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#172632 - 07/29/05 01:59 PM Chopsticks and manners.
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
It's commonly known that the Chinese invented chopsticks (or kuaizi in Chinese, Hashi in Japanese) as a set of instruments to be used when eating but the reason behind that is not commonly known. Actually, the Chinese were taught to use chopsticks long before spoons and forks were invented in Europe (the knife is older, not as an instrument for dining but as weapon). Chopsticks were strongly advocated by the great Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479BC). Chinese people, under the cultivation of Confucianism, consider the knife and fork bearing sort of violence, like cold weapons. However, chopsticks reflect gentleness and benevolence, the main moral teaching of Confucianism. Therefore, instruments used for killing must be banned from the dining table, and that is why Chinese/Japanese food is always chopped into bite size before it reaches the table.
There are superstitions associated with chopsticks too. If you find an uneven pair at your table setting, it means you are going to miss a boat, plane or train. Dropping chopsticks will inevitably bring bad luck. Crossed chopsticks are, however, permissible in a dim sum restaurant. The waiter will cross them to show that your bill has been settled, or you can do the same to show the waiter that you have finished and are ready to pay the bill.

General bad practice to avoid:
* DO NOT use your chopsticks to shift dishes around.
* DO NOT wave your chopsticks about in the air while trying to decide what to eat next or as gesture during talking.
* DO NOT rummage about in the food looking for the tastiest morsel.
* DO NOT pick up a dish with the hand that is holding the chopsticks.
* DO NOT point your chopsticks at people when you are eating; never lick them or spear food with the points
* DO NOT hold the chopsticks with your fist, since this appears as if they are being held as a weapon.
* DO NOT pass food from your chopsticks to another person's chopsticks. place the food down on a plate to transfer.
* In situations where you are taking from a common food dish or if you are serving someone, serve using the opposite end of the chopsticks. (the end which doesn't touch your mouth.)

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#172633 - 07/29/05 02:14 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Rather unique posting. Kintama giving an etiquette lesson

If I ever get the chance the even learn how to hold/use chopsticks, I will try to remember these.

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#172634 - 07/29/05 04:20 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: harlan]
Kintama Offline
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Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
I don't think I've ever had anything to brag about on this forum...but I can for this topic. some random things on chopsticks: My proficiency with chopsticks is better than average (in Japan that is). For fun, we had challenges with native chopstick users...one was to eat an apple using chopsticks (no spearing, or resting the apple on anything)-I won that. my prize:I had to buy a round of drinks for the table.
I have extra long chopsticks for cooking and grilling. I'd be lost going back to spatula and fork. My half-Italian best friend adamantly refuses to have dinner with me unless I eat 'properly' with fork and spoon.
I'm a wooden scale model builder during the wintertime and designed and built a mini-crossbow to shoot chopsticks 50 feet. from 20ft away they stick into fairly soft bark on trees. I don't let the kids use this unsupervised of course, but they think it's cooler than 'ell.

on topic: it's considered bad manners to stick chopsticks in trees ...or eat apples with chopsticks for that matter.

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#172635 - 07/29/05 08:59 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
A miniature ballista maker huh? The things you learn about people here.

The whole idea of chopsticks is so you don't "shovel" your food. The purpose is to savor the taste and texture of the tasty morsel on the end of the chopsticks.

Another point of etiquette: you shouldn't hold your chopsticks too close to the food end. The further you can hold your chopsticks away from the picking up end the more "cultured and refined" you would appear to be.

And the Mr Miyagi trick, although a highly commendable skill, is definitely a "no-no".

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#172636 - 07/30/05 01:08 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia


Just to add a bit more.

If someone holds chopsticks right towards the end opposite the food end, he / she is working far from home. I've tried observing this and to my surprise, a great majority do work far from home.

To use chopsticks of uneven length is bad luck. The Chinese refers, in polite circles, to death as "3 long, 2 short"; which is another way of mentioning a coffin, which, discounting the base part, is made up of 3 long side planks and 2 short end pieces.

