You've already learned how to hold the chopsticks, but it's always good to learn about Japanese chopstick etiquette. To be honest, not many Japanese follow these rules nowadays, but just knowing these 10 golden rules will help show your politeness!

  1. Using odd chopsticks as a single pair

It is another “deadly” unacceptable action in Japan when using odd chopsticks as a single pair. This taboo is considered to be related to a funeral. It is used to pick up the bone fragments of the deceased.

2. Leaving chopsticks sticking out from food

This is one of the common and biggest deadly mistakes westerners often make, placing the chopsticks vertically in the bowl of rice. This taboo is known as an offering at the pillow of the deceased.

3. Passing food from one pair of chopsticks to another

It is unacceptable to passing food from one pair of chopsticks to another in Japan. This taboo is related to a funeral: the bone fragments of the deceased are passed from one pair of chopsticks to another pair.

4. Licking things off of chopsticks

It is impolite to lick or suck on your chopsticks, as well as scratch your head with chopsticks.

5. Using chopsticks like a fork to jab at food

Stabbing your food with one or a pair of chopsticks to pick up the food is rude table manners. Chopsticks are neither a weapon nor a fork.

6. Using chopsticks to point at people

It shows poor manners if you use chopsticks to point at your friends or talk with your hand while using the chopsticks. This action seems like you are using your index finger to scold someone.

7. Using chopsticks to sift through the contents of a dish in search of something

Do not use your chopsticks to hover over foods while you are searching for your favorites. This is considered greedy.

8. Using chopsticks to move plates or bowls around

If you see a favorite dish on the table, do not use your chopsticks to move it over to your side. Instead, put down your chopsticks to take the plate by hand or ask someone to pass it to you. This action is unacceptable.

9. Chopsticks are not a toy

Children are not allowed to play with chopsticks when they are seated at the table. This shows poor manners from the parents not teaching their children to behave well.

10. Placing chopsticks across on the table or a bowl

It is rude if you place your chopsticks across, whether you are finished or resting. You should always place them straight and rest them on the chopstick holder or put it back in the wrapper if you are finished.

Generally, these are the golden rules you will come across if you visit Japan. I know there's a lot to remember on proper chopstick use and Japanese chopstick etiquette, but as long as you remember at least a few it's better than not knowing anything at all! 

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