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Diversity Training - Chopstick Culture
Self Excellence » Personal Development

Chrm Message From: girdhar gopal Total Posts: 27 Join Date: 18/04/2009
Rank: Executive Post Date: 22/05/2012 21:15:35 Points: 135 Location: India


The first evidence of chopsticks dates back to about 2000 B.C. in China and they were later introduced to Japan sometime in the early centuries A.D. Since most Japanese dishes consist of bite-sized pieces of food, chopsticks were quickly adopted as an efficient eating utensil. Unlike the Chinese who typically use large spoons for eating soup, the Japanese who prefer to drink soup from bowls, also use chopsticks to pick up the bite-sized pieces of tofu, vegetables and fish etc. which are among its ingredients.
In Japan, chopsticks which are used at the table are usually made of bamboo or lacquered wood. In the Japanese home each family member has his or her own set of chopsticks which are more often, selected by the person himself. The disposable chopsticks used in restaurants (wari-bashi) are made of a light-weight wood and have traditionally been attached at one end to insure the customer that they have not been used before. Chopsticks are also used for cooking and these are usually made of wood, bamboo or metal.

How to Use Chopsticks

1. Place the lower chopstick snugly between the forefinger and thumb resting it on the ring finger and pinky. Downward pressure applied by the thumb and upward pressure applied by the other two fingers stabilizes the chopstick. This chopstick is stationary and does not move.
2. Hold the upper chopstick gently between the tip of the thumb and the fore and middle fingers.
3. Gently move the tip of this chopstick downward by using the fore and middle fingers until the food is grasped. The upper chopstick is the only chopstick which moves.
Chopstick Etiquette:

Do’s and Don'ts

•It is polite not to begin eating until all are served at your table. Others at the table can begin eating when the most honored guest begins. •In the home or in more formal restaurants, a chopstick rest (ohashi-oki) is generally provided for resting the chopsticks while not in use. It is also polite to rest the chopsticks horizontally across the front side of the plate pointing toward the left. •In restaurants where wari-bashi (disposable chopsticks) are provided, it is customary to fold the paper envelope in which the chopsticks came and use it as a chopstick rest. When dinner is over, guests can place the chopsticks back into the paper envelope (tapered side inward) which lets the waitress know that you're finished. •It is not considered polite to rub wari-bashi together in an attempt to "sand down" the raw edges. If you are given a set of wari-bashi in a restaurant whose edges are not smooth and seem to be splintered, it is better to request a new set altogether. •When serving from a common bowl or platter, it is polite to use the serving utensils provided, or, if none are available, turn your chopsticks around and serve with the end that has been in your hands, not in your mouth. •When a piece of food is too large to fit into your mouth, it is good manners to use the chopsticks like a knife and fork gently separating the food into smaller bite-sized pieces. •It is impolite to pass food between people from chopsticks to chopsticks. This practice is reserved for funerals in which the bones of the cremated body are passed directly from person to person. •It is impolite to stick chopsticks into food, especially the rice, and let go of them leaving them in the food. •Chopsticks, just like forks and knives, should not be used to spear food, to point with or be waved around in the air. •It is polite to eat sushi either with chopsticks, or more popularly, with your hands by holding each piece gently with the thumb and first two fingers. •When dipping sushi in soy sauce, only dip the fish or “top side” into the soy sauce, never the rice side as it tends to come apart and make a mess. •It is polite to pick up pieces of meat, vegetables and fish and place them on top of the rice in your rice bowl for a moment to flavor the rice rather than pour soy sauce directly on the rice. •It is polite to pick up pieces of meat, vegetables and fish with your chopsticks, rest them one at a time on top of the rice in the rice bowl to flavor the rice with sauce. Then the bowl is brought close to the face to convey food to the mouth. •It is polite to finish every grain of rice in your rice bowl, so it is better not to serve yourself more than you are sure you can consume. •It is polite to pour tea or sake into the cups of others and to allow them to do the same for you rather than serve yourself. •It is acceptable to make slurping noises while eating noodle dishes in broth such as ramen, udon and soba, but not typically while eating rice, meat, fish or vegetables. •The Japanese may add cream and/or sugar to western tea (kohcha), but usually they do not add anything to green tea (ocha) •It is polite to finish all the sake in your cup before you are served more. When you have had enough, it is polite to leave your saké cup full to show that you do not care for more. •Japanese tables are typically set with the rice bowl on the left, the soup bowl on the right, all other plates and dishes in the middle with the chopsticks in front parallel with the edge of the table.

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