Chopsticks and How to Properly Use Them

When you think of traditional Japanese meals, you probably envision the use of chopsticks picking up noodles, sushi, and other Japanese dishes. However, there is a lot more to Japanese chopsticks, or hashi, than meets the eye. Here are some essential facts about Japanese chopsticks you should know before trying them out!


Holding Your Chopsticks

Holding your chopsticks correctly is probably one of the most important skills you can know when eating in Japan or in a Japanese restaurant. Firstly, start with one chopsticks and place it between your thumb and index finger like you would with a writing utensil. Then, palace the second chopstick between the base of the thumb and the index finger in a way that allows it to touch the ring finger. It is important to make sure to hold your chopsticks near a third of the way down, not in the middle or near the bottom. The goal is for your hands not to have contact with the food. The ring finger and little finger should naturally support the chopsticks and they should fit snugly in your hand. In order to use your chopsticks, move the upper chopstick up and down between your middle finger and index finger without moving the bottom stick. This should create an opening and closing mechanism that will allow you to grab your food!

Chopstick Etiquette

There are many etiquette rules when it comes to using chopsticks, so it’s best to take note in order to avoid offending anyone or coming across as rude! First and foremost, do not play with your chopsticks. They are a tool, not a toy and carry a deeper meaning that we will later discuss. That being said, do not cross your chopsticks or rub them together. Secondly, you shouldn’t pass food from one set of chopsticks to another, as it is deemed unsanity. For the same reason, it is frowned upon to stick your chopsticks into rice or spear any food in general. Thirdly, it’s rude to point in many cultures and it is rude to point with your chopsticks as well. FInally, when you are done with your chopsticks or you are not using them, lay them down in front of you with the tips to the left or laid in a way that prevents them from touching the table.

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