Kotaku
The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese OreosMy mother used to tell me not to play with my food, but the rule never applied to Oreos. It's almost as if the cookie was meant to be played—you take apart the Oreo, lick the creamy center first and then eat the cookie as a whole.


The Oreo (and the way to eat it), has transcended borders and cultures and shown up in many parts of the world, even in China. Introduced to China only 16 years ago, the three-syllable name and term Oreo (AO Li AO 奥利奥) has already become part of the common psyche and vernacular.


Of course Oreo's journey into China wasn't all smooth sailing. The original recipe had to be altered for Chinese palates the and sugar content reduced (funny considering how many traditional Chinese deserts are tooth-decayingly sweet). Over the years, Kraft China also introduced a variation of Oreos that deviated from the cookie formula, wafers, cookie straws, cakes and such. Some of these deviations from the traditional cookie have made it to the States, but they remain staples only in China.


The Oreo Brand currently offers 19 different variations of Oreos. 9 are different flavors of cookie, the other 10 are various deviations from the main cookie type.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Now I'm not claiming to be a snackologist, particularly because the subject matter of this "review" hits on touching the "sovereign deity that is the Oreo". However like Kotaku's resident Snackologist Mike Fahey put it, "But then Nabisco, in its hubris, began to offer our divine inspiration in a variety of flavors."


Cookies:


Kraft offers 9 variations of the basic cookie sandwich equation all of which is just a deviation from the original cream filling. 6 are single flavor fillings, you've got the original flavor, then the more common strawberry and chocolate creme fillings. The other three single flavor fillings are a bit more out there with the "sprinkle" filled birthday flavor and the two "ice cream" flavored fillings.


The remaining three "regular" cookies come in the "double delight" variation. Same chocolate cookies but with dual toned cremes. Unlike the more generic variations found state-side, Kraft China has opted to go with flavor combinations such as grape/peach and raspberry/blueberry.


Each of these cookies were put through a rigorous test of twisting, tearing, licking and dunking to see how they fare as an "Oreo" cookie.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Original Flavor
The original flavor cookie should be familiar to everyone who's had an Oreo cookie. Of course the Chinese version will disappoint some with its lower sugar content.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Chocolate Creme
While I wasn't too fond of the Chinese take on the original Oreo, the Chinese version of the chocolate made me forget what it was like to eat a real chocolate creme Oreo. The cream is light and airy and not too chocolatey. In fact it feels like a compliment to the Chocolate cookie instead of the main focus. The chocolate favor of the cream is so subtle that even when you lick the cream directly the chocolate isn't that strong.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Strawberry
Strawberry creme like Chocolate creme lacks a punch. The strawberry flavoring is very light and near nonexistent but compared to the chocolate Oreo, this one didn't quite compliment the cookie.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Green Tea Ice Cream
The Green Tea Ice Cream came straight out of left field; it wasn't something that I expected. The moment the green creme touches your tongue a tingly sensation starts to spread. No I don't mean the tingly sensation you get when you're surprised or anxious but instead one that feels like you just chewed a some double-mint gum. Dipping the cookie in milk only strengthens the feeling. Eating this cookie made me want to drink some Lipton Brisk iced tea.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Vanilla Ice Cream
This cookie tasted exactly like a regular Oreo albeit with the same tingly sensation that the Green Tea Ice Cream cookie had. This tingly sensation isn't bad—it doesn't add or subtract from the taste, but it simply cannot be ignored.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Birthday Cake
Perhaps its because of my sweet tooth, or maybe because I like crunchy sprinkles, but this cookie was perhaps my favorite of all the Oreo cookies I had to consume for this review. Think of a regular Oreo cookie with its vanilla filling but peppered with different flavored sprinkles. Some sprinkles taste like a citrus fruit, others taste like just pure sugar, but there's definitely nothing wrong with that.


Maybe it has something to do with the sprinkles creating bumps in the cream, but this cookie was definitely the best one to twist apart!


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Raspberry/Blueberry
Originally the whole concept of "double delight" Oreos, well, delighted me, but I was hesitant about the Chinese take on it. Here they went with fruit fillings and changed the name to "Double Fruit Oreos". The raspberry and blueberry combination was very pungent. Once outside of the wrapper, my living room was filled with some kind of grape/berry smell. I own a dog, and for the smell of the Oreo to permeate past the dog smell is quite the feat.


