Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Close

  • Grows vegetables
  • Fills classrooms
  • Drills wells
  • Empowers women
  • Fights poverty

Dining in Chopstick Societies

£29.99

Product description

One of the most perplexing moments for a Westerner dining in Asia is figuring how to cut fish or meat with chopsticks.

In Warner’s book, he shows in photos how to cut into meat holding both chopsticks in the same hand.

The subtitle adequately describes what’s in store for the next 145 pages: “Introducing the when, where, why, what and how to manipulate chopsticks with ease in chopstick societies — knowing manners, tradition and the dos and don’ts.”

But this book is more than just a bunch of slaps on the wrist to get the chopstick novice to hold the sticks properly. It’s also full of colourful pictures of mouthwatering Chinese and Japanese dishes and “Doc” Warner’s extensive collection of chopsticks and hashioki, or chopstick rests.

Chopsticks, Warner writes, are K’uai Tzu — the Nimble Brothers — and are used by about 1.5 billion people every meal. “The Nimble Brothers — k’uai tzu, hashi, otemoto, umeshi or chopsticks — are always on call to carry rice from a bowl to the mouth, as the food bridge of human life.”

Portuguese seafarers who established a trading post in Macao in the 13th century coined the term “chopsticks,” Warner says. The “barbarians” were amazed at how quickly children could gulp down a bowl of rice by using chopsticks and used the Cantonese term for speed (“Chop, Chop!”) to describe the “fast” sticks.

Of course, the Chinese, and later the Japanese, were horrified at the table manners of the barbarians who ate with their fingers and daggers.

After some more history, Warner gets to the book’s main point: How to use chopsticks properly without embarrassing yourself in front of your Asian hosts.

“The book is actually more than 20 years in the making,” Warner said recently in his den in Yonabaru, a town in southern Okinawa. On the large computer screen is the beginning of his next book, a history of the Battle of Okinawa.

“I started a series of lectures at various officers’ and wives’ clubs on Japanese customs, including the proper use of chopsticks,” he said. “The book just grew from there.”

Warner said he’s always been fascinated with Japan and all things Asian. He grew up among the children of Japanese immigrants in Long Beach, Calif., who introduced him to the martial arts, particularly kendo. He practiced the art of swordplay as a teenager and continued at the University of California, where he lived in a Japanese fraternity and briefly held the world record for the breaststroke.

He studied kendo in Japan in the late 1930s until a letter from his mother tipped off the Japanese secret police that he was a second lieutenant in the Marine Reserves. He slipped out of the country minutes before the Kempei came to look for him.

During World War II he fought in the Solomon Islands, losing his left leg but never his spirit. He continued to practice kendo and taught college in California before coming to Okinawa.

That’s where Chapter 8 becomes particularly useful. In it Warner warns of the various sins of chopstick usage that unschooled gaijin (non-Japanese) frequently fall into, such as plunging the chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

“Such a position is reserved for an offering to the spirit of a deceased person and is only placed on a family shrine altar shelf,” he writes.

Other “don’ts” include passing food from chopstick to chopstick, using the rim of the bowl as a rest for the chopsticks, tapping empty rice bowls, using chopsticks as pointers, dunking the chopsticks in your water glass, and moving a bowl or dish while still holding the chopsticks in your hands. Other chapters include customs for eating sushi (one time where it’s OK to pick up food with your hand).

Item details

Added value:
Signed First Edition
Author(s):
Warner, Gordon
Condition:
Fine
Edition:
2007
Format:
Paperback
Number of pages:
145
Publisher:
Gordon Warner

Standard UK Delivery £3.95 per order

Delivery FAQs

Free returns

within 21 days.
Returns policy

About this item

One of the most perplexing moments for a Westerner dining in Asia is figuring how to cut fish or meat with chopsticks.

In Warner’s book, he shows in photos how to cut into meat holding both chopsticks in the same hand.

The subtitle adequately describes what’s in store for the next 145 pages: “Introducing the when, where, why, what and how to manipulate chopsticks with ease in chopstick societies — knowing manners, tradition and the dos and don’ts.”

But this book is more than just a bunch of slaps on the wrist to get the chopstick novice to hold the sticks properly. It’s also full of colourful pictures of mouthwatering Chinese and Japanese dishes and “Doc” Warner’s extensive collection of chopsticks and hashioki, or chopstick rests.

