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A Japanese proverb says...

If you are fortunate to have the enjoyable experience of eating something new, your life will be lengthened by seventy-five years.


Japanese Food is an Art


The entire meal is a "symphony of carefully orchestrated flavor, color, texture, and seasonal appropriateness." Japanese food is considered an art and one should view the art and appreciate it before beginning to eat. Be sure to acknowledge the beauty of the presentation.

The Japanese have refined the art of making guests feel honored. They are known for wining and dining and pampering guests making it a challenge to reciprocate appropriately and adequately. 

Japanese food is fresh and only lightly cooked, light and not greasy. Even fried foods are given careful attention to the oil temperature so that little fat is absorbed by the food. Tempura done by an expert almost floats off the tray.

Rice symbolized purity. It is used as a palate cleanser in between bites of other foods. It is not proper to just let your rice bowl sit during the whole meal. You will observe the Japanese picking up their rice bowl often for bites and then taking other selections from the meal.


Dining Etiquette Tips


The oshibori is a warm or cold wet towel to cleanse your hands. Men will sometimes wipe their faces with it. 

Japanese restaurants do not have napkins. Women often place a handkerchief in their lap. Always carry a handkerchief.

More formal meals are served on lacquer trays. Placement of dishes is significant - don't move them around on the try.

Most good restaurants place chopsticks on a rest - hashioki.

The rice bowl is to the left, the soup is to the right. Always pick up these bowls when eating. 

If there is a lid, remove it and place it upside down on the tray Lids on soup can be hard to remove. Gently squeeze the bowl and remove the lid. When finished place covers back on bowls.

When there are various dishes on the try, do not finish one and then move to the next. Eat small amounts out of each one. The Japanese custom of serving things in separate dishes emphasizes the importance placed on presentation.

When uncertain about something, such as how to eat a certain Japanese delicacy, you may ask questions. This shows you are genuinely interested in learning about the culture. However, do not turn the evening into a game of "twenty questions" with your host or server.

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