You know how to use chopsticks, right? (Yes, of course, you answer.) Including the disposable ones? (Why, is there a difference, you ask). Think again. The internet has been stumbling over itself in shock by one Twitter user’s realisation that the top might actually be used as a chopstick rest (Her post got so much attention that she's since switched her account to private – apparently a few hundred thousand shares proved to be a bit too intense.)
Break off the wide, flattened bit and proceed to place it on your eating surface as a hashioki, rather than breaking the chopsticks apart from there. It sounds ingenious, and many were perplexed – is this really what that bit was originally designed for? Have we been fools for all these years, or even decades?
Turns out, we haven’t. The chopsticks shown above are actually a prototype conjured up by a Hong Kong-based designer team known as Orange Terry, the brainchild of Terry Law and Minnie Kong. They have dubbed the recent Twitter craze a 'beautiful mistake', and told us they would like to set the record straight.
The design was a submission for the MUJI Award competition in 2014, which centred around the theme of 'Long Lasting Design for Living'. Inspiration came from the simple Japanese toothpick design: here, the top end can be broken off to create a small rest, so that the (used) toothpick won’t have to touch the surface, thereby encouraging you to use it again – or just to indicate that it’s been used, apparently (No, we did not know this either. This might just be the real mind = blown.)
'Disposable' and 'long lasting' may seem slightly at odds, but Orange Terry had another question in mind while designing: why don't we eat fast food slowly? In their own words:
'Disposable chopsticks provide us with two kinds of convenience: "Eat Immediately" and "Dump Immediately". We don't think disposable chopsticks should be used for fast eating alone, so we designed this little "break" for the user, to provide a little comma in their meal. From a production point of view, we didn't want to make any major changes in the existing process. That's why we designed the gap on the bamboo chopsticks rather than creating a completely new design.'
Ingenious indeed. Sadly, the design didn't make the final cut, but it’s definitely created a following of its own, with many now hoping MUJI may reconsider and take these revolutionary disposables into production after all. In short, mystery solved – and for those who are still convinced, check out this guy’s effort to use ‘regular’ disposable chopsticks in this way…
(Written by Kirsty Bouwers/Time Out Tokyo)Related articles from Time Out Tokyo Check out this Lego sushi restaurant Learn how to make chocolate at this new 'bean to bar' spot Did you know you can order a monk on Amazon?