Gustolab International: Osaka - Critical Studies on Food Systems and Sustainability in Japan

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  • Location(s): Japan
  • Program Type(s): Study Abroad

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Japanese cuisine, or Washoku, is widely recognized as among the world’s healthiest food choices, and it, along with the Mediterranean cuisines of Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco, has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. T... read more

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Japanese cuisine, or Washoku, is widely recognized as among the world’s healthiest food choices, and it, along with the Mediterranean cuisines of Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco, has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The number of Japanese restaurants in the world continues to grow. But it is important to recognize washoku is a historical product — and practice – a result of naturalizing other food cultures over millennia. Today washoku is not sustainable without food imports, as Japan’ food self-sufficiency is the lowest among industrial nations.Washoku offers invaluable opportunities to think about the intersection of the modern and traditional, local and global, rural and urban, nature and society, taste and waste, our future and sustainability.
The summer program activities are based in the city of Osaka “the food capital of Japan”. Students explore the food cultures and systems of contemporary Japan through interdisciplinary, and multi-sensual learning experiences. Students learn the philosophical foundation of washoku and basic culinary techniques through intensive cooking sessions, and they broaden and deepen their culinary experience by critically engaging in the culture and politics of sustainability in seminar sessions. We also visit wholesale markets where hundreds of food ingredients and products are brought in and re-distributed, engage in multi-sensual fieldwork at a soy sauce distillery, sake brewery, and a small-scale farming village as well as historical temples in Nara and Kyoto.
The program is hosted by Osaka Shoin Women’s University, one of the first liberal arts women’s colleges established in Osaka and now running the nation’s first food studies program.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Program Length(s):
  • Summer
  • Short Term
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