Sometimes hashioki literally send a message.
The Japanese inscription on these two hashioki reads irashaimase dōzo goyukkuri, which means “Please relax and enjoy your meal.” It is the perfect chopstick rest for a restaurant to set their table with.
The hiragana on this hashioki reads arigatō, which is one of the words used to express thanks in Japanese. The full phrase that means “thank you very much” is dōmo arigatō, or if you’re being even more polite, dōmo arigatō gozaimasu, but arigatō is a perfectly acceptable way to say thanks. This would also be a good hashioki for a restaurant, or perhaps a good one to set the table with at awards or appreciation dinner.
This charming cat has the Japanese phrase itadakimasu inscribed across his tummy. It’s the traditional phrase the Japanese utter before beginning a meal. While it technically means “I humbly receive,” in practice it sounds more like “Let’s eat!”
Apparently there’s a connection between cats and good food, for this cat has the phrase Gochiso across her tummy, which is said at the end of a meal to indicate that it was delicious. Yoga enthusiasts may also recognize this cat is ironically in a down dog position.
Sometimes all you need is one word — or in this case, one character — to send a powerful message. This frog hashioki and white cat hashioki (in the middle) are inscribed with the single kanji fuku, meaning fortune or blessing. The maneki neko on the right stands on a base inscribed with the kanji for shuku, meaning celebrate or congratulate. These hashioki are therefore appropriate for almost any occasion or situation.
This final set of cat hashioki prove that there is often more than one way to send a message. Four of the five cats in this set have the words Shiawase, yoi koi, yatti koi — an idiomatic phrase which the vendor who sold them to me translated as “Happiness, come, come — please come.” The fifth member of the troupe, the cat in upper left hand corner,
has no writing on his stomach. I guess after you read the sentiment on his four siblings there’s no need to repeat it one more time. I can’t resist suggesting that “The power of five” (please refer to my November 2017 post) almost guarantees that happiness will indeed come if you set your table with this 5 piece set of hashioki.
December 11, 2017