In Japan, you say "itadakimasu" ("I gratefully receive") before starting to eat, and "gochisosama (deshita)" ("Thank you for the meal") after finishing the meal.

Some Table Rules

Drinking rules

When drinking alcoholic beverages, it is a Japanese custom to serve each other, rather than pouring the beverage into one's own glass. You are supposed to periodically check your friends' cups, and serve them more once their cups are getting empty. Likewise, if someone wants to serve you more alcohol, you should quickly empty your glass and hold it towards that person.

While it is considered bad manner to become obviously drunk in some formal restaurants, for example in restaurants that serve kaiseki ryori (Japanese haute cuisine), the same is not true for other types of restaurants such as izakaya, as long as you do not bother other guests.

Do not start drinking until everybody at the table is served and the glasses are raised for a drinking salute, which usually is "kampai". Avoid using "chin chin" when drinking a toast, since in Japanese this expression refers to the male genitals.



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Sitting Techniques

For example, meals are traditionally held sitting on the tatami floor around a low table. Also during the tea ceremony and other traditional events, one sits on the floor.

The formal way of sitting for both genders is kneeling (seiza) as shown on the picture below. People who are not used to sit in seiza style, may feel uncomfortable after a few minutes, and their legs may get numb. However, foreigners are not usually expected to be able to sit in seiza style for a long time, and an increasing number of Japanese people themselves aren't able to do so due to a westernized lifestyle.

In casual situations, men usually sit cross-legged, while women sit on their knees laying both legs to one side. The former sitting style is considered exclusively male, while the latter is considered exclusively female.




















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