In today’s Mainichi News, there was an article about a high school in Nagasaki that will start checking if applicants can use chopsticks properly. The ‘chopsticks test’ will be part of their entrance exams next year.
Officials of Sasebo Women’s High School said that they wound like to see if applicants have acquired the minimum levels of eating manners by checking their use of chopsticks.
The “chopstick inspections,” which include picking up slippery beans, will influence the screening process to a certain degree, officials at the school said.
What a laugh! Imagine not getting accepted because of poor manners at the dinner table! Perhaps there should be ‘knife and fork’ tests in our schools back home. Hmm…somehow I don’t think they’d get public support.
The article reminded me of when I was made to take part in a peanut eating contest at a Toyota Motor Corp party during my homestay. There were games laid on for the employees’ children and I guess they thought it would be funny to pit a foreigner against them. The Japanese generally assume that foreigners can’t use chopsticks so imagine their surprise as I skillfully picked up the peanuts and gobbled them down. The kids were falling behind so the mums stepped in and got me to pose for photos (peanut to mouth) while the kids caught up.
I still finished second and was rewarded with a koro koro, best described as a poor man’s vaccuum cleaner – a sticky tube on a stick.If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!