One thing everyone knows about the Japanese people is that they use chopsticks to eat with. Yes, except for certain Western foods like spaghetti or curry rice, the Japanese eat most every meal with chopsticks, and they’re so ubiquitous here no one gives them a second thought. Children learn to use chopsticks around the age of three, often using training chopsticks to get started, and the first real peer pressure a child will experience is having to eat in front of the other children at preschool, with the fear of embarrassment if they’re behind the other kids at chopstick skill. Although I’ve lived in Japan nearly 20 years, I still get an occasional ohashi ga jozu! (“you use chopsticks very well”) compliment — ah the Japanese can be so silly. One of the symbols of overly industrialized Japan are waribashi, the disposable chopsticks that are everywhere. While the vast majority of disposable chopsticks consumed in Japan come from lumber stocks that are continuously replanted, there’s been a movement away from disposable chopsticks at many restaurants. Incidentally, J-List stocks dozens of fun chopsticks for you, including Pocky Chopsticks, Star Wars Lightsaber chopsticks and more traditional fare.
So, how do you feel about chopsticks? Are they hard to use?
Chopsticks are a common facet of Japanese life.