As if the Offspring didn`t cause enough raised eyebrows at home with their barn like behavior at the
trough supper table, now the Japanese we encounter while dining have concluded somewhere hidden underneath those clothes is a curly tail. Amidst the smacking, elbows resting on any available surface and incorrect handling of all foreign dining objects, including a fork, my sole remaining hope for improved table manners rests on an over dramatic and disgusted look from an attractive member of the opposite sex.
But I keep trying.
Mushing on in spite of this relentless uphill assault.
Do you belong with my bovine? Test your chopstick chops….
The Chopstick Test
Junko- san and the man of her dreams, Andretti-san, take their place at the counter for ramen and romance. Andretti-san unwraps the paper from his chopsticks and rubs them together, smoothing off any splinters that appeared when he broke them in half. Junko-san covertly scans the room for other eligible bachelors.
What caused Junko-san to lose that loving feeling?
1) Andretti-san outed himself as a Neanderthal – he was supposed to sharpen Junko-san`s chopsticks before working on his own.
2) What is he expecting? Splinters? Is he going to rub the chopsticks around in his mouth and along his lips in a show of what`s to come? Sharpening his chopsticks proved he was raised along with my Offspring somewhere beyond the Lions Sign at the entrance to town.
3) He actually didn`t do anything wrong. Junko-san was in fact looking for the waiter so she could order up the sake and get the party started.
Subtract 15 points if you picked #1. Although it`s a good instinct to manhandle your partners chopsticks thus proving you can handle things around the ranch, it`s not de rigueur to do so. What Andretti-san did wrong was to sharpen the chopsticks. HOW
Like #2? Give yourself 30 points if you recognized he is an escapee from a hoofed herd. The Asians have been using wooden chopsticks for centuries without employing tweezers at the close of every meal. No need to smooth the edges.
You picked #3? 3 points for participation.
We`ve all been there. Some things just can`t be managed with chopsticks. Junko-san was chasing a slippery gyoza which continued to slide through her chopsticks, fall in the ponzu sauce and splash all over her faux fur stole. Junko-san is no dummy, she graduated from the Harvard of Japan, Tokyo University, so she stabbed it in the middle and nibbled delicately off the chopstick while Andretti-san watched mesmerized.
What is the reason behind this gyoza guffaw?
1) Andretti-san is actually mesmerized at her complete lack of couth. Never stab food with chopsticks even if you`ve sharpened them to a fine point and whittled off all the stray splinters.
2) Andretti-san was actually trying to figure out how to tell her she had a big ball of pepper between her front teeth without killing the mood.
3) Andretti-san was having the same problem so he skewered a gyoza and nibbled away while staring into Junko-san`s unblinking eyes. The sake was sinking in. Those were some damn good gyoza. No problem here.
15 points for number one. No matter how it slides, shivers, shakes or tries to run away, stabbing is not allowed.
10 Sympathy points for the second answer. You`re rude, but at least you`re empathetic.
Negative 15 for #3 – As a general rule for living one`s life, it is never ok to stab. How many times do I remind the OS of that during a day?
Junko-san sees someone she knows across the restaurant.
J- “Over there- see her? The Lolita dressed like a Little Bo Peep doll – cute blue hat with the blonde wig and staff?”
A- ” Where? ” Andretti-san is more focused on his yakitori.
Junko-san points toward Bo with her chopsticks.
Now she gets his attention.
A- “That`s hot.”
Other than a fetish for vixen highlighted in nursery rhymes, what`s wrong here?
1) Just like your guns, leave the staff at the door. And knives, ropes, ninja stars, or samurai swords.
2) Bo, your peeps know not to wear that hat inside.
3) Pointing with chopsticks? Honestly. How many times did your mother tell you not to point your gun at people, point your finger at people, or poke at people with pointy objects – especially in the vicinity of the eyes? Sheesh.
Checked 1? 15 points for knowing to leave the artillery at the entrance.
2 your final answer? 5 points- everybody knows not to wear a hat inside.
3- Add 20 points to your tally. If “point” is part of the discussion, it`s always the answer.
Andretti-san has just been served a whole, fried sardine. He salivates thinking of how delicious the combination of innards and crunchy skin will taste. But he is face to face with a dilemma. How to eat this tasty treat?
Something is fishy here….
1) He picks up the fish with his chopsticks and eats it, one bite at a time. No cutting required.
2) He takes his chopsticks and using one in each hand separates the meat from the bone. Bon appetit!
3) He puts his chopsticks together and cuts it by mashing down on the fish until it separates under the points of the sticks.
…. Would Renee – my favorite professor at Renee A. Schuls-Jacobsen`s Blog– employ this trickery with students on occasion? (Can someone tell me how to get the ‘ over a letter? Damn!)
Give yourself 30 points if you knew both #1 and #3 are correct. When taking on more than a mouthful with chopsticks, it`s perfectly ok to bite off the correct size without cutting it first. If you do have to cut, don`t pull the food apart using each chopstick or by trying to scissor with the chopsticks.
You know the drill- since #2 is absolutely wrong, take off 15 points.
Junko-san wants a piece of yakitori from Andretti-san`s plate. He takes a piece of meat with his chopsticks and holds it in the air for her to take using her chopsticks. She takes it, dips it in the sauce using her chopsticks, and eats it.
They are good with the chopsticks, but something is wrong.
1) No matter how good it looks, no sharing unless it`s from the family style plate in the center of the table.
2) She must say “Honto” after she accepts the meat as a polite gesture.
3) The only time anything is passed directly from one person`s chopsticks to another is at a funeral. On that occasion, the anything is the bones of the deceased.
#1- here`s 5 points for participation, and it`s fine to share food as long as it`s done correctly.
#2- I made that up completely. Honto means “really?” in Japanese. It also makes me laugh every time I hear it. I use it all the time and laugh at myself. No one else sees the humor. 0 points.
#3- 15 points. True that. One thing I`ve learned about funerals in other cultures. (the hard way) Before attending one read up so there are no uncomfortable surprises- especially if your children are there.
Andretti-san leans back in his chair, rubs his full belly and shows his appreciation with a base heavy belch. He then places his chopsticks in the rice. All done.
1) Belching at the table is a show of appreciation- along with slurping of the noodles. The wait staff and chef bow in thanks for this customer`s display.
2) Is there no end to Andretti-san`s bad manners? Please don`t stick the chopsticks in anything. Especially in a bowl of rice. Another ritual best left to funerals, which is the only time chopsticks are stuck in rice.
3) Belly rubbing is only for Buddha and he is not ALL OF THAT. His view of himself is distorted and offensive to the other customers.
A? Give yourself 10 points for being half right. Slurping noodles is a sign of a good noodle and the chef will bathe in the appreciation. On the other hand, is belching ever polite? Probably somewhere, but not here.
B- 30 points for this. Really Andretti-san you are part of the barnyard crew.
C- I made that up. It just looks rude and disgusting. 0 points.
Your tally? 100? You`re ready to be a contributing editor to Miss Manners.
If your score is negative, ditch the eating implements and just eat directly off the plate. Lick your fingers and throw food at the chef if you don` t like it. You won`t seem anymore rude than you already are.
Between 0-90- There`s hope. You`ve got good instincts at least.
There you have it. Even though most chopsticks are throw away and come packaged with a toothpick the rules still apply.