Tips for Eating Sushi in JapanJapan is a very traditional culture with many, many cultural actions based on traditions from hundreds of years ago. Japan is known for many things, and one of the biggest is sushi. But with most aspects of Japanese life, there are certain traditions and etiquette that should be followed when enjoying sushi
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For Americans or other foreigners living or visiting Okinawa, here are some sushi etiquette tips to help you make your next meal of sushi enjoyable and respectful.
Who should learn about sushi etiquette? anyone who might eat at a sushi restaurant should learn the proper actions so as to present a good image. Now, let's get to some tips to make your next sushi adventure more enjoyable.
10 Basic Sushi Etiquette Tips
1. When entering a sushi establishment, indicate the number of people in your group by saying it in Japanese, or just by holding up the number of fingers (in some places, you may be expected to simply find your self a seat, either at a booth or at the sushi bar). For a group of four, you would say 'Yo-nin' (yoo-neen) or hold up four fingers.
|How to Hold and Use Chopsticks|
3. Sushi can be eaten with either chopsticks or with your fingers, but never use your chopsticks to spear your food. If you don't have experience using chopsticks, practice at home. It is not polite to ask for silverware unless it is common at that restaurant. It is also rude to rub your chopsticks together, it suggests low quality chopsticks.
4. When eating your sushi, dip the fish, while trying to avoid dipping the rice in the soy sauce. This is because you don't want the rice to fall apart in the soy sauce.
5. Always eat the sushi in one bite, don't try cutting it into smaller pieces.
6. If you happen to also have other food such as a bowl of rice, never stick your chopsticks straight up into it. This is done only when presenting food for deceased ancestors. Either lay your chopsticks on the side of your plate, or resting on a chopsticks holder.
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8. When taking sushi from a common plate at the table, use a pair of serving chopsticks to put the sushi on your plate. If there are no serving chopsticks, use the back end of your own chopsticks, which should be clean.
9. Always be respectful of the other people eating at the sushi restaurant. Avoid speaking loudly or making too much noise. Bring a smile with you and be sure to learn 'thank you' in Japanese to use as often as appropriate. ('Arigatou' is thank you - ah-ree-ga-toe)
10. Have a good time and enjoy the food. In general the Japanese, especially those on Okinawa, are very forgiving of foreigner's mistakes, as long as you are trying to follow the etiquette. Even if you don't pronounce 'Arigatou' (thank you) correctly, it will usually bring a smile if you try.
Helpful video explaining more on eating sushi in Japan:
See the video above for more tips and helpful information. And remember, most Japanese or Okinawan people would love to help teach your words or proper etiquette if you ask them politely.
For more on Okinawa, check out our Best Places to Live or the Top 10 Things to Do in Okinawa.
Leave a comment below with questions or your experiences, and be sure to share this with those who might be visiting Japan!