EATING “JAPANESE”

Is food simply the uploading of calories into a body, a way of meeting basic caloric and nutritional needs?  Is it nothing more than chemistry?  Does it only symbolize the groups and bodies that are present?  No.  Surely we can claim that food one of the most elemental cultural substances with which we produce selves and societies.  Food, the saying goes, “is good to think with.”   So too, food is good to think about culture.

In this paper, you will loosely orient your paper around food and Japan.  You might, for example:

  • Find several texts below that speak to issues of “masculinity” in Japan; and perhaps food is one area in which manliness, sexuality, marriage, etc. is comprehended.  You might, e.g, consider the topic of “herbivorous” or “grass-eating” men in Japan.
  • Find several texts below about Filipina-Japanese marriages; and think about the ways that food is one way of negotiating “femininity,” marriage, foreigness, or alleged “civilizational” superiourity.
  • Consider the ways that “Japanese cuisine” is a marker and a negotiator of nation in a specific context.
  • Or perhaps you’ll spot another theme amidst the following sources that you would like to bring into sharp focus.

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