Chopsticks etiquette or rules that surround their use in Japan are numerous and there are metric tons of them. But of all the cultural etiquette that virtually consumes Japanese culture chopsticks etiquette is one that deserves special attention. As an English teacher, you’ll often be invited out by your students to dinner after classes or be invited to their parties.
And a party isn’t a party without food (or something gettin' broke). Like most Asian countries, almost everything is eaten with chopsticks, (excluding soups and other dishes that are either too fine or slippery).
Showing that you know a bit of Japanese etiquette really goes a long way towards making some in-roads into the culture. If you’ve never eaten with them before, it’s a good idea to start practicing before you venture east.
Chopsticks Etiquette and Dinner
Short of throwing up on your Japanese guest has got to be sticking them into a plain bowl of rice. If you do this get ready to receive a look of total shock and horror, as this is something that is done at funerals in Japan to honor the dead.
If you want to put them somewhere, lay them across the top of whatever dish or bowl you’re eating from. Note, this only applies to white rice. Although Japanese never put them into any dish (mostly out of habit), putting them into say... a bowl or ramen is nowhere near as bad.
If you are looking for super slick specialty chopsticks there is a nice store in Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo named Moshi Moshi Nippon that specializes in high-end chopsticks. A bit more pricey but nicer. Of course if you are just looking for something for yourself and are not entertaining guests any run of the mill Daiei, Marunaka, Maruhachi or even convenience store will sell them quite cheaply.
Now that you'll make a great first impression by showing your mastery of chopsticks etiquette, check out our teaching jobs abroad page for the latest job listings both full and part-time.
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