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Give up using chopsticks?

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Give up using chopsticks?

Postby guitarplayer7694 » Fri 12.19.2008 6:27 pm

Do you think that the Japanese would ever stop using chopsticks in favor of forks and spoons? Just a hypothetical.
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 12.19.2008 8:26 pm

Do you think that Americans would ever stop using forks and knives in favor of chopsticks?

(I'm not sure when chopsticks are used for things you would eat with a spoon.)
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Mike Cash » Fri 12.19.2008 8:35 pm

guitarplayer7694 wrote:Do you think that the Japanese would ever stop using chopsticks in favor of forks and spoons? Just a hypothetical.


Should we read that to mean you think Japanese don't already use forks and spoons?
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Dehitay » Fri 12.19.2008 8:44 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Do you think that Americans would ever stop using forks and knives in favor of chopsticks?

(I'm not sure when chopsticks are used for things you would eat with a spoon.)

I understand your logic, but in this situation, western dining utensils are commonly more useful than chopsticks. The only situation I can think of where I would prefer chopsticks is if you're reaching into something hot to pull out some cook(ing/ed) food. Otherwise, I think it would be preferable logically to use western dining utensils or your fingers
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Victory Manual » Fri 12.19.2008 9:29 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:(I'm not sure when chopsticks are used for things you would eat with a spoon.)


Depends on the perspective. The standard utensils on a Korean dinner table are chopsticks and spoons. Koreans eat rice with spoons instead of chopsticks, and of course eat [miso-style] soup and nabe dishes with it, while Japanese use chopsticks for both and drink the broth like a beverage.

Having moved to Korea after spending a few years in Japan, I'd often get the comment, "He eats like a Japanese person."

But to address the original author's question: Ever tried eating ramen with a fork?
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby CajunCoder » Fri 12.19.2008 9:43 pm

I don't know about that. I actually find chopsticks easier to use with some foods - especially noodles.
They might not be suited for a lot of western food, but that's not what they were intended for. Granted, even so, you can still see many Japanese people eat birthday cake with chopsticks :P

Moreover, with "artistic" or "cultural" things, such as food, the Japanese have a tendency to preserve tradition, and do things the "right" way. Putting out western utensils for a customer who orders a traditional Japanese meal at a high-end restaurant would kind of... be out of place, I think.
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Dehitay » Fri 12.19.2008 9:53 pm

Victory Manual wrote:But to address the original author's question: Ever tried eating ramen with a fork?

Yes, I found it much easier; unless your referring to the really thin and short noodles that are easier to eat with spoon than chopsticks/fork. When you eat noodles with a fork, do you trap the noodles in the prongs and then twist once or twice? If you don't twist, I can understand why you would have problems with a fork then. Or maybe if you don't point the prongs of the fork upward when you lift the noodles.

It's weird to me that 2 people have already said they find eating noodles with chopsticks easier. I'm eloquent enough with chopsticks and I find the fork much easier.
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby guitarplayer7694 » Fri 12.19.2008 11:06 pm

I personaly prefer some eating with chopsticks, like ramen. This was just one of those questions that poped into my head as the day goes by.
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Infidel » Fri 12.19.2008 11:10 pm

Dehitay wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:Do you think that Americans would ever stop using forks and knives in favor of chopsticks?

(I'm not sure when chopsticks are used for things you would eat with a spoon.)

I understand your logic, but in this situation, western dining utensils are commonly more useful than chopsticks. The only situation I can think of where I would prefer chopsticks is if you're reaching into something hot to pull out some cook(ing/ed) food. Otherwise, I think it would be preferable logically to use western dining utensils or your fingers


I'd rather not eat with other people's fingers, thank you very much :P

It's a matter of preparation and how the food is served that determines the utility of an eating utensil. If rice is served in a bowl and food is pre-sliced in the kitchen into bite-size portions, then there is no difference in the utility of either.

Serving rice on a plate, especially non-sticky rice, and a fork or spoon becomes more useful. If the meat is not properly cut up, then suddenly a knife becomes necessary unless you want to gnaw at a steak.

The reason forks, spoons, and knives seem more useful is because of the way we prepare the food. Not because the utensils are inherently better. Personally, I'd rather my steak came pre-sliced when I eat out, but in our culture, pre-slicing is something that is done for babies--not adults. Likewise, a spoon is only useful for eating soup if you have some aversion to drinking it from the bowl. Otherwise, it's a waste of a utensil.
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Mike Cash » Fri 12.19.2008 11:49 pm

CajunCoder wrote:Moreover, with "artistic" or "cultural" things, such as food, the Japanese have a tendency to preserve tradition, and do things the "right" way. Putting out western utensils for a customer who orders a traditional Japanese meal at a high-end restaurant would kind of... be out of place, I think.


