How to be Polite in a Restaurant in Japan?
Japanese formalities and courtesies
These are not just little finger towels placed neatly next to your plate for conveniently wiping stray food off of hands and fingers...these Oshibori are almost like an appetizer to the meal itself. You go into a restaurant, settle in with some water or tea and an Oshibori wet towel. Some places will have special herb smelling towels, they can be warm in Winter and chilled in Summer and guess, what, they are NEVER stained. Unwrap the little white towel, use it carefully to wipe your hands and proper manner even allows for placing the warm or cool towel against your eyes or temple to refresh before the meal. Have fun, and dont forget to place them rolled nicely on the holder as you leave.
There is even a WIKI for Oshibori!!
Former Deep Japan Writer