Friday, June 24, 2011

You're So Jozu With Those Hashi

A few weeks ago, I saw someone had "shared" via facebook some article about how Japanese people need a lesson in diversity, and the headline had something to do with being "skilled with chopsticks."

It's kind of been a joke with JETs lately (and before lately), how you get complimented all the time on how good you are at using chopsticks. Until recently, I would just smile and say thank you, as with any compliment, occasionally adding that I "practice a lot," in a somewhat ironic manner. When I say that, the people I say it to tend to think I really mean practice. What I mean is merely that I get a lot of practice, because I kind of live here.

So I've been occasionally touchy lately, a little on edge, and when on Tuesday, the 7th, a teacher at elementary school had the whole class look and see how good I was with my chopsticks, I briefly considered flinging all the rest of my rice at her. It went on from there. Maybe I've just not noticed it and now I'm offended, but now it seems like every time I go to elementary, the class I have lunch with has a teacher who will feel the need to point out how damn skilled I am at using chopsticks!

(Punctuated, quite hilariously, by the first and only occasion I ever had someone -- being one of my middle school second year weirdos -- say in English "You! Can't! Use! Hashi!")

And I want to be careful, because I'm surrounded by 7-year-olds who perhaps do think of it as practice, and who maybe sometimes find handling those sticks a little difficult what with their hand-eye-mouth coordination all still in progress.

But I, dear reader, am a young adult, who can read and write and do long division. And though I am not the most coordinated among us, unless I am handling snakes on fire with my madly skillzed chopstick use, you need not tell me I'm so good. Because I promise you, reader, that even if you do not feel you are good at using chopsticks, you are really close. If I gave you a week of school lunch and only hashi to eat it with, you'd be jozu in no time, too. Two weeks if you're clumsy. You'll be smiling and thanking people for their compliments.

Two years in and I just want to fling rice.

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