I admit it, I get irritated by the phrase ‘I feel so blessed’. It gets my hackles up and I associate it with the sort of upper middle class showing off of round robin Christmas letters. The sort of ‘Christians’ who don’t seem to have taken on board the whole rich man heaven camel eye of needle bit, but are fully embracing Adam being ruler over the earth in all his White Able Cis Male glory.
However, the phrase itself, poor thing, it’s words are not at fault. The phrase and the genuine meaning behind it (rather than the hypocrisy I automatically suspect when I hear it) are really rather good. It’s the only English phrase that I can think of to roughly equate to the Japanese ‘Itadakimasu’.
I love ‘Itadakimasu’, you start off saying it like some sort of grace before meals but it’s a whole philosophy.
Grace in my Church of England primary school was always; “For what we are about to receive may the Lord make us truly thankful.”
Itadakimasu means ‘I humbly receive’ and it’s about being grateful to all nature, all living things, the Emporer and your parents. I guess I’ll skip being grateful to Emporer Akihito for now at least but that moment of reflective thanks to the universe for being here, now is one I really like. It’s not just about food either, it’s said before a meal but it’s all over the place in Japanese language, custom and culture.
Itadakimasu was something I got taught by the Nosey Ballerina in full flow pretty early on over there. Then later my Japanese Teacher really cemented it. It’s about taking a moment to really appreciate that moment, the world around you, the things in it. What got me thinking about this?
I’m going to Greece in a week and a bit. I’m on a phone contract that means I pay for the same coverage in Greece as I get here so I will be able to update my blog via my phone. I remembered the hassle of finding a computer and a net cafe, the extreme pain of navigating a Japanese keyboard for the first time, and that was only thirteen years ago. Thirteen years before that I was figuring out how to program text based adventures into my BBC Acorn in BASIC. Now I walk around with a computer in my bag that would have looked like it was from Star Trek to nine year old me.
We live in the future, Itadakimasu.