Dear Samchon . . .

8 October 2013

Dear Samchon,

Regarding chopsticks, you’ll be pleased to know that I have finally started to look around.  I didn’t realize, however, that there were so many different types out there!  Small ones, big ones, short ones, long ones, plastic, wooden ones, metal ones, flat, rounded, filigreed, minimalistic….!

Chopstick collection - Nankenmachi Shop

Chopstick collection – Nankenmachi Shop

For the sake of tradition, I wanted to do the Korean thing and go heavy metal, but, believe it or not, my fingers actually started cramping when using them!  You’re probably wondering what happened to the set that my dad brought over from Korea.  I don’t know exactly, but I seem to vaguely recall my brother and I using them when we were kids to create affordable housing for earthworms.

I moved on from there and considered buying the plastic Chinese version, which is considerably lighter than Korean ones, but the polished surface is rather slick.  I had dim sum the other day, and to my mortification, the dumpling went flying from my chopsticks, skipped across the pristine-white tablecloth and over the edge into my friend’s Coach bag.  No, she didn’t notice, and I didn’t tell her.  I just considered it like an order to go.

After that, I thought minimalistic Japanese wooden ones with a tapered end seemed very chic and modern.   I noticed some dents, though, in a couple of pairs, and upon closer inspection, realized that they were bite marks!  I’m into mementos of the past like everyone else, but really, I do not need a visual reminder that the chopsticks were in someone else’s mouth!

Despite my indecisiveness, however, I want you to know that I am not without resource; I do have some on hand.  They’re lightweight and a little “earthy” (some would call them “disposable”).  They come free (which is the only four-letter word I can say these days around my toddler) with every Soon Fatt Chinese take-out order.  They’ll do in a pinch…or give you one in the process (via a splinter).

And in case you were wondering, there is no Filipino version.  I mean, the traditional, old school Filipino way would be, in essence, like going naked…since, you know, they only use their hands, which, you have to admit, is quite convenient since your hands are always…attached.

So, I still haven’t found a set of chopsticks that represent me, and that I would be proud to make available to guests at dinner parties, but I did want you to know that I have started looking.  It is my hope to purchase a set before your next visit.

You know…I was just thinking…they use algorithms in online dating.  Do you think they have an algorithm to match a person to chopsticks?

Love always, your niece,

angela

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