Hashioki humor

Is there anything more droll than resting the tips of your chopsticks on top of a fork?  And a three-pronged fork, at that.

IMG_1582

Maybe a close runner-up  is this ceramic version of disposable chopsticks in a paper wrapper, which unfortunately is the way most diners encounter chopsticks today, both inside and outside of Japan. The hiragana on the wrapper reads otemoto, which roughly translates as “for your hands:” o is a polite prefix for Japanese words, te means hand, and moto means IMG_1583foundation or the area around something. Writing otemoto on chopstick wrappers seems rather obvious to me; it’s unlikely that anyone would mistakenly think chopsticks were actually oversized toothpicks or skinny shoe horns.

But when I think about it, sometimes being polite does consist of stating the obvious.

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