Author Archives: kogurem

Exoticism in “The Gourmet Club”

In the book, “The Gourmet Club” by Junichiō Tanizaki Food and exoticism has strong connection between those two concepts. In the story, the author describes, “He had often experienced the dubious Chinese fare to be found in restaurants all over Tokyo and Yokohama; but that was usually based on poor ingredients cooked in a semi-Japanese style. According to people who had traveled there, the food one was served in China was of a different order altogether, and he’d long suspected that such authentic Chinese food was precisely the ideal cuisine the members of the Gourmet Club were dreaming of. “ (The Gourmet Club 112) Exoticism in this story is Japanese people’s longing for Chinese food. Unfortunately, the members of the Gourmet Club have eaten only Chinese food cooked in semi – Japanese style. These are not real food that members want to eat. The real great local cuisine is food that cooked by local people. Food are very sensitive things so if you add some foreign elements into local cuisine, these are not original cuisine. That’s why count G. looked for real Chinese food with no Japanese element and he was so happy when he found real Chinese food cooked by real Chinese chef. We can see the same situation here in United States. Nowadays, Japanese food has been very popular in all over the world. In Westwood, there is a famous restaurant, called “Yamato”. Many of my American friends in UCLA love to go there and eat Sushi and other Japanese cuisine. However, my Japanese friends in UCLA, they don’t want to go that restaurant. That’s because the food that they are selling are not “real Japanese food.”   These foods are very so called “Americanized”. For example, Sushi is so different from original one. They put some spicy sauce and avocado onto the Sushi. For Japanese, these are not sushi anymore. But, they still call it sushi. Also, there is a Yoshinoya in South campus of UCLA. Yoshinoya is very famous beef bowl chain store in Japan. One time, I ordered Miso-soup in Yoshinoya, but it taste so much different compare to original one. Actually, it was really bad taste for Japanese. As I mentioned before, if you add some foreign element to food, that is not original food anymore. One element can change whole concept of the food. That’s why in the story, count G. was looking for real Chinese food with no Japanese element. In other words, strong “Exoticism” against food drives him to look for real Chinese food.

In conclusion, Exoticism can be seen in a lot of fields such as art and design. But, probably most common exoticism in our life is food because we can’t live without food. One small element would change the whole concept of the food. Sushi is the great example of this. The author describes this concept by using Chinese cuisine in the story.



Mother’s Love

Masamitsu Kogure

Japanese 70

Professor Anne Mcknight

October 14, 2013

Mother’s Love

 mother's last smile

I chose this as most important scene in this movie. This scene represent the important connect between food and love. When the husband came back to home, this woman was almost dying. He was really upset and asked her to cook a dinner. Then, suddenly she wakes up and went to kitchen. She walks like a zombie and cooks some fried rice. Finally, she finishes cooking and brings it onto the desk. She serves fried rice to her children. While families are eating fried rice, she smiles and dies. There are a lot of interesting scenes in this movie, but I think this scene is most impressed and represent family love. Even if she was almost dying, she could cook dinner. That’s because she loves her family and she wants to do something for her family as a final action. In a Japanese term, there is a “Ohukuro no Aji” (おふくろの味), which means “the taste of Mom’s cooking”.  For a Japanese people, Ohukuro no aji is really important and each family always has it. For example, in my family, Ohukurono aji is Miso soup. My mother loves cooking Miso soup and I eat every morning when I was in Japan. I think this family in this movie, their Ohukuro no aji is fried rice. That’s why she chose it as a final dinner. While the father and three children are eating fried rice, they look very desperate and sad, but at the same time they look happy because their mother cook dinner as usual and eat dinner with whole families.

In this scene, the mother’s last smile was really impressed for me. When the father came back to home, she was about to die; however she reacted to husband order and cook some fried rice. And, she even served fried rice to her little child. I felt mother’s love and kindness to their children at this moment. I don’t think she has consciousness while she cooks. She cooks it involuntarily. I think her motivation at this time was extreme love against her family. While they are eating, she smiles and dies. I could read this smile a lot of way. First, this smile simply means love against her family. As a mother, she was happy to see her children are eating dinner with happy face. Second, this smile represents sadness of the mother. Of course, she was so sad to say goodbye to their family. She knows this is going to be last work as wife and mother. Therefore, her sadness can be seen in this scene.

In Tampopo, there are a lot of different stories and these stories are something related to food. Itami knows food have a lot of potential such as love and sadness…etc. Among these stories, I think this family scene is most important. Itami is trying to represent family love through the food (fried rice).