- personA Not surprising, it’s packed! What shall we get? Huh? It sounds like everyone is saying a magic spell before they eat. What are they saying?
- personB We finally made it to the restaurant everyone is raving about!
- personA Itadakimasu
- personB Gochisosama
- personA Itadakimasu and Gochisosama are words to say thank you! Now I know something about Japan’s unique culinary culture!
- personB Before we eat, we say, “Itadakimasu.” This word has two meanings. The first is gratitude to all the farmers, fishers, cooks, and others who brought us our meal. The second is gratitude to the fish, animals, vegetables, and other lives that were sacrificed for us.
- personB We say Gochisosama after our meal. This word also has a tone of reverence for everyone who brought us the meal and all the plant and animal lives sacrificed for it.
*There are various theories
- personA Palms together and say, “Itadakimasu!”
- personB The act of holding your palms together is called, “gassho.” This was originally a greeting in Buddhist countries and shows your profound respect for the other person.
Japan’s culinary culture
Japan has many unique culinary traditions. Since you have come all the way here, please join me in properly experiencing these traditions as we eat!
Basic rule of finishing your food
Only order what you can finish. In Japan, eating everything on your plate is a sign of gratitude to those who prepared your meal and the plant and animal lives sacrificed for it. If you cannot finish everything, you can show your gratitude by telling the restaurant staff it was delicious.
Pick up and hold the dishes while you eat
In Japan, we usually hold our dishes while we eat. There are many theories about why we do it, but the main origin is from Japanese people sitting with their legs bent beneath them on tatami mat floors while eating off a serving tray. It was hard to eat off the tray because the food was so far from their mouth, so they held the dishes in their hands to eat. For this reason, one aspect of culinary culture in Japan is that great care is given to the shape and texture of dishes.
*There are many theories about the origins of Japanese culinary traditions