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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 9:10 pm 
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This one's probably going to be a long shot.

First, to get a few things out of the way (and this is more of a rant at Google than anything): Yes, I know how to use them. Yes, I know the difference between different countries' types. Yes, I know some of the general etiquette, and a good deal of certain specific types in the unlikely event it's needed. And no, when I say "type", "style", "shape", "design" or "profile", I don't mean Hello Kitty, abalone inlay, artisanals in exotic woods and shapes that cost me $300 a pair, stupid little samurai sword-looking things, or other useless vanities or toys. I was just about to type in "tips" as a keyword, but realized that would only direct me to usage and etiquette advice all over again. I've tried this search a gazillion times in the past, but I just can't seem to find what I'm looking for; so here I am, cap in hand, hoping someone might know anything about what I'm about to go into.

As you've probably already guessed, I'm looking into chopstick tips - Japanese chopsticks, specifically. I've used many kinds, including Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese - but that's what works best for me, so when I just say "chopsticks" from here on out, Japanese ones are usually what I'll mean. So on to the point, as it were: Japanese chopsticks are not alone in being among the pointed varieties out there, but there's more than one way to skin that cat, and the exact type I'm looking for seems to be specifically Japanese (my mistake was in assuming that it was universal to that country's design). When it comes to any type of chopsticks, pointy or otherwise, often as not when in use they only meet at the very tip, and that's fine for picking up chunky things and clumps of sticky short-grain rice, but it's rubbish for handling noodles. That's what I've got now for my new set, and Daddy is not happy. However, there's this profile out there that is perfect for noodles, as well as anything else your table throws at you. The tip is shaped in such a way that when the chopsticks are in your hand and you put the tips together, there is line of 1/2" or so of surface contact. You find a very similar profile on a specific design of waribashi (disposable chopsticks that you split apart):

Image

The center pair shows the profile I'm talking about. I know that there are nicer, reusable chopsticks out there with this tip profile, because I used to own a set of 5 pair of them. Had to finally ditch 'em though, because being of light-colored wood, over the years they eventually became stained and gross to look at. The overall profile of these chopsticks is pretty standard: the main body has a tapering square cross-section that changes to a round cross-section toward the tip, much like these:

Image

However, in the kind I'm looking for the main body is somewhat stouter than above in that it tapers a hair less, which allows the rounded cross-section to be tapered more abruptly, in principle not unlike what you get from a pencil sharpener - only much longer in comparison, of course. This angle makes for the increased contact surface that lets you grip onto escape artists like noodles. When you lay them side by side, the tips diverge more sharply than what you see in the pic above, and more like what you see in the pic above that. Apart from still looking good, it's a functionally brilliant design, being both sturdy yet capable of the sort of pinpoint accuracy that lets you pull out little fish bones, and - importantly - you can grip noodles with them far better than any other design. But I can't find anything like it now on the web, so I don't even know what to call it so I can refine my search.

Anyone know anything about what I'm talking about? What it's called, where to get it, anything like that. I hope my description has been clear enough.

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 11:18 pm 
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Hello @Nanohedron,

The answer is to make your own. Quite a few woodworking supply shops have the gear. Here's one from way down here in Australia:

https://www.japanesetools.com.au/produc ... -maker-jig

If you have woodworking skills, go for it!

I know exactly what you are talking about, having lived in Japan for some time. But my wife is Chinese and I have more or less converted to her life style and Hong Kong Chinese will use anything that comes to hand, and with practice you can pick up peanuts or noodles or tiny fish bones with pretty much anything. (Same as flute I guess). We use 'em for everything - for cooking with the wok, for picking up spaghetti, you name it. As a cultural note I am sure you are aware of, HK Chinese don't like the thin tapered Japanese ones. Generally you find the chunky round ended ones. I think it's all a matter of technique. We just buy packs of twenty at the market and chuck them a few years later when they really do get a bit far gone.

Have you searched aliexpress.com? A search for chopsticks gives me 14,756 results. You may find something there exact for your specification.

We have many Hello Kitty chopsticks (seriously). :)


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 2:51 am 
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It's of no use whatsoever, but I love the Hong Kong style chopsticks. I don't feel too bad about this being a useless post, though, because Andro has answered well. :)

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 5:48 am 
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Here, just chop off the tips:


Image


Chopsticks have to be the absolute worst Google.

I'll keep looking.

Anyway, there are chopsticks with non-slip/textured areas near the tips for gripping noodles.

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 6:31 am 
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Nano, your second image is the standard Japanese noodle chopstick. There are three types of Japanese chopstick, as I've recently learned. I'll see if my daughter, the local Nipponophile, can shed any light when she arises, she may know the Japanese for what you're looking for. (ETA: Daughter doesn't know the Japanese for the different types.)

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 12:47 pm 
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Andro wrote:
The answer is to make your own.

If I could, I would.

Andro wrote:
I know exactly what you are talking about, having lived in Japan for some time.

Thank goodness - now I have backup. You, at least, know I'm not an utter crank. :)

Andro wrote:
Have you searched aliexpress.com?

I've looked into it for this reason or that, and the prospect doesn't attract me. But it may be the way I'll have to go. The main thing is knowing what that design is called.

