Inarguably, chopsticks (hashi) are among Japanese culture’s most essential eating utensils. The Japanese use them to eat most traditional dishes, with a few exceptions.
Whether you’re eating with your Japanese friends at their house or a business lunch, knowing how to use chopsticks and having excellent table manners can make you stand out.
With that said, let’s look at some of the critical rules to follow when eating with chopsticks to get an authentic cultural experience.
Chopsticks: How To Use Them Correctly
Understanding how to use chopsticks is critical for proper Japanese dining etiquette. After all, using chopsticks correctly is one of the most important ways to show politeness.
Here are some rules to consider when dining with chopsticks:
Avoid Rubbing Your Chopsticks Together
Rubbing your chopsticks (waribashi) together is seen as an insult in Japan. If you rub your chopsticks together, it may imply that you think the restaurant you’re dining at doesn’t provide quality chopsticks.
Try and remember to avoid this action if possible.
You Must Never Play With Your Chopsticks
While chopsticks may seem like the perfect drumsticks to amuse yourself when waiting for your food, playing with chopsticks is considered childish. This may even invite strange looks from other diners.
Even Japanese children usually avoid doing this as they are taught the significance of mealtime manners from a young age.
Never Point At Someone With Your Chopsticks
Using your chopsticks to point is considered very disrespectful. This is similar to point to a person or something with your finger. To avoid this, keep your chopsticks somewhat low on the table when picking up and eating food.
Don’t Stick Your Chopsticks Into Your Food
When eating food with chopsticks, especially rice, do not stick your chopsticks into your food or rice. It is considered an insult to stick your chopsticks vertically in your food because it is traditionally done at funerals. This is something you do not want to do as a guest in someone else’s home.
Instead, lay your chopsticks together and flat across your plate or bowl.
Don’t Keep Your Chopsticks Crossed In Your Dish
Another rule when eating with chopsticks in Japan is avoiding placing them in an “X” shape. It is still generally considered bad manners and even symbolizes death in some cultures.
Always keep them parallel, whether they are in your hands or placed down.
Never Pass Food From Your Chopsticks To Another’s
Passing food to people with your chopsticks is considered taboo during eating. It resembles the practice of giving cremated bones to loved ones at funerals.
If you must pass food with chopsticks, it is best to put it directly on a plate so that the other person may pick it up on their own.
Avoid Stabbing Food With Your Chopsticks
Stabbing your food with one or both chopsticks to pick it up is considered rude. Even if something keeps slipping from your chopsticks, do not lift it by stabbing it with your chopsticks. Pretend that the utensils are attached; they should always be used together.
Conclude of Japanese Chopsticks Eating Tips To Eat Like A Local
Eating with chopsticks is a unique experience, but it becomes easy with practice.
As long as you know the etiquette involving chopsticks, you’ll be not only ready to feast on delicious Japanese food but also be able to make a better impression with the people.
Aside from learning about Japanese people and culture, you can also Learn Japanese Language by getting in touch with Oku Sensei’s Japanese and looking at their Japanese language classes. Enroll today!