I love learning about different cultures and how they celebrate food. Japan, in particular, has some great traditions centered around food that should always be respected. In America, we love sushi—but we might not always know what to order, how to eat it, or how to use chopsticks. So I asked my friend from Tokyo for advice on proper etiquette while eating sushi. I might as well ask him, rather than look like an idiot trying to stab my sushi with a chopstick. Here's what he had to say.

1. Don't Send the "Sushi" Emoji 

nigiri, fish, wasabi, seafood, rice, salmon, sashimi, tuna, sushi
Dylan Stilin

If you're texting your friends to grab sushi—don't use the emoji that you think looks like sushi rolls. Because it really isn't. Yes, it has the raw fish on top, but that's actually sashimi. Apple doesn't have a traditional sushi emoji—but Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger do.  

2. Know the Difference Between Sushi Rolls and Sushi

ginger, wasabi, nori, salmon, avocado, shrimp, eel, rice, tuna, sushi
Claire Dinhut

In Japan, sushi is usually a one-bite kind of food. Sushi rolls consists of 6 small pieces. In America, sushi rolls are 8 pieces. Portion control, America. 

3. Know the Difference Between Traditional Sushi Rolls and American Sushi Rolls

soy sauce, sake, sashimi, tuna, salmon, wasabi, fish, seafood, rice, sushi
Photo by Julie Mirliss

In Japan, traditional sushi rolls (Maki) consists of sushi rice and fish or vegetables wrapped in nori (seaweed). Americans put rice on the outside and jam-pack it with different types of fish, veggies and whatever else can fit inside the roll. So when you're ordering, go for the traditional version. It's more impressive. 

4. Don't Dip Your Rice in Soy Sauce

tea, sushi
Photo by Marissa Sherman

The rice in sushi is already flavored and should not touch the soy sauce. It will also break apart the sushi. In Japanese culture, soy sauce should only touch the fish. That is all.

5. Do Eat It in One Bite

tuna, salmon, shrimp, fish, seafood, rice, sushi
Photo by Marissa Sherman

Don't try to take two bites of sushi. It's considered rude. (But maybe take two bites of that sushi burrito. That thing is enormous.) Take one bite of traditional Maki. But seriously, don't try to cut it with your chopstick. 

6. Do Eat the Pink Ginger Between Mouthfuls of Sushi

vegetable, cucumber, avocado, wasabi, shrimp, rice, fish, salmon, seafood, sushi
Photo by Adam H. Weiss

The ginger is meant to cleanse your palate and aid with digestion. Don't add it as a topping—and whatever you do—don't dip it in the soy sauce. It's a delicate addition to the meal that will help you enjoy the flavors of the fish.

7. Don't Mix Wasabi and Soy Sauce

nigiri, rice, salmon, tuna, sushi
Morgan Goldberg

This is acceptable—but not technically traditional. Mixing wasabi and soy sauce isn't proper etiquette in Japan. But hey, there's nothing wrong with experimenting with flavors.