For me, one of the most enjoyable things about jumping into the television, film, and comic books of other countries is the cultural learning that inadvertently comes through that media consumption. The world is obviously full of people all shapes and sizes, but it also includes hundreds or even thousands of different ways to viewing the most basic parts of life, including family, schooling, marriage, and more.
Of course, the cultural practices I most enjoy involve one of my greatest joys: food.
Anime is full of freaking delicious looking food. Oftentimes I’m left wondering how something 2D can leave me with a very 3D reaction (ahem, drool). Hayao Miyazaki’s films seem to be especially talented at making me feel very hungry…
Of course, since anime is a style of animation that originated in and is largely attributed to Japan, what we’re often seeing are foods and etiquette of Japanese origin. The more anime you watch, the more accustomed you become to practices that are native to Japan. Not only certain foods, such as onigiri or omurice, but also terms and traditions, like obento.
Japan has a distinct set of rules for eating. Japanese etiquette has various guidelines on chopstick use, seating, chewing, and even nose-blowing (FYI, it’s a no-no at the table). However, one of the most noticeable practices you’ll see throughout anime is the customary way to begin a meal. Once everyone has been seated, they offer the phrase, “Itadakimasu!”
Itadakimasu or 頂きます（いただきます）is a phrase that literally translates to, “I humbly receive,” but in a more modern sense is used to say, “Thanks for the food!” The practice stems from Japan’s Buddist roots, wherein you are taught a respect for all living things. In consideration of a meal, itadakimasu is offered in thanks to all things that went into the creation of the meal–including the animals, plants, farmers, chefs, and more.
It’s a habit taught from a child’s youngest years, and it can be compared to the French saying, “bon appétit” or saying grace before a meal. As such, rather than being a ceremonial type of practice, itadakimasu varies between environments. It can involve hands together in a prayer-like stance, as well as a head bow, but it also can be entirely casual–it just depends on the situation and the company you’re with.
Interestingly enough, while the roots of itadakimasu, both vocable and historical, are ancient, the practice itself is fairly modern. At its heart, however, itadakimasu is simply about expressing gratitude and is now an essential part of mealtime in Japan.
Our native countries may not include the practice–but what’s stopping it from being adorable kitchen artwork, eh? Today’s free printable is all about paying tribute to our otaku natures, but in an understated way, with itadakimasu written out in its mother language, presented in a very simple and modern design. Hang it up in your dining room for an understated tribute to the culture that gave us some of our nerdiest pursuits. Oh, and as a very appropriate reminder to thank the cook.
8×10, 300 DPI, easily scaled to your preferred dimensions. You can even scale up if you so choose–this would look awesome as an oversized piece.
Our itadakimasu print is a perfect way to let your nerd out in a minimalistic way.