How to use chopsticks
If you go to eat Japanese food, chopsticks are often provided to you. Since chopsticks are not custom only in Japan, they may already be one of tools for everyday meals for those who are familiar with Asian countries. However, for those who have never used them at all, it is not easy to handle chopsticks. Japanese people know it well. The reason is that Japanese people have also had difficult time to learn how to use chopsticks in early childhood.
Now, we will introduce basic procedures to use chopsticks. However, no matter how high-class Japanese-style restaurant it is, it is not at all rude to use a fork, knife, and spoon. Please feel free to ask staff in the restaurant.
【How to hold chopsticks】
1. Support the upper chopstick between the index finger and the middle finger.
2. Support a lower chopstick with the middle finger side of the ring finger and base of the thumb.
3. Attach the ball of the thumb to the upper chopstick.
4. Move only the upper chopstick to catch objects, using the index finger and the middle finger with the thumb as a support.
Apart from the way to hold, there are some prohibited matters in rules of chopsticks. Although you do not have to be too nervous, we will introduce some of them as part of Japanese culture. For example, it is said that an act of moving chopsticks above dishes while unable to decide what to eat is not good, which is called “Mayoi bashi (chopsticks getting lost)”. Children tend to do it and are often scolded by parents. "Yose bashi" is also considered unfavorable. This is an act of pulling a bowl and the like close to you with chopsticks. "Sashi bashi" means sticking food, using chopsticks like sticks. Besides them, it is forbidden to stand chopsticks on rice, which is called "Tate bashi (standing chopsticks)". This is called "Hotoke bashi (Buddha chopsticks)" as well. In Japan, there is custom to place a rice bowl with chopsticks standing at the head of a dead person’s bed. Reminding people of such scene, “Tate bashi” is considered unfavorable.
If not accustomed to using chopsticks, you should eat in a way which would not interfere with your enjoying delicious meal, without trying too hard. After that, why don’t you use and practice chopsticks with your companions, to the extent that you can enjoy?