Saturday, September 6, 2008

Japanese Food Culture

My darling friend E raised the idea of a strong difference between North American food culture and that of the Japanese. While I haven't necessarily piad a geat deal of attention to the cultural difference I occasionally run across things that remind me of the fascination the Japanese have with food and how they incorporate it into their lives.

To riff a little on the idea that E postulated - food in Japan is a genre all it's own. There is manga specific to it, there are adorable little decor items, and there are wonderful tools that are adorably rendered such that they don't have to be hidden in drawers when you aren't using them. Thus there is a demand and a resulting market that values food, it's production, the aesthetics and the artistry involved in creating beautiful products.

These lovely cakes
are one such example of the culture that turns classical food motifs into lovely pieces of art for your home - and they are deliciously practical. I wouldn't mind having a set to leave for my guests.

These Fire Flowers can live in your kitchen for up to two years and are a wonderfully aesthetic fire extinguisher for any small pan fires that might occur (thought I hope they don't) in your kitchen. There would also make an interesting gift for freshman moving out and cooking on their own for the first time. I will admit that $39.00 is expensive for a pair when you can pick up appprox 2 dozen roses for the same - but the investment you make with these might just be worth it.

Another super fun gift for for your kids who are moving out, or your kids who have tired of their easy bake oven and playdoh modelling kits, is this fun Norimake Makki Sushi Roll Maker from Bandai. Yes, the same bandia that makes other toys like tamagotchis, as well as the pokemon/digimon paraphenalia. This however is so much more fun and infinetly more useful. Maybe maki roll parties will be for this or a future generation what fondue parties were to my parents? I think it'd be a fabulous, hands on exercise in creativity and you're virtually garanteed perfect rolls.

Other fun Bandai products include the sandwich shapers with which you can shape sandwiches into heats and flowers and pull together complex many layered creations. Personally, if I'm going to be that cutesy I'd go the cookie cutter route myself, but I can see these being useful at tea parties, baby showers and other cutesy events.

So many cute useful little time and shelf space. What would you buy if you could?

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