Chopsticks and Funeral Rites

Diners from all walks of life like to use chopsticks at Flo’s Bellevue Japanese restaurant, though few realize the true significance that Japan attaches to these utensils. It’s surprising how many ways chopsticks play a role in Japanese funeral rites. If you’re ever dining with your Japanese friends, watch out for how you handle your sticks so as not to offend.

Leaving your chopsticks standing upright in your food resembles the way that rice is prepared and offered to the deceased. Passing food from one set of sticks to another resembles the way that the remains of the dead are moved about during a funeral. Leaving your sticks crossed on the table or using a pair of sticks that do not match also have the potential to offend the dead. Avoid such behavior while in the presence of your traditionally-mined Japanese friends, and you should be fine.