Taste wise this cookie was just strange. Separately the cream fillings may have worked, together they clash. The blueberry had a slight sourness to it that overwhelmed the tanginess of the raspberry. The cookie also clashed with milk.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Mango/Orange
The Mango/Orange combination was my favorite of the fruity blends. It smells and tastes like Trident Tropical Twist gum. I know, I know, equating the taste to gum and saying that it tastes good is odd but this cookie is really really good. Anyone who's enjoyed eating chocolate oranges will enjoy this cookie.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Grape/Peach
Not being a fan of anything grape flavored (except cold syrup and actual grapes), this cookie really turned me off. Like with the strawberry and chocolate cookies, the taste of the cream was negligible. There is only a slight aftertaste of grape at the end of each bite. Strangely the peach flavor is completely absent. Like the blueberry/raspberry cookie, this one didn't go very well with milk.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos


Non Cookies:
The wafers unfortunately aren't that different from each other. The Vanilla chocolate wafer and the regular chocolate wafer are reminiscent of Kit-Kat bars, except the chocolate covering the wafers is a bit thicker. The wafers unlike the cookies don't really dunk well in milk and you can't really lick the chocolate off, unless you let it melt underneath your fingers for a while. They're light and airy too, meaning that I ate about 5 during the time it took me to write this sentence.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Coconut Wafer:
The coconut wafer on the other hand wasn't covered in chocolate and dunked like a champion. Due to the fact that I'm a messy eater I didn't really enjoy eating this cookie. It tasted great but it left chocolatey crumbs everywhere. Considering my dog licks everything including crumbs off my peach fuzz of a beard, he might accidentally consume some chocolate. It did give the milk a kick ass coconutty chocolatey taste to it!


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Oreo Sippers - Chocolate straw
Taking the whole "Oreos and milk go together" notion, making a cookie straw seemed like a good idea. It did well State-side as cereal straws but one thing about these "straws" is that they aren't very good straws. The chocolate straw tastes really dry and mediocre when, well, dry. Add in some milk and the whole thing comes together. Novelty aside this isn't my kind of treat.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Strawberry Oreo Soft Cookie
Another strange "cookie" to bear the Oreo name in China is the soft cookie. Basically just chocolate cookies with flavored icing. Despite having nothing to do with Oreos the cookie has the Oreo name and it does well to uphold it. The soft cookie was a nice closer to all the crumbly crunchy cookies that I had before it. The body was solid and it held up well. Also the flavored icing wasn't too strong or too weak, just enough to give the cookie a touch of strawberry flavor.


Verdict
Ultimately it's understandable that Kraft had to create so many variations of their holy cookie. In China there are close to 1.4 billion, billion with a B, people. It almost feels as if Kraft was putting the Oreo name on all these products for the sole purpose of putting their name out as much as possible.


Kraft's strategies seemed to have worked considering Oreo is synonymous in China with cookie sandwiches and that China is now Oreo's second biggest market world-wide. But to true Oreo lovers, the standard American Oreo is still the way to go, and after ingesting 30 plus cookies and risking diabetes, I'd have to say, I still miss American Oreos.



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos


Kotaku
The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese OreosMy mother used to tell me not to play with my food, but the rule never applied to Oreos. It's almost as if the cookie was meant to be played—you take apart the Oreo, lick the creamy center first and then eat the cookie as a whole.


The Oreo (and the way to eat it), has transcended borders and cultures and shown up in many parts of the world, even in China. Introduced to China only 16 years ago, the three-syllable name and term Oreo (AO Li AO 奥利奥) has already become part of the common psyche and vernacular.


Of course Oreo's journey into China wasn't all smooth sailing. The original recipe had to be altered for Chinese palates the and sugar content reduced (funny considering how many traditional Chinese deserts are tooth-decayingly sweet). Over the years, Kraft China also introduced a variation of Oreos that deviated from the cookie formula, wafers, cookie straws, cakes and such. Some of these deviations from the traditional cookie have made it to the States, but they remain staples only in China.


The Oreo Brand currently offers 19 different variations of Oreos. 9 are different flavors of cookie, the other 10 are various deviations from the main cookie type.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Now I'm not claiming to be a snackologist, particularly because the subject matter of this "review" hits on touching the "sovereign deity that is the Oreo". However like Kotaku's resident Snackologist Mike Fahey put it, "But then Nabisco, in its hubris, began to offer our divine inspiration in a variety of flavors."


