There is an interesting movie that is going to be shown at the Laemmle in Pasadena for a limited time.  The word wa 和 in Japanese means "harmony" and shoku  means meal.  Combined they are how the Japanese refer to "Japanese" style cuisine.  The usage of wa is interesting to me.  The Japanese have this idea the food should have life and thus have a sense of harmony.  Harmony?  It's food that you eat, right?  Yes, but to the Japanese it is more than that.  The food should have an aesthetic quality about it in order to be called "washoku."  Eating is not just a circumstance in which one finds themselves gobbling down McDonalds.  Eating is how we live and thus we must give the event a certain sense of respect.  Washoku is that aesthetic quality one brings to a meal with respect to the environment, company and ultimately the food.  Every aspect of the meal down to the smallest detail is given the utmost attention.  This attention gives the meal a certain sense of harmony.  Washoku is hard to explain in mere words.  For lack of a good explanation, it is a feeling that the host tries to impart and a feeling that overtakes the guests as they experience the meal.  From the trailer, Washoku - Beyond Sushi looks to explain this difficult Japanese cultural phenomenon.

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