In the land of the rising sun, the art of the table is a sort of ritual that takes place around a meal. They make it a point of honor to serve a meal tray that is pleasant for the eyes and also for the taste buds..
The art of the table in Japan is even found in their kitchen tool. Whether in the content or in the container, they are flawless. Even decorative arrangements, ceramics and lacquered wood are part of the tableware.
What are the different tableware in Japan?
The Japanese during meals have their own ritual which is quite different from Westerners. Indeed, many rituals accompany their meal to highlight the different dishes they serve.
When we eat in Japan, each dish is arranged and decorated to please the eyes and the mouth. Whether it is tableware or customs, they are important in Japanese tableware.
What do the Japanese eat?
First of all, the Japanese don’t eat like we do, serving a starter, a main course and a dessert one by one. For the Japanese their meal is served at the same time on a platter. Except for certain meals, such as “kaiseki” which is served one by one because it is made up of different small dishes.
Japanese cuisine preserves the nature of food so as not to destroy the contributions they provide, that’s why most of their dishes are raw or marinated. In their traditional dishes, meat is often missing, their dishes are often composed of vegetables, rice and fish.
In restaurants, rice is usually served with three sides of your choice. However, some dishes are served as a single dish like udon noodles, sushi or sashimi.
But in some cases, during lunch breaks some Japanese prefer the bento which is a homemade take-out dish made up of different portions of rice, meat and condiments.
During festivals the Japanese prefer meat kebabs also called yakitori or other dishes that are sold in the streets like pancakes, crushed ice cream in syrup, taiyaki or fish-shaped cakes.
How do they eat?
Japanese meals have several varieties that most people don’t know about. Indeed, Japanese dishes are delicious in addition to the fact that it is a pleasure for the eyes. However, some ways of eating are different from western countries.
They eat three meals a day, breakfast consists of a bowl of rice or miso soup with light side dishes. According to Japanese tradition, their dinner is often served copiously, consisting of several dishes served at the same time.
The meal as a ritual of conviviality
Since their meal tray is often made up of several small dishes, they share them with the guests.
However, it is very frowned upon to eat from the dish, you should instead bring the amount of food you want on your plate and if the amount is not enough for you, you can use it regularly.
When the meal is over, most Japanese serve tea with sweets, as desserts are often absent.
On Japanese tables, napkins and tablecloths are missing, moistened towels replaces them. They are rolled up and heated then given at the start of meals.
The glasses are also replaced by terracotta cups of tea or by bowls of sake. While forks and knives are replaced by chopsticks. You can only see it in traditional restaurants.
The Japanese also sometimes eat light meals to avoid the heaviness of the stomach which is unpleasant. As indicated by the shape of their dishes and the chopsticks they use, these help them to eat slowly and in normal proportions.
Most Japanese eat on the floor during meals. Indeed since ancient times the Japanese already ate on the floor. They do not eat quite on the ground but on a tatami mat. The Japanese prefer to eat squatting, in a resting position, sitting cross-legged or kneeling.
Eating with bent legs and buttocks on heels is the most respectful way to sit in Japan. Despite the fact that it is uncomfortable, if you stay for a few minutes you will get used to it.
In short, Japanese meals have their own culture and specificities, which are quite different from Western meals. Except for meals three times a day. They have their own way of eating and serving meals.
What dishes do they use?
Japanese tableware is an art of the table, because the different shapes of its pieces make it the aesthetic of the table, thanks to the patterns and the originality of the materials used. Japanese tableware is varied and has several forms, each of which has a specific use in Japanese gastronomy.
Here are the different types of Japanese tableware:
Bowls are the most used utensils in Japan, as in Japanese culture the bowl is often used for foods of liquid consistency. But now, it is pretty much used with any food.
They all have a unique character and are not made in the same way. For example, the chawan bowl is used for taking tea or eating rice, because it is funnel-shaped and slightly flared. The Shiru bowls which have less flared shapes are used to take the soup.
It is often used because the Japanese are used to eating several small dishes, it is used to arrange the different dishes of a meal.
They come in various shapes and sizes, sometimes rounded and hollow. They are used to serve sauces. While the rectangular shaped plates are used for serving sushi or other fish.
It is made of lacquered wood, used to transport homemade meals. Very practical for schoolchildren and even for workers because it is easily transportable in their bag.
The different patterns of Japanese tableware
The patterns of Japanese dishes are important because they give a refined air to the dishes and a decoration for the table. Each craftsman has his own way of abbreviation. This is why most Japanese dishes are differents, but they have a common character.
For example, the dominant colors of Japanese tableware are always white, blue and red. However, for some occasion, black color is used for special occasions because it means luxury. In principle, the colors are chosen according to the occasion and the season.
The materials that are used for Japanese tableware
Japanese tableware is often made by artisans who use high quality ceramics and porcelain and also lacquered wood. For the latter, the Urushi tree is the material they use because it is a lacquer tree. It is often used to make bowls, chopsticks but also trays. While ceramics are used to make bowls, plates and saucers.