Many cuisines come with customs and standards all their own. Let’s be real here, American etiquette will only get you so far… A perfect example of this is with sushi. While I am sure many of you regularly enjoy in this Japanese cuisine, you might be surprised to learn what is considered to proper and what is thought to be impolite. And so, to keep you ladies lovely no matter where you dine, here is a quick crash course in Japanese dining:


  1. Feel free to alternate between chopsticks and fingers. Believe it or not, both are completely acceptable!
  2. Dip the fish into the soy sauce (not the rice side).
  3. Eat each piece of sushi in one mouthful. And please–chew with your mouth closed, of course.
  4. Signal to your waiter that you’re finished eating by resting your chopsticks across your soy sauce dish.
  5. Use the blunt, wide end of your chopsticks when serving yourself from a shared plate. (Who knew?!)


  • Rub your chopsticks together to sand down any splinters. It implies that the chopsticks are of low quality and is considered rude.
  • Dip the rice side of your sushi into the soy sauce (remember, just the fish).
  • Use the pickled ginger as a garnish for your sushi; it is meant to clear your palate in between bites! And I hear it’s good for digestion…
  • Dump wasabi into your soy sauce; wasabi should be put directly on your sushi.
  • Bite your sushi in half and put it back on the plate.
  • Give the sushi chef a tip. Traditionally sushi chefs never handle money directly (and thank goodness because money is dirty).

And there you have it–now you’ll be the best-behaved sushi savant in the entire restaurant! For more tips on restaurant dining, check out my post about restaurant etiquette.

As Ron Burgundy would say, “stay classy” LC readers 🙂

Is there a situation that has you would like to learn the proper protocol for? Tell me in the comments below and I just might answer it in my next Ladylike Laws post.

XO Lauren

P.S. If you love sushi as much as I do, be sure to check out my blog about my favorite sushi spots in Los Angeles.

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