Andro wrote:
We have many Hello Kitty chopsticks (seriously). :)

It's all right; I've been working on forgiveness. :wink:

kkrell wrote:
Chopsticks have to be the absolute worst Google.

Tell me about it.

Those beheaded drumsticks have the right idea, though. Those are what The Thing should use. :lol:

kkrell wrote:
Anyway, there are chopsticks with non-slip/textured areas near the tips for gripping noodles.

Naw, them's training wheels. I have my pride, you know.

chas wrote:
Nano, your second image is the standard Japanese noodle chopstick.

Not in my world. The ones I now have look exactly just like that, and even though you can see a slight divergence at the tips, it's not the same. If you picked those up and used them, you'd find that they'll still only meet at the very tip.

chas wrote:
There are three types of Japanese chopstick, as I've recently learned.

There are a lot more than three, actually, when you really break it down. I'm not sure which three you mean, but what first comes to mind are those for eating (shokubashi), those for cooking (saibashi), and those for plating and arranging (moribashi). But there are also iron ones for arranging coals (hibashi - NOT hibachi, which is what contains the coals), and those for collecting remains after cremations. I'm sure there are others; some even change with the seasons in certain cases. Eating chopsticks can first be divided into two categories: reusable and disposable. After that come categories within the categories, and that's what I'm after.

chas wrote:
I'll see if my daughter, the local Nipponophile, can shed any light when she arises, she may know the Japanese for what you're looking for. (ETA: Daughter doesn't know the Japanese for the different types.)

Much appreciated all the same. I'm grateful that people are trying to help; I was expecting only a chorus of crickets.

Speaking of types of eating chopsticks, here's one unique to Japan:

Image

These are rikyūbashi. Pointed at both ends, they're considered elegant, and are mainly for special occasions. And no, you DON'T use the other end for serving when sharing with others; it's a big no-no (although I personally think it's a waste of good practical potential; but I suppose having bits of food hanging precariously over your hand defeats the purpose of elegance, doesn't it).

If I were habituated to Chinese chopsticks my life would sure be one hell of a lot easier...

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 6:09 pm 
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I've noticed that in most of the shopping images, the vendors are only concerned in displaying the decorative (hand) ends, & not showing the tip end of the chopsticks at all. There are also considerable consolidator sites claiming to provide chopstick "knowledge", and they are often text-only (not even illustration of any differences), and really useless click-bait.

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:33 pm 
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Hmmm. Nanohedron said:
¨If I were habituated to Chinese chopsticks my life would sure be one hell of a lot easier. . .¨

As you´ve already observed: It´s the same as getting to Carnegie Hall :D


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTsRwMjfcN4


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edited to add: ´Course you can´t use a fork. Bú yung kuái-zi, bú hao chi. ¨If you don´t use chopsticks,it doesn´t taste good.¨

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Last edited by an seanduine on Fri May 08, 2020 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:36 pm 
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kkrell wrote:
I've noticed that in most of the shopping images, the vendors are only concerned in displaying the decorative (hand) ends, & not showing the tip end of the chopsticks at all.

It's abundantly clear that such sites are aimed at people who don't use chopsticks and are interested but don't know much about them beyond rudimentary impressions, and at those who do use them at whatever skill level but will be more attracted by the heady promise of "individual expression" that bling can offer. Now, it should be pointed out that in Japanese homes, each member having their own personal set is a normal thing, so for identification each set will be different somehow, and the bling thing is one way to do it. So to an extent it does serve a purpose. But I would hope that at least one site would also cover more variations concerning the business end of the beast, because there are variations, and they can matter: just as flutes are not simply tubes with holes, so Japanese chopsticks are not (always, anyway) simply pointy sticks. The kind I'm talking about is a prime example - that one could be said to have been downright engineered.

I might have to knuckle under and find a way to navigate Japanese chopstick sites - you're probably more likely to find the finer nerdworthy details there. But machine translation frequently results in gibberish, and my own language skills are seriously lacking; I have only enough to get into trouble, and not enough to get out.

kkrell wrote:
There are also considerable consolidator sites claiming to provide chopstick "knowledge", and they are often text-only (not even illustration of any differences), and really useless click-bait.

Yep. So much for the Information Superhighway, eh?

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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2020 8:38 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
Hmmm. Nanohedron said:
¨If I were habituated to Chinese chopsticks my life would sure be one hell of a lot easier. . .¨

As you´ve already observed: It´s the same as getting to Carnegie Hall :D


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTsRwMjfcN4


Bob

But that would be capitulating, and the easy way out. No, dammit! I'm on a mission.

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 1:51 am 
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These look pretty good.

Image

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 4:00 am 
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I really want that chopstick making jig. There's a much more expensive metal one out there as well, and I wasted some time finding DIY chopstick jig plans. Christmas gifts for the whole family! Figured wood! Tung oil! I could make little chopstick rests! I'm serious, I could absolutely go for that. My wife is rolling her eyes

Or I could go down the to local vietnamese market and buy a package of 50 for less than the shipping cost of the jig.

