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FOOD

KnocK on Wood The campaign to stick it to disposable chopsticks. Writer Alison Minami Photographer Baii Nguyen

From underneath a mountainous pile of disposable wooden chopsticks, the face of a pale and sprightly woman pops up, a lone pair of sticks gripped between her teeth, and, through her bun of gray and white hair, chopsticks jabbed in all directions. So begins the music video for “B.Y.O. Chopstix,” the first in a series of songs written and performed by Nobuko Miyamoto to address environmental issues and greener living. The Ghost of Dead Chopsticks, the video’s central character played by Miyamoto, haunts the patrons of a Japanese restaurant. Draped in wooden chopsticks, the ghost playfully steals pairs of chopsticks or slices of sashimi from the lips of unwitting customers. Rapper Aidger of Aesthetics Crew plays the sushi chef, wielding knives, peddling portable chopsticks from inside his chef’s coat. His

024 HYPHEN Spring.11

rhymes form the song’s main message: “Hundreds of years of history chopped down/Into these billions of sticks that just get tossed to the ground.” With a catchy beat, campy sense of humor and inventive special effects, the video sheds light on the ways in which disposable chopsticks contribute to deforestation and air pollution and offers practical suggestions to reduce their use — all without negating the joy of eating our favorite foods with our utensil of choice. Miyamoto, 66, first started toting her own portable pair of chopsticks to Asian restaurants near her home in Los Angeles back in 2000. The chopsticks — found at Snow Peak, an outdoor camping equipment company — have wooden tips made from recycled baseball bat material and stainless steel ends. They unscrew at the center, making them small enough to fit in your pocket. Some-

Hyphen Magazine Issue 23: The Bittersweet Issue  

Issue 23: The Bittersweet Issue

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