SO you were excited to go to this newly-opened Japanese restaurant for a long overdue catch-up session with your friend but as you are eager to spill tea, she texts she's bringing along her officemate and then you start to freak out because you know you're awkward at first meetings.
Before you plan to cancel last minute, here's a little hand on what topics you should strike to open a conversation with a stranger, especially a stranger who also fancy jap-food. \_0_/
1. The history of chopsticks
Do you know that not all chopsticks look similar?
Apparently, three Asian countries who uses chopsticks for dining vary from each other and they have reasons for it.
The Chinese sticks are longer because they like to share their food. It's also noticeably pointed than the others because they often prepare fish for their meals. While Japanese ones are shorter because they do not share their meal. Korean chopsticks, on the other hand, are made of steel because way back, a lot of people died from food poisoning so they use chopsticks made of iron to identify if the soup is poisoned. Maybe now that there are not much cases of poisoning, they resort to steel instead, since it's as heavy and they already got used to the weight.
2. Flowing water
We know Japan was among the most devastated countries during the world war and Japanese went through a lot of stress-debriefing to move on. That's the reason why each house in this country, there's a man-made waterfalls or cascading bamboo where water flows. The sound it makes creates a calming atmosphere and they find it essential for maintaining their peace.
3. Tea Ceremony
Another one is tea ceremony.
They drink hot tea in a form of ceremony because it's a part of their calming process. It's poured gently from the vessel to the cup and before they take a sip, they would slowly move the cup near their nose to smell its aroma and they drink.
Now that you're properly equipped with all these conversation starters, for sure you wouldn't have a single dead air on your next meeting and you also get to leave an impression to a new friend.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 12, 2018.
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