Q. Why do the Japanese eat so fast?


There is a saying in samurai tradition that mentally prepared the samurai warrior for war: “eat fast, defecate quickly and dress quickly.” This tradition seemed to have carried over to the Japanese military where meals were said to have been consumed in a hurry.

The Japanese see nothing wrong with eating their meals in a short period of time and are encouraged to do so.

Although not of the same time period, busy corporate warriors of today eat their meals in a hurry. This applies in Japan as well as in the United States.

Lunch hour in many Japanese companies usually runs from twelve to one. There is no two–hour or three–hour break as seen in some European countries. All companies generally follow the same lunch hour, so leaving the company late for lunch will result in a long wait in line at restaurants and at eating stands. Managing to get a seat or a bite to eat somewhere is no cause to linger over lunch. One cannot afford to spend too much time over lunch for the benefit of those waiting their turn in line.

Mornings are spent waking up at the last minute, gobbling down breakfast, and rushing off to catch the train for a long commute to work. Evenings are spent working until late leaving no time to eat dinner leisurely.

The children eat quickly and rush off to cram school or to some lesson. They have no time to develop a habit when little of taking their time over meals.