If you happen to visit Japan, or enter a sushi restaurant with actual Japanese people in it, you have to remember that they actually take their use of chopsticks quite seriously. In the same way that we would consider putting elbows on the table or chewing food noisily as bad manners, the Japanese people also have a set of guidelines that they follow.
Here are some of the things that you should remember to show the best possible etiquette when using chopsticks:
1 Chopsticks should never be stuck upright in a bowl of rice. This is not an acceptable way to let your chopsticks rest in the middle of the meal because this is the exact way that they offer food to their dead. You would often see this in front of a dead person’s photograph, at a person’s deathbed, or on a Buddhist altar.
2 Food should not be passed from chopstick to chopstick. Again, this is connected to a Buddhist ritual. When a person is cremated, their bones are passed from one chopstick to another.
3 Do not use chopsticks that do not match. This is also connected to Buddhist rituals. Basically, it is considered to be very unlucky if a person uses a pair of chopsticks that do not match.
4 Do not use your chopsticks to point at people or food. In the same way that we consider pointing directly at a person using our fingers rude, the Japanese also consider it rude to point at anything using chopsticks.
5 Do not stir your food around using your chopsticks. This practice is considered as an insult to the person that cooked the meal. It is almost equivalent to how we would always tell our youngsters not to play with their food.
These are just a few of the things that you have to remember when using chopsticks. Even if you plan on using easy chopsticks like Holdstix, better make sure that you follow each of these guidelines especially when there are Japanese people around.
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