In Japan, diners don’t customarily tip their servers cash to show their satisfaction with the meal. But some find different ways to show their gratitude, like by transforming empty chopstick sleeves into modest works of origami.
After noticing this trend while working as a server, Yuki Tatsumi launched a project to collect the sculptures in 2012, calling it Japanese Tip. “Wrapping chopsticks is a way of welcoming the guest," the project's website says. "Folding the wrapping is a way of saying ‘thank you’ back to the host.” As Spoon & Tamago reports, Tatsumi has collected 13,000 paper sculptures so far.
In December 2017, Tatsumi displayed 8000 of his chopstick origami pieces at an exhibition in Tokyo. The collection featured tokens of appreciation left behind at restaurants all around Japan, including the restaurant where Tatsumi worked. The collection showcased the diversity of chopstick sleeve designs in Japan, as well as the creativity of the nation’s restaurant patrons.
Though the exhibit has since closed, the folded wrappers Tatsumi has accumulated are available to view on his website and Facebook page. Enjoy some highlights below—just be prepared to never look at a discarded chopstick sleeve the same way again.
[h/t Spoon & Tamago]
Images courtesy of Yuki Tatsumi.