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Japanese Food Onomatopoeia: Gatsu Gatsu

May 10, 2011 · 14 comments

in Japanese Food Onomatopoeia

eating with gusto image

This is a picture of me eating gatsu gatsu-ly (mainly because no-one else would let me post a picture of them with their mouth full, the things I do…) To eat “gatsu gatsu” means to eat with gusto. Sounds kind of like “what a guts” in English so it’s easy to remember. I eat gatsu gatsu-ly pretty often, especially when hangrrr strikes or when I’m eating my favourite things like taco rice, Thai yum and chocolate chunk cookies.

Audioscript: “Saya-chan onakasuiterundane, gatsu gatsu tabete ma!” (Saya, you must be hungry, you’re eating so gastsu gatsu-ly – it’s the kind of thing someone might say a bit disapprovingly if they say “ma” like that).

NB: If you click the little arrow below, the audio will play.


What kind of food makes you smack your lips?

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Alessandra May 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm

Hahahaha, I was expecting an audio with a chomp chomp slurp sound!

I didn’t know gatsu gatsu, i hope that i can remember it for more than 5 minutes now!
Ah, did you know that you have been employed to teach Nihon-go to Arantxa and Max? :-)

did you see the Japanese cooking post?

Su-Lin May 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Gatsu gatsu! I love it! I think Asians and food bloggers in general eat with much gatsu gatsu – love it. I have to now figure out how to drop the term into conversation.

sakura May 10, 2011 at 11:18 pm

That’s so great hearing you speak Japanese! Cho-kawaii:)

Heather May 11, 2011 at 1:07 am

Haha! I fear I always eat gatsu gatsu-ly! :)

Kimberley May 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

OMG an audio element. Lurv it. I also like the sound of “gatsu gatsu-ly.”

Alli May 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

What a great saying, I also love eating with gusto, it sounds so appreciative of food.

Jean | Delightful Repast May 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Good question: what kind of food makes me smack my lips? Guess that depends on my mood. Right now a big bowl of my black bean soup sounds good to me! Would eat that gatsu gatsu-ly!

catty May 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

LOL I swear to god you write the cutest posts!! i think i eat everything gatsu-ly… is there any other way to eat?

The Grubworm May 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Yes, there is a word for my standard way of eating. With gusto. And lots of food flying everywhere – you should see me attack fish-flavoured aubergines with chopsticks after a few glasses of wine, ’tis a think of Pollock-like beauty. Is there a phrase for ‘eating with laser beam focus’? Because that’s how else I roll (well, eat).

Is it bad that most food (except bad food) makes me smack my lips? But dirty meaty food in particular – I’m thinking a good sloppy burger or a properly grilled shish kebab. That sort of thing, all gleaming and tender with wee little bits of black crust clinging to it. Dammit, now my mouth is watering and I’m only minutes away from making those smacking sounds…

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 12, 2011 at 10:49 am

Hehe I had no idea that that was the term for it! Hmm good question, buttery pastry has me acting all gatsu gatsu! :D

Zoë @rumandreason May 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I love that there are these little phrases that are just perfect to describe some aspect of universal human behaviour in some languages, which just aren’t there in other languages. Like “fare la scarpetta” in italian, which means – so succinctly – “to mop up the juices on your plate with a hunk of bread”.

I pretty much always eat gatsu gatsu-ly if I’m happy – sometimes I catch my boyf just looking at me after a particularly tasty meal like “why is there a wild boar at the dinner table?”…

hungryandfrozen May 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

What a useful term!
Umm. The answer to your question…everything, I think!

Mel May 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

Haha, this post made me smile! I hope your day is full of gatsu gatsu moments.

I had one such moment today when I bit into warm ginger loaf at work…

Lulu May 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Hi, jumping over after seeing your interview on pocket cultures!

My husband and my older son both eat gatsu gatsu -ly – and they both LOVE taco rice too (recently made something called mexibake which is similar- but oh so much better, in my opinion! It was a hit in my family at least!)

The “ma” at the end? Is it Sapporo dialect? I don`t think we get that here…

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