Sound, sight and taste

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.

Explore Sonic Japan

More in Kyoto

More on food and drink

More on retail

Recent posts

Arashiyama Wedding

Mon Jul 24 2017 by Tamara Kohn

What a sight in the midst of the splendid bamboo forest walk at Arashiyama: A young couple posing for wedding photos in a stream of light on the wide path. The bride’s long white dress glowed with a brilliant light that appeared to emanate from the bodies of the...>>

Green Tea Cakes and Yobikomi

Fri Jul 21 2017 by Carolyn Stevens

In my recent article ‘Irasshai! Sonic Practice as Commercial Enterprise in Urban Japan’ (Journal of Musicological Research, link here, I observe that recorded versions of yobikomi (calling in customers) are increasing, likely due to cost cutting measure – it’s cheaper to record the company jingle and play it on...>>

Genkoan and the bloody footprints

Tue Jan 31 2017 by Tamara Kohn

This temple, founded in the 14th century, sits high in the hills in northwest Kyoto. Since the late 17th century it has belonged to the Sōtō School of Zen. It is famous for its main hall (hondo) where there are two windows – one perfectly round and another...>>

More posts >>


More >>


More >>