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Monash University Japanese Studies Centre Webinar - Appetites, Desire and Depreciation in Japanese Food Pathways
The global pandemic and associated practices of social isolation have caused many to reconsider their relationship to food and drink. Widespread closures (as well as limitations on customer service, or fear of contagion) mean that favorite restaurants may not be accessible; increasingly, we are cooking at home, trying to recreate some of the pleasures that have been lost to lockdown. Others may be tightening their belts, foregoing gourmet pleasures for more modest meals.

Seeking culinary solace in a time of restraint and hardship calls us to re-examine circuits of culinary practices in and around Japan. What is it about Japanese food and drink that provides us with such pleasure, and why do we long for it when doing without? We will discuss the ehomaki (an oversized sushi roll from the Kansai region) whose making and consumption have gone national by way of ubiquitous konbini (convenience store); ‘Japanese coffee’, which challenges locally brewed and imbibed coffee in Melbourne, Australia; and Japanese whisky, with its own flows of desire. These domestic and foreign circuits of desire suggest that changing culinary practices shape the brand ‘Japan’ in critical ways. As mouths open wide to encompass the enormity of the rice roll, as coffee cups swirl to the brew’s precious aroma, as tongues quiver to the silken whisky, culinary Japan becomes the sensorium of circuitry. These presentations suggest ways by which insatiable desire of and for brand Japan shapes its own lush sway; join us for a taste of this dangerous stuff.


Iori Hamada, Monash University (presenter)
Kay Ikeda, Doshisha University (chair)
Carolyn S. Stevens, Monash University (organizer/presenter)
R. Kenji Tierney, State University of New York (New Paltz) (discussant)
Merry I. White, Boston University (presenter)
Gavin H. Whitelaw, Harvard University (organizer/presenter)
Christine R. Yano, University of Hawai`i (discussant)

Nov 6, 2020 10:00 AM in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

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