You go out to eat at an Asian restaurant for the first time—be it Japanese, Thai, or Chinese cuisine—and you order your food. You're too worried if the pretty girl you're with likes you, that you don't notice the lack of forks, spoons, and knives on the table.
The waiter brings out the food, places it in front of you, and leaves you to it. Then it hits you, they only gave you chopsticks to use.
You want to ask for a fork, but don't want to look like a fool. Instead, you decide to eat your sushi by stabbing it with the chopstick like Norman Bates from Psycho.
Your life may not be as intense as an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but we've all been there. Instead of asking for a fork or those chopsticks with the elaborate rubber band ties, follow this step-by-step guide and you'll never have to worry again (because spoons are obviously better).
Get a Grip
Just like a house, we're starting from the bottom up. Take your bottom chopstick and put it in between your thumb and pointer fingers. Have the chopstick point perpendicular to your hand as pictured above. Have the back end of the chopstick sticking out about one inch.
Clench your pinky and ring-finger as if you were closing your hand, and have your ring finger pressed up against the bottom chopstick. The bottom chopstick is supposed to stay stationary throughout the eating process.
I like to press my ring finger against the bottom chopstick as opposed to just holding it there. I find the bottom chopstick slides and won't stay still unless I do this.
With the bottom chopstick in place, get your top chopstick and hold it with your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. Think of it as if you were holding a pencil or a pen.
Before you try and catch a fly like Mr. Miyagi, you must work out the movements. The only real moving part is the top chopstick and it's just a matter of lifting it up and down.
Success is almost there you can practically taste it, but you need to learn how to move the chopsticks.
Gently start moving the top chopstick by lifting your two fingers—pointer and middle—and allowing the thumb to guide the chopstick up and down.
Now take your skills to the table. Practice eating small foods at first like sushi then gradually move up to more challenging dishes like ramen or fried rice. With those two dishes, you can use the chopsticks to gather the food and scoop the portion like a spoon.
Try as many different Asian restaurants as possible. Sushi places usually give customers chopsticks right off the bat. Other places may actually give you normal utensils from the get-go, but ask for chopsticks; challenge yourself.
Now you can use chopsticks like a pro without looking silly. (And if reading instructions isn't your thing, check out the video below for a more visual example.)