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Hungry (2012) is a wonderfully flavoured food drama from Japan with 11 1-hour episodes, revolving around the nature of French cuisine in Japan. This drama is definitely worth the watch; this article is to draw some concepts as food for thought.
Below is the trailer.
By skimming through the synopsis, you probably see a typical drama plot at the outset – passion/dream seekers, romance, love triangle, business rivalry, a bachelor, family, friends and cooking stand-off but when you plunge deeper, it contains unpredictable element in the plot and invaluable insights that made me paused to ponder.
The drama reveals the social classes of the Japanese society as seen in the stand-off between the representatives of the middle class (Eisuke Yamata) and the upper class (Tokio Aso) – their views about life and what makes a good representation of the French cuisine within the context of Japan.
Differences in viewpoints
Below are quotes by both social classes from the drama.
Can you see any similarity in both classes?
The Tantalizing French Cuisine Teasers
Below are a few food samples from the drama for those who has yet to watch.
Is it a Good Story?
One of the attributes of a good story is being relatable, below are some of the trends and issues brought forward in the drama. It’s a valuable insight of the Japanese society: their perception on the way of living, handling of local issues and the growing diversity of cultural taste and flavours.
– The nitty-gritty details and the challenges faced by start-up F&B businesses.
– The waning interest in farming among the younger generation as they take things for granted, and living a life without putting much thought regarding the natural food sources. Many think farming is about dirt, mud and sweat without a slightest inkling that it is a job that connects a community to the cycle of life.
– The trend of macrobiotic diets among Japanese women.
– The psychology of comfort food in which it is closely linked to the simple food savoured during childhood.
– The western culture of fast food is gradually influencing the choice of food of the younger generation, causing the rise in obesity.
– Social issues in Japanese homes revolving their work culture where work is given priority, causing family disharmony.
– The parents’ role in cultivating healthy habits, values and interest – showing their child how to eat healthily, cook and introducing local recipes to them.
– The community’s role as a whole in guiding the next generation by showing good examples and teaching them about healthy living and good values.
– Education system’s role in educating the public on dietry education.
Can you relate to any of these trends and issues?
Bringing to a Closure
To me, this drama is not only entertaining but it is also educational. The knowledge gap created by the drama made me ponder and paved the way for me to explore the world of French culture & cuisine.