Simple Japanese Table Manners

gohan tabekata

Say one words. before and after

It is considered good manners to say “itadakimasu” before you start your food and “gochisosama deshita” to your host or to the restaurant’s staff after you finish your food or while you leave the place. The former word means “I (humbly) receive (this meal)” while the latter phrase obviously means “Thank you for the meal”.

It is considered good etiquette to empty your dishes till the last grain of rice. Please Eat up all they served, it is sign of ‘Delicious’

Drinking rules

Japanese etiquette deems that one should check friends’ cups often and fill them up when found empty. Their etiquette doesn’t allow people to drink if even one of them is not drinking.
If someone wants to serve you more alcohol then you should empty your glass immediately and hold it towards that person. Emptying the glass obviously doesn’t mean emptying the alcohol in the nearest drain — you are expected to gulp it down.

It is also considered bad manners to get drunk in some restaurants, especially in ones that serve “Kaiseki Ryori” (or Japanese haute cuisine).
Ensure that you do not start drinking unless everyone at the table is served and the glasses are raised for a drinking salute which is called ‘Kampai’ in Japanese.

The word ‘Chin Chin’, which is used almost globally to express the lack of knowledge of the Japanese language, can be toxic to your Japanese social life, if used carelessly. This word means ‘male genitals’ in Japanese and you would do good by steering clear away from it while in polite company and especially when making a toast.

Eating Rules

RiceYou can hold the bowl of rice in one hand and chopsticks in another. Traditionally, chopsticks are just two slender sticks that you have to maneuver in a special way. Now, however, specially made chopsticks are also available which require very less maneuvering and are considerably easy to handle. You might want to ask for them till you get used to the traditional ones.

Sushi – Tip some amount of soy sauce into a small saucer provided and immerse your sushi in it. You need not add wasabi as sushi already contains it. Anyway, you could take some if your sushi chef insists. You can take a whole piece of sushi in one go. If you are unable to take the whole piece, hold it with your chopstick and take a bite. However, you should know that it is preferable to eat it as a whole.

Sashimi – Pour some amount of soy sauce into a small saucer which is provided and put in some wasabi. ATTENTION! DO NOT MIX WASABI AND SOY SAUCE!!! Ensure that it does not subdue the taste of your raw fish. Immerse your raw fish into the soy sauce and serve.

Miso SoupYou must have all the solid ingredients of the Miso soup with your chopsticks and the soup must be drank directly from the bowl.
Big pieces of food – Cut the food bits with chopsticks and pop the smaller pieces into your mouth. You can also bite a piece and place the rest on your plate.

Chopsticks- It shows how to take chopsticks to start your meal.














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