Uniquely Japanese- Gochisousamadesu ご馳走様です

When people finish eating in Japan they will usually say ご馳走様です(gochisousamadesu) or ご馳走様でした (gochisousamadeshita) as a way of saying thank you for the food. Like itadakimasu, (read about that here) this saying is a way of showing gratitude to all involved in the preparation of your meal. Again, the farmers, fisherman and so forth. The kanji of gochisousama leads us to understand that this saying was also directly intended for the host. The first kanji has two radicals, one is horse, the other is earth. The second kanji means run. This is to show reverence to the host who has obviously put a lot of effort into attaining the ingredients for the meal, possibly covering a vast amount of land, on his horse, at speed. The third kanji is sama, an honorific more respectful that san. So, kind of like taking Mr. or Mrs. but adding a greater amount of veneration to it. Saying this to chefs, on my way out of restaurants, or to Japanese friends who have cooked for me is a must. I love the ability to be able to convey my gratitude in one quick expression. It is something I always say with conviction.

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