There is a proper way to use your “ohashi” or chopsticks in Japan, and knowing the correct do’s and don’ts when it comes to etiquette is imperative when in a Japanese dining setting.
Firstly, one has to have good command of the proper way to hold chopsticks . For westerners, this may take some practice, but as with all things, practice makes perfect!
Here are the three basic steps:
1. Hold the upper chopstick with the index finger, the middle finger, and the thumb.
2. Put the other chopstick between the bottom of the thumb and the tip of the ring finger.
3. Move the upper chopstick only when you pick up food.
* Set pairs of chopsticks next to the table’s edge, tapered ends to the left, at the front.
* When using chopstick holders (ohashi-oki’s) place them below the tapered ends.
* Turn your chopsticks around when you want to pick up food from a shared dish (family style eating) so as not to “share” your saliva with the other diners.
* When you finished using disposable chopsticks (wari-bashi), put them back in the bag and fold the bag in half. This indicates that they are used.
* Stick your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice – it has morbid connotations of offerings for the dead.
* Pierce your food with the stick ala campfire cooking or make a kebab
* Pass food from chopsticks to chopsticks. More connotations here with Japanese funereal customs involving bones.
* Wave you chopsticks above plates of food.
* Pick up a bowl or cup with the hand that is holding your chopsticks.
* Suck your chopsticks.
* Passing food from your chopsticks to somebody else’s chopsticks.
* Holding your chopsticks with five fingers is VERY impolite in Japan.
[tags]Japanese food, Ohashi, chopsticks etiquetts, chopsticks[/tags]