When no knife is being used, the fork can be held with the tines up.

The host begins after all food is served and everyone is seated.

Food should always be tasted before salt and pepper are added.

Applying condiments or seasoning before the food is tasted is viewed as an insult to the cook, as it shows a lack of faith in the cook's ability to prepare a meal.

In religious households, a family meal may commence with saying Grace, or at dinner parties the guests might begin the meal by offering some favourable comments on the food and thanks to the host.

In a group dining situation it is considered impolite to begin eating before all the group have been served their food and are ready to start.

The fork is held with the left hand and the knife held with the right.

The fork is held generally with the tines down, using the knife to cut food or help guide food on to the fork.

By Shizuko Mishima If you are staying with a Japanese family or going to public bath facilities in Japan, it's helpful to know how to take a Japanese-style bath.

Table manners are the rules of etiquette used while eating, which may also include the appropriate use of utensils.

Different cultures observe different rules for table manners.

Each family or group sets its own standards for how strictly these rules are to be enforced.