Friday, July 27, 2007

Use Chopsticks in Japan


Old Custom Prevails Among Poorer Classes, While the Rich Have European Knives and Forks

The use of chopsticks is general in Japan, except among the richer classes, who have adopted European knives and forks, and, to some extent, the European cuisine, London Tit-Bits says.

5mall bowls of china or lacquered wood are the usual table equipment. After the various solid portions of the food have been lifted to the mouth with chopsticks the liquor remaining is sipped from the bowl. In the case of rice, which would be tedious to pick up grain by grain, the bowl is often raised to the mouth and the rice shoveled or pushed in with the chopsticks. It is also customary to pour a little tea into the rice bowl after it has been nearly emptied, and in this way the few remaining grains of rice are washed down as the tea is drunk.

At public places the chopsticks at each meal must be new; this is indicated by the fact that the chopsticks are made from one piece of wood and are left joined together, as were matches at one time. These new chopsticks are incased in a thin paper envelope, sealed at the end, and bearing Japanese characters advertising either the hotel or some firm that has furnished them free to the proprietor for the sake of the publicity thus gained.

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