals are very nice without a doubt. However, if they tell us in advance, we can secretly assist in various ways.

Feel hesitation at the entrance right after arriving at a Ryotei

Do you get cold feet when approaching the large entrance of a Ryotei? You shouldn't. Please enter the entrance with confidence. As formal etiquette at the entrance, take off your shoes while facing the building and then turn your shoes around to face the door with your hand. Don't worry if you do it slightly differently. Our staff at the entrance will take care of your shoes. Just take off your shoes with a feeling of leaving your shoes to our staff. Your partner will be impressed with your confidence and feel that you are trustworthy.

Ideal room size: Large or small?

The perfect room size for marriage proposals is between four and a half to six tatami mats (about 6.89 to 9.18 sqm). This size will offer a close and comfortable distance between the couple.

You can reserve a large room even for a party of two. However, since the table at a large room is large, the distance between the couple will be far.

Even at smaller rooms, we have a tokonoma (alcove) where a hanging scroll and seasonal flower arrangements are displayed and you can have a great view of our garden from these rooms. I think it is good to have such decorations at the room because they will help you to start conversations. Room settings will vary depending on the Ryotei. Therefore, I recommend you to confirm the setting when making a reservation.

Should I be able to talk about the hanging scroll and the painting displayed at the room to my partner?

You don't need to talk about something you don't know. Please simply ask our staff who serves at your room like 'Who made this painting?". Our staff will kindly explain the painter or the stories behind the painting to you.

You can even request a hanging scroll or painting from us that you like. I won't recommend to display the decorations directly presenting celebration for your proposal setting. (Of course, we will decorate as you request.) I prefer to display the decorations indirectly presenting the future of the couple such as a painting of a pair of birds. Upon your request, we can display flower arrangements that can bring a hidden message too.
Expressing your feelings a little at first will result in a successful relationship.

Which dishes are effective when proposing marriage?

Why don't you request the dishes that the chef will cook in front of you to enjoy his performance? Customers often think dynamic cooking motions don't appear so much in Japanese dishes and each dish of the course will simply be served one by one. Actually, we can arrange these dishes in various ways to entertain customers more.

For example, Shabushabu (hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water) that is very popular at wedding receptions. We will bring a pot and premium Japanese beef to your room and serve you the beef after quickly soaking it into the hot broth in front of you. With Hiuonabe (hotpot dish with sweetfish called Ayu), you can enjoy seasonal young Ayu. Matsutake mushroom are the best to enjoy in fall. We can serve the mushroom after cooking on a small charcoal grill. At the end of the meal, we will whisk powered green tea and serve it to you. You will feel released from your strains and enjoy every sip of the tea with joy. Pleasant aromas from each dish will waft throughout the room. You will absolutely enjoy the dishes with your five senses.

When you enjoy the dishes while being entertained, they will leave you an unforgettable impression and make your special day memorable.

I want my partner's heart to skip a beat.

Women want to impress men with their beauty. Unlike counter seating, you will be seated in front of your partner when dining at a tatami room. Therefore, using chopsticks elegantly will be crucial to giving him a good impression. Typical for "Mite" (literally "three hands") in tea ceremony, following three steps when using chopsticks will make you look very sophisticated.
Step1: Hold slightly right from the center of the chopsticks with your right hand and gently lift them up.
Step 2: Place your left hand lightly under the chopsticks
Step 3: Slide your right hand from up to down of the chopsticks, remove your left hand, and hold them properly with your right hand.
Follow the same steps when placing the chopsticks down.

You can use these three steps when taking the lid off a bowl. If you follow these three steps, each motion will flow slowly. Therefore, it looks elegant. You might be confused to follow the steps until you get used to them. So, please be aware at least when placing the chopsticks down. You will look sophisticated once you get used to these steps because your fingertips become aligned.

If you wear a ring or a watch, please gently take them off, place them on the table before eating when serving the dishes with valuable tableware such as white porcelain and Eiraku-style and when serving the main dish. This may give your male partner the impression that you are considerate as you can consider not to damage the tableware with your accessories.

Did I make my partner disappointed when dripping soy sauce?

Eating a sashimi (fresh raw fish) plate in the right manner can definitely impress your male partner too. Please use a Kaishi (white paper) when bringing the food to your mouth instead of your hand. Bringing a piece of sashimi dipped into soy sauce to your mouth with your hand doesn't look elegant. Take a Kaishi out of your bag before starting to eat and place it on the table or on your lap. It looks very nice when you hold a Kaishi with your hand and use it like a saucer.

For Wasabi, it is better to place a small amount of it on top of a sashimi, rather than mixing it with soy sauce. This is not just etiquette but actually there is a reason to do so. Wasabi has antibacterial effects. It will help soften the smell of the fish as well as suppress bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Wasabi has been regarded as an invaluable ingredient in Japan since ancient times. That's why wasabi works better when placing it directly on top of sashimi. This etiquette will not only make the food delicious but also make your motions look elegant. You will get double benefit from this.

An unforgettable marriage propose that the vice proprietress has assisted.

I received an email from a customer from Indonesia who wanted to propose marriage at our Ryotei, Takeshigero. He requested to express his sincere feelings to the woman he loves in a Japanese traditional atmosphere.

He also requested from us to provide a gorgeously-decorated fruit platter. The request seemed to be a typical idea from someone from a tropical country. We prepared a large platter and arranged plenty of fruit on it, added ice cream on the side, and made Mizuhiki (decorative paper cords) in the shape of a heart as a decoration.

Although we don't normally play music over meals, we played the music prepared by him in the room. The music created them a good atmosphere for them. Then, when his partner saw the fruit platter, she immediately smiled brilliantly. Needless to say, his proposal was successful.

Some customers may be concerned about something unnecessary when they ask us for special requests such as additional charges. When customers request special food such as fruit requested by the customer from Indonesia, we will do our best to respond to their request within the charge of our dishes. However, if customers' requests are too irregular, we will discuss what we can offer with them. We promise to present the bouquet or cake that customers have brought here on the perfect moment.

Takako Satake

「The wife of Yoji Satake, the 11th generation chef of Minokichi Honten Takeshigero. She is struggling every day to operate the Ryotei with a history over 300 years as the vice proprietress. At Takeshigero, customers can spend a relaxing time while enjoying seasonal Kyoto-style dishes at the tatami rooms in the two buildings: the main building in Sukiya-style, inspired by tea houses and the annex in Gassho-style, which has steeply pitched thatched roofs. They can also enjoy great views of the bamboo garden with a stream from these rooms.

Editors' Choice

Editors' Choice

At ryotei, it is possible to experience the aesthetic beauty of “quiet” with the five senses in each space, including the decorations in both tatami-mat rooms and floored rooms, the garden scenery, the movements of the hostess and waitresses, and the colors of seasonal moods. With regard to “cuisine,” it is possible to experience the aesthetic beauty of “movement” as you watch the food preparation and presentation process before your eyes while you sit at the counter, observing the actions of the head chef and his first and second assistants. In this segment, we introduce ryotei and cuisine selected from among restaurants that Kyoto CHISHIN editing staff have actually visited and where we can guarantee you will be able to “experience the beauty aesthetic of quiet and movement.”