Left-handedness was frown upon by the old chinese and being born left-handed, I was forced to use my right hand for chopsticks and pen carrying; everything else, I used my left.

When handing a pair to a guest, always use two hands, with the food-end pointing towards your own right horizontally.

Silver chopsticks were used in order to detect poison, which if present, turns black.

Chopsticks were never put on ancestral-worshipping or any altars.

It is bad Chinese manners to lay them horizontally on the lid of your bowl, because this is what beggars do as they do not eat on tables or at least clean tables and so do not have clean places to lay them while eating.

To the Japanese, sticking them into rice or food and leaving them there is a great no-no, as this is what they do when presenting food to the dead.

If when you first hold a pair and the ends are not even (which often happens), do not tap the food-end on the table to align them; tap them gently on your other palm.

Hold the other open palm just underneath your chin while putting food into your slightly opened mouth with chopsticks is the height of refinement. Watch a beautiful Japanese lady do it and you'll see what I mean.

And finally to test if the temperature of deep-frying oil is right, stick a bamboo chopsitck in, and if lots of little bubbles form around the stick, it is just about right for frying your spring roll.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#172637 - 07/30/05 01:13 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

The whole idea of chopsticks is so you don't "shovel" your food. The purpose is to savor the taste and texture of the tasty morsel on the end of the chopsticks.


Thats the common belief...historically, it's a little different.

One of my winter-time hobbies is wood model ship building. My next project is building a scale model of the 'Shinko-Sen'.

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#172638 - 07/30/05 09:27 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
That's news to me. What's the historical slant?

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#172639 - 07/31/05 09:45 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
read the opening post...fork/knife were associated with violence - eating should be non-violent.

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#172640 - 07/31/05 10:21 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Just curious, where did you get that info from?

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#172641 - 08/01/05 08:58 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
my appologies...I should have credited sources -The history is mostly from an article on www.chinadaily.com and also some of the the bad manners/superstition part. The rest was edited and written by me based on history/mannerisms/beliefs verified from speaking/living with family members and friends in Japan over the years.

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#172642 - 08/09/05 12:55 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
hedkikr Offline
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Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Some other "hashi" points (sorry, no pun intended)

When eating w/ friends & family, it's OK to pick up food from a common plate but it's good manners to turn the chop-sticks over & use the end you didn't put in your mouth (the clean end). To eat, just return to correct position.

Girls, they ARE NOT hair ornaments!!! To me, that kind of use looks as silly as a fork in a hair bun.

This drives me NUTS
You don't need to rub your disposable chop-sticks together more than a couple of times. I always see "gaijin" (non-Japanese) rubbing their sticks together as if they were trying to start a fire. There won't be splinters piercing your tongue & lips. If you notice a wayward splinter, just pull it free of the chopstick & keep eating.

Yes Kin...long Chinese cooking hashi are a lot better than wisk, tongs or spatula (except for eggs sunny-side-up & 2" steaks on the grill).

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#172643 - 08/20/05 03:56 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: hedkikr]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Tried it. you are 100% correct on the SSU eggs...the 2" steaks were less than elegant but I managed it. a BBQ fork worked better though.

Hedkikr or anyone: Have you ever seen metal Hashi for cooking? is there even such a thing? or would that be blasphemous in some way? Seems I could do a lot more with stronger chops.

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#172644 - 08/20/05 04:16 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
JoelM Offline
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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
Methinks holding a metal stick into a frying pan would not be the smartest idea...unless of course you wanted them melted to your skin permanently.

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#172645 - 08/20/05 04:38 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: JoelM]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
hehe...ok in that case I'll be more specific, metal-TIPPED hashi.

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#172646 - 08/22/05 04:28 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
The metal hashi (about a foot long if memory serves) were for arranging charcoal in a hibachi. The part you hold was wrapped in thin cotton cord to prevent burning.

Hope this helps.

