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Japanese Culture and Food in “Destination Flavour: Tokyo” Documentary

Updated July 17, 2021
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Japanese Culture and Food in “Destination Flavour: Tokyo” Documentary essay

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Destination Flavour: Tokyo is a food documentary, that takes the narrator across Tokyo in an exploration of the Japanese food, with highlighted food like Karaage, Sakura mochi, and Ramen. The film highlights how rich and eccentric the Japanese culture is, and how flavorful and unique Japanese food is. This film uses ethos, an appeal to credibility, logos, an appeal to facts, and pathos, an appeal to one’s emotions, numerous times throughout the film, in order to strengthen the films argument that Japanese culture and food is one of the most rich and unique culture and food in the world.

There are a few notable examples of ethos, or credibility, within Destination Flavour: Tokyo, however only two stood out the most, that truly utilized a person’s credibility to speak on the importance of culture in Japan, and the richness of Japanese food. Tatsuya Yamamoto is known as a salary man, a person who works in an office. Tatsuya speaks about the demands of working in Japan, explaining that, for six days a week, he works from 8 am to 10 pm, a normal work schedule in Japan.

Tatsuya is the youngest of his colleagues and on “Hanami”, cherry blossom day, it is tradition that he must find a good spot at a park, lay down blankets and wait for his colleagues to arrive for a “Hanami” business party. Watchers would display disbelief when hearing of these kinds of cultural or social norms, however because Tatsuya is a salary man, his credibility leads the viewer to believe this. Another example is when the narrator introduces his friend, Matthew Crabb, an executive chef and co-owner of a high-end restaurant,

Tworooms Grill/Bar. The narrator looks to Matthew to demonstrate how he makes the popular meal “Donburi”. Before it is explained that he is an executive chef, viewers are skeptical as to whether he can make a good “Donburi” bowl, however once he is revealed to in a higher-up position at a luxurious restaurant, he earns the credibility to demonstrate the way he makes his “Donburi” bowl.

Logos, facts used to strengthen the point that Japanese culture and food is one of the richest in the world, are found abundant throughout this informative travel documentary. When describing the crowded environment in Tokyo, the narrator points out that, “13 million people live in the city of Tokyo. It’s one of the worlds truly global cities”. (4:43). The sheer number of people in this city and the importance of this city, internationally, show that there is not just a high concentration of Japanese people in Tokyo, but people from all over the world. Japanese food, in the same way, brings together many different cultures and flavors into the Japanese culture and food, sharing them and making it their own unique creation.

A great case for this is shown in the film when the narrator takes a trip to an “Izekaya”. An Izekaya is a western-style pub, with a Japanese restaurant twist to it. The narrator explains, “in Japanese culture, you never drink alcohol without food to go with it, so Izekaya, an informal pub/restaurant, is very popular in Tokyo”, stating that “there’s literally tens of thousands here, just in Tokyo alone” (5:32). This is a perfect example of Japanese culture, enjoying the properties of another culture, while also sharing parts of their own culture, to create a new, unique way of eating and having fun.

In Destination Flavour: Tokyo, the most prominent of the three appeals to viewers, is pathos, an appeal to one’s emotions. The overall tone of the music in the film being upbeat, encourages the viewer to feel joyous, excited and fills the viewer with a sense of adventure. When the narrator visits the Yamato Ramen School, the film introduces a salary man, named Takehirou, who has enrolled in the Ramen School, to follow his dream of opening a ramen shop. Takehirou was always too scared that his dream would fail, and he wouldn’t be able to support his wife, but when she passed away five years ago, he left his job as a salary man and joined the Yamato Ramen School.

This use of pathos made viewers feel sad, yet inspired by the long-time insurance worker, and hope that he succeeds in his dream. Another example of pathos is when Tatsuya Yamamoto, the salary man, must find a spot in the park for his work party on “Hanami” or cherry blossom day. Tetsuya says “if I don’t find a spot by the time my senior colleagues arrive, it’s a huge problem. So, I must try very hard to get a good spot. Tetsuya claims a spot at the park several hours in advance and waits for his colleagues to arrive. This gives the watcher the feeling of just how important “Hanami” is and how hard Japanese salary men work, even for small business parties.

The use of ethos, pathos and logos within this film is strategically placed, effectively convincing many viewers of the richness of Japanese food, causing watchers to have an attraction to the culture of this small East Asian Island. I have been to Japan a few years ago, and I concur. The various flavors of dishes like the donburi, ramen, curry and karaage show that the foods of Japan are truly unique. The film also highlights the hard-working culture of Japan, by introducing many different people within the society, showing their deep care for their profession, and the city they live in.

Japanese Culture and Food in “Destination Flavour: Tokyo” Documentary essay

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Japanese Culture and Food in “Destination Flavour: Tokyo” Documentary. (2021, Jul 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/japanese-culture-and-food-in-destination-flavour-tokyo-documentary/

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