Japanese Table Manners: What Not to Do Learn from a Japanese meal-eating goofus

    In the last installment of How to Be a Baka Gaijin, we explored the many ways you can be a baka gaijin in the house. But one area we kind of glossed over was how to behave at the dinner table. Today, I shall answer all of your burning questions about how to show off your copious amounts of bakatude. Being a baka gaijin at the dinner table is pretty easy to do, and if you’re out at a restaurant you’ll have plenty of people to impress. Let’s get started.

    1. Use Your Chopsticks Improperly Or, Better Yet, Don’t Even Try to Use Them at All

    Chopstick usage instructions

    So you survived your train ride and now you’re looking for some grub. You find a nearby restaurant and plop your gaijin keister down at the nearest table. Before you know it, your food has arrived! (For the sake of performance, lets assume you’re with a few of your Japanese friends.) You break open your chopsticks and rub them together vigorously to show that you believe the chopsticks (as well as the establishment) are cheap.

    Since you’re a baka gaijin, you never learned how to use chopsticks properly and you just start awkwardly spearing your food with the ends of the chopsticks. As long as the food makes its way to your mouth it’s all good, right? But before you know it, your hand starts cramping up and you need to throw in the towel and just ask for a fork and knife. Who uses chopsticks anyway, amirite?

    Woman using a knife and fork on an empty plate

    Not even attempting to use chopsticks properly is always a good way to show Japanese people that you don’t really care about enveloping yourself in the culture. But hey, at least you actually used them for a little bit, right?

    2. Or, Do Everything You Can to Insult People With Your Chopsticks

    Sad-looking man with ‘Son I am disappoint text overlaid'

    Okay, so maybe you didn’t give up on the chopsticks but instead decided to tough it out for the whole meal. Good for you. Now we have lots more opportunities to offend everyone. You’re gonna wanna make sure you point at people with your chopsticks when you’re talking to them, move your plates around with your chopsticks, and wave them about in the air like you’ve never seen two sticks before in your life.

    Chopsticks stuck into a bowl of rice with ‘Do not!’ text overlaid
    Source:

    And then when you’re done with your chopsticks you can just stick them straight up in your rice. I mean, hey, you don’t know that this is something that’s only done as funeral offerings, I’m sure your friends will forgive you eventually.

    As you can tell, there are plenty, and I mean plenty of things you can do with your chopsticks to show everyone around you how baka and how gaijin you be. Just by following steps one and two here I highly doubt anyone will question your baka gaijin-ness as far as eating goes. But just in case, I’ve added some more tips below.

    3. Be Sure to Eat Like a Barbarian

    Conan the Barbarian rushing at the camera
    Source:

    You’re a gaijin. Gaijin are always hungry. You need to get that food in your mouth and you need to get it there now. This is no time for manners. So make sure you take food from the community plates and bowls with the ends of the chopsticks you’ve already had stuck in your slobbery gaijin mouth. Japanese people don’t believe in germs. It’s against their religion.

    Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid

    And when you want to cut your food with your chopsticks, you might as well not even bother and just spear that slab of meat and eat the darn thing whole. No point in using finesse and dexterity to masterfully pull it apart using the controlled force of your chopsticks. I mean, the food all ends up in the same place anyway.

    This step just kind of boils down to table manners in general, but some gaijin can get thrown off by chopsticks and they can sometimes forget how to live their lives like humans. If you really don’t feel like you can handle being polite with chopsticks, might as well throw in the towel and just use silverware. No one will think you’re a lazy gaijin who believes they’re too good to experience things in another culture. No worries.

    4. Get Super Wasted and Embarrass Everyone

    Mice posing with mini beer bottles and

    Since we’ve discussed a lot of ways you can promote your baka gaijinity with food, lets move onto the drinks. As with the last step, this one is kind of just common sense in all cultures, but for some reason gaijin do on occasion believe that travelling to a new country is a free pass to get super wasted in public for no raisin. I’ve seen it happen.

    So you’re with your friends and they all want to see how much the big burly gaijin can handle so you drink way too much and start being noisy and falling out of your seat and just making a big ruckus. Your friends have had a bit to drink too but at least they have the decency to keep their shirts on and not try to ask the waitress out on a date. She doesn’t even understand English. Leave her alone, will ya?

    Girl in a bathtub witha wine bottle with ’No, bad gaijin’ text overlaid

    Most of the time I feel that gaijin will be able to save themselves from drinking too much except when it comes to nomihoudai (all you can drink). A popular concept in Japan is paying a flat fee for a certain amount of time and just being able to drink all you want in that time period. This is a very, very dangerous thing. Many people will take this opportunity to just drink way more than they would normally. I mean, you gotta get your money’s worth, right?

    Remember, Manners Don’t Exist Outside Your Home Country

    Comic about monsters’ table manners

    The best way to show people what a baka gaijin you are around the dinner table is just to pretend like using chopsticks and having to deal with all you can drink establishments is too much for your baka brain to handle and you just forget how to eat and drink like a civilized human. So get out there and spear your food, drink your many drinks, and show everyone how being in a new country makes you forget that table manners are a thing**

    And for those of you who want a more cut and dry explanation of table manners in Japan…

    Japanese Table Manners from Japan-Guide.com Japanese Chopsticks How-To from Japan-Guide.com How to Drink in Japan from me. You’re welcome :)


    So tell me, have you or anyone else really embarrassed themselves at the dinner table in Japan? I haven’t seen anyone do it really bad at dinner, but one time at all-you-can-drink-karaoke, one of our friends had way way too much to drink. It was messy. Nomihoudai is a scary thing.


    //Please realize that this post is mostly satire and is supposed to be funny. I am aware that gaijin are not the only ones who perform the faux pas in this series of baka gaijin posts. They are just meant to draw attention to some mistakes people might make while in Japan in a humorous manner.

    Hugs and kisses