Rules that you should learn to enjoy your meal at restaurants. Below are Q&As regarding restaurants.
1: Should I take off my shoes at restaurants in Japan?
If the restaurant has tatami booths, don’t forget to take off your shoes. Some of Japanese style restaurants such as “izakaya” ask you to take off your shoes at the entrance. In such restaurants, shoe boxes with keys are prepared. You need your key when you leave the restaurant so don’t lose it!
2: How should I sit when I eat at traditional Japanese-style restaurants?
The number of traditional restaurants are decreasing nowadays but you should sit “seiza” style (formal way of sitting) if the restaurant does not have seats. It might be painful to sit in this position so in that case spread your legs out if you can’t bare the pain. I’m sure that the staffs of the restaurant will be understanding.
3: I can’t use chopsticks! What should I do?
Most restaurants in Japan have utensils (knifes, forks and spoons) so you don’t have to worry. But it is better to use chopsticks when you eat Japanese dishes.
Keep in mind the following:
-Observe other people using chopsticks when you don’t know how to use chopsticks. It might take a while to get used to it but I’m sure you can do it!
-Your chopsticks should be placed on a “hashioki” (a chopsticks rest) when you are not using it. Folding the chopstick wrapper to make your own chopstick rest is recommended when the restaurant does not have hashioki.
-It is not proper for two persons to use their chopsticks and pick up the same food item at the same time.
-Sticking chopsticks straight into rice means that the rice is a gift to the dead. Persons who are alive must not do this.
In addition, you should use the opposite side of the chopstick when you want to eat a dish that can be shared with several persons. Taking the food directly from the sharing dish with your chopsticks is not good manners.
4: What kind of rules should I remember when participating in a drinking party?
Japanese people tend to value the group rather than individuality. So, here’s a question! Which of the following are correct? 1. Drink the drink that you ordered immediately after you receive your drink. 2. Wait until everyone gets his/her drink before drinking. Those of you who answered “2” might have a Japanese mind! It is common in Japan that you wait until everyone gets his/her drink. You can eat dishes right after you receive them since they get cold easily but for drinks, you must wait. You can drink your drink after saying “kanpai!” with everybody!
5: How should I eat sushi?
There are some rules you should know when you eat sushi which is a traditional Japanese food. Below are the procedures for how to eat sushi.
Makizushi (sushi rolled with seaweed)
- Pick up the seaweed roll with your fingers.
- Dip the rice into soy sauce
- Eat gari (ginger) after eating sushi. Some people eat sushi and gari together but it is better to eat them separately. The reason you should eat gari is because gari will make your mouth fresh so that you can enjoy the flavor of next sushi that you eat.
Nigirizushi (usual sushi)
- Turn the sushi horizontally using your chopsticks
- Pick up the sushi with your fingers and dip the fish into soy sauce. (Don’t dip it too long into the soy sauce! If you do this, you can’t enjoy the fresh and sophisticated flavor of sushi).
6: How should I eat Japanese noodles?
Do you like ramen? Did you know that you can slurp up Japanese noodles? It is not rude to slurp up noodles in Japan. You can make a sound when you eat Japanese noodles because that means you are enjoying the meal. Some people say “It feels better to slurp up the noodle!” Soba (buckweed noodles) and udon can be slurped up too but slurping up pastas is considered to be rude.
How was our Q & A regarding restaurantes?
MMN will continue to introduce various kinds of “Q&As” concerning Japan.
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