Odd Product Hall of Fame: The Chork

For many decades, non-Asians in the U.S. have instinctively understood that there are three primary signifiers that something is authentically East Asian:

  1. Gongs
  2. Martial Arts
  3. Chopsticks

As long as you have those three elements, you’ve really captured the sum total of the several-thousand year cultural history of a multi-national region of the world that is home to 1.6 billion people.*

Gongs are easy. You can buy them in many places and in various sizes and they’re so simple to play that even Kevin Federline could probably master it. Martial arts instruction is readily available in strip malls across America and if you can’t afford that, kindly Okinawan gardeners can often be persuaded to teach you what you need to know. But chopsticks…chopsticks present a problem. Have you ever tried to eat with those things? It’s nearly impossible for those of us who grew up using forks to master the intricacies of chopsticks. And the process of learning to do so is frustrating and fraught with embarrassment. At least that was the case until The Chork came along…

So there you have it: a product that can help clueless westerners make the transition from fork-using gaijin to chopstick experts. And we know from the video that the product is authentically Asian because (1) the video starts off with a gong sound, (2) it ends with the guy behind the counter doing a little Jackie Chan-like martial arts flourish and (3) it’s about chopsticks. All three of the necessary elements — it must be legit.

For bridging the cultural divide between East and West and for helping to prevent dorky white guys from spilling lo mein into their laps like that yutz did at 0:13 in the video, we have voted The Chork into the Odd Product Hall of Fame. 恭喜你!

*Of course I am only kidding. Americans understand that that East Asian culture involves so much beyond than just those three things, including Confucian philosophy, Japanese game shows and making better cars than we do.

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