The Gourmet Club

Kota Sumida

Japan 70

The Gourmet Club

            The Gourmet Club written by Junichiro Tanizaki is about five people who love food. These people in the gourmet club keep thinking about what they are going to eat. They can go to Kyoto from Tokyo to get just a turtle soup. They eat as much as their tongues lose all taste for the usual fine cuisine (102).  Eventually, they look for a kind of orchestral food. Through the story of The Gourmet Club, Tanizaki uses food to dramatize the idea of exoticism by catching reader’s nose, eyes and mouths with clear images and details.

The author describes what is going on with very small details to get readers nose and eyes. We can see this when Count G. sees dreams. He smells “strong, fragrant and sweet, all mixed together, rising from the midst of the steam” when he saw puffs of white steam rise temptingly (104). Tanizaki here gives us an image of many ingredients. Reader’s head are fulfilled by variety of food, and they cannot stop thinking about it. Even steam smells that many; what happens when we eat the puffs is one question come to readers’ mind. By making them imagine what he is talking about is important because that means he can succeed to get their attention well. The sentence stimulates readers’ nostrils in imagine world, and it also makes them sniff. Readers realize that their nose start to itch for the puffs. By sniffing their nose, they fall into the imagine world and try to eat the puffs. With the way, they can enjoy their own puffs. These reactions of readers are strong enough to make them stay in the story. The line “with every movement a thick, honey – like liquid dripped, dripped, dripped onto the ground” catches readers eyes. They started at drips from a thing to the ground, and they are already in the imagine world deeply. By appetizing one of humans’ three desire that is desire for food, the author takes them to an illusion.

Moreover, Tanizaki dramatize his story by food by playing with readers’ mouths. His sentences are mouth-watering. For example, the line “what had seemed to be the ground was in fact a giant tongue, and all those food were jumbled together in an immense mouth” stimulates our mouths. The giant tongue expresses that the person is so hungry and cannot wait anymore. We can get the sense of how hungry he is, and also our mouths are filled with saliva. Again, we cannot stop moving our mouths and thinking about food.

Tanizaki stimulates noses, eyes and mouths with foods in order to dramatize the idea of exoticism. Giving us clear images of food and how the mouth reacts, Tanizaki succeeds to urge people to eat.


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