CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO
I plan to pocket a few Japanese customs when we bid this island farewell. While I’m a bona fide fan of the bow I don’t see that going over well back in the States. Or I don’t see keeping many friends if I dedicated myself to that cause.
As for itadakimasu, I’m taking that one with me. It’s that zippy word Japanese folks say before eating a meal. I am not sure it’s reserved just for meals but that’s when I notice it.
Itadakimasu is the polite form of the verb itadaku which means “to receive”.
Not only does it roll of the tongue like a perfect cartwheel, it is a speedy and rich thank-you to all the things on your plate that sacrificed their lives to sustain your life. For these mushrooms, for this miso, for this soba, for this octopus, ITADAKIMASU. I receive you and your life, humbly and gratefully and politely and yummily.
Itadakimasu. You make my life possible.
If I could get away with it I’d give this word out as a stocking stuffer to my friends and family.