Exoticism with Gourmet Club
Tanizaki Junichiro’s “The Gourmet Club” has exoticism, so he expresses his feelings and ideal by using character that has exoticism. The story is about the gourmet club who are tired of the Japanese food, so they crave for some kind of exotic food. Count, the leader of gourmet club, just walks around the road to find the food that he never tried, and finds the Chanchiang Hall, the private Chinese hall, that is full of actual Chinese food. In the hall, he met and experienced his exotic experience- the genuine Chinese food. Count understands the real meaning of exoticism from the hall, so he treats his exotic food to the gourmet members. Then they realize their exoticism.
In the story, the author dramatizes food with the idea of exoticism. Exoticism is an ideology that people who are unsatisfied with their reality go with this ideology because they long for any culture of another country’s longing and romance. In other words, Count longs for exotic food like Chinese food in the story. “Cooking was an art” (99) and “we need a kind of orchestral cuisine!” (103) are simple example about the author’s dramatizing technique. In those simple scenes, the author uses hyperbole technique to dramatize food with exoticism. Even though the author can express about food normally, he uses the hyperbole technique in those scenes because he can appeal the character’s expression and his intention well by dramatizing food.
One of the best scenes with exoticism is the impression of A who is one of the member of gourmet club of “Bok Choi Fingers.” For example, “A. thought the matter over even as he licked away at the fingers similar to the smell of the ham used in Chinese cooking” (135). In this scene, A. is just waiting for the food to be served in the dim room, but suddenly he receives a woman’s massage. However, that woman’s fingers are actually the food with Bok Choi. Although the gourmet members who are really tired of foreign food made in semi-Japanese style, they have some taste in exotic Chinese food like the above mentioned Bok Choi. That is, they realize the exoticism’s real meaning. By using the hyperbole technique, the readers can feel the member’s feelings well even though the readers do not eat the food in real life. Also, the readers can realize the member’s attitude is changed.
In Count’s next meeting’s menu, all food’s names are dramatized such as “Pigeon-Egg Hot Springs, Fountain of Grapes, Phlegm-and-Spittle Liquid Jade” (139) and so on. He named all food by using dramatizing technique, so it makes the foods seem exotic even though those are semi-Japanese style food. By using hyperbole technique to express the food, people can realize more exoticism from normal food and get a strong impression. Therefore, the author dramatizes food with the idea of exoticism to convey his feeling and ideal through the book well.