Monday, April 22, 2024

Itadakimasu: wearing gratitude

“Itadakimasu," a Japanese word said before eating, roughly translates as "I humbly receive." It's an expression of gratitude for the meal and for those who prepared it. When I traveled to Japan with students we taught them to say, “Itadakimasu” before any meal.

A film crew from a Japanese news show came on the Friday after my book launched to interview me about the kerfuffle around the salt but also about the making of tea. (You can watch it here, the scene where I make a cup is at the beginning. Yes, it’s in Japanese.)

They had asked me to be prepared to make a cup of tea for them on camera, which I did. When I handed the interviewer the cup that I had made, he murmured, "Itadakimasu." In all the whirlwind of those days that one word — said so quietly, so matter of factly — touched me deeply.

I’m grateful for so much lately. I’m trying to “wear gratitude like a cloak” (to quote Rumi) to let it be what I wrap myself in, to let it be what I show first to the world. Itadakimasu.

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