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Manners :: eating


15 Apr 2002
Here's an another idea.

Things to NOT to DO while eating.

Do not move a dish with your chopsticks. -- result bad bad table manners and a possible swipe at your hand

Do not stab your chopsticks into your rice. Yes, I know. Chopsticks do have a habit to roll of your bowl. If you can use a chopstick holder or fold the wari-bashi paper (wari-bashi = disposable chopsticks).
Placing your chopsticks so that they stand up in your rice bowl is like placing incense into rice while your praying to your dead ancestors.
This is a pretty sick image and many people might just turn green from the sight not out of envy but trying to prevent from going sick.

Do not pass food with chopsticks. This is similar to passing bones of a recently cremated friend or family member.

OK .. things :::

Similar to passing food. Is bumping choptsticks. Although not a series offense it still resembles the crematory.

Slurping noodles if soba/ramen is ok. While spahgetti is not.

Holding your rice bowl is also ok. I heard that this is a nono in Korea.

try to do / not to do things :::

Pour alchol for your elders and friends. Don't forget to say "mamamamam" in a humble way. +++ Charm points

Don't dig around the dish for the tastier morsels. common sense here.

Leave the last piece of what ever for somebody. This normally ends up in going to the trash or a flurry of please eat it .... nonoono you please, no I must insist on you eating eat. NO I couldn't do that you please. The winner errr I should looser is the person who gives in first and accepts.

Watch our for Kyoto , they have their own set of "eating comments" most famous is ... "would you like some tea" this normally means go home!

Also, watch out for friendly dinner invitations. Much like the American "let's go drinking sometime" ... normally means ... I'm being nice but "NOT" really that serious about having you over for dinner

hmmm starting to get into a different set of manners here. I leave the next tidbits for another different thread.

Wait a minute, I stumbled over a sentence here. Are you saying that the person who accepts the last morsel is actually the um, "looser"here? -(is it looser or loser?...my Webster's is a condensed version...can't find it here... hmmm.)
lol ... hehe I hate spelling. ;)

I was at work at the time when I posted this and ... well you know ... too much time on the net dilly dallying isn't good :D
Well, the "last morsel" egg-dance is also very valid here in Europe.

The slurping is the toughest bit, hard to accept if you were brought up not to make any sound while eating. At least I've learned not to react surprised anymore, hehe. It's difficult to disregard socialization/education, in particular if you are asked to slurp when having a cup of Ramen. :lick:
Are you kidding? Net dilly dallying is an art form. I wish my job required net surfing. ...And as for slurping? ...those are my kind of people. Don't let the Ramen smack your nose on the way down.

nissen's cup noodles are different for the West vs Japan.
Japanese version noodles are longer (chopstick use vs. fork usage)
also, there are a limited variety of flavors compared to when I was in the states.

cup noodles in general are also kanto vs. Kansai flavor differences.

slurpping ... I tried but end up making a mess. Besides I have "neko shita -- cat's tongue" meaning I can't stand hot things. I burn my tongue very easily which makes eating in Japan a bit of a problem since soup/drink temperatures are higher than in America/Europe.

net surfing isn't really included since computers are shared by the other teachers too. A bit of pain to use for personal use when another techer next to you is doing things for their next class. :D
"Do not pass food with chopsticks. This is similar to passing bones of a recently cremated friend or family member."

i don't understand what is meant here. Do you mean you're not allowed to pick up food from a bowl and place it in another bowl?

"Leave the last piece of what ever for somebody. This normally "ends up in going to the trash or a flurry of please eat it .... nonoono you please, no I must insist on you eating eat. NO I couldn't do that you please. The winner errr I should looser is the person who gives in first and accepts."

This is held very true especially at big dinner parties. You should never take the last piece because by finishing it all, it is saying that the host did not order enough food for everyone. Never take the last piece of anything to be polite
@passing food

A little difficult to explain in words. "A" person should not use their chopsticks to pass food to "B" person's chopsticks.

Moving food to another dish is ok.

ahem, errr ... totally forgot about party type of situations (includes visiting other folks homes) do not use the end that you're eating with to pick up food which your chopsticks might touch (ie ... spaghetti) you're <hehe> "germs" would/might spread to the other portions of food that you haven't choosen to eat. Therefore, use the end which your holding. (ummm ... turn your chopsticks up side down to choose food from a main dish)

@last morsel
ahh, is this reasoning behind the Japanese custom or is it from other cultures. I was brought to eat everything in site since children are starving in Africa. Definitely, good insight ! Thanks. Tom!
What about blowing your nose in a restaurant or other public spaces? Isn't that another classic no-no in Japan?
Thanks moyashi. I was relieved to hear that, because I always used to pass food from chopsticks to a bowl or to a mouth. Passing from chopsticks to chopsticks seems a little odd as well, and surely requires more work! Also, isn't it rude to touch another person's chopsticks with your own?

