The Washoku – Japanese spirit –
Full of gratitude toward Nature
The washoku has been attracting people’s attention in various aspects – for healthy benefits, its palatability, art of presentation, etc. The washoku consists of one soup and three side dishes as a basis. This advance of the custom is known as “ichijyu sansai” (see the picture above). This custom was established in the Heian Period (794-1185 CE), and is still practiced in washoku of today. Seasonal vegetables are mainly used in the washoku meals, and this is a blessing of four distinct seasons, green mountains and pristine water that Japan is given. By the way, do you know what Japanese always say before and after meals? Today, I will tell you what we say and why we say that.
Itadakimasu & Gochisosamadeshita
Before and after each meals Japanese show their gratitude for our rich nature with the two phrases of “itadakimasu” and “gochisosamadeshita”. “Itadakimasu” is before meals and it means ‘I am receiving something special’. “Gochisosamadeshita” means ‘thank you for the treat’ used after meals. When you say these phrases, you put your palms together in front of your chest and lightly bow your head toward the meal and someone who prepared it.
After the meal, don’t leave the table without saying “gochisosamadeshita”. Again you put your palms together and show your gratitude toward the treat. If this phrase is too long for you to say, you also can use “gochisosama” as a short form.
These act aims at sharing your gratitude toward nature and whenever people hear you saying “itadakimasu” and “gochisosamadeshita” they feel happy and it’s also a kind of communication.
Without the blessings of nature, we have no food to eat and no water to drink. Japanese have known this deeply, so we express our feelings when eating.