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Table manner in Japan

Chopsticks and plateware

Basically when you eat Japanese dish, you must use a pair of chopsticks.
But when you eat sushi, boiled clab, fruits or confectionery, you may use your hands.
And when chawanmushi or very soft dish is served, a small spoon is sometimes given.

Using chopsticks

ChopsticksJapanese chopsticks are two thin sticks made of wood, and are 20 to 25 cm long.
In many case, a disposable chopsticks may be put in front of you. It is a wooden stick, which has a hack in the center, so split apart a pair of chopsticks.

Use the chopstics as following.

  1. Put one chopstick between the palm and the base of the thumb, using the ring finger (the fourth finger) to support the lower part of the stick. With the thumb, squeeze the stick down while the ring finger pushes it up. The stick should be stationary and very stable.
  2. Use the tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers to hold the other stick like a pen. Make sure the tips of the two sticks line up.
  3. Pivot the upper stick up and down towards the stationary lower stick. With this motion one can pick up food of surprising size.
  4. With enough practice, the two sticks function like a pair of pincers.

Please keep in mind that chopsticks are the tool to pick up food and not to spit.

Holding plateware up

Holding plateware up When you eat a Japanese dish, you must often hold a plateware up.

You hold chopsticks on your dominant hand, so use the other hand.
This applies when you eat a bowl of rice, a bowl of soup and the food in a small plate.
When you eat sashimi, you had better hold up a small dish of shoyu to dip sashimi.
But we never hold large plates up.

This unique manner applies only Japanese cuisine.
In fact, it is the reasonable way to eat rice or soup.

Eating manner

Eat all dishes evenly.

Dinner in a hotel When you eat Japanese dinner, some dishes are commonly served at one time.
Probably, you will see many various dishes look delicious before you.
Please eat all dishes evenly.

Open a lid of soup bowl early. Put the lid back on after eating.

When miso soup or suimono is served, a bowl with lid is sometimes used.
You had better open the lid early.
If you leave it, it is hard to open the lid because of decreased pressure of inside.

After you have eaten the soup, put the lid back on.
If you put the lid upside down, it means that the dish tasted bad.

We permit to make slurping sounds when we eat udon or soba.

We permit to make slurping sounds when we eat udon, soba or other noodle.
This is the unique manner in the world.
The sound gives us an appetite.

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