TO USE CHOPSTICKS
(Hashi) . . . . how to use chopsticks and the dos and
is the Japanese word for chopsticks and means bridge.
Unlike Chinese chopsticks, which are squared-off and
blunt at the end, these Japanese utensils are rounded
and tapered to a point at the end (and much more difficult
to use). It has been suggested that this is in order
to facilitate the removal of bones from fish, which
makes up a great part of the Japanese diet. Note that
most japanese restaurants serve the Chinese style chopsticks
you eat a sandwich with a spoon? Or use a fork to eat
ice cream? Certain foods require the appropriate utensil.
Asian foods are no exception: they seem to taste better
eaten with chopsticks. And although some of us were
raised using chopsticks, it can be an awkward experience
for the rest of us. Fortunately, learning to eat with
chopsticks is a simple matter, as this tutorial shows.
of us labor under a misperception about chopsticks .
. . that both sticks are moved together in your hand
as you pick up a morsel. This is only half-true. Instead
you'll be holding one chopsticks in place while pivoting
the other one to meet it. Simple, eh?
forbid that the restaurant serves disposable chopsticks
in this era of disappearing ancient forests. But to
prepare you for that possibility, here is some advice
on breaking them apart. Pull the sticks away from you
on a horizontal plane, so your palms end up facing away
from you. Twisting them apart vertically can cause splintering,
which might hamper your dining experience..
course, most restraunts will serve you disposable chopsticks.
Especially in Japan. Many things are individually wrapped.
The culture is very conscious of personal hygiene /
1 - Position the chopsticks
Place the first chopstick so that thicker part rests
at the base of your thumb and the thinner part rests
on the lower side of your middle fingertip.
your thumb forward so that it traps the stick firmly
in place. At least two or three inches of chopstick
should extend beyond your fingertip.
Now position the other chopstick so that it is held
against the side of your index finger by the end of
your thumb. (As if you were holding a pencil)
the ends of both sticks on the plate, while holding
them at a slight angle to the table. Allow them to
slide just a little so that the ends line up.
2 - Pivot the top chopstick
Place a little pressure on the top chopstick. It will
pivot on your index finger and thumb. Remember: the
bottom chopstick is stationary. Your thumb will stay
fairly stationary, while the index and middle fingers
are used to move the top chopstick.
tip of the top chopstick will move towards the tip
of the bottom chopstick. Encourage this. Hold those
tips together firmly enough to grasp a piece of food
and lift it off the plate. Place delicately into your
waiting mouth. Although there is no need to stoop,
you may wish to lean over your plate a bit during
your first attempts. It might save you a clean-up!
about it. Have a little practice, use mini-marshmallows
or some other small food items, and you will be able
to use chopsticks with the best of 'em.
Manners ~ using chopsticks
Mayoi-bashi: Mayoi means "dithering".
It is bad manners to wave your chopsticks around aimlessly
over the food, trying to decide what to take next.
Changing the food you have selected after you have
touched the food.
Looking for contents in a soup with chopsticks.
Sashi means "inserting". It is bad manners
to spear food with the points of the chopsticks as
if they were a fork.
Yose means "drawing near". It is bad manners
to pull the dishes towards you using the chopsticks.
Always pick the dishes up in the hand.
Keeping chopsticks together and using them like spoon.
Raking foods into one's already full mouth with chopsticks.
Licking the ends of chopsticks.
tips when eating with chopsticks
Don't eat with a broken or mismatched pair of chopsticks.
eat twice in a row from the same dish except your
stick chopsticks in your rice. This is commonly done
at funerals, or as an offering which is placed on
the alter at an ancestral shrine.
dig under food to get the best pieces.
eat food directly from the central plate, transfer
it to your bowl first.
lick your chopsticks.
stab your food with a chopstick.
set chopsticks on your bowl of dishes. Chopsticks
should be placed on the table, chopstick holder or
tray. When you are not using the chopsticks, put them
in front of you onto the table or a dish with the
tip to the left.
not give food from your chopsticks directly to somebody
other's chopsticks. Only at Buddhist funerals where
the bones of the burned body are given in that way
from person to person.
make noise with your chopsticks.
point with the chopsticks to something or somebody
nor move them too much around in the air.
reach across another person with your chopsticks.
and fork are used for Western food only. Spoons are
used for eating certain Japanese dishes, for example
donburi or Japanese style curry rice. A Chinese style
ceramic spoon is sometimes used to eat soups.
slurping noises while eating noodles is perfectly
acceptable in Japan. There is no need to excuse yourself
for making noises while eating.
dishes are designed to be the right size and shape
for holding in the hand. It is a particularly important
point of etiquette to lift the dishes to the breast
when eating rice or drinking soup.
eating tempura, sashimi(raw fish) or other food which
is dipped in sauce before being eaten that you use
the hand not holding the chopsticks to hold the dish
containing the sauce.
dishes or plates used for grilled fish are usually
too large to pick up. Such platters may be left on
the table. When eating from a large platter or pot,
transfer a portion from the communal pot to your own
small dish and then lift this dish to eat.
your chopsticks to cut up pieces of food too large
to fit into the mouth in one bite.
eating food served in a bowl with a lid, replace the
lid on the bowl when you have finished.
you have finished your meal, replace your chopsticks
on the chopstick rest (when provided / present) as
they were when you started. (I usually fold the chopstick
wrapper into a small rest)
article was written by Robert L Vaessen, and if you
to find out more, you can visit his web site: www.robsworld.org