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Next time you're visiting Tokyo - or even your favourite local sushi restaurant - keep these eight etiquette rules in mind.

 

1. Don’t rub your chopsticks together

This is considered rude in Japanese culture because the only instance where you'd have to smooth off your chopsticks is if you were eating in a cheap restaurant with poorly manufactured chopsticks. When you're finished eating or are not using your chopsticks, proper etiquette is to place them parallel to yourself on the holder or on the soy sauce dish.

 

2. Don’t eat sashimi with your hands

It is totally acceptable to eat nigiri-zushi with your hands, but sashimi is only to be eaten with your chopsticks.

 

3. Don’t use the ‘front’ of your chopsticks to pick up food from a share plate

When sharing food, don’t use the end of the chopstick that you're eating with to pick up food from another person’s plate. Instead, use the back of the chopsticks.

 

4. Don’t eat the pickled ginger with your sushi

While delicious, the ginger is considered a palate cleanser and is to be consumed between dishes.

 

5. Don’t mix wasabi into your soy sauce

Most of us are guilty of this one. Wasabi and soy are intended to be eaten separately as each have very distinct flavours.

 

6. Don’t stick chopsticks in your rice

Sticking your chopsticks into rice is symbolic of an incense burner, which conjures images of Japanese funerals and prayers.

 

7. Don’t pass food to another person using your chopsticks

Again, this is symbolic of a Japanese funeral and reminds people of the passing of a deceased relative’s bones at a traditional Japanese funeral.

 

8. Don’t dip the rice into the soy sauce

Of course you’re allowed to have rice with soy sauce, but when picking up a piece of nigiri-zushi, dip the fish side into the sauce, not the rice as it soaks up too much liquid and will affect the overall taste.