Japan is about customs and traditions, including eating etiquette. Before going to Japan and trying their amazing food, there are some basic etiquette matters you need to know, so you can fell completely at ease.
It is the custom to say some traditional phrases previous and following the meal. Before you start eating, you need to say “itadakimasu”, meaning “I gratefully receace”. After having finished the meal you thank by saying “gochisosama (deshita)”, accompanied by a bow. It is vital to say these words, especially when being a guest to a Japanese host.
Most of the Japanese use the chopsticks when eating. If you want to use them as well, you should know some things about it, other than the basic way of using them. First of all, you mustn’t pass food to someone else’s chopsticks with your own and the other way around. Never point with your chopsticks at something or someone. Try not to play with them, either. When putting food into your plate from a shared plate, do it with the opposite ends of the chopsticks. It is a sign of politeness.
Another element of politeness is to wait for everyone to be served and only then start eating. Try not to leave food in your plate. The Japanese are quite economical. Eat with your mouth closed and forget about burping. Any extra food that you are given, you should accept with both hands. Try to eat small pieces at a time. Don’t worry about slurping noises while eating noodles or soup, in Japan it is seen as normal.
When poring alcohol drinks to your self, check the others’ glasses as well and serve them more if they are almost empty. Don’t get drunk in public, as it is bad mannered.
Come prepared with your own tissues, because there aren’t usually napkins on a Japanese table. Be careful at your conversation subjects, not to talk about the toilet or any related matter. It may cause others to lose the appetite.
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