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#172647 - 08/22/05 10:24 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: hedkikr]
Paranormalma Offline
Member

Registered: 06/28/05
Posts: 74
I know it's a little off topic, but you don't need to touch SSU eggs with anything really. Once you're ready to solidify the top of the egg, you don't have to flip it. Just make sure you're using a pan that has a lid. Add a little water and cover the pan, the water should evaporate in under a minute, and the steam will have cooked the top of the egg. Best eggs I've ever had have been made that way...you never break the yolk

Anyway, sorry...I've never even eaten with chopsticks

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#172648 - 08/23/05 02:06 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: hedkikr]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
whoa...I found Cooking Skewer Chopsticks.
http://www.ichizen.com/chopsticks/images/cstixsf013.gif
seems like there should be Kobudo kata for these!

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#172649 - 08/24/05 02:14 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Yeah...

Those are a modern version of what my Ojiisan used to use! I must invent a kata for them.

BTW: What are they called?

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#172650 - 08/24/05 07:02 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: hedkikr]
funstick5000 Offline
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Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
most people who watch tv will know about the carling advert where some guys are eating chinese food and their hashi have a little knife and a little fork on the end lol.
_________________________
Go seek the advise of a qualified instructor.

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#172651 - 08/25/05 11:03 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Ahh...sharp, pointy instruments of death. Now, my sister just came back from Japan...why couldn't she have given me those skewers instead of Otedama?

(harlan starts tossing otedama at desk...wondering if there are martial applications...)

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#172652 - 08/25/05 03:21 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: hedkikr]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
I think they are called "Kanagushi" ...but I'll ask next time I call Japan.

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#172653 - 08/26/05 12:44 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
butterfly Offline
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Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Kintama,

Metal chopsticks....hooboy, many of the fancier Korean chopsticks are metal...and they are thinner and more oblong than the Japanese variety. Boy, I hate those metal chopsticks...and I've been using them since I was a kid. Bleh!

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#172654 - 08/28/05 12:10 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: harlan]
JayJay Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 241
Loc: Kanagawa, Japan
Very good points. Important for older people I think, but young people here (even as old as 50) dont really care that much as long as you aren't gross. Actaully many young Japanese are pretty lacking (ok Im genralizing) in the manners department these days.

I was eating Yakiniku with Japanese friends today and we were all using the same chopsticks to eat and put food in the BBQ, not an issue. I was shocked how relaxed the Japanese (I dont know anything about other asian cultures) are about ettique. Studying Japanese and their culture I was expecting them to be far more stiff about politeness but they're not really that bad.

Its so cute (or patronizing) though when I sat at the table at the resturant today and the waitress runs off and comes back holding a folk for me.

I'm like.
"Ahhhhh, thanks. Chopsticks are fine"

I've been living in Japan for almost 3 years now and I still get Japanese clap when I use chopsticks.

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#172655 - 08/31/05 04:08 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: JayJay]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

I've been living in Japan for almost 3 years now and I still get Japanese clap when I use chopsticks.




Japanese clap from using chopsticks huh? wow. you need to make sure you know where your chopsticks have been before you pick them up now I guess. BuDoc might be able to suggest something if you are well before the frothing stage.
good luck.

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#172656 - 08/31/05 04:24 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
There is a sushi bar that we eat at often, once while eating a bowl of rice I got up to do something and stuck my hashi in the rice, they were there for the owner and his wife in plain view. When I returned she pulled me aside and explained that when someone dies in Japan they set a place in honor of them at the table and stick the hashi in the bowl of rice as I did, hey I didn't know?
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#172657 - 09/01/05 09:03 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: schanne]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
that's correct. I made the same mistake before.

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#172658 - 09/03/05 09:14 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
Tripitaka of AA Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK
Here's a bit from personal experience (I get to post it at least once on every forum );

At a Japanese funeral service/cremation, the hashi have a special purpose and this is why you don't see people passing food from one set of hashi to another.

