A Serious Question Regarding Eastern Asian Cinema And Food

By tully | "Boredom at Its Boredest" by Michael Tully February 26, 2009 at 2:05AM

A Serious Question Regarding Eastern Asian Cinema And Food

I saw Tokyo! yesterday, and it happened yet again. It's a problem, and I can't help it. The problem is this:

Every time I see Eastern Asian food being eaten in an Eastern Asian movie, I absolutely crave it.

I could have just eaten a huge meal or be suffering from food poisoning, yet as soon as I see a character chopsticking into a bowl of noodles in an Eastern Asian-inflected motion picture, my stomach opens and I don't just want noodles; I need them.

A few recent, very diverse, examples of this strange phenomenon include Up the Yangtze, Tokyo Sonata, and perhaps the saddest confession of all: yes, the eating-a-living-octopus scene in Oldboy.

This doesn't happen when I'm watching American movies (well, with the exception of Take Out, but there you go). It doesn't happen when I'm watching Russian, Italian, Scandinavian, or French movies either. So why does this only seem to happen with this type of cinema and this type of food?

I guess my first question is:

1) Does anyone out there have this same problem?


2) Why is this?

My brilliant girlfriend suggested that this is simply proof of MSG's lasting power, how it's more powerful a drug than McDonald's golden arches. A very clever—and valid—supposition indeed. But the same thing happens when I see sushi in an Eastern Asian film (see: Tokyo!). It's not just Chinese food.