Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Japanese Dining Etiquette

The modern term "Japanese cuisine" (nihon ryōri, 日本料理 or washoku, 和食) means traditional-style Japanese food, similar to that already existing before the end of national seclusion in 1868. In a broader sense of the word, it could also include foods whose ingredients or cooking methods were subsequently introduced from abroad, but which have been developed by Japanese who made them their own. Japanese cuisine is known for its emphasis on seasonality of food (, shun), quality of ingredients and presentation.
Japanese cuisine has developed over the centuries as a result of many political and social changes. The cuisine eventually changed with the advent of the Medieval age which ushered in a shedding of elitism with the age of shogun rule. In the early modern era massive changes took place that introduced non-Japanese cultures, most notably Western culture, to Japan.

Traditional table settings
The traditional Japanese table setting has varied considerably over the centuries, depending primarily on the type of table common during a given era. Before the 19th century, small individual box tables (hakozen, 箱膳) or flat floor trays were set before each diner. Larger low tables (chabudai, ちゃぶ台) that accommodated entire families were gaining popularity by the beginning of the 20th century, but these gave way to western style dining tables and chairs by the end of the 20th century.
Traditional Japanese table setting is to place a bowl of rice on your left and to place a bowl of miso soup on your right side
at the table. Behind these, each okazu is served on its own individual plate. Based on the standard three okazu formula, behind the rice and soup are three flat plates to hold the three okazu; one to far back left, one at far back right, and one in the center. Pickled vegetables are often served on the side but are not counted as part of the three okazu. Chopsticks are generally placed at the very front of the tray near the diner with pointed ends facing left and supported by a chopstick rest, or hashioki.

Dining etiquette

It is customary to say itadakimasu, いただきます (literally "I [humbly] receive") before starting to eat a meal, and gochisosama deshita, ごちそうさまでした (literally "It was a feast") to the host after the meal and the restaurant staff when leaving.
Hot towel
Before eating, most dining places will provide either a hot towel or a plastic-wrapped wet napkin. This is for cleaning hands before eating (and not after). It is rude to use them to wash the face or any part of the body other than the hands.
The rice or the soup is eaten by picking up the bowl with the left hand and using chopsticks with the right, or vice versa if you are left handed. Traditionally, chopsticks were held in their right hand and the bowl in their left, but left-handed eating is acceptable today. Bowls may be lifted to the mouth, however should not be touched with the mouth except when drinking soup.
Soy sauce
Soy sauce is not usually poured over most foods at the table; a dipping dish is usually provided. Soy sauce is, however, meant to be poured directly onto tofu and grated daikon dishes. In particular, soy sauce should never be poured onto rice or soup. It's considered rude to waste soy sauce so moderation should be used when pouring into dishes.
Chopsticks are never left sticking vertically into rice, as this resembles incense sticks (which are usually placed vertically in sand) during offerings to the dead. Using chopsticks to spear food or to point is frowned upon. It is very bad manners to bite chopsticks.
Communal dish
When taking food from a communal dish, unless they are family or very close friends, turn the chopsticks around to grab the food; it is considered more sanitary. Better, have a separate set of chopsticks for the communal dish.
If sharing food with someone else, move it directly from one plate to another. Never pass food from one pair of chopsticks to another, as this recalls passing bones during a funeral.
Eat what is given
It is customary to eat rice to the last grain. Being a picky eater is frowned on, and it is not customary to ask for special requests or substitutions at restaurants. It is considered ungrateful to make these requests especially in circumstances where you are being hosted, as in a business dinner environment. Good manners dictate that you respect the selections of the host.
Even in informal situations, drinking alcohol starts with a toast (kanpai,
乾杯) when everyone is ready. It is not customary to pour oneself a drink; rather, people are expected to keep each other's drinks topped up. When someone moves to pour your drink you should hold your glass with both hands and thank them.

The Easy Way To Get Exams Off your Chest

Signs Of Growing Old

The only reason you're still awake at 4 a.m. is indigestion.
People ask what colour your hair used to be.
You're proud of your lawnmower.
Your best friend is dating someone half their age and isn't breaking any laws.
You really do want a new washing machine for your birthday.
Your car has four doors.
You routinely check the oil in your car.
You've owned clothes so long that they've gone back into fashion - twice!

Blonde Jokes

Doc, It Hurts All Over
A blonde explains to the doctor, "When I touch my arm, ouch, it hurts. When I touch my leg, ouch, it hurts. When I touch my head, ouch, it hurts. When I touch my chest, ouch, it hurts." The doctor just shakes his head and asks, "You're a natural blonde, aren't you?" The woman smiles and says, "Why, yes I am. How did you know?" The doctor replies, "Because your finger is broken.

"How Should I Know?
A married couple was asleep when the telephone rang at two in the morning. The wife, a blonde, picked up the telephone, listened a moment and said, "How should I know, that's 200 miles from here!" and hung up.
The husband said, "Who was that?" The wife said, "I don't know; some woman wanting to know 'if the coast is clear.''

Good Secretary
The blonde secretary was leaving the office when she saw the CEO standing by the shredder with a piece of paper in his hand. "Listen," the CEO said, "this is a very important document. Do you know how this thing works?" The secretary turned the machine on, inserted the paper, and pressed the start button. "Great," the CEO said as his paper disappeared inside the machine. "I need just one copy."

Mirror, Mirror
Two blondes are walking down the street. One notices a compact on the sidewalk and leans down to pick it up. She opens it, looks in the mirror, and says, "Hmm, this person looks familiar." The second blonde says, "Here, let me see!" So the first blonde hands her the compact. The second one looks in the mirror and says, "You dummy, it's me!"

American One Liners

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.
Treat each day as your last; one day you will be right.
Follow your dreams, except for the one where your naked at work.
In an argument, the woman always has the last word. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
Which one of these is a non-smoking lifeboat?
I had amnesia once - maybe twice.