I didn't know about the turning of chopsticks upside down when taking food from a communal serving dish though. Wouldn't your hands get covered in sauce? :p I always used to get around this by having another set of chopsticks for all the sharing. Also with drinks... in Korea you have to pour each other's drinks and never your own. When you are pouring or receiving, you must do so with both hands on the glass or one hand on the glass and the other hand holding the other hand. I am sure this is practised in Japan. I've just forgotten because this is standard practise for me anyway. Also, in Korea you have to face sideways or away from your guests when you're drinking from the glass, to be polite. Is this true in Japan too?

thomas, the blowing of the noce is definitely considered rude in public. It's is better for you to get the sniffles than to blow your nose in front of someone, which is quite different to Western culture. If you need to blow your nose you must do it by facing away from your guests or from anyone in your immediate vicinity. Isn't it strange that blowing your nose in public is deemed rude, but talking with your mouth full is not?

Sorry about the spelling mistakes and the weird way "thomas," came out at the end of my message! my computer has a ghost inside i think. i hope it's a japanese ghost :p
I guess it also depends on how you blow your nose. Do it decently, and no one will mind. Is talking with full mouth is very common in Japan? I tend to believe it's a question of personal education and table manners.
@touch chopsticks
I referred to it as bumping chopsticks. Yes, you're right. Some people turn a little squimish when it happens :)

@korean drinking art
Ahh, the Koreans are much more involved with their drinking art than the Japanese. The double hand pour / hold does happen but it's that important. Many Japanese just love getting plastered which means any drinking method is exceptable. While, high priced drinking locations does demand a bit of protocol.

hmmm... never really noticed anything or heard anything mentioned at all about this. Actually, the tissue box is standard equipment used at dinning tables in place of napkins. In general, I've never seen people really blow their nose at the dinner table unless a big bowl of Ramen was just finished which then normally most folks grab straight for a tissue.

@food in the mouth
ugh, too bad that smacking and talking with mouth full, at least from what I've seen, happens quite a lot. For me this is sooo much worse than slurping. I see children doing it all the time.
It's weird, I sometimes don't know how to eat my ramem in teh restaurants. Should I do as the Romans do and eat it quietly or just waver that and totally slurp to show my appreciation? I end up doing very quiet slurps, but it's a bit strange doing it in the restaurants over here, even though in Japan it's totally acceptible (and complementary)

Come to think of it, I have seen the nose blowing with tissues at the dining table. I have only seen guys doing it though. Perhaps the ladies know how to act like ladies around me? :p
lucky guy.

I seem to have bad luck then ;)

hmmm ... Are the proprietors Japanese? Give it shot and see what happens. A long noisy slurp seems to be the thing.

I still eat quietly. hehe .. disturbs the people eating next to me ;)
Well depending on where I am... in Chinatown's Japanese restaurants, I am sure they are Chinese in kimonos who perhaps speak some Japanese, and in other areas they are either Japanese or Korean (don't really look Japanese). Hmmm, maybe I will let out a loud shlurp if the girl at the adjoining table needs impressing :)
Just saw a docu on Korean culture (now, with the impending worldcup TV and newspapers are scrutinizing the two host countries), they mentioned that "last morsel rule" as well as the strict drinking rituals Moyashi mentioned.

Wow, I would love to see the country once. Has anyone already been to Korea?
Korea is very interesting!

If you have a chance, this would easily be a recommended country to visit if you're coming to Japan!

hehe ... President Kim's Brother jsut got arrested for some kind of scandal. bummer, and right before the cup to.
jeee ... another domain name squatter.
When are you gonna get your own server?
Or just move to mine?
Hehe, just temporarily, at least I am not speculating. The heydays of domain speculation are over.

I already registered quite a few Japan-related domains, but with the aim of developing them once I have my own server. When will that be? Hopefully late summer/ early autumn.

Oh, thanks a lot for your offer! Are you still sharing with PW?
sharing ... well, yeah. My partner and I cover 2/3 and PW gets 1/3 plus server maintance duties. lol ... we barey use it ...
Hehe, and here's the official smilie to this thread:


Churu, churu (slurp, slurp)...
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