“Why do I have to use chopsticks properly?”
“How I eat doesn’t matter. It is none of your business.”
These are examples of the typical remarks by children who participate in chopsticks classes, according to Mr. Hisatsugu Nakamichi, the director of the department of brand marketing and cultural affairs at HYOZAEMON, the chopsticks company. HYOZAEMON having its origin in Fukui invests in children’s chopstick-education. They offer the classes for children to learn through chopsticks: Children learn the history of chopsticks, the proper way to use chopsticks. They can also make their own chopsticks.
The first step in learning to use chopsticks is holding one with your thumb, index finger and mid finger like having a pencil. Next you place another underneath the first one, and then support it with your forth finger. Move only the first one to grab food.
Children learned manner from their parents at a dinner table. Mr. Nakamichi said by learning to use chopsticks in the beautiful manner, children become more thoughtful, caring about other people’s feelings. The dining table has played an important role in education, where parents and grandparents have also taught many other things. The beautiful chopsticks manner can be a proof that one has been well-brought-up. At the entrance examination of some private elementary schools, children are watched during their lunch time whether they can use chopsticks properly.
Few children today know how to use chopsticks properly. Mr. Nakamichi estimates that only there out pf ten children do it right. He has seen some awful examples.
There is no written rule. It is a tradition that has been passed down to generation through the constant streams of communication. Wakasa- nuri, the roots of HYOZAEMON, traditional crafts in Fukui, is not an exception. Now only a few lacquer craftsmen who can make chopsticks that last for 20 or 30 years.
The chopsticks of HYOZAEMON are painted with the lacquer that has been used for herb medicine. Lacquer helps people use same chopsticks for long time. Lacquer may come off easily than resin but lacquered chopsticks can be repaint any number of times.
Generally speaking, Japanese people have their own chopsticks and they cherish them. Some people carry their own chopsticks even when they eat at restaurant.
How about eating with chopsticks today. Thinking about someone precious, the dinner will be taste better.
Written by Hazuki Nakamori
Edited by George Whistler
At my grandmother and grandfather’s house, they always have to a rice ball and chopsticks for me even if I am not there. That brings me a big pleasure every time I visited my grandparents. Now I have left home to live alone, I cherish the same experience when I go back to visit. “The chopsticks only prepared for me”makes me feel that even I am physically apart from my loved ones, I always feel that I am with them. (Hazuki Nakamori)