Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chopstick Violation!!


For Golden Week, I took a trip to Nagano, Gifu, Aichi, & Kyoto w/ a friend visiting from the United States. While we were in Takayama, Laura & I stopped in a nice restaurant recommended by one of the locals. At one point, my friend wanted a taste of my apple cider drink. It was kind of frothy, so I stirred it a bit, and then took the long spoon out of the drink so it wouldn't poke her in the eye.

Apparently, I didn't stir it enough because she proceeded to use the opposite end of her used chopstick to stir the drink, rather than ask me for the long spoon. My first reaction was to shout something like ***GAAAAAH***, then I sputtered something like "what are you doing?!? the spoon is right here! don't use your chopsticks for something like that...they're practically sacred!!" She didn't seem particularly fazed by it, and made it seem like I overreacted.

Well, maybe I did overreact, but it was a good exuse for me to do a little research into the terms used to describe the ways one can violate chopstick etiquette in Japan. If you ever commit a violation, it's good to know a few of these to have a conversation about chopstick-etiquette; my Japanese co-workers seemed to like trying to remember as many as they could.

Here are the ones I could find. I put a star next to the ones that seem to be the most common or at least widely recognized terms. (It seems that no one had even contemplated my friend's particular violation, so maybe I should invent a new one: 混ぜ箸 maze-bashi ("stirring chopsticks"). Otherwise, it's probably a combination of (3), (5) and (13).)

*(1) 迷い箸(惑い端) mayoi-bashi ("wavering chopsticks")
口に運ぶ料理に迷い、箸先を料理に向けて迷い動かすこと。
being indecisive about bringing food to one's mouth, that is, moving the tips of one's chopsticks over different plates before deciding which to choose

(2) 移り箸 utsuri-bashi ("transfering-chopsticks")
ある料理に箸を付けたり、付けようとしたにもかかわらず、気が変わり他の料理へ箸を移すこと。
in spite of having touched food with one's chopsticks, changing one's mind and moving the chopsticks toward another dish.
also defined as: helping oneself to two side dishes successively (instead of eating rice in between)

(3) 涙箸 namida-bashi ("teardrop-chopsticks")
汁物料理の汁を箸先から落としながら食べること。
dripping liquid (soup, sauce, etc.) from the tips of one's chopsticks

*(4) 突き箸 tsuki-bashi or 刺し箸 sashi-bashi ("penetration/stabbing-chopsticks")
料理に箸を突き刺して食べること。
stabbing food with one's chopsticks

*(5) 探り箸 saguri-bashi ("searching-chopsticks")
汁物料理の御椀の中で箸を使い、かき回して具を探すこと。
using one's chopsticks to find a food one likes by rummaging in one's dish, pot, etc.

(6) 寄せ箸 yose-bashi ("drawing near-chopsticks")
遠くの食器を取る際に箸を使い手元に引き寄せること。
using one's chopsticks to draw a bowl closer

(7) 空箸 sora-bashi ("empty-chopsticks")
一度、箸を付けた料理を食べずに戻すこと。
touching food with one's chopsticks, then removing the chopsticks without having taken the food

(8) 重ね箸 kasane-bashi ("pile-chopsticks")
同じ料理ばかりを食べ続けること。
continuing to eat the same dish, i.e., not alternating between types of dishes

(9) 椀ぎ箸 mogi-bashi ("tearing off-chopsticks")
箸先についた料理を口でもぎ取ること。
using chopsticks to tear food away from one's mouth

(10) 持ち箸 mochi-bashi ("holding-chopsticks")
片手で箸を持ちながら器を持つこと。
taking hold of something (e.g., a bowl) while simultaneously holding one's chopsticks

*(11) 指し箸 sashi-bashi ("pointing-chopsticks")
箸で人や物を指すこと。
pointing at something with one's chopsticks

*(12) 渡し箸 watashi-bashi ("traversing-chopsticks")
箸休めの際、箸置きを使わずに食器の上に箸を置くこと。
resting one's chopsticks across the top of one's bowl, like a bridge

(13) 洗い箸 arai-bashi ("washing-chopsticks")
汁物料理に箸を入れ、洗うこと。
sticking one's chopsticks into broth, etc., to clean them off

*(14) 舐り箸 neburi-bashi ("licking-chopsticks")
箸をなめること。
licking one's chopsticks

(15) 噛み箸 kami-bashi ("biting-chopsticks")
箸を噛むこと
biting one's chopsticks

(16) 掻き箸 kaki-bashi ("scooping-chopsticks")
料理を口に掻き込むこと。
shoveling food into one's mouth
(17) 握り箸 nigiri-bashi ("grasping-chopsticks")
holding two sticks together as one would grasp a knife to attack
*(18) 仏箸Hotoke-bashi ("Buddha-chopsticks")
standing chopsticks up in a ricebowl (resembling joss sticks)
*(19) 箸渡しhashi-watashi ("chopstick-transfer")
transfering food to another person's chopsticks
(apparently, the action is frowned upon because it resembles the rite of transfering a deceased family member's bones. Fair enough!)
>>NB: Not to be confused with 橋渡し 【はしわたし】 (n,vs) bridge building; mediation; intermediary; through the good offices of, etc.
Phew! That's a lot to remember! Did I miss any?

44 comments:

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