The Deceased is placed in an all-wooden coffin which is passed into the oven for cremation. The family then repair to an ante-room where they partake of drinks and snacks for... half an hour or so. Then everyone returns to tke part in a highly symbolic moment. The remains in a Japanese cremation are not reduced to the white powdery ash that you see in a Western urn. The family gather around a table where the ash and bone fragments are to be picked up and placed into a small wooden box (about 1 cubic foot). The people form pairs who pick up a fragment between them and place it in the box. Some bones survive cremation better than others, the largest vertebrae is particularly important apparently, there are enough for even a large congregation. All the bones are collected and the ash as well (IIRC). This box is then carried by one of the closest family members for the subsequent rituals.

This is the only time two people are allowed to pick something up with hashi together.

I've seen this in Japan. I don't know if it is a tradition from China or not.
_________________________
Tripitaka of AA David Noble Shorinji Kempo (1983-1988 Retired) Chinkon o hajimemasu....

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#172659 - 09/05/05 10:33 PM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Tripitaka of AA]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia


Yes, we did that for our father; but we scatter his bones in the ocean, because he loved the sea and fishing.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#172660 - 10/17/05 12:59 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: ButterflyPalm]
PierrePressure Offline
Member

Registered: 07/02/05
Posts: 173
I've also heard that it's considered rude to point your hashi directly upwards. Something about it signifying death or something?

Also, does anyone know where to set your hashi down once you've finished eating? I was struggling with this when I went to an authentic Chinese restaraunt recently.
_________________________
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#172661 - 10/17/05 04:27 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: PierrePressure]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

I've also heard that it's considered rude to point your hashi directly upwards. Something about it signifying death or something?

Also, does anyone know where to set your hashi down once you've finished eating? I was struggling with this when I went to an authentic Chinese restaraunt recently.





That 'authentic' Chinese restaurent could not have been 'classy', otherwise a chopstick holder, a small 'pillow-like' stand would be provided on the right side of your bowl.

If none is provided, just lay it on the table next to the bowl or plate; however in familiar company (at home) it is alright to lay it on the rim of the bowl or plate or use the spoon as a holder.

About pointing it upwards, it applies to all "dirty" things; not just chopsticks; especially brooms. The sky is where the gods live and it would be considered disrespctful to point 'dirty' things at them.

The death part comes from it signifying joss-sticks used for praying in the temples and cemetaries.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#172662 - 11/01/05 08:30 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: ButterflyPalm]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Thread edited by harlan.

Please stay on topic.

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#172663 - 11/01/05 09:26 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: harlan]
kusojiji Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 648
Loc: kokokokokoko
Quote:

Thread edited by harlan.

Please stay on topic.




????????????????????
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#172664 - 11/01/05 09:34 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: kusojiji]
aikidoka1159 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 33
Loc: Florida, USA
maybe it was just a friendly reminder?

anyways, are most hashi disposable or are there just as many permanent house-hold hashi like how we have knives and forks?
along the same lines: i wonder if there are any plastic hashi?

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#172665 - 11/01/05 09:53 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: kusojiji]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
I got to read you post kusojiji before it was removed...if you don't mind, I'll frame it so it is on topic:

Q: "Is it considered bad manners to brag about being 'better than average' with chopstick proficiency?"
Answer: Only if you do so without a sense of humor about it.
----
Yes, there are plastic hashi. also there are 'training' hashi for kids, thay have a hinge between the two making it much easier for little hands to manage.

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#172666 - 11/01/05 09:55 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
JoelM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
Quote:

also there are 'training' hashi for kids, thay have a hinge between the two making it much easier for little hands to manage.




Aww, that's so cute.
_________________________
We should all take ourselves seriously...and then crumple that image up and toss it out the window.

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#172667 - 11/01/05 09:57 AM Training hashi? [Re: Kintama]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Where can I get those? Is it bad manners to show up an expensive restaurant with your own pair of 'training hashi'? Gives new meaning to the term 'ugly American'.

