Exoticism refers to the notion of according exotic traits to certain aspects; this means that these aspects are given qualities that can be said to be foreign. “The Gourmet Club” is a story that highlights the experiences of five people, who can be considered to be motivated by food. The leader of this group is known as “Count G” whom the other four individuals refer to as the informal president. As the story progresses, there is an increase in the rate at which food is consumed. Consequently, the people consuming the items start depicting traits that depict obsession. The author of the story (Junichiro Tanizaki) utilizes several stylistic devices with the main of portraying the issue of exoticism, as well as how it relates to food.
The author uses food to dramatize exoticism in a number of ways. This can be evidenced from the way food items are depicted in the story. The use of food to portray the idea of exoticism can be evidenced by the fact that the group comprising of the five individuals has an unending quest, as well as desire for food. These five men spend most of the time they have looking for food that are unique, and which will help them deal with the boredom they undergo. They seem to be bored by the foods available in Tokyo and its environs. The men can be regarded as gluttonous, and it is this gluttony that compels that compels them to come up with a contest. The aim of the contest is to ascertain who among the five of them can prepare a dish, which is exotic.
As a notable character in the story, Count faces numerous barriers, as well as trials, in his desire to get fresh foods, which he can consume. Exoticism is also depicted by the author’s manipulation of food; according to ho the author portrays food, it can be regarded as a necessity, which is primarily needed for the survival of humans. The character of Count plays the role of portraying the superiority, which people accord to food. For example, the author argues that Count could have gone to the extent of begging for food in order to satisfy his desire to eat. In addition, Count can hardly go without getting food, especially after he sees the soup, which catches his attention with the steam it gives.
The bowls used to serve soup in the story also serve to display the extent of exoticism in the play. When the characters in the story have a glance at the bowls, they are motivated to get the bowls, as well as the contents therein. With Count experiencing an insatiable desire to consume the soup, the author is giving a clear depiction of the effects that exoticism has on food. Count’s desire for food drives him to a situation whereby he just watches food passing him, but he does not have the capacity to consume it.
In conclusion, exoticism can be regarded as the interplay between notions, which can be considered to be either internal or external. In Gourmet Club, the foods that the club wants can be regarded as different from the cultural foods available. While the characters in the story set out to look for exotic foods, the Chinese club satisfies their desires since the food provided there is exotic. Thus, food can be regarded as a notion that dramatizes the idea of exoticism in Gourmet Club.