Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/15 09:49
Could you please help me with the following two questions? Thank you!

1. Does there exist bento boxes with triangular, instead of rectangular, divisions? Could you please help me find photos of one in the web?

2. I understand that chopstick rests are usually for restaurants and fancy dinners. If so, where do you place your chopsticks in a everyday lunch when you're not using them?
by Gerardo (guest)  

... 2012/8/15 11:51
Bento Box:-

http://vivianlostinseoul.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/i-heart-japanese-food...

I have no idea what is "correct" regarding chopsticks. If I get chopsticks in the paper wrapping I make my own chopstick rest using Origami techniques

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHjK_wjF3WY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ypoUNR_VMA
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/16 01:27
Thank you for your answer GC3. The bento box you showed is exactly what I was looking for.

This is intended for GC3 and anyone else that can help me:

1. I would like to see other bento boxes with triangular divisions. Can you help me find photos of some other examples in the web? Are they very uncommon?

2. In case you don't use disposable chopsticks for an everyday lunch (so you can't make a rest with the wrapping), where do you place your chopsticks while you're not using them? I ask because I understand chopstick rests are only used in fancy dinners and restaurants.

Thank you!
by Gerardo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/16 03:27
Gerardo,

Chopstick rests are used in everyday life. It's more of a preference. In my 50 years of being Japanese, I cannot recall having nowhere to rest my chopsticks, but if it so happens that there is no rest, paper chopstick bag nor a frame of any sort, you are supposed to just rest the chopsticks on the table without the rest.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/16 05:42
Hashi-oki {chopstick rests} have been used at homes for many decades.
And there are hashi-oki in various forms. Some are items of traditional craft, and some are items mass-produced in a factory.
- http://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=h...

where do you place your chopsticks while you're not using them?

I seldom place chopsticks on the table. When I am without hashi-oki, I place them on a whole-meal tray, a rice / soup bowl, a vegetable dish or so.
When a meal is served on a molded metal / plastic tray where every food item can be settled, as in some school cafeteria, I can place chopsticks on the tray and do without hashi-oki.

In the past when I was using my plastic lunchbox, I usually brought my chopsticks in a plastic hashi-bako {chopstick case}; I was without hashi-oki so I placed my chopsticks on the lunchbox during the meal, and after that I settled them is the case.

I understand chopstick rests are only used in fancy dinners and restaurants.

You think so maybe because Japanese people you already know do not use a chopstick rest for a usual meal at home.

By the way, "chopsticks" literary means wari-bashi. However, as maybe you know, most reusable chopsticks are a pair of separate sticks, not what we chop into two sticks. Although "chopsticks" is not adequate as a general term, it has come to mean oriental food-picking sticks, due to historical and cultural backgrounds.

I would like to see other bento boxes with triangular divisions. Can you help me find photos of some other examples in the web? Are they very uncommon?

I think they are common to some extent, but it seems not easy to set good Japanese keywords in searching for their photos on the web, partly because a division in a bento box does not have a steady name in Japanese.
: An old seasonal eki-ben item around Tokyo (Jan. - Mar. 2010) using a box with triangle and rectangular divisions.
- http://www.ekiben.or.jp/daimasu/type/makunochi/2010/01/001273.html
(Above it on the webpage you see another box with two triangle divisions.)
: An eki-ben item of Niigata Station (Nov. 2011 - ) using a box with non-rectangular quadrilateral divisions.
- http://www.ekiben.or.jp/nigatasanshin/new_releases/2011/12/001563.html

by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Correction: typo 2012/8/16 05:50
NOT: triangle
BUT: triangular
(two times)
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Manners regarding chopsticks 2012/8/16 06:32
Spinning off from your second question:

As manners, when I dine together, I refrain from placing chopsticks on food, and I chop wari-bashi in directions of nobody, not shaping a letter V vertically in the air.
I am not sure what table manners children of the 21st century are taught, but as far as I know, placing a pair of chopsticks apart, pulling in a dish with a (pair of) chopstick(s) and leaving a (pair of ) chopstick(s) stuck in food can be thought as bad manners.

by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/17 00:12
Thank you for all your answers. They have been very helpful.

A new question for everyone:

Do all chopstick rests have only one indentation for both chopsticks? If so, is there a reason for that? It would seem more organized if there were two consecutive indentations, one for each chopstick. (I'm not sure if I'm using the word "indentation" right)

I ask because I actually want to design my own chopstick rest.
by Gerardo (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2012/8/18 11:19
Do all chopstick rests have only one indentation for both chopsticks?

I'm not Japanese so hopefully someone more knowledgeable like Omotenashi can respond, but yes the vast majority seem to just have one indentation.

