anyone know what these phrases mean, and why the japanese say them?
i've looked all over, cant seem to find anything about it. even my japanese freinds dont know what they are actually saying.
for ppl unaware of these phrases completely, itadakimasu is ritually said before eating any meal, and gochisosama is said after finishing a meal.
I am planning on going to Japan in March and am 25. So when do I say these words? At a street vendor ramen shop? Or only at a real nice restaurant? McDonalds? Before I eat a candy bar or onigiri at a convenience store? I want to do it right but I don't want to look like I am trying to hard.
I would say it whenever you like. My wife and I say itadakimasu whenever we eat something together, even if it's just a snack. Gochisosama deshita might sound a little strange at McDonalds, but I'm sure they'll think you're being sweet if you say it, rather than weird.
You don't say itadakimasu to waiting staff, but to people eating with you.
It's sort of like grace in the Christian way without religious overtones.
Maybe a bit like Bon Appetite too.
Some people put their hands together in front of them while saying it.
I see it as being grateful for the food and the effort of everyone in getting it to my plate, from the farmer or animal on up. I've gotten into the habit of saying it even when eating a meal alone.
You can also take your lead from the people with you. If they say itadakimasu, you say it too, it's good manners.
Gochisousama deshita, can be said both to the teller, or host, at a restaurant. (Maybe not McD's, or convini etc though) and to anyone treating you to a meal (or snack) either by preparing it or buying it.
"That was a lovely meal, Thanks" to a host, or just another way of saying thanks at a restaurant, saying you enjoyed the experience.
The flip side of this is that English doesn't really have (secular) set phrases before and after meals much to the confusion of my wife.
Not only that, but it will impress Japanese people you're with (especially if they're older). I remember a chef at a summer camp I was at always looked extremely pleased when we said gochisosama deshita. And I've heard folks of all ages say it including my girlfriend and her college-aged friends.
I've been told that this practice originally comes from the Shinto tradition, though most people in Japan practice these old traditions secularly.
applezoid wrote:Not only that, but it will impress Japanese people you're with (especially if they're older).
This is so true! The host family I stayed with for 6 weeks had three generations living together (the grandparents lived together with them) and I remember the grandmother being impressed when I said even simple set phrases. Then she'd tell the grandfather about it. It was cute.
Sorry, kind of off-topic
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Actually my boyfriend and I say it to each other if the other makes the dinner. I also usually say gochisosama deshita at a ramen shop or other restaurants where it has one or two people doing everything. They seem more pleased at me than other foreigners when I do say it.
I wonder if I can get into the habit of saying both when I'm with my boyfriend and other friends. It certainly would be good to start doing more things the Japanese way.