From Stars and Stripes:

Veteran writes book on proper chopstick use

By David Allen, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Monday, January 29, 2007

YONABARU, Okinawa — One of the most perplexing moments for a Westerner dining in Asia is figuring how to cut fish or meat with chopsticks.

I’ve been known to hold the slab down with the point of the chopstick held in my left hand while I use the stick in my right hand to pull at the meat.

“Wrong!” says Gordon Warner, who has cleared up the mysteries of chopstick use in a new book, “Dining In Chopstick Societies.”


Warner said he’s always been fascinated with Japan and all things Asian. He grew up among the children of Japanese immigrants in Long Beach, Calif., who introduced him to the martial arts, particularly kendo. He practiced the art of swordplay as a teenager and continued at the University of California, where he lived in a Japanese fraternity and briefly held the world record for the breaststroke.

He studied kendo in Japan in the late 1930s until a letter from his mother tipped off the Japanese secret police that he was a second lieutenant in the Marine Reserves. He slipped out of the country minutes before the Kempei came to look for him.

During World War II he fought in the Solomon Islands, losing his left leg but never his spirit. He continued to practice kendo and taught college in California before coming to Okinawa.

In 2000 he received the “Korsho,” the highest All-Japan Kendo Federation award, for his 63 years of promoting the martial art. The next year he was honored with the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, awarded by the emperor of Japan. He has reached the rank of 7th Dan — the only foreigner ever to do so.