February 6th National Chopsticks Day

Chopsticks to me, are the leading diet tool in the world! It is okay to stab your food with a chopstick but a challenge when you are going after a pea. Never point at someone with your chopstick, never attack your food over the top with your chopstick, and please, they are not drumsticks.

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Most of western society needs to be taught how to use a pair of chopsticks. They also need a mop and a broom while learning because more food is going to end up on the floor than in their mouths.

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Asian food is supposed to be cut and presented to be mouth sized so that no knives are required to eat it. If you have ever tried to cut your steak with a wooden chopstick, you know why. Over 1/4 of the world’s population uses chopsticks to eat with and it has been this way for over 5,000 years.

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In China chopsticks are called “Kuaizi” which translates into “Quick little bamboo fellows”. You do have to be quick if you use them though if you are hungry because you’ll have to make many, many quick returns to the dish for more food.

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How to celebrate – Learn how to use chopsticks. Whittle your own chopsticks out of a tree in your back yard. Have an Asian inspired meal for supper tonight.

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April 25th East Meets West Day

For centuries, the East and West stayed to themselves, neither wanting to know the other or share in their worlds.  It doesn’t matter if it was the East Coast verse the West Coast or the Orient verse Europeans, neither trusted each other or wanted much to do with the others culture.

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In fact in Japan, until 1860, sailing to a western port was a capital offense. It doesn’t mean that the cultures did not meet because they did. Many Japanese sailors ended up on the California coast because of shipwrecks and storms at sea. Unable to return to their native land, they settled where they were. I assume the same happened with Europeans in Japan and China.

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The times began to change when Commodore Perry visited Japan in 1852. The Japanese were not all that thrilled to see him but looking at the guns on his ship they were persuaded not to argue too much.

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During World War 2 the west meeting the east meant the end of the war in Europe. When Russian and American troops collided with each other thee was joy, but also mistrust. In fact there was a concerted effort to find all the artwork the Germans had hidden before the Russians could claim it. While things have changed over the years, there is still a great deal of mistrust between the East and the West. They are entirely different cultures with different values. It will stay that way until we all realize that we are people with the same basic needs and desires.

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It’s sort of like a football game if you think about it. We have the East verses West compete to see who has the better players. The difference is, at the end of the game everyone shakes hands and goes back home hopefully with a better impression of the other side. Now if we could only apply the same thing to governments.

How to celebrate – Determine whether you are an Easterner or a Westerner. Look as see the differences between the East and West (No matter where you are). Determine where you think the world splits to East and West.