Many scholars conducting doing important research regarding the diversification of Japanese society which has intensified in recent years for a variety of economic, social and cultural reasons. While these contemporary developments are important, we must also remember that ethnic diversity in Japan does have a significant history, and Chinatowns like...>>
One of our main themes in this sonic repository is food: the sound of food is often one of the main indicators we use to describe the experience of eating; the crunch of a vegetable or fruit speaks to its freshness, for example. In Japan, the slurping of noodles is an expected and necessary sound emitted in the full enjoyment of the food. Our focus on the sounds (and sights) of food and drink illustrate our desire to integrate sound studies into a full sensory ethnography. We believe that to know with the body, then, is to be aware of every sensory possibility that clusters around experience and practice.
Another example: the crunch of a senbei, a Japanese rice cracker, melds the vibrations, tastes, smells and textures together into a single moment of appreciation. Our featured example here, however, leans towards the visual aspect of taste and sound in food. The deep green of these chasoba (tea flavoured soba noodles) draw the eyes into the plate. The sounds of this noodle restaurant include the chatting and laughing sounds of customers and wait staff, as well as the movement of people and objects through space (eg. moving trays and glasses of water across tables). At the very end of the recording we finally hear a slurp.... but my memory of this meal was not dictated so much by sound, but rather by the deep green on the plate before me. It is interesting to listen to the recording afterwards to hear what the recorder captured as I was gazing into the vibrant colour.