Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Is That a Thing Now?

Happy New Year everyone.  It's the year of the horse, which means in two years, it will be the year of the monkey, which means I will be 48, which means the cycle after that will put me at 60.

I need to go lie down.

Anyhoo, I'd like to open 2014 with a question from a reader (which is fun and shocking all at the same time).  It stated, "What is the difference between chopsticks and hair chopsticks?"  The wise ass in me wants to say "well, one has the word 'hair'." But I know that is not what this person meant.  I think she needs to know the structural difference between the two.

But before I get to that, let me back up.  Kate, a  friend from work was called in for a jury duty recently. Upon reading the material to prepare herself for her civic duty, she found this and posted it on my Facebook page:

"Number 8 on the list of items allowed in the court house: "Hair chopsticks with blunt tips."

Hair chopsticks.  Apparently that is a thing now. I have many feelings about this term.  In the minds of people here, is there a difference?  Do they sell "hair chopsticks" that is different from the regular chopsticks or do you simply call it hair chopsticks when you just use the regular ones for hair.  More importantly, is it encouraging utensils to end up in people's hair?

So I Googled "hair chop sticks," and found something like this (which has some pretty decorations):

But then there are also these (which pretty much is the same as what we eat with):

 So it seems that what people here mean by "hair chop sticks" is  mostly sticks that are longer than regular chop sticks or ones that have some big decorations.

Where I come from, there is no such term as "hair chop sticks." There is, however, a term called "KANZASHI" which is a stick sold singularly that you do stick in your hair, when you are dressed in a traditional Kimono like this:

or like this:
 or like this:

 And it is used for a decorative purpose rather than practical like this:

Or like this:

I may have said this before, but Japanese hair is so thick and straight that a couple of sticks won't hold it into place.  I've heard my friends in Japan say--"how do their hair stay in place with chopsticks?" immediately after "why do they use chopsticks in hair?"

Not sure it this clarified anything. I tried. I am totally amused though that I seem to have now unintentionally trained my American friends to report to me when they spot chopsticks in hair. I suppose that is a legacy of sort. 

Hope you all have a happy and healthy year.