J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Dark Vegetables

These bitter gourds grew all of their own accord from the seeds that fell from the vine last year. There were only 4 edible bitter gourds but I love them, and they are less bitter when they are fresh. But at the same time, I wonder if they are "challenge food" or "dark food" (as in the sense of dark tourism) or benign masochism (Rozin, Guillot, Fincher, Rozin, & Tsukayama, 2013) that I eat less because they are delicious but because, like live fish, snakes blood, bludgeoned dogs, and very hot curry, there is an excitement in the very unpleasantness of the thing. I do not eat bludgeoned dog, but some people do, and I can only explain that behaviour in this way.

For the western visitor at least, Japan has a lot of dark, challenging foods but unable to grasp that tourism is also dark (the word for tourism in Japan suggests only light, nice activities) the Japanese insist upon serving the visitor only things that they will like. Worse still they will even attempt to serve cuisine as similar as possible to that which the visitor eats a home such as (in my case) roast beef, and fish tempura (deep fried fish in batter - all I need is the chips).

Rozin, P., Guillot, L., Fincher, K., Rozin, A., & Tsukayama, E. (2013). Glad to be sad, and other examples of benign masochism. Judgment and Decision Making, 8(4), 439–447. Retrieved from journal.sjdm.org/12/12502a/jdm12502a.html>

This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.