In a culture without tipping, one Japanese waiter began to
realize that customers were expressing their gratitude in a
subtle (and in some cases even unintentional) way, by folding
the sleeves in which their chopsticks came wrapped.
In 2012, Yuki
Tatsumi began to collect these into a set he would come to
display and call Japanese Tip. He started at the establishment
in which he worked, then branched out to other restaurants
around Japan to gather over 10,000 examples of all kinds.
Finally, half a decade later, he staged an exhibition of his
collection in Tokyo. The variety is remarkable, from complex
origami-style works to shredded and otherwise deformed sleeves.
The results show various degrees of conscious and subconscious
effort by patrons. Meanwhile, the variety of materials, colors
and designs from different sleeves also lends complexity to the
“Japanese Tip is a project between restaurants and customers,”
says Tatsumi of the project, “to communicate the ‘appreciation
for food’ and ‘appreciation of the service’ by using the most
common material used at any Japanese restaurant.