Our first issue is almost finished. One of our articles, see below, needs an original, creative, and non-religious illustration to accompany it.
Here are two stock photos that shows what the article describes.
Our magazine is for couples, not families, so to be clear we don't want children in the illustration.
All creative directions will be considered (e.g. representative, abstract.) High impact and meaningful is what we are looking for.
8.5x11 inch full page
In Western culture, a prayer of gratitude at mealtime is typically a prayer spoken to God. “Thank you God, for this meal,” we say. Gratitude is expressed to the heavens for providing the meal and for the bounty of food we are about to eat. As Western culture becomes more secular, however, there is a need to replace that honorable ritual with one just as respectful.
In Japanese culture, there is a prayer expressing one’s gratitude to the food itself. It is a gesture of thanks, a prayer we offer to the lives of the animals and plants we are about to eat.
That prayer is called itadakimasu (ee-tah-dah-kee-mah-sue).
Itadakimasu (いただきます) is an informal Japanese ritual of respect. Itadakimasu is our blessing to the Forces of Mother Nature, an acknowledgement that her living organisms have sacrificed their lives to human beings as food. Itadakimasu is spoken to all those whose lives we are taking. Itadakimasu is also expressed to the benevolent farmers and bakers, in appreciation of their hard work, and to those who prepare or hunt our food.
Practicing itadakimasu is simple.
Just before eating, instead of chanting “Let’s eat!” or chiming “Dig in!” and stuffing food in one’s mouth, take a moment to reflect. Put down all eating utensils, forks, and chopsticks. Then in one quick motion—slower when more reverence is called for—ever so slightly, bow your head. Place your hands together in prayer, then softly say “i-ta-da-ki-ma-su.” Speak it in a gentle voice, but loud enough for your loved ones to hear. Then dig in! Nothing else need be said.
Itadakimasu can be expressed in private or in public. In fact, saying itadakimasu has the practical purpose of signaling to others at your table that it is time to share your meal. Together you have gestured your symbol of thanks for those lives you are about to receive.
Whether you're longing to be free from the mindless consumer lifestyle of the 21st Century, or you're someone who supports humane animal and plant welfare, or simply striving to achieve balance in their life, we recommend you take a moment to pay due respect for that which gives us life.
At your next meal, give itadakimasu a try. No meal is too big, too small, too public, too private, too Western, or too Japanese. Do this consistently and without shame or calling attention to yourself. Your self-esteem will get a nice boost, and your public status will earn more respect for exhibiting class. If your Japanese friends don't do it, it's because they are trying to mix in; so show them you respect this fine tradition.
It's a daily reminder for all couples, of the respect and gratitude you have for your relationship and for the food that binds you together.
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