Testing Those Table Manners

Worried that students may be losing their culture to the onslaught of hamburgers and spaghetti, a high school in Nagasaki, Japan, has added a new test to its entrance exams—chopsticks skills.

According to an article from international news resource Agence France-Presse titled “Japanese Students Face Chopstick Test,” applicants to the Hisata Gakuen Girls’ High School in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, must demonstrate proficient use of chopsticks by gracefully transferring marbles, beads, and beans from one plate to another. “This is simply one factor to assess whether these girls can handle chopsticks correctly, which is really the most basic element in education,” said Katushi Hisata, vice principal of the school. He says that only 20 percent of Japanese students use chopsticks correctly.

The increasing popularity of non-Japanese food such as pizza and fried chicken is partly to blame for faulty chopsticks skills. In addition, more women in the work force means that more children eat meals alone these days. “It’s surprising to see how many children don’t know how to hold chopsticks correctly, which is a part of the Japanese culture’s beauty,” said Hisata.

What’s next: after school tutoring sessions for remedial chopstick users?

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