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Life as a Scot in California

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Cultural Faux Pas

Posted by berkeleyscot on December 1, 2007

Richard and I enjoy our weekly Japanese lunch at Yammy Sushi in El Cerrito Plaza. We always order the lunch combination, which is presented with a mound of rice. I don’t like rice so much and I absentmindedly stuck the chopsticks into the rice to ‘hold’ them.

I noticed that the waitress looked upset and she eventually came to the table three times to ask if I was ok. She didn’t ask, as waitresses usually do, if the food was ok, but only if I was ok!

Richard and I talked about it on the way home and concluded that her consternation was related to my putting the chopsticks in my rice and that, perhaps, it was an offensive gesture.

As soon as we got home, I googled “Chopsticks stuck in rice.”

The response was

Now I know that chopsticks are only stuck into rice at funerals.

I will never do that again and I will apologise to the waitress for my mistake and lack of understanding.

We live in a culturally diverse area. We Bay Area residents can learn a lot from each other.


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