Out of all the etiquette rules there are in Japan, and there are metric tons, proper use of chopsticks 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.
Dinner Etiquette - Chopsticks
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.
Now that you'll make a great first impression by mastering use of your chopsticks see our job resources page! Click here to get started teaching in Japan. And be sure to take a peak at our jobs in Japan page for the latest job listings.
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