The Japanese Ogasawara School this year published an e-book that teaches table manners. With an English version available, the guidebook is apparently directed towards foreigners.
Apple Daily, however, has speculated that the English version of the guidebook, “Ogasawara-ryu Etiquette for Washoku, the Cuisine of Japan” is specifically targeting Chinese guests, who’ve previously been refused by several fine-dining Japanese restaurants for displaying “poor manners”.
In April, we reported that Sushi Mizutani, a Michelin-star restaurant, refused to take bookings from a Chinese guest after a number of foreigners had abandoned their reservations. Last year, the story of a Chinese student who demanded cooked “sushi” at Japan’s most famous sushi restaurant drew condemnation from web users in both countries.
The guidebook was penned by a couple from the Ogasawara school, which was originally developed by Ogasawara Nagakiyo during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The school established etiquette for many rituals in ancient Japan, and its name is now widely associated with standards of Japanese etiquette.
While the rules in the guidebook don’t seem to point to any specific groups of travelers, the book does specifically urge tourists not to show up late to reservations, according to the Apple Daily report.
Here are the main guidelines:
1) Holding your bowl at its edge when drinking soup? No, don’t. Hold onto the bottom with one hand.
2) Scooping the ingredients inside the soup with chopsticks while drinking soup? Absolutely not acceptable. Eating the ingredients and drinking soup cannot be done simultaneously, and never put your chopsticks inside the bowl while drinking soup.
3) Licking your chopsticks? A big no. This is a Japanese taboo. And you should only use the one to three centimeters bottom part of the chopsticks.
4) Need to go to the bathroom during your meal? No. Japanese respect chefs very much and would only go before or after their meals. Also, when dining, don’t touch your hair, don’t talk while eating, and don’t make noise with your utensils.
5) Don’t be late for a reservation, and only start eating when everyone has arrived.
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By Joyce Ng
[Image via Apple News]