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Thread: Gochisosama-deshita

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    Default Gochisosama-deshita

    More than a month since there has been any real activity on this thread. And you call yourselves culinary gugansha. You should all be ashamed. I guess it is up to me.

    How about another contest? First person to answer correctly wins a year’s membership in the Shiokara of the Month Club. (Watch out for that July package; it can be a little pungent.)
    Almost the end of the year so our question will be about the end of the meal. Everyone knows a meal in Japan often concludes with the comment “Gochisosama-deshita.” Can anyone tell us the interesting etymology of this phrase?
    Extra credit goes to anyone who can tell us the sumo-beya equivalent to this phrase.

    Cordially,
    Dave Lowry

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    Mr. Lowry,

    Chiso, which is always translated as "feast" or "entertainment" in modern Japanese dictionaries, is a classical Chinese compound that can mean to make your horse run faster. My tongue-in-cheek guess would be that it originally meant "Man, this was a feast worth whipping a horse to get to."

    Extra credit - "gotsu an." And I most definitely did not use Google for that answer. Nope. Didn't use Google at all. Not a bit.

    Even if I'm wrong about chiso, as I'm sure I am, I think I deserve at least *some* credit for creativity.

    Josh

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    Mr. Lerner wins a month’s supply of shottsuru for getting part of the first answer and for snagging the tougher second one.
    Given the busy holidays, let’s wait a while to see if anyone enters to further flesh out the answer he’s begun so well.
    (By the way, Mr. Lerner, you went a little too deep in your etymology. The word we were looking for was “feast,” as you observe. Now how about the rest of the phrase?)
    Any other contestants?
    Dave Lowry

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    "gochisosama deshita" literally means "it was a feast".

    "sumo-beya" a stable or to open a stable?

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    Originally posted by Dave Lowry
    (By the way, Mr. Lerner, you went a little too deep in your etymology. The word we were looking for was “feast,” as you observe. Now how about the rest of the phrase?)
    Any other contestants?
    Ah, I thought the "go" and the "sama" were too obvious to mention ...

    "Go" is an honorific, and "sama" usually is used as a more polite form of "-san" after someone's name. Though in this case, it probably is used in its alternate meaning of "situation". So the whole phrase, even more literally than chizikunbo's translation, would mean, "It was an honorable feast of a situation." Or, if you like beating a dead horse and going way too deep with your etymologies, "It was an honorable horse-whipping of a situation."

    And speaking of "sama", my first trip to Japan was as a summer exchange student in high school. My Japanese was ok at the time, but apparently not as good as I thought it was. We were talking about Mt. Fuji one night, and I noticed that everyone was calling it "Fuji san". Thinking I would one-up the Japanese and show them how polite Americans could be, I referred to it as "Fuji-sama" at the next opportunity. It took me a while to figure out why they were laughing so hard.

    Mr. Lowry, if you are going to be in Seattle anytime soon, I will be available to make a trip to Uwajimaya with you to collect on my shiokara. We can even eat at the Korean barbeque place whose staff you once praised on this forum.

    Josh

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    Not so fast, there, Mr. Lerner, although I must give you the prize on this one. Actually, the original way of writing “sama” was the same as the one you mentioned, a very polite form of address. Speculation is that the phrase originated as a way of thanking one’s lord (sama) for the, as you noted, “honourable feast” expressed in the past tense. (Perhaps that’s why the less formal “Gochiso-san” evolved later on.) That’s what I was looking for. But you were close enough.
    So, ready to play in the more advanced round, where the stakes are higher and the questions more taxing?
    Dave Lowry

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    Hmmmm...higher stakes...more taxing questions...chance of winning more salted fish guts...I'm game.
    Josh Lerner

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    Okay, since we're on the topic of comments made regarding eating...
    You should know the phrase one uses in a sushi-ya when you wish the itamae to prepare a multi-course meal for you--along with its derivation. But that phrase is a modern one. What is the archaic version of this popular phrase?
    Dave Lowry

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    For those of us who aren't nearly so erudite in matters of Japanese cuisine, would you care to mention the modern phrase? At least do so before the thread is over...
    James A. Crippen

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    I'm assuming you are talking about the phrase "omakase shimasu", which is, sad to say, one of the only bits of sushi lore that I know, aside from how to eat nigirizushi like a real Edokko and the fact that shiso leaf is used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat seafood poisoning. I don't know what the archaic version is, so by way of saving face, I will divert attention away from my ignorance by claiming that you have asked a trick question. "Archaic", to me, means at least pre-Tokugawa, if not pre-Heian, and I imagine that although sushi of course existed in some form before the Tokugawa, sushiya (and itamae) didn't. I hope someone else here knows the real answer to the question. Where's Earl when you need him?

    Bowing out,

    Josh

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    "omakase shimasu" literally means "I leave it to you", or such is my impression. I think I've heard that elsewhere, actually. Intriguing. I'll try that at my local sushiya next time.

    However it would seem that using that phrase would be inauspicious for a bushi, since 'makasu' can mean both 'to entrust' or 'to defeat'. Hmm...
    James A. Crippen

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    okay a little late on this one I am

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    I ain't interested in playing games just to win a prize of fermented squid guts, if it's all the same to you. Shiokara is even more revolting than nattou, if such a thing is possible.

    Besides, I only speak Japanese. Researching obscure and archaic etymology, while interesting, is not something I spent a lot of time doing. Hell, I don't even do it in English.

    Fuji-sama? Damn, that's good. Even better than when I asked the waitress for a glass of cold water and couldn't figure out why she couldn't understand the phrase "samui O-mizu kudasai".

    Also, I thought it was "gotts(u)an (de)su" in sumo-ese, depending on how formal you want to be. That part was way easier than the first part.
    Last edited by Earl Hartman; 12th January 2005 at 19:34.
    Earl Hartman

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    Oh, yeah: I only eat sushi, I don't study it. (I far prefer noodles, and I don't "do sushi" like people here seem to like to do.) So I have no idea what the answer to the second question is.

    How does one eat sushi like a true Edokko? Does this involve something other than picking up the sushi and putting it in one's mouth?

    I assume it is something more complicated than dipping the sushi in the shoyu fish-side down, as is only proper.

    Is there some Edokko-ryu way to belch or suck your teeth which is different from what they do in Kansai?
    Earl Hartman

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    How To Be A True Edokko, Or Just Look Like One -

    1) Use your thumb, index and middle fingers to take hold of the sushi. Your thumb and middle fingers hold the sides, and you reach over with the index finger and slide it under the rice side. Then turn your hand over with a graceful flip, so the fish side is still face-up. The sushi should now be resting on your index finger, cradled delicately by your thumb and middle finger.

    2) With one smooth motion, turn your wrist over again and dip just a little of the far end of the fish side of the sushi into the soy sauce (to which you have *not* added extra wasabi), and continue the motion by placing the entire piece on your tongue, fish-side down.

    Voila. You are now a Child of Tokyo.

    Placing the fish-side on your tongue allows you to immediately know if the fish has gone bad, although I have to admit I never learned how to gracefully extract the sushi from your mouth in such a case. I'm sure Mr. Lowry must know a few ways.
    Josh Lerner

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