Seiza 正座 means literally proper sitting. Japanese people do seiza 正座 when they sitting in Japanese-style room. It is not say that you must follow all of etiquettes but you impress Japanese if you know them. Take a look at Japanese etiquettes sitting on the floor to eat.
Japan is a country full of ancient traditions and eating in a Japanese restaurant is no different. It is not to say that you must follow every single one of the Japanese etiquettes to the tee but wouldn’t it be nice to know and to be practice some of them when the opportunity presents itself? Plus you could really impress someone of how worldly you are.
Traditional Japanese Restaurant
Sitting on the floor to eat may be a little unusual to Westerners but if you ever find yourself in a traditional Japanese restaurant that offers traditional seating we would encourage you to give it a whirl.
To show respect and honor
The position is called “seiza”, which is where you would sit in a kneeling position with your behind rests on the back of your ankles. It was originally practiced in the Samurai era to show respect and honor those that are sitting with you.
To be fair time has changed and since the seiza position can be quite uncomfortable modern Japanese people don’t really go out of their way to sit in such position anymore. But there is a time and a place for everything so practice your seiza and you can impress next time you find yourself in a traditional Japanese restaurant.