Sometimes hashioki do more than simply provide a place to rest the tips of your chopstick.
One common extra job they perform is to provide a toothpick for the diner, as this boatman on his raft demonstrates, along with this catfish, collapsed ceramic pot, and plastic imitation lacquer holder. A red version of the last hashioki is featured in the section “Ninja hashioki” in January 2016.
Containers of toothpicks are frequently provided on restaurant tables in Asia, presumably because fibers from the small pieces of meat and vegetables have a tendency to get caught between your teeth.
A hashioki like this bamboo one from Bento & Co. in Kyoto includes a cubbyhole to hold the tips of chopsticks when you set the table or want to signify that you’ve finished your meal in addition to providing a place on top to rest chopsticks while you’re eating.
Chopstick rests that also provide a place to rest your soup spoon are common in mainland Asia, as this silver dragon from China and ceramic flourish from Korea suggest. In both hashioki the soup spoon rests on the indentation on the left, while the chopsticks rest on the right side.
This spoon and chopsticks hashioki is a recent acquisition. It’s also the first chopstick rest I’ve seen that shows the four suits of playing cards (hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs). There will probably be a lot more like it if Las Vegas-style gambling casinos come to Japan, as is being discussed in the Japanese press now.Finally, this example seems to offer not two, but three options: a place to hold chopsticks upright before or after a meal, a place near the toe of the shoe to rest chopsticks during the meal, and a cavity large enough to hold soy sauce or another condiment for dipping.