Don’t Leave Your Chopsticks Poked Down Into Your Rice When You’re Not Using Them is a pretty commonly known custom here–even among ignorant foreigners. A couple months ago I had a rather embarrassing moment. I was corrected in a restaurant in front of about ten other adults on how I eat. What you just know, naturally, in your own country doesn’t necessarily help much in someone else’s county.
When eating at a rice-serving-restaurant vs. a noodle-serving-restaurant, your place setting is generally a small saucer sized plate, a small bowl, a 3oz ceramic cup, a small, flat bottomed ceramic spoon and a pair of chopsticks. I reached to get some corn from the dishes passing by on the turntable in front of me. I, naturally, scooped a spoonful onto the plate in front of me. It’s a plate, after all. The friend sitting next to me quickly criticized that saying that the plate is for the parts of food you spit out or don’t eat–bones, etc. I was supposed to have scooped the food into my bowl (which was filled with rice at the time). Well, four years of Unintentionally Being Rude later, I now scoop food onto my rice. Naturally.