Table Manners of Japan

November 25, 2019

by Natsuki Yamane and Aya Tanaka

Japan has many kinds of table manners. We will introduce about that.

Ohashi (chopsticks)

Have you ever been in trouble when you visit to Japan? Especially, you will be particularly confused with how to use Ohashi. I will solve all those problems.

How to use Ohashi

First, you have to holding a pair of chopsticks with index finger, middle finger and thumb. Then you are holding the other one with base of thumb and ring finger. This, in a nutshell, like holding a pencil.

Forbidden Manners of Ohashi Use

1. Sashi bashi means pointing at someone or something with chopsticks. If you do it, you make people feel uncomfortable.

2. Tsuki bashi means spearing food rather than holding it to eat. Chopsticks should be used to grab. The act of Tsuki bashi to become thought of as an insult to the person who made the food.

3. Mayoi bashi means holding or fluffy chopsticks over plates of food while deciding what to eat. At first, mayoi bashi is looks not good. In addition to this.

4. Hashi watashi mean passing and receiving a piece or chunk of food to or from each one. This is taboo, because it done when picking up the bones of the dead a funeral.

5. Neburi bashi means licking or sucking your chopsticks. Neburi bashi is make people around you uncomfortable. If chopsticks get dirty, wipe them with paper.

6. Tate bashi means sticking your chopsticks vertically into rice. This is how a bowl of rice presented to the spirit of a deceased person, at their deathbed or at a Buddhist altar. Tate bashi is an act of offering rice to a person who died at a funeral.

7. Chigiri bashi means holding each chopsticks in a separate hand and using them to tear food. Chopsticks used in pairs. So it is not allowed to use one by one.

8. Jika bashi means using your own chopsticks rather than serving chopsticks when taking food from a shared plate. Some people are fastidiousness and we are should be avoided. If you do not have chopsticks for separate, you can ask the clerk.

9. Mochi bashi means grabbing a dish, glass or bowl whilst holding chopsticks in the same hand. It is better not to hold chopsticks and bowls together, as you may drop the dishes.

10. Kaki bashi means holding a bowl to your mouth and shoveling food in quickly. It does not look good. There is such a scene in animation, but please do not imitate it. If you do it, maybe you will feel like two cents.

OTOSHI (appetizer)

Otoshi is a dish. That is automatically served when you enter a restaurant such as an Izakaya. This charge is basically up to about 500 yen. Sometime called Tsukidashi. Otoshi is like a service charge. You must pay it. The purpose is a gain time when until the food ordered by the customer is served. Please enjoy the otoshi culture because otoshi is unlisted on the menu.

Types of bar

1. Tachinomi Izakaya is a type of bar where you can stand without sitting on a chair and drink alcohol. Most of them are under the overpass.

2. Beer garden is a type of bar where you can enjoy drinking and eating of self-service in the open air. Beer garden is basically summer only. It held mainly on the roof of department store.

3. Yatai (stand) is a temporary store where you can easily enjoy food and drinks. The mainstream is to move from store to store and drink at various stores. It called Hashigozake.

Useful words at Izakaya

1. When checking if a seat is available. “seki aitemasuka?” (Are there seats available?)

2. When you want to order beer. “toriaezu namade.” (Please give me a beer for the time being.)

3. When calling a clerk. Raise your hand. Then “suimasen.” (Excuse me)

4. A signal to drinking. “kanpaai!” (Cheers)

5. A signal to start eating dishes. “itadakimasu.” (Prayer)

6. When you want to order the same drink again. “mouippai onegaisimasu” (Please give me same drink)

7. When you want water. “ohiya onegaisimas” (Please give me water)

8. When you want hot tea. “atatakai ocha(atucha) onegaisimasu” (Please give me hot tea.) ※Almost shops offer water and hot tea for free. It is better to order them after meals.

9. When you want to check. “okaikei onegaisimasu” or “oaiso onegaisimasu” (Check please.)

10. When you leaving the shop. “arigatougozaimasu” or “gotisousamadesita” (Thank you)