I submit that you could get the taper you want with a bundle of cheap chopsticks and a few moments with a sharp knife or a chisel. A chisel is an amazing tool when it's sharp


Last edited by PB+J on Sat May 09, 2020 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 4:59 am 
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PB+J wrote:
I submit that you could get the taper you want with a bundle of cheap chopsticks and a few moments with a sharp knife or a chisel. A chisel is an amazing tool when it's sharp

A pencil sharpener will probably do (except on the chopsticks that are already super-pointy). Maybe make your own chopsticks from square/rectangular rod stock from the home hardware/lumber or craft/hobby shops. (Boy, I'm on a slash kick today!)

Nano: What length are you looking for, BTW? I noticed that some of the chopsticks for kids might have a profile that you're seeking, but they're also quite short. The cooking/servings ones are instead ridiculously long.

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 10:53 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:

chas wrote:
Nano, your second image is the standard Japanese noodle chopstick.

Not in my world. The ones I now have look exactly just like that, and even though you can see a slight divergence at the tips, it's not the same. If you picked those up and used them, you'd find that they'll still only meet at the very tip.

chas wrote:
There are three types of Japanese chopstick, as I've recently learned.

There are a lot more than three, actually, when you really break it down. I'm not sure which three you mean, but what first comes to mind are those for eating (shokubashi), those for cooking (saibashi), and those for plating and arranging (moribashi). But there are also iron ones for arranging coals (hibashi - NOT hibachi, which is what contains the coals), and those for collecting remains after cremations. I'm sure there are others; some even change with the seasons in certain cases. Eating chopsticks can first be divided into two categories: reusable and disposable. After that come categories within the categories, and that's what I'm after.


I was quoting a documentary I recently saw about Japan -- I assume they were talking just about chopsticks for eating.

I ate a large bowl of pho (not my best cooking effort) last night with what were described as Japanese noodle chopsticks, and they worked fine for me. They actually don't meet at the end when you've got noodles twisted around them, they're kind of like a two-pronged fork. The weird thing is, I need Chinese chopsticks to eat rice-based dishes. I hated the pointy ones initially.

Different strokes and all that.

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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 1:52 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
These look pretty good.

Those are the same kind I already have now. They superficially resemble the exact thing I'm looking for, but it's not a match.

PB+J wrote:
I submit that you could get the taper you want with a bundle of cheap chopsticks and a few moments with a sharp knife or a chisel. A chisel is an amazing tool when it's sharp

In principle that's right, but remember that the type I'm looking for has a slightly stouter overall profile due to a slightly decreased body taper compared to what you see above; it enables the sharper tip angle, which gives you that extended surface contact I've been talking about. On paper it sounds clunky-looking, but it's actually not.

chas wrote:
I ate a large bowl of pho (not my best cooking effort) last night with what were described as Japanese noodle chopsticks, and they worked fine for me. They actually don't meet at the end when you've got noodles twisted around them, they're kind of like a two-pronged fork.

I get what you're saying. Unfortunately I'm not able to get the same effect, and it may have to do with how the sticks line up in my hand. But you would think that that shouldn't be, because there's really only one basic way to use them right; plus my hands are small, and I hold the sticks at the far end already, both of which which should decrease the overall angle. I've tried to figure out how to accommodate my new sticks for noodles, but so far no go. It's a mystery, because they're standard, garden-variety Japanese sticks. That's why I'm going back to looking for the specific kind I'm originally used to.

chas wrote:
The weird thing is, I need Chinese chopsticks to eat rice-based dishes. I hated the pointy ones initially.

Different strokes and all that.

Different strokes indeed. I've only ever regularly used takeout disposables and Japanese reusables, so whenever I'm in a Chinese chopstick situation, I'm always thinking, How on Earth can the Chinese even feed themselves with these?? But obviously their population belies my misgivings.

kkrell wrote:
Nano: What length are you looking for, BTW? I noticed that some of the chopsticks for kids might have a profile that you're seeking, but they're also quite short. The cooking/servings ones are instead ridiculously long.

I'm not looking for a particular length, because adult-sized Japanese chopsticks are pretty standardized at around 9" on average - although so-called women's sizes (that's for another sociological discussion) can be a bit shorter. In the wider world of national chopstick types, the Japanese style is the shortest of them all. It's increasingly apparent to me that this is what led to the angled-tip profile in the first place.

So why don't I change? Because it wouldn't solve anything: with the exception of the disposable type with the similar tip profile, all other types - Japanese, Chinese or otherwise - still only meet at the very tippy-tip end of the tip, but that's what I'm trying to get away from, and there's only one country I know of that makes reusables with the profile I'm looking for, and that's - yep, you guessed it.

Now cooking chopsticks are different matter, because being as uber-long as they are, they have a naturally narrower angle that facilitates a decent grip on just about anything, so they're pretty handy: for example, you can nab with precision just one string of spaghetti from the pot, or a piece of carrot from a stew, to check for doneness. If I'm frying smallish things that require being turned over with some care, I much prefer cooking chopsticks to tongs; they just feel better and more agile in my hand, and they don't get in the way like tongs' wide tips can. But it's a matter of the right tool for the job: of course if it's a whole steak, out come the tongs.

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