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Explore Japan's Food Culture Through Films at FIU This Week

Ramen probably made the cut in your college diet.

But the beloved college repast is more than just an instant meal in a microwavable bowl. There are years of history behind the dish, and the Consulate of Japan in Miami wants to share them through film.

Through Thursday, Florida International University, sponsored by the Consulate, will show the Ramen Samurai (September 14 at 2 p.m.) , The God of Ramen (September 16 at 1:30 p.m.), The Mourning Recipe (September 17 at 2 p.m.)and A Tale of Samurai Cooking (September 18 at 2 p.m.). They will be presented in Japanese with English subtitles inside FIU's Graham Center on the South Campus, 11200 SE Eighth St. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. 

"Japanese food involves a lot of Japanese culture," said Masao Takagi, current public relations consul for the Consulate General of Japan in Miami. "It's not just about ramen, but, in general, there is a process of making Japanese food that involves a lot of qualities that are important in our culture."

Takagi is from Japan and moved to Florida two years ago. He and his team create opportunities for the public to experience and become more knowledgeable about Japanese culture.

"We really want the whole community and whoever is interested to come," said Takagi. "Each film has its own theme within food and history. I hope this opens up people's minds about how Japanese culture is as a whole while also focusing on food."

The films fuse Japanese traditional cuisine, family history, and universal themes like love, loss, family, death, to show how they are all interconnected. "The process of making food involves the Japanese mentality and way of doing things, in general," he said. "It's a deeper expression than just cooking food. It's an art."

Beyond educating, Takagi hopes the films clear up misconceptions.

"The American people think sushi is a California roll, but in Japan we never had that," he said. "We have California rolls now, but we didn’t have it before. We actually got it from the United States."

Call 305-530-9090 ext.142 for more information.

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Clarissa Buch Zilberman is a writer and editor, with her work appearing in print and digital titles worldwide.
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