Happy Chopsticks Day for 4 August! Throughout East Asia chopsticks are made from various materials, with different customs and etiquette specific to each country. In Japan, chopsticks spread from China around 500 AD and are known as ohashi.
Most Japanese ohashi are traditionally made from lacquered or resin-treated wood or bamboo, with tapered designs and narrow, sometimes ridged tips. There are several names for different types of ohashi; lacquered chopsticks are called nuribashi, while elongated cooking and serving chopsticks are known as ryōribashi and saibashi. New Year celebrations call for iwaibashi, and many Japanese eateries or convenience stores serve disposable, wooden waribashi.
Visitors to Japan should try to bear in mind some basic ohashi etiquette when dining, so as to avoid any social faux pas. The most important rules to remember? Avoid passing food directly from one set of chopsticks to another, and don’t stick them upright in bowls!