Exoticism in The Gourmet Club

YoungEun Kim

Mcknight, A.

Japanese 70 – Dis 1C

03 November 2013

Exoticism in The Gourmet Club

The title piece, “The Gouremt Club”, is a describing comprehensively about food in exoticism and the magical creation and general unlimited possibilities. Tanizaki explains the experience of eating food which is “magical” and it is literally felt by all of his senses. The general public use merely their tongues to eat a magical food, but the members of The Gourmet club eat Count G’s special food as taste it with their eyes, their noses, theirs and at times with their skin. At risk of exaggerating, all parts of our body ought to become tongue. The magical food prompts all senses in your body so that your whole body participates in the act of eating to satisfy. The members of the Gourmet Club supply with new ideas for the term of food, and show their concentration, passion and obsession to seek of indulgent and exotic foods.

Court G figures out the magic and pleasure from Chinese cuisine. Yokohama’s Chinatown is one of the biggest Chinatowns in the world; it is also one of the example that in terms of Tanizaki’s exoticism and being thrown into an inner exoticism was complete sensory overload. Tanizaki explains unconventional ingredients, and it creates an amazing flavor However, Chinese people can be already familiar with this Chinese food which doesn’t offer the same sense of pleasure. It’s a similar situation that Count G has gotten so board of Japanese food. Consequently, this sense of exoticism that Count G gets when he eats Chinese food can contribute to the sense of magic. Magical sensations can be caused by tasting new and exotic things.

The Gourmet club has similarities with “Tampopo” which we watched in class. Both of the stories are pretty associated with gourmet boom and exoticism. The member of gourmet club has been willing to travel just for food, they go to Kyoto from Tokyo for a good turtle restaurant. Furthermore, The Gourmet Club is associated with Tampopo, both of them exactly represent their obsession, passion and respect for food like a “gourmet boom”. Tampopo and Goro who is her protector, their research and work hard for the perfect noodles. Zuzo Itami, who is director of Tampopo, creates a scene that makes noodles in this movie more interesting than sex and violence in many others.

This reading also shows that the connection between food and eroticism. This shows the consumption of food as an embodiment of human sexual desires. The author describes the food as “Besides the shelf hung chunks of pork loin and pigs legs with the skin still on. The bristles had been carefully shaved off, and the skin was as soft, white, and luscious as any women’s”. (P.114, The Gourmet Club). Food is used to act out sexual intimacy and the feeding of one’s sexual needs rather than one’s needs for biological nourishment.

In conclusion, Tanizaki’s The Gourmet club transforms an ordinary Chinese food into something magical and exoticism. Court G and his Gourmet Club members show a new way of importance to the term foodie, demonstrate this magical food as food that could generate imaginations and the tale of a food so magically that literally tickles all your senses from exotic foods.


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