Cookies:


Kraft offers 9 variations of the basic cookie sandwich equation all of which is just a deviation from the original cream filling. 6 are single flavor fillings, you've got the original flavor, then the more common strawberry and chocolate creme fillings. The other three single flavor fillings are a bit more out there with the "sprinkle" filled birthday flavor and the two "ice cream" flavored fillings.


The remaining three "regular" cookies come in the "double delight" variation. Same chocolate cookies but with dual toned cremes. Unlike the more generic variations found state-side, Kraft China has opted to go with flavor combinations such as grape/peach and raspberry/blueberry.


Each of these cookies were put through a rigorous test of twisting, tearing, licking and dunking to see how they fare as an "Oreo" cookie.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Original Flavor
The original flavor cookie should be familiar to everyone who's had an Oreo cookie. Of course the Chinese version will disappoint some with its lower sugar content.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Chocolate Creme
While I wasn't too fond of the Chinese take on the original Oreo, the Chinese version of the chocolate made me forget what it was like to eat a real chocolate creme Oreo. The cream is light and airy and not too chocolatey. In fact it feels like a compliment to the Chocolate cookie instead of the main focus. The chocolate favor of the cream is so subtle that even when you lick the cream directly the chocolate isn't that strong.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Strawberry
Strawberry creme like Chocolate creme lacks a punch. The strawberry flavoring is very light and near nonexistent but compared to the chocolate Oreo, this one didn't quite compliment the cookie.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Green Tea Ice Cream
The Green Tea Ice Cream came straight out of left field; it wasn't something that I expected. The moment the green creme touches your tongue a tingly sensation starts to spread. No I don't mean the tingly sensation you get when you're surprised or anxious but instead one that feels like you just chewed a some double-mint gum. Dipping the cookie in milk only strengthens the feeling. Eating this cookie made me want to drink some Lipton Brisk iced tea.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Vanilla Ice Cream
This cookie tasted exactly like a regular Oreo albeit with the same tingly sensation that the Green Tea Ice Cream cookie had. This tingly sensation isn't bad—it doesn't add or subtract from the taste, but it simply cannot be ignored.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Birthday Cake
Perhaps its because of my sweet tooth, or maybe because I like crunchy sprinkles, but this cookie was perhaps my favorite of all the Oreo cookies I had to consume for this review. Think of a regular Oreo cookie with its vanilla filling but peppered with different flavored sprinkles. Some sprinkles taste like a citrus fruit, others taste like just pure sugar, but there's definitely nothing wrong with that.


Maybe it has something to do with the sprinkles creating bumps in the cream, but this cookie was definitely the best one to twist apart!


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Raspberry/Blueberry
Originally the whole concept of "double delight" Oreos, well, delighted me, but I was hesitant about the Chinese take on it. Here they went with fruit fillings and changed the name to "Double Fruit Oreos". The raspberry and blueberry combination was very pungent. Once outside of the wrapper, my living room was filled with some kind of grape/berry smell. I own a dog, and for the smell of the Oreo to permeate past the dog smell is quite the feat.


Taste wise this cookie was just strange. Separately the cream fillings may have worked, together they clash. The blueberry had a slight sourness to it that overwhelmed the tanginess of the raspberry. The cookie also clashed with milk.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Mango/Orange
The Mango/Orange combination was my favorite of the fruity blends. It smells and tastes like Trident Tropical Twist gum. I know, I know, equating the taste to gum and saying that it tastes good is odd but this cookie is really really good. Anyone who's enjoyed eating chocolate oranges will enjoy this cookie.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Grape/Peach
Not being a fan of anything grape flavored (except cold syrup and actual grapes), this cookie really turned me off. Like with the strawberry and chocolate cookies, the taste of the cream was negligible. There is only a slight aftertaste of grape at the end of each bite. Strangely the peach flavor is completely absent. Like the blueberry/raspberry cookie, this one didn't go very well with milk.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos


Non Cookies:
The wafers unfortunately aren't that different from each other. The Vanilla chocolate wafer and the regular chocolate wafer are reminiscent of Kit-Kat bars, except the chocolate covering the wafers is a bit thicker. The wafers unlike the cookies don't really dunk well in milk and you can't really lick the chocolate off, unless you let it melt underneath your fingers for a while. They're light and airy too, meaning that I ate about 5 during the time it took me to write this sentence.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Coconut Wafer:
The coconut wafer on the other hand wasn't covered in chocolate and dunked like a champion. Due to the fact that I'm a messy eater I didn't really enjoy eating this cookie. It tasted great but it left chocolatey crumbs everywhere. Considering my dog licks everything including crumbs off my peach fuzz of a beard, he might accidentally consume some chocolate. It did give the milk a kick ass coconutty chocolatey taste to it!