I can't speak about high-end restaurants, but it sometimes happens that western utensils will be brought or offered at restaurants. Even with the purchase of some Cup Noodles at a convenience store, I have had the clerk offer a plastic fork as an alternative to chopsticks.

I have never been able to detect anything which indicates there is some sort of policy at the establishments to provide or offer western utensils. It doesn't actually happen that often and when it does it has always seemed to be an action born of kindness and a concern for providing the Westerner with utensils he can eat with....and no particular concern for doing things the "right" way.

Come to think of it, the people I have found to be most uptight about the "right" way of eating a Japanese meal are other foreigners.

Infidel wrote:It's a matter of preparation and how the food is served that determines the utility of an eating utensil.


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I've done it all my life
It makes them taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby furrykef » Sat 12.20.2008 1:30 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:(I'm not sure when chopsticks are used for things you would eat with a spoon.)


I eat rice with a spoon. Though I don't eat sticky rice, so you probably couldn't eat it with chopsticks anyway.

Victory Manual wrote:Koreans eat rice with spoons instead of chopsticks


Is this universal? My Korean aunt always prepared very sticky rice (which I've never liked nearly as much as non-sticky rice) and I was told the reason it was so sticky was so it could be eaten with chopsticks, though we didn't actually eat it with chopsticks. I suppose that could have been a leg-pull, but I doubt it.

Infidel wrote:Likewise, a spoon is only useful for eating soup if you have some aversion to drinking it from the bowl.


Or maybe the bowl is too hot to pick up.

Mike Cash wrote:Come to think of it, the people I have found to be most uptight about the "right" way of eating a Japanese meal are other foreigners.


I think this could apply to virtually anything, not just the right way to eat a Japanese meal. A lot of foreigners who get really enthusiastic about the language or culture they're learning insist on doing things "the right way" and they get more fussy about it than natives themselves. For instance, I always observe the rules of accentuation very strictly in written Spanish, including online chat, whereas most of my native Spanish-speaking friends barely use accents at all -- even though they have accents on their keyboards and I don't! One of the first things native speakers always compliment me on is my use of accent marks. And what really pisses me off is improper spelling and accentuation in print.

I think to a certain degree it's a healthy attitude, but it's possible to take it too far -- you'd master the form of being Japanese or whatever culture you wish to assimilate into, but you wouldn't have the substance. You'd have a thick Japanese shell, but you'd be hollow on the inside and make this echo noise whenever somebody taps you.

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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Sairana » Sat 12.20.2008 3:02 am

Mike Cash wrote:with the purchase of some Cup Noodles at a convenience store, I have had the clerk offer a plastic fork as an alternative to chopsticks.


Does that shop do that for everyone, or just to be accommodating to people who they think might not be good with chopsticks (IE, non-Japanese).

I don't ask to be snarky... so I'm sorry if it comes across that way. I tried alternate phrasings of this question and they all managed to sound less than ideal, but I'm too curious not to ask. :oops:
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 12.20.2008 3:15 am

Sairana wrote:
Mike Cash wrote:with the purchase of some Cup Noodles at a convenience store, I have had the clerk offer a plastic fork as an alternative to chopsticks.


Does that shop do that for everyone, or just to be accommodating to people who they think might not be good with chopsticks (IE, non-Japanese).


I was speaking in general terms and not of a specific chain, location, or person. It has happened a few times. Sometimes the clerk asks (in Japanese) which I want. Sometimes the clerk gestures. Sometimes the clerk's hand wavers between the chopsticks and the forks and I just tell which I want.
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby two_heads_talking » Sat 12.20.2008 10:01 am

Mike Cash wrote:
Come to think of it, the people I have found to be most uptight about the "right" way of eating a Japanese meal are other foreigners.


On that note, it seems that most foreigners get uptight about the "right" way to do everything in Japan. Perhaps, foreigners are just too uptight to begin with, and should loosen up a bit.. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Give up using chopsticks?

Postby Infidel » Sat 12.20.2008 10:18 am

Mike Cash wrote:I eat my peas with honey
I've done it all my life
It makes them taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife


Nice :)
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