Each and every country in the world differs from the other, be it any sphere - political, social or cultural. The same holds true for table manners as well. For example, in India, people eat most of the food with their hands, while in America, forks and spoons dominate a meal. Likewise, Japanese people follow a specific set of etiquettes while having meals and lay great emphasis on always using the same, whether they are eating at home or in a restaurant. From wiping the hands with an o-shibori and saying Itadakimasu and Gochisosama (deshita) to using chopsticks, there are a number of things you should keep in mind before eating amidst Japanese people. In the following lines, we have provided the proper table manners and etiquettes followed in Japan - the 'Land of the Rising Sun'.
Table Manners & Etiquettes In Japan
- The first thing that you need to learn before eating in Japan comprises of the two phrases - Itadakimasu and Gochisosama (deshita). Whilst the former is said before beginning the meal and means, ‘I gratefully receive’, the latter is said after the meals and stands for ‘Thank you for the meal’
- You may be provided with an o-shibori or a damp hand towel, before the meal. This is basically used to wipe your hand before eating. Although men might wipe their face as well, a woman should only wipe her hands with o-shibori. Once you are done with it, just fold it and put it back on tray.
- Rather than serving each person on an individual plate, Japanese share several dishes of food at the table. Whilst you are having from shared dishes, you can move some dish from the opposite end of your chopsticks onto your own plate.
- Using the chopsticks in the right manner is very important, while you are having food with Japanese people.
- Lift your bowl of rice or soup while eating. It is considered to constitute good table manners.
- Making slurping noise whilst having noodles is not considered bad in Japan. Instead, Japanese people believe that noodles taste better if they make slurping noises.
- If you have two to three varieties of food in your plate, alternate between the dishes. For instance, have a bite of fish, then a bite of vegetable and then a bite of rice. This is preferred to finishing one dish completely and then beginning with the other.
- Emptying the dishes till the last grain is considered to be good manners. Try not to leave any scraps in your plate.
- Blowing nose, making burping sound and talking about toilet-related or similarly unappetizing topics are not liked while having meals.
- Once you have finished eating, move the dishes back to the same position as they were before the start of the meal. Replace the lid on dishes and put your chopsticks on the chopstick holder or back into their paper slip.