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Oreo Sippers - Chocolate straw
Taking the whole "Oreos and milk go together" notion, making a cookie straw seemed like a good idea. It did well State-side as cereal straws but one thing about these "straws" is that they aren't very good straws. The chocolate straw tastes really dry and mediocre when, well, dry. Add in some milk and the whole thing comes together. Novelty aside this isn't my kind of treat.


The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos Strawberry Oreo Soft Cookie
Another strange "cookie" to bear the Oreo name in China is the soft cookie. Basically just chocolate cookies with flavored icing. Despite having nothing to do with Oreos the cookie has the Oreo name and it does well to uphold it. The soft cookie was a nice closer to all the crumbly crunchy cookies that I had before it. The body was solid and it held up well. Also the flavored icing wasn't too strong or too weak, just enough to give the cookie a touch of strawberry flavor.


Verdict
Ultimately it's understandable that Kraft had to create so many variations of their holy cookie. In China there are close to 1.4 billion, billion with a B, people. It almost feels as if Kraft was putting the Oreo name on all these products for the sole purpose of putting their name out as much as possible.


Kraft's strategies seemed to have worked considering Oreo is synonymous in China with cookie sandwiches and that China is now Oreo's second biggest market world-wide. But to true Oreo lovers, the standard American Oreo is still the way to go, and after ingesting 30 plus cookies and risking diabetes, I'd have to say, I still miss American Oreos.



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos The Wonderfully Weird World Of Chinese Oreos


Kotaku
Japan, The Country That Isn't FIFA CrazyAsk your typical Japanese gamer what a soccer video game is, and he or she will immediately say Winning Eleven, or as it's known in the West, Pro Evolution Soccer. That is the soccer game in Japan.


One of the big reasons for this is that there is no national Japanese team in FIFA. The game does have licensed national teams, such as the official England team, which have official jerseys and logos. Japan just isn't there.


The team is in Pro Evo and is used to promote the game (big European stars also promote the game in Japan).


Many Japanese gamers, of course, want to play as the national team or as J-League teams. Since they cannot in FIFA, buying Pro Evo is a no brainer. (Meanwhile, in the UK, FIFA 13 sells a million copies in one week.)


When asked at this year's Tokyo Game Show why Japanese teams are M.I.A. in FIFA, EA's Kaz Izumi told Kotaku, "It's a licensing thing."


So when EA had the Japan licensing for 2010 FIFA World Cup, the team appeared in the game.


According to Izumi, there's also the culture of Japan to contend with. Pro Evo is a long-standing series, and players are familiar with it. "Japanese people are loyal and stick to brands they know," Izumi said. "It's sometimes hard for them to accept Western games."


EA is definitely interested in appealing to Japanese players and features players like Keisuke Honda on the cover for the Japanese release. Izumi pointed out that FIFA does a great job of showcasing the Japanese players who play in Europe.


Both Pro Evo and FIFA are excellent soccer games. Cultural allegiances aside, if you need help on picking which one is right for you, Kotaku is here to help.



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku
Strict New Download Law Won't Kill YouTube in JapanIf you think the internet is a place where information can be shared freely, a place where things like copyright law do not apply, and a place where you can do whatever you want, well, bad news. Starting today, a strict new download law ends your notion of the internet. At least in Japan, that is.


However, if you aren't already breaking copyright law in Japan, then you should be okay—even if you are checking out illegal content on YouTube.


The new law, which was passed by legislators this summer, is a stricter revision of the country's copyright law. As of today, downloading illegally uploaded materials is punishable by up to two years in prison and approximately US$25,000 in fines.


When the law was originally announced, Japanese tech pundits worried that the law could kill YouTube, a site rife with illegally uploaded movies and TV shows.


Japan's Agency for Cultural Affairs has explained the nitty-gritty of the law, going into detail about some of the finer people net users in Japan have been worried about.


