I used to watch a lot of anime series as a teenager. Some words and phrases are said too often in these series. Too often that I’m able to learn them. Some of the phrases are “Daijoubu?”, “Itterasshai,” “Ittekimasu,” “Tadaima!” but my favorite one is “Itadakimasu!”
I hear the word “Itadakimasu” before anyone starts to eat. It is always translated as “Let’s eat!” in the subtitles, but after searching, I learned that its literal meaning is, “I humbly receive.”
I heard somewhere (though I don’t remember where) that “itadakimasu” is used to give respect to the lives involved in preparing the food, not only the one who cooked it but also the ones who planted the vegtables used, and those who raised the animals cooked. It is said to give thanks to the people who did their best to make the food and produce the ingredients. It is also said to give thanks to the plants and animals whose lives are sacrificed to give energy and nutrition to the people who consume them.
I like how saying just this word enables one to acknowledge and appreciate other people’s hard work (in preparing the meal) and remember and be humbled to be prioritized over the animals for you to have your meal.
Read more about “Itadakimasu” here: http://www.tofugu.com/2012/08/06/what-does-itadakimasu-mean/