How chopsticks are made


28 Responses to “How chopsticks are made”

  1. PJG Hendry says:

    As I have posted before:-

  2. Nadreck says:

    The hideous waste of disposable chopsticks is why I always carry around my good chopsticks with me.  You can get a stylish “Hello, Kitty” carrier or, if that’s not available in your area, the artist’s brush holders that are available at any arts supply store are just the right size.

  3. As a huge fan of How It’s Made and Japan, I’m really looking forward to watching every single one of these. Thanks, Mark!

    • penguinchris says:

      +1 on this, but I’d like to add that this is slower paced and more methodical than the original Canadian version, which is both good and bad – good because it shows little details that the original show would have skipped over, but bad because I now may not be able to get anything done for a while…

      • Actually I’m more versed in the UK version, but they’re much the same as the Canadian one (in some cases the same footage re narrated) – but after watching a few of these Japanese ones I must say I’m a fan of the format!
        I like being able to hear all the machinery sounds, it’s much more immersive than corny puns and lift music (not that I don’t enjoy that too). An omission I’d never really noticed before.

  4. FrancesTheMute says:

    Anyone know why the logs are steamed before they are cut?

  5. Disqus1000 says:

    My understanding is that bamboo is a fairly environmentally friendly material, it grows fast and ties up CO2 in the process.
    The factory in the video below looks like something that could be set up all over the Asian country side for relatively little money, creating jobs where the bamboo grows rather than in cities and sweatshops. Any reason why we couldn’t create a big enough demand for bamboo chopsticks to stop the aforementioned threat to trees?

    • jhoosier says:

       Because Asians consume a truly MASSIVE number of disposable chopsticks.  China is another huge consumer of them, which has to be taken into account.  Bamboo can only grow so fast.

      While travelling in Vietnam, I had the opportunity to visit several small family-owned operations (chopstick manufactory, coffee farm, tea dryer, a place that bought shrapnel farmers ploughed up in their fields) and it was quite interesting.  The machine they used was a hand-crank machine to carve out chopsticks and looked quite fun to use for about 10 minutes.  As a career, I don’t think I’d have liked it, though.

    • Urbane_Gorilla says:

      Bamboo chopsticks are readily available and common in Chinese Restaurants on the West Coast : Disposable Bamboo Chopsticks 100 Sets: Kitchen & Dining –

  6. So much for workplace safety.

    • jansob1 says:

       Yeah, I used to teach English at a factory in Japan where they made furniture. On one piece of cutting equipment there was a “safety bar” that had to be lowered before the blade moved…it had a a strong spring and slammed into the bench when it closed.They didn’t have anyone lose a hand, but about twice a year someone broke a couple of fingers on this fiendish contraption. A couple of well.placed blocks of wood and 10 minutes of installation would have fixed it, but it being Japan, this 60-year-old-machine had never been modified, and never will be.

  7. joe blough says:

    i did kendo for many years and while it’s nice to see all the craftsmanship and hand-work that goes into making the bogu, kendobogu (gear/armor) really needs to come up to the 21st century. getting hit on the head all the time with only a 3/4″ thick piece of (admittedly very heavy) cotton between the shinai and your skull is… well, bad for you.

    had to stop when i realized that feeling hung over twice a week the day after practice is probably not a good thing if you think for a living…

  8. Wayne Dyer says:

    It’s interesting, but I’d prefer the soothing voiceover of the Canadian show.  If I’m sick for any reason if there’s a How It’s Made marathon on, I am set for the day.

  9. tvkirby says:

    The Japanese site was very slow for me. I thought I found the same video on youtube and posted it here, but I was incorrect. sorry.

  10. Kevin Pierce says:

    I really liked the final minute recap – nice touch

  11. John Treiber says:

    I’m surprised to see that this story is suggesting a connection between disposable chopstick production and deforestation in Japan. Nothing could be further from the truth, so let’s not confuse China with Japan. Despite using many trees to make chopsticks, according to a 2009 Japan Forestry Agency report Japan is two-thirds forested covering about 25 million hectares. Leave Tokyo and almost everywhere one goes is covered with trees. Unlike China, a country with a long history of environmental destruction (far predating the current scourge of disposable chopsticks), Japan has a clear record of forestry dating back to its premodern period. See Conrad Totman’s book Green Archipelago: Forestry in Pre-Industrial Japan.  

  12. Alan says:

    Remember when Mr. Rogers would go the the little painting and it would show those videos of things being made?  I loved those.  This brings all that back.

  13. gjbloom says:

    Since they don’t have voiceover, they could trivially substitute English subtitles and open their program to a much wider audience.  I wonder why they don’t?

  14. Sarah Neptune says:

    “Land can be used as chopsticks chopsticks to carry both ends mouth heaven and earth have become thin, take heaven,”
    that whole quote is a diagonal cut of heaven.

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