In short, if you check out illegally uploaded files on YouTube, that is not illegal (having it on your cache for playback doesn't count as downloading, it seems). However, if you actually download said files onto your computer, then that would be illegal. Thus, YouTube will continue, business as usual, for the vast majority of users in Japan.


Another interesting exception is that it is not a crime to download an illegal file as an email attachment—as, I guess, the logic is that the email recipient might not know what he or she is downloading. Fair enough.


Yet, uneasiness persists online in Japan as net users anxiously wait to see how this law is enforced and how to navigate the gray area between what's allowed and what no longer is.


迫る違法DL刑罰化にネット民不安 [WebR25]



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku
Hardcore Gamer Lives In Net Cafe For Two Months, Claims It's Training.A Chinese man in Wuchang, Hubei Province, China has been living inside an internet cafe for over the past two months. When questioned as to why he was in the cafe, his answer was, "I'm training for gold."


The man, 23-year-old surnamed Wang, has been staying in a net cafe located on the corner of Xujiapeng, Wuchang. The story about Wang started circulating Chinese message boards earlier this month but no one really took it seriously, that is until Chinese internet news portal Tencent sent out a reporter to the location to verify the story.


According to the message boards and verified by Tencent, Wang has been sitting at the number 76 machine for over two months. He eats, sleeps, and lives within the cafe. Supposedly over the course of his stay (reports say that he's still at the cafe now), Wang hasn't changed his clothes or taken a shower, and he's starting to reek because he's been too busy "training for gold". Wang's apparent stench has been driving other players away from his vicinity.


Miss Xiong, the proprietor of the net cafe and some of her employees have tried to get Wang to take a break from his "training" but Wang refused. Xiong says that because Wang has paid his fees they can't really ask him or force him to leave.


Tencent reports that the true purpose of Wang's stay at the net cafe is more than just "training for gold" but instead gold farming. It appears that Wang is a Chinese gold farmer, he plays online multiplayer games and collects gold and equipment for lazy players in exchange for real world cash.


When questioned by the reporter whether or not Wang was worried about his health, overall well-being and if he was worried if his stench was affecting nearby players, Wang replied,"I don't know you. Go Away".


小伙吃住网吧两个月浑身发臭 自称代练游戏 [Tencent Games]



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku
Steve Jobs might've checked out before his time, but he left a legacy of innovation. Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is honoring Jobs with a wax figure, which website MIC Gadget recently checked out.


The video tour of the figure is, to be frank, pretty creepy—complete with crotch pans, whisker zooms, ass shots, and John Lennon's "Imagine". The whole clip is over three minutes, and it culminates in people stuffing iPhones in the nearly US$200,000 wax figure's back pocket.


Then again, Madame Tussauds reproductions tend to be rather unsettling by nature, so whaddayagonndo? You're gonna leer at wax Steve Jobs, that's what.


For those in Hong Kong, the Steve Jobs statue will be on display until November 26. After that, it will travel to Bangkok and then Shanghai, MIC reports.


The Reborn of Steve Jobs in Hong Kong (Video) [MIC Gadget]



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku
To the internet! The internet always has the answer—and it seems to for this question, too. The question arose after watching this clip, which Japanese site Gigazine posted.


In the clip, a Glock 22 fires off a jacketed hollow point underwater, and a high-speed camera captured the whole thing. According to YouTube user VuurwapenBlog, there was no damage to the firearm.


The bullet, however, seems to peter out, which perhaps expands the dearth of underwater shooting in video games.


Glock 22 Underwater High Speed Video [VuurwapenBlog@YouTube via Gigazine]



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku
Famed Japanese Anime Studio Turns to KickstarterProduction I.G of Ghost in the Shell fame is launching a Kickstarter for a new production. Dubbed Kick-Heart, the anime short is about ten minutes long and is helmed by Masaaki Yusasa. Here's the S&M themed plot:

Kick-Heart is a love story between Romeo, a successful pro-wrestler, and Juliet, a nun who lives a secret double-life as a female pro-wrestler. Romeo's secret is that he enjoys taking a beating in the ring, while Juliet feels invigorated when facing her opponents as a wrestler. When the two meet in the ring, the fireworks fly. Their story is set in the colorful backdrop of the professional wrestling world. Will Juliet reveal her true identity to the one she loves? Will Romeo be able to share his secret to the world?


