Hiroyuki Tanaka stunned Japan and the world when he took 1st place in all major categories in the 73rd World Fork and Spoon World Championship (Fork Division), and distinguished himself so greatly in forksmanship that he was awarded the rarely given title of World Top Fork. Ever since the end of World War II, the WFSWC (WTF) has been a celebrated event in this island country. The contestants attempt to eat Western and traditional Japanese food, with Western utensils–the fork and spoon– gracefully, speedily and with panache while never once using or relying upon, O-hashi (chopsticks), the traditional eating utensils of Japan. O-hashi consist of two sticks, often made of wood, with usually tapered ends, and no clearly designated grip. Other nations have chopsticks but only Japan has O-hashi also known as お箸。
The use of knives was abandoned this year as part of Japan’s crackdown on terrorism. Prior to the event, two Okinawan teenagers were arrested for conspiracy to violate Japan’s firearm and sword control laws by bringing a butter knife to the event. The teenagers insist they were merely bringing silverware to an anti-US base protest picnic scheduled in Yoyogi Park. The failed terrorist attempt did not greatly disrupt the event, although security was heightened.
Today’s host, LDP Upper House Member, Taro Ahso, a former champion himself, started off the event with the standard greetings. “Welcome everyone to this most wonderful of event. Ever since the US imposed democracy, human rights and popular sovereignty on this nation after crushing us in our brave attempts to liberate Asia from the White Peril, we have struggled with Western tradition—but as the years go by, we have adapted and we have flourished. I would argue the boys and girls you see here today eat with fork and knife as better or much better than natives from Gaikoku or other foreign lands like the United States. So enjoy the show and may the most dexterous man, or possibly even a woman, win.”
Hiroyuki Tanaka, a sixteen year old boy from Kawaguchi City Japan, stunned the judges in the fork and spoon division by winning not only 1) Eating Japanese Traditional Food 2) Eating Traditional Japanese Sweets 3) Eating Traditional Western Food 4) Eating Traditional Italian Food but even 5) Eating Traditional Japanese Sushi in the four prong and three prong fork categories. But he stunned Japan and the world when he ate a bowl of spaghetti—with only a fork; he had no spoon.
Judge Akireru Sugu explains, “When he came on the stage and pulled out his Kyocera porcelain fork and nothing else and brandished it in the air, then plowed in and began twirling–we were stunned. Had there been an equipment failure? What was going on? But then, effortlessly, he twirled the strands around the fork, evenly across all prongs, speared the meatball and gulped it down. He didn’t even get tomato paste on his bib. It was masterful. It was magic. And we knew this was something we might never see again. ”
Hiroyuki Tanaka, after receiving his golden fork, was asked what he would like to be when he grew up. He responded gleefully, “Well, now that I have mastered Western ways–I think maybe I would like become a spy–like Zero Zero Seven! I will fit right in–much like Sean Connery as Japanese fisherman in You Only Live Twice.”
Elizabeth Rockerbrand, a former English teacher of Hiroyuki, at Kawaguchi East, was thrilled to see her prodigy take first place. “When he cornered me in the hall and asked me to teach him Tupac lyrics and the meaning of Anaconda, I knew this child was special. We are all so proud of him. I believe his mastery of English also helped him master our complicated tableware. He can use a three-pronged fork, a five pronged-fork, and even a spork, just as well as any American. He’s an inspiration to us all.”
The event ended with a surprise announcement as well. Host Ahso notified the audience, “Well, I hope you’ll join us next year—when we have a new event, with Japanese and foreign competitors–World Top Chopsticks World Competition. We will see who can best use notoriously difficult Japanese o-hashi! It will be amazing!”
The mostly Japanese crowd was so shocked that for a moment that a hushed silence filled the arena until Ahso chuckled, “Just kidding! Such a competition would be too cruel! No foreigner could ever win.”
With great relief, the crowd burst into laughter. And another exciting and entertaining World Top Fork competition came to an end.
(The above article was satire, just in case, in the unlikely event you haven’t figured it out. And by the way, you’re really good with those chopsticks. お箸は本当に上手ですね）