How to use chopsticks in Japanese style | Chopstick manners and customs for when enjoying Japanese cuisine
When you enjoy Japanese cuisine, skilful mastery of chopsticks will demonstrate sophistication and style. Japan is home to some chopstick manners and customs that may pose a mystery to visitors from overseas. Before enjoying traditional Japanese cuisine, let’s learn how to hold chopsticks.
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The correct way to hold chopsticks
The foundation of correct chopstick grip is to first place the lower chopstick on the base of the thumb, and hold it in place. Then, support the upper chopstick with your thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. This is similar to holding a pencil.
When picking up food, move only the upper chopstick. Move your index and middle fingers vertically, while the ring finger only supports the lower chopstick. The key is to not remove your thumb from the chopsticks.
Crossing the chopsticks, as shown in the left picture, is incorrect technique. Make sure that your ring finger firmly supports the lower chopstick. Turning the back of your hand upwards as you pick up an item is also incorrect use of chopsticks.
How to pick up chopsticks
When picking up chopsticks from the chopstick rest, it is customary to use both hands. Let’s look at an example for a right-handed person.
First, using your right hand, lift the chopsticks with your index finger and thumb. Then, grasp the chopsticks between your left thumb and index finger.
Next, adjust your right hand into the proper position. Excellent!
How to put down chopsticks
To put down chopsticks, follow the procedure in reverse. First, using your left hand, grasp the chopsticks towards the tips with your thumb and index finger. Now, move your right hand over the top of the chopsticks.
Maintaining this position, grasp the chopsticks with your right hand, and gently lower into place. Perfect!
Once chopsticks become second nature, you’ll be able to appreciate traditional Japanese cuisine even more deeply. Please give these techniques a try!
This Japanese-style restaurant is located in Grand Prince Hotel Shin Takanawa, in Shinagawa, Tokyo. While honoring the traditions of Japanese cuisine, Shimizu Japanese Restaurant offers modern innovations on kaiseki cuisine, Edomae sushi, and yakitori. With a wide range of nihonshu (sake) available, this venue is popular among locals and international tourists alike.