Wakasa Lacquered Chopsticks

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Thanks to the recent boom in Japanese cuisine, it is delighting to see many foreigners using chopsticks beautifully! Japan is the rare country where people have their personal chopsticks at home. China and Korea have a culture of sharing chopsticks within the family, but Japan has developed a large variety of different chopsticks for each individual. And Wakasa lacquered chopsticks would be highly recommended to anyone who is interested in Japanese cuisine and chopsticks. Wakasa lacquered food utensils are made in Obama city, Fukui prefecture. They were registered as Traditional Crafts of Japan in 1978. Obama produces more than 80 % of all lacquered chopsticks in Japan.  Since Obama city shares its name with the 44th President of United States, Mr. Obama, he also received a set of personal chopsticks from the city.

The Wakasa lacquered method uses three main materials for decoration: eggshells, seashells, and leaves/seeds such as pine and cedar leaves. Chopsticks are covered with eggshells or seashells like bright stars in the clearest night sky. It is so beautiful and you will know immediately that this is Wakasa work. The shells are not pasted on the surface; instead, they are placed inside before being lacquered over and over. Then, the shells are revealed during resurfacing. It takes so much time and effort to make one set of chopsticks. This technique creates a smooth finish, without any roughness of touch. There are different sizes and designs for men, women and children, and it is not difficult to find a set that fits your hand nicely. Wakasa lacquered chopsticks are popular wedding gifts.

By the way, delicate maneuvering of chopsticks may be good for your brain, because hands are considered to be the second brain, according to Eastern medicine. The proper way to use chopsticks is to secure the lower chopstick with your middle, ring and little fingers while moving the upper chopstick with your thumb and forefinger.

Carrying your own chopsticks is becoming quite the fad recently. The practice is called “My Hashi (chopsticks)”. It helps to preserve forests, avoiding the waste caused by throwing away disposal utensils.  And eating with your favorite chopsticks makes each meal more special and delicious.

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