Don’t Play With Your Chopsticks!

Chopsticks are novel to many of us in the West, so the inclination to use them in a way that the Japanese would see as crass or inappropriate can be rather strong.  In case you’re ever playing host to some friends from overseas at our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant, keep the following rules in mind when you break out your sticks:

  • Don’t Play With Your Sticks: Don’t point with them, don’t use them to pass bowls around the table, and make yourself into a chopstick walrus.

  • Don’t Wear Chopsticks in Your Hair: It is a common misconception that chopsticks are sometimes used as hairpieces.  In truth, people who appear to be wearing chopsticks are actually wearing an accessory called the kanzashi, which only resembles chopsticks.  The two are not interchangeable.

  • Do Not Rub Your Sticks Together: Rubbing your sticks together can be seen as an insult to your host.  This is something you do with a shoddy pair of sticks when you need to rub the splinters away after you break them, so you could be sending the message to your host that they’re cheap.

  • Always Use the Sticks in Pairs: Your sticks should always act as a pair.  Don’t ever use one independently of the other.  In particular, never use a stick to skewer a piece of food.