If you’re eating at a traditional Japanese restaurant, you need to know how to use chopsticks, or ohashi, correctly. The Japanese have very strict rules of etiquette regarding chopstick usage, and if you break these rules, you’ll lose the respect of those you’re eating with. While the Japanese probably won’t say anything (they generally do not point out mistakes to others in public), know that they will be silently judging you. Here are 5 different rules to keep in mind while you’re eating.
- Know how to hold your chopsticks correctly. This will take some time, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help if you’ve never used them before. One thing you can do if you don’t want to appear clumsy with chopsticks is to get a pair and practice with them at home before eating out with others.
- Remember that you never eat directly from any of the serving platters. Always put your food on your own small plate or in your own bowl before you then put it in your mouth.
- You’ll see a small wooden chopstick rest at most Japanese restaurants. If your chopsticks are disposable and come wrapped in a paper wrapper, you may not have a chopstick holder; however, you should take the paper and fold it into one. Never place the part of the chopstick you put in your mouth directly on the table. Also, never stick your chopsticks directly into your bowl of rice.
Decide before Picking up Your Sushi
- Know what you want before you pick up your chopsticks and move them over to the sushi platters. If you hold your chopsticks over the food while you decide, the Japanese take it as sign of being greedy.
Never Lick the Ends of Your Chopsticks
- Don’t lick the ends of your chopsticks. It’s considered rude. Likewise, don’t stick the end of your chopsticks into your mouth and suck on them.