Just do a google image search for Hashioki or u

If so, is there a reason for that? It would seem more organized if there were two consecutive indentations, one for each chopstick.

Omotenashi mentioned that placing chopsticks apart is considered bad manners.

You used the word indentation correctly.
by GC3 rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/18 22:40
Hello again.

Although many Japanese commonly rest their chopsticks on a bowl or plate, that is actually bad manners. Surprizingly, many English information even seems to recommend that, but here is a Japanese source that tells you the proper manners which are indeed what I've learned through tea ceremony procedures. Anyone who can read Japanese scroll down to ̋x܂. What I meant by "frame" in my previous post is described as ܕ~̍̃t`
http://www.bridal-inoue.com/wa/hashi/#a000079

As for the other question, keep in mind that the idea of chopsticks are quite different from that of the knife and fork. You are always supposed to hold the two sticks together with one hand, and the two sticks are expected to stay close together (although, of course, not tightly together).

So it doesn't really make sense to have two sections for them to rest. I've never seen that done in any chopstick-using country such as China. One would think, "What for?" and it doesn't even look neat. I don't know about others, but I see it as something like a lady in a skirt sitting with her legs spread apart: It's tolerated, but not very elegant.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: manners 2012/8/19 05:47
Dear Uco: You seem to be confusing general manners and manners in a particular set of methods. You have mentioned tea ceremony procedures, but they may differ even by schools (#) of sado {the way of tea}. (#) Here "school" means a group who are sharing the same methods, not an educational institution. And, please note that in the second question, the situation is described as "in an everyday lunch."

I suppose "No resting your chopsticks on a bowl or plate" can be practical only when the position for chopsticks is secured like the left frame of ܕ~ oshiki. It's not a piece of general manners. For example, in a ramen shop where trays or chopstick rests are not available, it is more sanitary to place chopsticks on a bowl than on the table.
by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: your 3rd question 2012/8/19 05:48
Do all chopstick rests have only one indentation for both chopsticks? If so, is there a reason for that? It would seem more organized if there were two consecutive indentations, one for each chopstick.

Well, usually a set of chopsticks are thought and handled as a pair, so a hashi-oki needs only one indentation.
It is beyond my knowledge whether a two-indentation version is common in particular Japanese communities / areas in Japan.

Manners of placing them together and avoiding leaving them stuck in food may be related to a custom regarding the deceased, of serving him/her a bowlful of rice with a chopstick, not a pair, stuck straight in the center.
Straying from your subject, but another example of a custom of doing something different for the deceased is how he/she is dressed. Unlike western clothing, both men and women are expected to wear Japanese clothing (such as kimono and yukata) with the left side over the right, but the deceased is dressed to the contrary.
I am not sure whether these two Japanese customs are common regardless of religions.

By the way, your questions reminded me of my two hashi-oki. I will resume using them. Thanks.

by omotenashi rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/21 02:34
I want to show you the chopstick rest I designed. It's a simple origami model:

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/s720x720/530992_5223918...

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/390810_5223921...

What do you think? Would it be considered bad manners to place the chopsticks like that? Would I be looked upon if I used this chopstick rest on a dinner?

Thank you for your feedback!
by Gerardo (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/21 09:13
I've never seen a hashioki with indentations, but that's probably because its rather bothersome from a usability standpoint. Your design requires way too much attention to lay the chopsticks properly on the rest.

Now I'm not Japanese, but something about the way the chopsticks rest leaves me a little uneasy. Kinda like how Uco put it, it feels a little like a woman sitting with her legs apart.

Other than that, its a nice design. If someone noticed you using that they'd probably be more impressed that you made it than anything else.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/21 09:23
Nice design, but the way the two chopsticks are sitting apart does not sit well with me (Japanese). They should be placed neatly together, as a pair, and that's what sits well with me... one indentation.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/21 23:32
Thank you all for your help. I'm working on a new design eliminating the tip in the center. A new question, is height also an issue? Was the chopstick rest I showed you too tall?
by Gerardo (guest) rate this post as useful

Sorry for the confusion 2012/8/22 16:32
I thought I mentioned clearly that "many Japanese commonly" rest their chopsticks on a bowl or plate but that that is not what is considered as proper, but sorry for the confusion.

I just think it's similar to being expected to pour cold milk in your tea first while in England while many might do otherwise. Anyway, all you have to do is to look around you if you want to know what's done commonly.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bento boxes and chopstick rests 2012/8/27 23:02
I took all your answers into consideration. I just posted my new origami bento box and chopstick holder in a blog I have. You can look them up if you wish. The blog is called Neorigami.

I'm really grateful for all your help!
by Gerardo (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread