The Japanese Tradition of Five

In Japan, the number five is a very important one. The next time you dine at our Auburn teriyaki restaurant, take a good look at the venue and the food that you are served. If you look carefully, you might notice how the tradition of five is brought out in five different ways in an authentic Japanese meal.

  • The Five Senses: You don’t experience your meal only with your tongue and nose. Your food should also be presented attractively to please the eye. Your utensils and dishware ought to feel pleasing to the touch. The venue you dine in should treat your ears to a pleasing sound and ambiance. When all five senses are happy, your enjoyment of the meal is complete.
  • The Five Colors: White, black, green, red, and yellow are Japan’s five elemental colors. Japanese artists and architects have aspired to feature a balance of these colors within their work, and chefs try to work all five into a perfect meal. As an added benefit, this lends itself to a healthy balance of nutrition with red protein, green and yellow vegetables, and black and white grains and starches.
  • The Five Cooking Methods: Raw, simmered, fried, steamed, and roasted or grilled are the five common ways Japanese food is prepared. Working your way through a complete dining experience in this way is a great way to add complexity and nuance to your dining experience.
  • The Five Taste Sensations: We all recognize bitter, sour, salt, and sweet as the four taste sensations. To this, Japan adds umami, which might be understood as “savory”.
  • The Five Mantras: Buddhist traditions provide Japan with a philosophical approach to their food, which comes in the form of these five attitudes:
    • I reflect on the work that went into producing this food for me.
    • I reflect on my flaws, and ponder whether or not I deserve this food.
    • Allow my mind to be free from all prejudices and greed.
    • I take this food to maintain good bodily health.
    • I accept this food to further my pursuit of enlightenment.
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