Japanese cuisine is one of the most popular forms of culinary art in the world today. In fact, according to Forbes, there are now more than 90,000 Japanese restaurants around the globe. This number is still expected to grow — a clear testimony of the continuous clamor for this particular cuisine.

But even if there are already numerous Japanese restaurants in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, New York, London, Paris, and various places across the globe, there are still a number of people who still haven’t actually eaten at one because of one reason or another.

If you’re one of the few who haven’t tried dining at an authentic Japanese restaurant, here some important tips and etiquette you have to remember:

  1. Be nice to the restaurant greeter and wait staff assisting you

When entering a Japanese restaurant (and for any other types of dining establishments), it is always nice to greet your host. Be polite to all wait staff as well. Keep in mind that being a nice customer always pays off.

  1. Use the oshibori properly

Many Japanese restaurants have the wait staff give guests a hot wet towel called oshibori. Use this towel to clean or wipe your hands.

Once you’re done using it, roll it up the same way it was given to you and place it on the table.

  1. Peruse the menu carefully

The best Japanese restaurants have a variety of authentic Japanese dishes. Some of them even offer fantastic Friday evening brunches for foodies to enjoy a culinary journey of Japanese delights.

Some of the most popular and delectable foods you will see on Japanese restaurant menu are:

  • Sushi
  • Sashimi
  • Tempura
  • Tonkatsu
  • Yakitori
  • Gyoza

Many restaurants offer traditional Japanese noodle dishes as well such as ramen, udon, and yakisoba.

Eating healthily at a Japanese restaurant

Aside from foods mentioned above, Japanese restaurants also have salads, soups, and fresh fruits on their menu. As such, you will have a lot of healthy food options to choose from.

If you want to enjoy healthy and good food when dining at this type of restaurant, when ordering, keep in mind that dishes which have poultry, fish, and shellfish as the main protein are better choices over beef or pork.

Steamed dishes are also healthier options.  Dishes that are braised, broiled, grilled or sautéed are safe choices as well.

  1. Know basic chopstick etiquette

Eating at a Japanese restaurant means using chopsticks. Although you may know how to use this type of utensil, you still have to follow the right etiquette when using them.

Here is a list of important chopstick etiquette you have to follow:

  • Place your chopsticks on a chopstick rest when not using them. Usually, there is a little ornament on the table that allows guests to set their chopsticks down when not using them so that the tips won’t have to touch the table.
  • Avoid rubbing your chopsticks together before and while using them
  • Do not pass food to another person’s chopsticks using your chopsticks
  • Do not stick your chopsticks upright into your rice or bowl of food
  • Avoid using your chopstick to move a plate or bowl closer to you
  • If the chopsticks given to you were wrapped in paper, don’t throw the wrapper. Put back the chopsticks inside the wrapper once you’re done so that the wait staff won’t have to touch them when cleaning your table.
  1. Use the dipping sauces and condiments properly

To fully enjoy your meals, avoid overpowering them with sauces and condiments.

Do not put wasabi in the soy sauce. This is considered rude or bad manners in Japan. The correct way to add wasabi on sushi is to get a small amount and put it directly onto the sushi rice under the fresh fish.

When eating sushi, don’t dip the sushi rice into the soy sauce. Dip the topping or fish on the sauce to get only a hint of soy sauce. By doing so, you get the complete flavor and freshness of the fish.

  1. Do not pour your own drink

Lastly, to keep up with Japanese dining and drinking traditions, if you’re having sake or sharing drinks with your companions, make sure you pour their drinks for them. They should also do the same for you. And when raising a toast, say kanpai which means “to empty one’s glass.”

Following these tips and knowing the basic eating and drinking etiquette will help you have a more enjoyable dining experience at a Japanese restaurant. When you have everything down pat, dining at a Japanese restaurant will be as fun as eating at a French bistro, British pub, or American steakhouse.

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Norway is a country which lies on top of the arctic circle, and even claims ownership of an island located between Argentina and Antarctica. There are many things Norway is known for, from it’s beautiful Fjords, to the equally beautiful Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

  1. Monty Python’s famous movie; Life of Brian was banned in Norway due to reasons of Blasphemy. That made the neighbouring country Sweden market their movie as being “So funny it was outlawed in Norway.” [Source]
  2. To become a police officer in this country, you are required to have foregone a 3 year education at a higher level university college especially meant for police cadets. The reward is that not only are you allowed to police once graduating, but you also get your very own bachelor’s degree in “Police Studies” as a benefit, this is similar to what happens in Denmark[Source]
  3. While the Japanese are famously fond of Sushi, it wasn’t until a combined Norwegian marketing effort that Salmon sushi, called Sashimi in Japanese became a thing. Before the campaign the Japanese people believed this particular raw trout species as being dangerous because of their experiences with the Pacific salmon. However the Atlantic salmon that the Norwegians had plenty of in their waters was perfectly safe to eat in it’s raw form and slowly they managed to get the message through. [Source] 
  4. The English king Henry the Third once was gifted a live polar bear from the Norwegian King Haakon of Norway. This was way back in the middle of the 13th century, back when the Tower of London was very much maintained at it’s fullest, so it served as a great deterrent for would be escapees, and was even put on a leash so it could hunt for fish in the river Thames. [Source]
  5. The Norwegian vikings sure knew how to live life. Harald Hadrada was one such a man. He fled from Norway due east towards the Russian Empire, where he gained temporary exile. However he quickly moved once more, to the Eastern Roman Empire and went on to become a member of a special unity of Nordic guards protecting the King and fighting as mercenaries at other times. His travels took him as far as modern Iraq in the middle-east, before he returned to marry a Russian princess. With this new support he returned to his home country and took to the throne, before finally invading England to round things out. [Source]
  6. If you are granted access to the country, you are allowed to study in any of Norway’s public universities without having to pay any tuition. This is all part of the government’s scheme to establish Norway as a center of learning in the world. [Source]
  7. And once more back to the heroic and this time romantic viking Kings. King Harald of Norway was not allowed to marry his chosen love by the court and advisors around him, so in protest he publicly declared he would remain without a wife forever, and therefore put uncertainty as to the succession and safety of the crown, if he was not allowed to marry his childhood sweetheart.  She was eventually crowned as Queen of Norway alongside her Husband, King Harald. [Source]