Monday, January 11, 2021

「Eat, Drink, and Stand in Japan」featuring the tachinomiya Tenbun is the cover story for the print version of Anthropology News (November/December 2020)

Also available online:
My text was severely edited (for brevity and to appeal to a wider audience I suppose) but I think the photos look great! I like the layout in the print version better. Send me an e-mail if you want a pdf copy.

The original pitch:

In Japan, food is prominent in documentaries, cooking shows, travel shows, variety shows, dramas, manga, anime, books, magazines, blogs, Facebook and Instagram. This food, not eaten but consumed, provides entertainment, enjoyment and knowledge. Many of these presentations are set in izakaya (Japanese-style pub) and tachinomiya (Japanese standing bar) located in shitamachi (“lower city” associated with common people) neighborhoods that serve B-kyu gurume (B-rank food)—comfort food and/or local food. These are fascinating shops and sites to explore the production (cooking) and consumption (eating) of food. The portrayals themselves are another form of production, that of knowledge and enjoyment that is “good to think” (Levi-Strauss 1962), “communicated” (Barthes 1966; Dusselier 2009) and “shared among people” (Cheung 2002).

This photo essay is a multimodal visual ethnography of a 40-year-old tachinomiya in Osaka called Tenbun. Tenbun features many kinds of food and drink, a lively and relaxed atmosphere and plenty of colorful characters including the owner, employees and regular customers. Based upon over two years of participant-observation and photography, a photo exhibition and other post-fieldwork encounters, the text and images explore the intersection of food anthropology, recent research on drinking establishments in Japan and the plethora of “foodie” media productions.

The Tenbun/tachinomiya project:

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