Japanese dining etiquette is very different from western dining etiquette. Unfortunately we are not in Japan right now to watch the Tokyo Olympics. However, that doesn’t stop us from enjoying Japanese food.
Japanese culture which is centered on politeness, respect for people, age reverence, gracious apology for wrongdoing and living in harmony.
It is important when eating in a Japanese restaurant to understand the basics of Japanese dining etiquette to avoid offending.
When food is served, join your hands in the “Namaste” gesture and say “Itadakimasu” – which means “I humbly receive”. The gesture is an expression of gratitude for the collective efforts made by many in growing and preparing the meal.
Then gently serve yourself a bit of sauce by pouring a small amount into your dish. Never pour soy sauce directly over the rice or use an excessive amount. Dip your sushi into the soy dish, and then bring it to your mouth for one or two bites. When eating rice or soup you can bring the entire bowl closer to your mouth so that you don’t spill any food.
Neverburp at the table. Similarly, never blow your nose at the table.
If you are going to share your food, first you must place a small amount of food onto your plate then pass it to another person.
Do not pour yourself a drink bur rather serve others at the table. Another thoughtful person should pour your drink when you have finished serving. The correct way to toast is to say “Kanpai”.
At the end of the meal, thank the chef by saying “Gochisosama deshita” which means “thank you for this great meal!
I hope you enjoy your Japanese meal while thinking of the Olympics and what a wonderful time you would have had if you were in Tokyo right now.