Before beginning a meal, Japanese people typically pause to say “thanks” or itadakimasu. The thanks in this case extends to everything and everyone involved in bringing this meal to you – from the animals that died to the chef who prepared it.
The basic procedure is to put your hands together in a prayer position, say itadakimasu, bow slightly and then pick up your chopsticks. It also serves as the beginning of the meal, as people often wait for everyone to be ready to say it at the same time before starting the meal.
It’s a small, simple thing, but something I realized I miss quite a lot when I’m not here.
4 thoughts on “Itadakimasu (“thank you” or “I accept”)”
i keep wondering how and whether to incorporate this at home. we so rarely get to sit down for dinner as a whole family to begin with, and when we do it feels like a miracle just to actually start eating. yet, i really like the essence of what grace is supposed to be, and want to do something like that. i’ll try this now.
Do it! I think it’ll make the few times that you guys sit down to eat together more worthwhile. Maybe also a good lesson for the kids to actively think about all the steps their food had to go through before coming to them? Are you actually going to say “itadakimasu” or your own version?
I wish we could introduce this tradition. Don’t know what to say though, as whatever we’ll
say may sound made up and artificial. Of a few things you are writing this one makes
me jealous (in a good sense :-)) …
Your hosts are so hip.