Itadakimasu (Now, I get your soul)
Yutaka Niibe at
In Japan, it is common practice for everyone to say "itadakimasu" for each meal. Without saying that, we can't start eating.
The direct translation would be: "Now, I get your soul". It's a very short version of prayer before meals. We recognize "soul" for each food.
I was explained that it's because of Buddhism, but I don't see such a practice in China, Thailand, or India.