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Playboy Taught Me How To Use Chopsticks

Though I eat Japanese food every chance I get, I have never been able to fully master the art of using chopsticks. Mind you, I was never one of those people who sends the waitress scurrying into the depths of the kitchen in search of a fork; I could pick food up with them, I just couldn't do it perfectly. The top ends always crossed, no matter how I tried to hold them, and according to Japanese etiquette, the ends just aren't supposed to cross. Avery would try in vain to explain it to me: "Hold them higher…no, put your fingers higher on the chopsticks…now pinch your fingers together…no, those fingers, and keep the bottom chopstick steady while you move the top one." (Me: "Stupid chopsticks. Stupid me."&#41 After failing again and again, I resigned myself to one half-hearted attempt at the beginning of each meal, and left it at that.

While in Las Vegas last week, on a whim we decided to search out a Japanese restaurant. There were a few listed in the free What-To-Do-In-Las-Vegas magazine, but only one place described their sushi as "excellent": Hamada Sushi in the Luxor. And it was excellent, much to our surprise, even though we had to write down our order for the chef ourselves, which we thought was kind of weird. But this sushi was some of the best we've ever had, and dining at the Luxor Hotel & Casino affords you such after-dinner entertainment as watching the interactive King Tut robot slowly run out of power and be wheeled away by a Luxor maintenance man much to the dismay of the gathered crowd. But going back to the chopstick issue, as I picked up the chopsticks to eat a piece of gari, I noticed that the ends weren't crossing! I was using chopsticks the way they were intended to be used, and I owe it all to Playboy magazine. You see, while looking through the April issue of Playboy (and yes, I do read it for the articles, which are interesting much of the time. As far as the pictorials go, I think that they either use the same model every month and just change the name, or someone's doing some secret cloning&#41 I noticed that in one of the "men's lifestyle"-type sections they had a step-by-step blueprint diagram showing you how to pick up — and maneuver — chopsticks. For some reason, their diagram made perfect sense, and the next time I picked up a pair of chopsticks, it just clicked…and I can't even go back to doing it the wrong way. Viva la Playboy articles!

Posted in Smirks.

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