Before beginning to eat, it is common to say "itadakimasu いただきます" and when finishing a meal to say "gochisosama" ごちそうさま. "Itadakimasu いただきます" is the humble form of the verb "to receive" or "to eat," and "gochisosama ごちそうさま" means that the meal was delicious. Saying these words before and after eating is thought of as expressing appreciation not only to the person who cooked the food, but to the farmers who grew the rice and the fisherman and others who harvested other foods, as well as for the bounties of nature in general.
In eating a Japanese-style meal, one normally holds one's rice bowl in one hand and chopsticks with the other. It is considered rude to lick your chopsticks. When not in use during a meal, hashi (箸 はし chopsticks) are placed on a small ceramic, wooden, or glass stand called a hashioki (箸置き はしおき). Contrary to the custom in the West, when drinking miso soup or eating noodles and hot foods in Japan, it is considered polite to make a slurping sound.