The first Sunday I was here, I went to dinner with my boss. We covered a lot of information during that dinner. We also ate some very delicious foods previously mentioned here. One of the things my boss covered, while we were eating the most amazing soba noodles I’ve ever had, was that the Japanese slurp when they eat noodles or soup. This slurping indicates that they are enjoying the food (you know, as opposed to just saying, “Wow, this food is fantastic!”).
Anyway, I am not a slurper by nature or nurture (maybe more nurture…my grandma would have beat me had I been a slurper). When I turned eight my parents took me out to eat at a very nice, very expensive French restaurant both to celebrate my birthday and to teach me all about dining etiquette. I still remember learning that you should scoop (or whatever the term is) your soup away from you and that you should always bring your food to your mouth and not your mouth to your food.
Since being in Japan, I have tried lots of different noodle dishes. And they have all been delicious, so in an effort to show my appreciation the way the Japanese will understand it best, I have also attempted slurping up said noodles. Unfortunately, the mistake that I made when attempting this is that I was still trying to keep the other rules laid out for me as a child…namely, bringing my food to my mouth and not the other way around.
An interesting thing happens when you decide to slurp up your noodles (noodles that have been sitting in soupy deliciousness) without leaning way down so your mouth is over the bowl:
I would love to say that this has only happened to me once because that would mean that I learned from my mistake. But alas, that would be a lie. In fact, this is the fourth (yes, fourth…and I’ve been here a total of 10 days) shirt that I’ve managed to slurp on. This also necessitated a trip to the store for some sort of stain treatment…to be carried in my purse for when such things happen at work (as they already have, twice, while at lunch with coworkers).
This has also made me realize that if I’m going to continue to bring my food to my mouth, then my food must come with my bowl in order to catch whatever liquids decide to go flying off of my noodles. (And let’s just be real for a minute. Whether or not I “slurp” really has nothing to do with my amazing ability to ruin whatever shirt I’m wearing…it just makes me feel better to blame it on that.)