Writer: Yumiko Ishimaru
Japanese cuisine is a dietary culture in which a sense of the season is incorporated by using the finest ingredient for each season, and cooked in a way to bring out the natural taste of the ingredients.
This has been passed on since ancient times and deeply rooted in Japanese life style.
We use seasonal flowers and leaves to garnish the plate, which is also selected to fit to the seasonal dishes. Not only a great taste, but also a beauty of appearance has an importance for us. This is something that help us develop an enriched mind and cleanse our heart and soul. An old Japanese expression, saying “Serving dish is a factor to determine the taste” is also in line with the spirit of OMOTENASHI (Japanese hospitality).
Also, it is a key for longevity and health to use fresh ingredient of the season and cook them in a way to bring out their original flavor. Our ancestor’s ingenuity and effort which appreciate the nature’s blessing and wish for long and healthy life, are rooted in Japanese cuisines. These hospitality and cordial attitude towards others have been called “OMOTENASHI” since ancient times, and this is a spirit and a pride of Japanese dietary culture.
Now, washoku is widely delivered outside Japan with the growing momentum to host guests of foreign countries. In many local areas, the effort has been made for visitors to give a great memory by introducing their distinctive regional events and dietary culture. Another positive side is that it also has an effect for regional revitalization.
We, Japanese, have a big mission to preserve this traditional dietary culture and pass on to the next generation. That is what we have to do.