When you arrive in Japan you will of course be forced to face what may possibly be a new culinary reality for you. You may need to use chopsticks for the first time!
Eating using chopsticks is simply a part of every day life in Japan. The majority of Japanese people use chopsticks to eat their three meals daily. In 2017 it is now pretty common for children to eat bread for breakfast, but even they will normally eat their lunch and dinner using chopsticks.
I learned how to use chopsticks for the first time in the early 2000’s when I arrived in South Korea as a teacher. I was shown by locals how to hold them and spent a lot of time practicing at home by picking up coins from my bed and dropping them in a coffee mug. I got pretty good that way. It was even more of a challenge to learn how to use the thin metal Korean chopsticks. They are quite unforgiving, but once you get used to them you realize how accurate they can be…if you can hold them properly!
In this tutorial video I made several years ago for YouTube I demonstrate the correct method for holding chopsticks. Watch the video and try for yourself. Even if you don’t have any food around, practice picking up small every day items like I did when I was first learning.
Good luck and happy eating!
The writer/YouTube Guy:
Kevin O’Shea is the host of the Just Japan Podcast and the Just Japan News Podcast. He is also the guy behind JustJapanStuff. Kevin is a Canadian educator who lives in Kobe, Japan with his family.
Follow him on Twitter: @jlandkev