A simple guide on how to impress Japanese people with your table manners!
Just follow these simple rules for some do’s and don’ts. Many of them apply only if you are eating with a group. In Japan, it is pretty normal for companies to go out and eat and drink together. It will give you a good opportunity to figure out what the norm is.
This one is classic: do slurp your noodles! Especially if you are eating something like ramen.
You’ll notice that many Japanese men will slurp up the noodles like they are inhaling them. Sometimes this behavior is not limited to noodles. Any food can be inhaled. Even rice.
(but maybe you’ll wanna take it slow)
Don’t stab your food with your chopsticks.
It might be extremely tempting, but don’t use your food as a chopstick holder either. You can make a pretty good chopstick holder out of the paper that chopsticks usually come in. Click here for details on that.
Don’t pour your own drink!
If you are out with someone, they will insist on pouring your drink. Offer to pour theirs. People rarely pour their own drink, instead you need to be on alert and ready to top off their glass when they are getting low.
Do use domo and douzo.
These are 2 very useful “d” words. Domo means “thank you,” and douzo is a word you can use when offering something to someone.
Don’t grab in the communal bowl with your chopsticks
If everyone is doing it, then that is another story. But usually there will be serving utensils and small plates for the food.
Do always put your food onto your plate before eating it
People will not be too impressed with you if you eat directly from the main dish. Try and rest your food on your own plate before eating (this is if you are with a group and you are taking from a communal dish).
Do offer to divide food up for the group
In a group setting it is polite to try and take it upon yourself to divvy up shared dishes on behalf of the group. Some people find it awkward to serve themselves and secretly want someone to do this or they want someone to suggest it so that everyone can agree whether it is too annoying to do or not.
Do say itadakimasu and gochisou-sama
Before you eat try to bust out your Japanese skills by saying itadakimasu and gochisou-sama when you finish. It’s also good to say gochisou-sama to someone if they paid for your dinner. When you say it to a restaurant employee or a chef it is a sign that you enjoyed your meal.