Chopsticks, Warner writes, are K’uai Tzu — the Nimble Brothers — and are used by about 1.5 billion people every meal. “The Nimble Brothers — k’uai tzu, hashi, otemoto, umeshi or chopsticks — are always on call to carry rice from a bowl to the mouth, as the food bridge of human life.”

Portuguese seafarers who established a trading post in Macao in the 13th century coined the term “chopsticks,” Warner says. The “barbarians” were amazed at how quickly children could gulp down a bowl of rice by using chopsticks and used the Cantonese term for speed (“Chop, Chop!”) to describe the “fast” sticks.

Of course, the Chinese, and later the Japanese, were horrified at the table manners of the barbarians who ate with their fingers and daggers.

After some more history, Warner gets to the book’s main point: How to use chopsticks properly without embarrassing yourself in front of your Asian hosts.

“The book is actually more than 20 years in the making,” Warner said recently in his den in Yonabaru, a town in southern Okinawa. On the large computer screen is the beginning of his next book, a history of the Battle of Okinawa.

“I started a series of lectures at various officers’ and wives’ clubs on Japanese customs, including the proper use of chopsticks,” he said. “The book just grew from there.”

Warner said he’s always been fascinated with Japan and all things Asian. He grew up among the children of Japanese immigrants in Long Beach, Calif., who introduced him to the martial arts, particularly kendo. He practiced the art of swordplay as a teenager and continued at the University of California, where he lived in a Japanese fraternity and briefly held the world record for the breaststroke.

He studied kendo in Japan in the late 1930s until a letter from his mother tipped off the Japanese secret police that he was a second lieutenant in the Marine Reserves. He slipped out of the country minutes before the Kempei came to look for him.

During World War II he fought in the Solomon Islands, losing his left leg but never his spirit. He continued to practice kendo and taught college in California before coming to Okinawa.

That’s where Chapter 8 becomes particularly useful. In it Warner warns of the various sins of chopstick usage that unschooled gaijin (non-Japanese) frequently fall into, such as plunging the chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.

“Such a position is reserved for an offering to the spirit of a deceased person and is only placed on a family shrine altar shelf,” he writes.

Other “don’ts” include passing food from chopstick to chopstick, using the rim of the bowl as a rest for the chopsticks, tapping empty rice bowls, using chopsticks as pointers, dunking the chopsticks in your water glass, and moving a bowl or dish while still holding the chopsticks in your hands. Other chapters include customs for eating sushi (one time where it’s OK to pick up food with your hand).

Added value:
Signed First Edition
Author(s):
Warner, Gordon
Condition:
Fine
Edition:
2007
Format:
Paperback
Number of pages:
145
Publisher:
Gordon Warner

Delivery & returns

This item will be dispatched to UK addresses via second class post within 2 working days of receipt of your order. Standard UK delivery is £3.95 per order, so you're only charged once no matter how many items you have in your basket. Any additional courier charges will be applied at checkout as they vary depending on delivery address.

You can find out more about delivery and returns in our help section.

We offer a no quibble returns policy as follows:

Wedding dresses: 14 days

Overseas returns: 31 days

Everything else: 21 days


This item is also available for international delivery by airmail, carrying a mandatory delivery charge of:

Europe: £4.70

Outside Europe: £7.00

Volunteer listed

Wonder how this unique item ended up online?

Most of the second-hand items you see online have been donated, by supporters like you, to our high street stores. Each item is then priced, photographed and listed on this site by our amazing team of volunteers from across the country.

After you have bought your item, our team of volunteers package and dispatch it from the Shop straight to you or your chosen recipient.

All profits from the sales of our goods go towards funding Oxfam's work around the world. We rely on your donations to sell online so please keep the cycle of goodness going!

To find out more about volunteering with Oxfam, please visit our how to volunteer page.

Oxfam Books & Music Wells

Oxfam is the UK's largest second hand bookseller, but it doesn't stop there. We sell a great range of donated music as well as books of all sorts. Whether it's vintage LPs or the latest modern fiction you want, we're well worth a look! We also sell Fairtrade food, Fairtrade cleaning products and greetings cards. Call us for more information. Please contact store directly for opening hours.

View Shop