An episode of Japanese variety show ‘Odoru! Sanma Goten’ held a generation gap special, inviting celebrities of all different ages to talk about differences between older and younger member of Japanese society.

One observation in particular that came from a viewer caused the studio to momentarily descend into chaos.

I took my potato chips to the cash register in the convenience store and the (young) clerk said, ‘I’ll give you some chopsticks too’.

I said, ‘oh no, I’m fine.’

‘What!? You’re going to eat them with your hands?’


Then the clerk just looked at me like I was dirty.

In Japanese convenience stores it’s normal to be given some disposable wooden chopsticks when you buy a bento lunch box or something similar, but most people probably don’t expect to be given them just for potato chips.

However, many of the younger entertainers on the variety show panel agreed with the convenience store staff, they said it’s normal to eat potato chips with chopsticks.

Older guests on the show were stunned. Unable to hide their surprise they shouted out, 'I can't understand this at all!', causing a chaotic scene on the programme.

One of the young guests explained that when gaming and eating chips at the same time, the controller or smartphone screen will get sticky and dirty.

It could be that the rise in mobile gaming is fueling a rise in irresponsible chopstick usage.

So which side of the debate to you sit on? Are potato chips strictly finger food? Is using disposable chopsticks for snacks wasteful? Is keeping your smartphone screen clean of paramount importance? Or do you just feel fancy using chopsticks to eat Cheetos?

In a conservative country like Japan, we expect to see a large generational divide. The values of young and old may not always align, and as this TV debate exposed, something as simple as just eating a potato chip can be seen completely differently.

By - Jess.