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Chopsticks are indispensable for eating a Japanese meal, so it’s worth learning how to use them properly

Japanese food is becoming more popular with the many Japanese restaurants that are appearing all over the world. Chopsticks are essential for eating a Japanese meal. In Japan, adults who are not yet able to hold chopsticks correctly are sometimes regarded as an embarrassment, or as having missed out on being taught an essential discipline during their childhood. Foreigners who are not accustomed to using chopsticks can easily acquire good chopstick technique by learning a few of the tricks. This will improve their dinner table etiquette and they will enjoy their Japanese meals even more.

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Once you learn how to hold your chopsticks properly, picking up food is a cinch

Chopsticks should be held about 3/5ths of the way up from the pointed end. This creates good balance, which means that the chopsticks look elegant in your hand. Hold the first chopstick—which will be the uppermost chopstick—in the same way that you hold a pen. Slide the second chopstick in under the first, resting it at the base of your thumb, then supporting it with your ring finger. Practice using the chopsticks, only moving the upper chopstick and being careful not to allow the chopsticks to cross over each other.

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What is the the use of chopsticks that should not be doing?

There are a few taboos involved in the use of the chopsticks. Or perhaps it would be better to say that there are many taboos. Even among Japanese, there are very few people who know them all. Here, were will run through the minimum number of taboos—in other words, the most common ones—with which you should be familiar.

■ Licking chopsticks
Placing the chopsticks in your mouth and licking them, where there is still some food remaining on them.
This is considered bad manners and children are often scolded by their parents when they do this.

■ Handing things over with chopsticks
Using your chopsticks to pass something to someone who is also using chopsticks.
This is only ever done at funerals, when handling the bones of the dead person, so it is strictly forbidden at the dinner table.

■ Spearing with chopsticks
Using your chopsticks to spear your food, rather than picking it up in the usual way.
This is something that you can easily end up doing during the time that you are still learning how to use chopsticks.

■ Indecisive chopsticks
Waving your chopsticks around above the plate.
This is also easy to end up doing, as you are deciding which dish to select from. It’s best to first decide what you want to eat next, and then put your chopsticks in motion.

How does that sound?
It might be all a bit too much at first, so it’s probably best to not be too strict at the start, and to improve your chopstick skills bit by bit.

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AUTHOR

Aquico

Aquico

Editor / Writer

“My dream is that Tadaima Japan will make more people want to come to Japan. I want to introduce the beautiful Japan in which I was born. I like fingernail art!”