Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dos and Don'ts of Izakaya dining

Always pour drinks for others and let others pour for you.

Planting chopsticks in rice is a big no no because this is how it's served when people die.

Ever worried that you might offend someone by unknowingly disrespecting their customs?

Here are a few basic and popular customs good to know if you're planning a trip Japan or visiting a traditional Japanese establishment. We've listed them so you can show off your knowledge of Japanese culture next time you're out dining with friends at Bamboo!

The 'unwritten' rules of izakaya dining:

Some izakayas require you to take off your shoes upon entering the dining area (but not here at Bamboo). It's customary to either walk barefoot (or with socks) or grab a pair of slippers if they are offered at the entrance.

When sharing plates of food, the proper way to take your share is to use the opposite side of your chopsticks so that your mouth isn't touching the communal plate. 

Do not rest your chopsticks on a communal plate, only rest them on your own dish. It's also frowned upon to plant your chopsticks in a bowl of rice since this is how rice is given to the dead.  

The tradition is to never pour for yourself when you are sharing a bottle with others, although this custom is largely disregaded among close friends. Use both hands to pour for others and let others pour for you. Lift your glass to thank the person pouring.

Reacting aggressively toward an angry patron is also frowned upon. Japanese people perceive this as you making the situation more disruptive and troublesome. Instead, take the high road by simply ignoring or distancing yourself from such patrons.

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