Saturday, June 04, 2005

Getting into the Habit of Carrying Chopsticks

Indigo and I went to dinner in Jtown this evening after a long day of art-related errands. After we walked a block, I realized that I left the car without my Hello Kitty utensil kit (chopsticks, fork andspoon). We were already having trouble figuring out what to eat because we were hungry. For a split second we contemplated going to a non-Japanese chain restaurant.

"What an outrage!" I said. "We're not going to a chain just because I left my chopsticks in the car." Indigo thought this was very funny since we had just spent about 5 minutes walking back and forth indecisively. So, of course, we turned around, got the chopsticks, and ate with our own utensils at Mifune's. It was great because Indigo discovered the Soba Salad entree neither of us had ever tried before.

I don't think it makes sense to not go to a restaurant that uses chopsticks just because I forgot to bring my own. Really, it occured to me that we could have just asked for silverware for crying out loud. So it would have worked out anyway. But there are a number of things to consider here. Its kinda weird being Japanese American and asking for a fork in a Japanese restaurant. (A little internalized racism, if you know what I mean). And chopsticks are part of the experience of the food, so whether you are Japanese or not, if you know how to use chopsticks, you want to use them. Besides you can't really eat very efficiently if you don't use them. So, I can see how its difficult to ask for a fork. But I am trying to see what it is like to make this change of habit of relying on disposables because its convenient. In which case, I should ask for silverware.

It takes time to adjust to carrying my own utensils even while I am< doing this project. But since it started, I have used my own utensils every time. David Suzuki said in his recent lecture in San Francisco that adults are the hardest to change. Kids get it right away, but adults are stubborn and don't want to adapt. I think this is where environmentalists have to work the hardest.

I have been thinking about how to make carrying my own utensils easier. One thing would be to put clean utensils out by the entryway of the house, so that I grab them when I go out. I could also keep them in my car. My mom always puts written reminders for herself on the front door. Maybe I need that too.

Oh and by the way, The Waribashi Project is selling chopstick sets in a bamboo box for $5 each.