"Can you use chopsticks?" is one of the stock questions curious Japanese are supposed to ask foreigners. (A friend of mine even reported hearing a Japanese colleague of his ask a Chinese the same question, to which the acerbic reply - just before the guy realized his gaffe - was 'Yes, we invented them'.) Yet now the Japanese are asking each other!
The Hisata Gakuen Sasebo Girls' High School in Nagasaki will not only be asking its prospective students the chopstick question next April, but will be giving them a three-minute pick-up-the-beans test to see if they hold the chopsticks 'properly' and to check how 'smoothly' they can use them.
The rationale for this unique test is to check that the girls have basic 'lifestyle and dining manners', a requirement that the Cabinet Office Food Education Center says it's 'never heard of before'.
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Thursday, October 26, 2006