24 March 2007

Yuck! Picking up a French Fry?

The other day I stopped to grab a light lunch that included French Fries. I was using the time to get in a little gesture drawing, so I wasn't thinking about eating much, and about halfway through I realized I was carefully eating my French Fries with a fork. That's a little odd, since I've always eaten them by hand, but I found I couldn't bring myself to actually start picking them up anymore!

Here in Japan it's quite rare to touch your food. While there are a few exceptions (pastry, for instance), it's very different from European attitudes. Even in cases like Pocky (the candy) or Yakitori, you touch only a specially designated part of the food. It's because of this that the concept of a napkin is largely absent here -- a few types of restaurants have napkin dispensers, but on average you just don't get a napkin with meals. You're expected not to touch your food, and to eat neatly, such that you don't require a large napkin for either hands or mouth.

And so, after months of habit, I find I'm now quite reluctant to pick up a French Fry!

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