This blog is something that often other gaijin complain about when moving to Japan. Receiving a fork in a restaurant when you are not supposed to.
Its a simple thing, but its rather stupid. Its not some big discrimination that is worth suing over, you could hardly call it discrimination, but rather bad business.
Now some would say, "why is this bad business, its just a fork, just ask for chopsticks". Yes. That is true. However.
The fact still remains, all the customers should be treated the same and it is rude to judge a customer based off their race and assume what they will eat with. It doesn't make people feel happy or feel comfortable when they are judged by what they look like.
Its just as ignorant as a racially Asian looking person walking into a Canadian restaurant, ordering a salad and out come some chopsticks. WTF?
In Japan, Chopsticks are used to eat many things, not just Japanese food. Chopsticks are not used to eat everything though. Instead of listing off the stuff they use chopsticks for I am only going to talk about some important stuff.
In Japan, when you eat a salad, you eat it with chopsticks. It is the most normal tool to eat a salad with.
There are some exceptions, certain western food restaurants ONLY have fork and spoon to eat with. However, in general, especially at a convinience store, Salad is eaten with chopsticks.
I have been buying food at convince stores for over 2 years now, never having a problem that some people think of. Many people mention being automatically given a fork for their food. I haven't experienced it till a few days ago.
Just a normal day I bought my Wakame and bean Salad at the Convince store and brought it to school. When it came time to open it I was shocked to find a plastic fork.
I was shocked because I felt at first, Did that person even see that I ordered a salad?? I thought this person didn't even notice what I bought, how can they not see it? I didn't order spaghetti....
It is so normal to get chopsticks when you get a salad, just like you would get chopsticks as you get soba or sushi, pretty much any food at the conbini except for friend rice (spoon) or spaghetti (fork). I didn't think "racism! racism!" right away because I assumed that the person didn't see that I got a salad.
Now sometimes this happens to non-Asian raced people. Which is rude and annoying. And sometimes people will get very offended. Its not the worst type of discrimination, but not a lot of discrimination happens in Japan, so the little things bother you. If I was at home, I could have just tossed the fork aside and grabbed some chopsticks in my kitchen no problem. But I was at school so it caused a little bit of a inconvenience for me.
I went to the teachers room quickly at school and asked to borrow chopsticks. Wasting over 5 mins of my eating time. Even the teachers were a little surprised that they gave me a fork and said 'you can't eat salad with a fork, strange'.
Now I know what you might be thinking, "JUST SUCK IT UP GAIJIN AND EAT WITH FORK".
Wrong. 1. You CAN'T eat this salad with a fork. I mean its more hard than with chopsticks.
As you can see in the picture above, there are beans, and if you can see there are small little black lines that probably look like worms to you, but that is called HIJIKI. This isn't something that you can pick up easily with a fork. Forks involve stabbing your food. If you stab those beans, it breaks them in half, or they slip away. Its much easy to pick them up with chopsticks (unless someone wanted to pass me some tongs). Even a spoon would make things more easy.
As for the hijiki, it is too small to be stabbed with a fork, so the only other good way to eat is to use a spoon (which I wasn't provided). Of course picking up the Kabocha and lettuce and other large items would be easy to get with the fork, however the small things, no.
People might say to just suck it up and deal with the fork but its not something I would do and its not something other Japanes would do either. I have seen many times at an actual western style restaraunt where they do give people by default, a fork or spoon to eat with. I have seen customers ask for chopsticks. So if these people don't just "deal with it" why should I? It is what I find more easy to eat with, it is what I need to eat with.
This is the reason why Japanese people eat salad with forks, the ingredients are different often and its just easier to pick it up with chopsticks. You would think that salad is considered western food, but its not. Salad is eaten in Japan just as it is in many countries, though in Japan a lot of times the salad ingredients are much different. There are some things that Japanese people only eat with a fork (Spaghetti), but Salad is something that you eat with chopsticks, it is just more easy that way.
Even easier is using your hands though.. (Guess I should go on a trip to India ^^)