Ordinary Ecstacy

27 Sep

Most people believe that magic is something supernatural or paranormal. Magic does not necessarily have to be an other-worldly, or even a rare occurrence. In Tanizaki’s writing, magic is depicted as a feeling, more so than it is an actual event. There are hundreds of vivid descriptions and context clues in Tanizaki’s writing referring to the raw pleasures derived from this particular experience. Though they happen to be highlighting the characteristics of a meal, the descriptions are as much about the senses and feelings of the narrator as they are about the decadence of the food itself. Although Chinese food happens to be the catalyst for magic in this story, it could be anything.

The narrator is feeling somewhat over-accomplished, as though he has drained every bit of excitement available to him. While he is out searching for a thrill, he stumbles upon a restaurant previously unknown to him. The food that they make captures all of his senses with force and ultimately, is exactly what he desired. The narrator is experiencing the ecstasy and satisfaction due to him finding exactly what he wanted, much like ending a journey. All people have journeys, goals, and ambitions and there is a special type of satisfaction one receives from successfully executing a plan. In this way, magic can result from any facet of life.

It could be assumed that if a Chinese man was eating average Chinese cuisine, he would receive less of a thrill than if he were to be experimenting with something foreign to him. The definition of excitement will always vary. Everyone experiences things in a different order, which means that we all experience magic at separate intervals, making it impossible to define the idea of magic. This story merely captures one adventurer’s specific moment in ecstasy.

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