Cherry‐blossom front is moving northward in Japan.
It’s time to appreciate its short-lived beauty and throw a hanami party,
Hanami usually means an outdoor party under cherry trees.
In recent years, many people buy foods for the party at convenience stores and supermarkets.
Wari-bashi or disposable chopsticks automatically come with the ready-made food.
It is made of plain wood usually wrapped in paper and can be easily pulled apart to make two sticks..
Japanese food culture and chopsticks are inseparable.
Most Japanese people have their own personal pair of chopsticks at home that are washed and reused .
However, when we eat out or buy a lunch box lunch,
we usually use the disposable chopsticks provided and throw them away after use.
Waribashi are said to be unique to Japan.
They appeared 300 to 400 years ago during the Edo period (1603-1868),
when eel restaurant owners devised them for sanitary reasons.
Today about 25 billion pairs of waribashi are used annually in Japan – about 200 pairs per capita,
becoming controversial as a symbol of throwaway culture.
In the past, used waribashi were returned to the earth,
but they are now regarded as a waste material with adverse effects on the environment when burnt or buried.
However, environment conscious people have tackled the problem as below:
(1) recycling used disposable chopsticks into paper
(2) carrying one’s own chopsticks to use rather than disposable chopsticks
when eating out – the so-called “My Chopsticks” movement.in the spirit of “mottai-nai” or “waste not want not”
There are many chopsticks do’s and don’ts you have to stick to especially in a formal situation,
You have to follow chopstick etiquettes even in an informal atmosphere as below:.
First, food should not be directly moved from your chopsticks to someone else’s.
It is included in Japanese funeral rituals. Secondly, you shouldn’t spear food with your chopsticks.
It represents an offering presented to the newly deceased.
As the proverb goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.
Do you prefer having lessons at your own place at your own convenience?
NIC can dispatch Japanese teachers.