food in japan
If food is fun, eating in Japan is positively magnificent. From the simplest grilled squid at a late night village festival to the most exquisitely prepared Franco-Japanese fusion concoction at a luxury restaurant on the Ginza in Tokyo, eating in Japan excites me. Japanese food is not all sushi, grilled fish, green tea, rice and tofu. Nor is it only things strange to the Western palate, although raw chicken, whale, fish semen and fried grasshoppers are all available if you know where to look and perhaps who to ask.
The truth is that all over Japan, American style fast food restaurants dot the landscape and convenience stores sell tasty lunch boxes comprising more chemicals than natural ingredients. Likewise, Japan now imports over 60% of its food, and it no secret that Japanese farmers produce very little of what is actually consumed in urban centers. With that said the usually quoted dire figures of Japanese agriculture hardly tell the whole story. While the foodways of Japan are changing at a tremendous pace, the countryside as a place of food production and innovation is far from dead.
The goal of this website is to provide an expansive body of visual material documenting people involved in the production, distribution or retailing of food in Japan. Look here for a growing collection of photographs of farmers, fishermen, shopkeepers, restaurateurs, supermarket clerks, importers, dishwashers, lunch box makers, delivery boys and consumers reflecting contemporary Japanese foodways.
This website is inspired by that special moment just before eating something delicious, when you pick up your chopsticks in expectation, look down the food before you, and do a little dance of joy. Dancing Chopsticks is a way of saying thanks.
This mammoth project is still in its infancy, and the website today is only a rough outline of things to come. The gaps in content are both obvious and enormous, but please visit again in the coming months as I intend to add more pictures, videos and music. Finally, I encourage you to submit your own photographs, videos, interviews and essays of friends and family working in Japanese food. I need your help to make this work!