Originally Posted by YuriTokoro
Would you correct my English, please?
"When we start eating."
I’d like to know what you say when you start eating. We say “Itadakimasu”.
The direct translation is the same as “I’m eating.”, but it also means “Thank you” to Gods, the farmers, the fishermen, the cook and the other people involved. (When you are a guest, you say the words mainly to the host.)
I can’t eat before saying “Itadakimasu”.
When I stayed with an American family, I had difficulty in how to start eating. I hadn’t heard what to say it in English, and I still don’t know. My Japanese-English dictionary doesn’t have the phrase.
When we finish eating, we say “Gochisousamadeshita”, which means, “Thank you for a wonderful meal”. (My dictionary says so.) Can I say it every time I finish eating? Would I sound strange? What do you say?
In Western society, there's only one pre-meal ritual I know that qualifies. It's entirely a religious ritual for those of the Christian faith. We thank God for bringing all the people at the table together to partake in fellowship, and ask that God bless the food to our body's use, ending in "amen". There isn't a end-meal ritual to my knowledge.
As for Western peoples' reactions to "itadakimasu" and "gochisousamadeshita", I would say those who are dining with you would be very understanding. And who knows, you may end up influencing their dining habits to follow you