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#172668 - 11/01/05 10:16 AM Re: Training hashi? [Re: harlan]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts

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#172669 - 11/01/05 11:25 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Kintama]
kusojiji Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 648
Loc: kokokokokoko
Quote:

I got to read you post kusojiji before it was removed...if you don't mind, I'll frame it so it is on topic:

Q: "Is it considered bad manners to brag about being 'better than average' with chopstick proficiency?"





Actually, there was no question involved. Just an observation. One that I didn't think was offensive or off-topic. Who knew?
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#172670 - 11/17/05 02:43 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: aikidoka1159]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
There are actually some expensive gift-quality hashi in fine wooden cases sold in any good store in Japan.

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#172671 - 11/17/05 09:39 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: hedkikr]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I always forget to buy the really nice gift Hashi like you mention...I end up buying bulk at a gift-shop in the airport. lol (hey...doesn't mean I don't like you if you ever get one of these. just means I'm a lazy shopper. )

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#172672 - 11/21/05 12:57 AM Re: Chopsticks and manners. [Re: Ed_Morris]
Happy Birthday BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Quote:

I always forget to buy the really nice gift Hashi like you mention...I end up buying bulk at a gift-shop in the airport. lol (hey...doesn't mean I don't like you if you ever get one of these. just means I'm a lazy shopper. )




At least now I know where they came from.
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#172673 - 12/10/05 09:44 AM Re: Training hashi? [Re: harlan]
RangerG Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 04/18/05
Posts: 1026
Loc: Chester County, Pennsylvania
Quote:

Where can I get those? Is it bad manners to show up an expensive restaurant with your own pair of 'training hashi'? Gives new meaning to the term 'ugly American'.




Oooo I need a pair too! When I try and use hashi it looks like I am in hand to hand combat with a large spider...
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#172674 - 12/10/05 08:05 PM Re: Training hashi? [Re: RangerG]
funstick5000 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
has anyone seeen the 'chopstick bowls' were there are two holes on one side and two indents on the oopposite for hashi to be 'held' in the bowl instead of resting on top of the rim when finished? i saw them at candem market (famous market in london, slightly more famous for its illegal goods than its legal ones) a couple of months ago and just remembered them.
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#172675 - 12/10/05 11:34 PM Re: Training hashi? [Re: funstick5000]
RangerG Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 04/18/05
Posts: 1026
Loc: Chester County, Pennsylvania
Two holes and two indents....sounds like my head... I have not seen these. Are they traditional or a modern adaptation?
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#172676 - 12/10/05 11:47 PM Re: Training hashi? [Re: RangerG]
JoelM Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 6355
Loc: Georgia, USA
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#172677 - 12/11/05 10:15 AM Re: Training hashi? [Re: JoelM]
funstick5000 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/16/05
Posts: 759
Loc: West Yorkshire, England
thats the bisquit. thanks joel
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#172678 - 03/08/08 03:19 PM Re: Training hashi? [Re: funstick5000]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
I was told by a friend from China that the best way to become properly proficient in the use of chopsticks is to practice in your own time by trying to pick up marbles out of a bucket of water. Not the most polite thing to do, but practical for improving technique...
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#172679 - 03/11/08 02:00 AM Re: Training hashi? [Re: Leo_E_49]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I practiced with picking up grapes. little bit easier to learn.

here's a good page for learning as well: http://www.robsworld.org/chopsticks.html

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#172680 - 08/24/08 07:01 AM Re: Training hashi? [Re: Ed_Morris]
KickingAngel16 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Dacula, GA
When I first learned, I just ate with chopsticks whenever I could. I love using them now. Let's just say that, when I was finally able to go to Japan as a student ambassador, I surprised my homestay at how well I could use them. They gave me so many compliments and I was shocked that they were so impressed. It's kind of annoying to take to school though. Everyone asks me why I eat with chopsticks and I can't eat in peace during my 20 minute lunch. I wanted to learn in the fist place because I was influence by my Chinese aunt and cousins. My uncle married a woman from Hong Kong who had children already.
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