Japanese chopsticks, called “hashi” in Japanese, are a popular kitchen tool used to eat Japanese food. Although it is not known exactly when chopsticks became common in Japan, it is generally accepted that they were introduced to Japan by the Chinese in the 7th century.
At first, chopsticks were considered a symbol of Chinese culture and were only used by members of the nobility and the imperial court. However, over time they became popular and became a common kitchen tool in Japanese households.
Chopsticks are considered a symbol of Japanese culinary culture and are often used to eat rice, soup, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes. They were also used as a decorative tool, often decorated with colorful designs and patterns.
Today, chopsticks are an important part of Asian culture and are used by food lovers all over the world. They are often made from bamboo wood, maple wood, or larch wood and can be purchased online or at Japanese cookware stores.
In Japan, there are several rules to follow when using chopsticks, so as not to make cultural mistakes. Here’s what not to do with chopsticks in Japan:
- Never Stick Chopsticks in Rice: This practice is considered an inauspicious act because it is reminiscent of funeral offerings.
- Never Cross Chopsticks: Crossed chopsticks are also associated with death, so they should not be crossed on a plate or on a table.
- Never lick or suck chopsticks: This is considered rude and unhygienic. Chopsticks should never come into direct contact with the mouth.
- Never pointing at someone with chopsticks: This is considered rude and disrespectful.
- Never pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another: This practice is associated with funerals because it is reminiscent of how the ashes of the deceased are handled.
- Never play with chopsticks: Chopsticks should not be used for playing with food or making noises, as this is considered immature and rude.
Here are the general steps for eating well with chopsticks:
- Take the chopsticks in your fingers: hold the chopsticks with your index finger and thumb, and use your other fingers to hold it in place.
- Hold chopsticks properly: How to hold chopsticks depends on what you want to eat. For solid foods you can hold them up, but for soft foods you will need to hold them down.
- Cut your food into small pieces: Chopsticks aren’t very good at picking up whole foods, so cut them into small pieces.
- Take small bites: chopsticks aren’t as long as forks, so take small bites to avoid choking.
- Do not point chopsticks at other people: Due to the cultural significance of chopsticks, it is considered rude to point chopsticks at other people.
- Lay the chopsticks correctly: after you have finished eating, lay the chopsticks correctly on the support or on the edge of your plate.