Itadakimasu いただきます— Japanese Mindful Way of Saying Gratitude for Receiving Food

A photo slideshow of the beautiful and delicious
Japanese food I have been so grateful
to receive during my time in Japan

  • Wagashi, Japanese sweets, for Otsukimi, Moon Watching Festial in October.
  • Kyoto tofu hot pot
  • Bento box
  • Buckwheat noodles and dipping sauce.
  • Japanese dessert shop in Osaka.
  • Deep fried tofu in a gorgeous dish.
  • Tuna on a shiso leaf with floral decor. The shiso leaf is delicious!
  • A variety of rice balls, onigiri.
  • Inari, tofu skin wrapped rice, one of my favorite!
  • Udon with deep-fried lotus root topped with negi, green onions, Osaka.
  • The beauty of Japanese food is that it serves small portions, so you are full and satisfied yet don’t stuff yourself.
  • Japanese cuisine tends to have all 7 flavors, one of them sour, as Japanese pickling is always a part of a meal.
  • Osaka ramen originated from this store!
  • Itadakimasu! Grateful to receive!
  • We ate so many times at this restaurant near our house in Osaka it’s not even funny. Delicious!
  • Tomato chili ramen, sounds fabulous!
  • Some delicious yakitori in Kyoto.
  • Presentation is important! In Kyoto.
  • Soba with wild mushrooms and greens. Nara.
  • Beautiful little dishes, pickles and condiments.
  • This post is just so we can look at all the beautiful Japanese food and presentation! Haven’t you guessed that by now? Xoxoxo
  • A Teishoku, or set meal, of soba, tempura and sushi. Osaka.
  • Okra made delicious!
  • Another teishoku all veggie. Osaka.
  • A variety of fish with soba.
  • Presentation is everything. You have a relationship to the food when it’s presented like this. It truly is a feast we want to be mindful and present at! Too good to be missed!
  • I love the little cooking stoves food is served in. It is interactive, experiential dining.
  • Tempura.
  • Restaurant in Osaka.
  • Fish and stuffed shiso leaf. Wakayama.
  • Adzuki beans make great desserts! I never craved chocolate or sweets in Japan. In Wakayama.

A Japanese tradition that I have continued in my life back here in the USA is saying aloud, Itadakimasu いただきます before eating anything. Literally meaning, ”I receive,” it’s much like the Christian saving grace said before meals. It’s a moment that reminds me to be mindful and self-reflect about the food in front of me – give gratitude to and contemplate the production process, people, animals and planet behind the food.

Restaurant in Osaka.
Restaurant in Osaka before we went to the Noh Theatre.

There’s a spiritual connection to the food that brings me peace from the mindfulness — it helps me relish the awe of the now and my life could pass at any moment, yet I live! Scarfing down food means I’m being mindless and alienated from my food, merely consuming it and not having a relationship to it, which leads to being miserable, and so therefore I force myself to always put food on a dish rather than eat out of the package or from my hand. It makes me pause at the empty bowl instead of searching for more. And I get to use the beautiful Japanese trays we brought back.

Presentation is important! In Kyoto.
Presentation is important! In Kyoto, 2019.

The traditional art of eating in Japan is a meditative act itself, satiating our appetites, mind and spirit at with the aesthetics of presentation, seasonal foods. I find it brings brings about in me awareness and consciousness that creates contentedness and realization of myself in my environment.

In yoga, santosa is contentment and svadyaya self-reflection. Like the Oracle at Delphi, it’s all about ”Know Thy Self!” And just what are we putting into our mouths and bodies? Where does this food come from? Who made it? Was it ethically prepared? Pausing to think about that, open our awareness and give gratitude is the beauty of the ritual that deepens our relationship to the food and making meaning.

Some delicious yakitori in Kyoto.
Some delicious yakitori, many vegan or vegetarian, in Kyoto, 2019

Eating together and feeding others is proof of humanity. When we are served food, we receive gladly and gratefully, so in return we say, Gochisousamadesu ごちそうさまです, which means ”It was a feast!” I am happy tIt’s a beautiful act, one that brings me joy and happiness to this day, evertime I am blessed to receive something of Earth’s bounty! And it helps remind me of Japan! Let’s eat! Tabemashou! 食べましょう

Deep fried tofu in a gorgeous dish.
Deep fried tofu in a gorgeous dish.

2 thoughts on “Itadakimasu いただきます— Japanese Mindful Way of Saying Gratitude for Receiving Food

  1. Pingback: A Few Imported Artificial Necessities In Japan | Sydney In Osaka

  2. Pingback: 勿体無い Mottainai! As Supply Shortages Loom, Look to Traditional Japan and Thrive by Living With Less | Sydney In Osaka

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