48:Anthropological Term of the Fortnight – itadakimasu

2 04 2008

by Christina Knapp

In Japan, being formal and polite is an absolute must. This is true
even when eating a meal. So here’s a term of interest that might come
in handy when you’re about to eat and you want to make a good
impression or blend in with the culture. Right before eating a meal,
you’ll hear most Japanese folks say “itadakimasu” (pronounced ee-ta-da-
kee-mas). It’s basically the equivalent of saying grace before you
eat dinner. While the exact meaning is still uncertain, it is
believed to be a way of showing acceptance and gratitude of something
that is offered. This might not help in understanding how to speak
Japanese, it will help in trying to understand their culture which is
what anthropology is all about.

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