Don’t Insult the Dead with your Chopsticks!

People from all walks of life enjoy using chopsticks at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant, though few realize the weight that Japan attaches to these utensils. If you’re ever out dining with your Japanese friends, remember to take care in how you handle your sticks so as to not insult the dead.

You’d be surprised how many ways a Japanese dinner can resemble a funeral rite. If you leave your chopsticks standing up in your rice, you’re evoking the way that rice is offered to the dead. If you pass food from one set of chopsticks to another, you are imitating the way that the bones of the dead are transferred during a funeral. Even leaving your sticks crossed on the table or using an unmatched pair can be associated with funeral customs. Such actions can look glib and offensive to a traditionally-minded Japanese diner, and should be avoided during meal times.