It's interesting that Production I.G is using Kickstarter. Why Kickstarter, though? According to the studio, it allows riskier projects to see the light of day.


"This is a bit of an experiment for us, and we are trying to see if is possible to make these types of artistically driven films with the help of crowd-funding," wrote Production I.G. "If this goes well, we would definitely like to pursue more projects like this in the future."


Masaaki Yuasa's "Kick-Heart" [KickStarter via @Matt_Alt]



Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku
The Art of Using Chopsticks CorrectlyChopsticks are a mainstay of dinner tables in Japan and throughout Asia. Japanese people have been using them since they were small children—that doesn't mean, however, that they've been using them correctly. In fact, many have not.


According to a Meijiro University study (via Nikkei), something like 30 percent of people aged 40s to 50s use chopsticks correctly. It's said that each year the number decreases. So what's the correct way to hold chopsticks?


Before I answer that, it's important that you have chopsticks that fit your hand. If you are eating at a restaurant in Japan, you'll get standard size chopsticks, which is likely around 23cm. But, that's the typical size for men's chopsticks; the typical size for women is 21cm. However, restaurants don't usually offer a choice and just got with chopsticks in the 23cm-ish range!


Kids, however, should ideally use chopsticks of various sizes during their childhood: 1-to-2 year-olds use 13cm, 3 year-olds use 14cm, 4 year-olds use 15cm, and so on. Children around 12 or 13 use 20cm. However, most Japanese parents don't buy new chopsticks every year for their kids, and only want to when the paint on the ones they have starts chipping off or until they get way too small. When they do buy new ones, they try to get ones the kids can easily hold. And yes, one-year kids start using chopsticks to feed themselves. Using them helps with motor skills and promoted brain activity.


If you are wondering what length chopstick is best for you, you need to measure the hand you eat with. Measure the distance from your thumb to your pointer finger, so that your thumb makes a 90 degree angle where it connects to your hand (see figure). Then, take that number and times it by 1.5, and you should have the correct chopstick length.


Why does this matter? Well, if you are using chopsticks that are too small (or too large), it's far more difficult to manipulate them.


The Art of Using Chopsticks Correctly


The other thing that is important is where you hold the chopsticks. The correct place to put your fingers while holding them is two-thirds of the way from the bottom. This video shows you how to hold your fingers, but basically, you are holding the top chopstick like a pencil. You will manipulate this one; however, you will not move the bottom chopstick. The chopsticks should not cross each other while you use them.


The Japanese people who hold chopsticks incorrectly are more than capable of feeding themselves—and they might look like they're doing it correctly to the untrained eye. But, perhaps they are holding the chopsticks in the wrong place or are using the wrong finger to move the chopstick. This isn't just table manner minutia. Using chopsticks incorrectly can make picking up certain food difficult.


Japanese chopstick maker Hyozaemon even has special seminars in which he shows kids how to use chopsticks. Part of that training has students hold one chopstick as a pencil and practice moving it so they can get better at manipulating it. As they get better, some of the exercises are to pick up big or difficult food, such as peanuts or small tomatoes, before culminating in soft tofu, which often falls apart easily.


Not being able to use chopsticks correctly or having bad table manners is definitely embarrassing in Japan—and it can even reflect on one's upbringing. Parents are the ones who show their kids how to eat (granted, it's ultimately up to those children to listen).


However, as research shows, many Japanese aren't using chopsticks "correctly", which gives
some breathing room to those who haven't quite mastered them or can't use them at all. For those who want to effortlessly pick up all the food Japanese cuisine has to offer, practice might make perfect.


For everyone else, just as long as you don't stick your chopsticks in a bowl of rice (there's funeral connotations), use chopsticks that don't match (more funeral connotations), or hold them like a weapon (for obvious reasons), folks probably won't raise an eyebrow. Because in some cases, who are they to be talking?


Culture Smash is a regular dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.
(Top photo: blanche | Shutterstock)

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.
Kotaku

The Periodic Table of MinecraftMinecraft is as full of dirt and underground junk as the real world, so it may as well get its own periodic table of elements. Well, terrain blocks.


Periodic table of Minecraft [DeviantArt, via it 8-bit]


...

Search news
Archive
2014
Nov   Oct   Sep   Aug   Jul   Jun  
May   Apr   Mar   Feb   Jan  
Archives By Year
2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
2009   2008   2007   2006   2005  
2004   2003   2002