One theme I write a lot about is how there’s exactly one “correct” way to do things in Japan — a correct way for students to sit at their desk while in school, a specific stroke order that every kanji character must be written in, and so on. There’s even exactly one “correct” way to hold chopsticks, and it’s common for Japanese to have lengthy discussions over dinner about someone who holds their chopsticks in a “funny” way. I came face-to-face with this “universal correctness” when the time came to get my Japanese driver’s license, which required me to drive a long course without making any errors at all (it took me 11 attempts to finally pass). A symbol of the Japanese approach to how to do things can be seen in the marks they make on paper when counting objects. While most Westerners count by drawing sets of five “chicken scratch” lines, the Japanese draw the five-stroke character for honesty and correctness (tadashii).If you’ve ever lived in Japan (and maybe if you haven’t), you probably bristle at having one “right” way to do things. If so, tell us about it here.
There’s one “correct” way to do things, including hold chopsticks.