Monday, June 9, 2008

Do Sumo wrestlers use chopsticks?

In Japan, unlike in the southern part of India, the focus while eating is clearly not on quantity or volume. Take the chopstick, for example. What purpose does the chopstick serve? Why would anyone in their right mind use a stick to eat rice with? What were these people thinking? They estimated the effort it took to wash their hands after a meal and said "that seems like a lot of work. I would rather invent something which would involve no washing afterwards. It doesnt matter if it takes me an hour working at full speed, to eat a handful of rice. It doesnt matter if on many occasions I lose the patience to eat halfway through a meal. It doesnt matter if I am eating a bowlful of rice one grain at a time, doesn't matter that I am working the chopsticks at such a tremendous speed that they have their own magnetic field. (that probably explains why the Japanese take off their shoes and watches before eating)."

Do they discard the chopsticks after eating or do they wash them and reuse them? I read somewhere that they usually wash and reuse the chopsticks, but that defeats the purpose for which they were invented, doesn't it?

Maybe they like playing with their food before eating it. But what joy can be derived from watching three grains of rice writhe in pain and agony as you chew on them and crush them between your enormous moss-covered molars? That theory obviously doesn't hold water.

Anyway, at the same time, Japan had its share of smart people, too. There was a smart but elite group of tree-hugging environmentalists who boycotted the whole chopstick movement. They were highly intelligent people who knew that one would exert more energy eating the food than one would gain by digesting it. In Japan, you would lose more weight if you ate food than if you didn't. So, they wisely followed the eating techniques prevalent at that time in the southern part of India. They never used chopsticks. Even to this day, you will never find a Sumo wrestler eating with a chopstick.

I would have given anything to see the look on the chopstick-inventor's face when someone came up with the idea of a spoon. It’s easy to imagine a defeated, yet proud Japanese face. It is easy to imagine any Japanese face for that matter.

Chopsticks are made by chopping down trees. So shouldn't they technically be called choptrees?