Table manners don’t work with chopsticks

Small mouthfuls.

Finish one mouthful before you start the next.

Eat everything on your plate.


None of these seem possible with the elaborate meals with which I have been presented in the last few days.  It was possible to avoid the two staples, rice and tea, to which we served ourselves, but everything else was delivered individually, sometimes with two mini-barbecues as well as soup, raw fish, salad, a sour plum, tofu, etc.  The dinner in the picture was by no means the most extreme, and the photograph only shows half of it!  Unable to cut a rasher of bacon or bunch of broccoli with chopsticks, the only option was to eat them whole, smothered in sauce. Seaweed soup and a poached egg had to be slurped down, and the raw fish was abandoned when the waitress produced two kinds of dessert.

It was quite a relief when I got to Tokyo and could cater for myself from a corner shop where everything costs 108 yen, which was about 65 pence when I left England, and I can pick what I expect to like and finish with a clean plate, or rather, a clean lid of a plastic food box. OK, the melon was hard and the chilled coffee over-sweetened, but I enjoyed the “sausage and corn mayonnaise bread” and ate both slices of apple pie.