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Final paper reiteration

28 Jun

Hi all,

this reprises what I said in class, but adds a few angles or points you might think about, if you want a structure to work with:
Final paper topic:
in five pages (roughly 250-300w/page), use ideas and texts that you have encountered in your readings on Japan, gardens and food history/politics/cultivation to suggest contributions to the USC Master Plan’s approach to feeding students. You may focus on a specific topic–even one that does not appear, per se, in the Master Plan–or you may suggest an overall approach or methodology (shizen nōhō, for instance, or localism, or if you like, pro-industrial food supply…).
The form and format are open-ended, but you may want to consider:

  • –genre. Do you want to write a manifesto (with manifestary narrative with problem to solve and open-ended future), a thought experiment (like Tanizaki or Miyazawa), a parody (like Ozeki), etc.?
  • –voice and audience. Are you addressing policy-makers, or fellow students? How does this affect your choice of language and tone? Would you like students to be involved in a particular way?
  • –examples. You might suggest that the Plan learn concretely from your own research.
  • –etc. The goal is to develop broad recommendations, connecting book/film learning to the world through your translation of language and concepts–i.e. the basic goal of a liberal arts education! If there are areas that need further research, either in your document, or in the Plan (many blind spots or blank spots may be found), feel free to say so.
  • –do you want to include images, to illustrate the current state of things, or an ideal? Be sure to document your sources, establish that they are credible (i.e. the result of someone’s concrete research, and not just “floating” scholarship plucked from cyberspace), and give captions to your photos or images.


Fish feeds: the ocean in the news

21 Jun

Because last week was world fisheries day–which may be news to you–there was a splash of fish and ocean-related stories in the news. These stories ride in the wake of the books we looked at in class (The Sushi Economy, Four Fish) as well as the issues The Cove touches on. Many of them adopt a similar shock strategy as The Cove, positing or predicting a tipping point in an eco-related issue. Often the stories, even in the international press, feature LA and its aqua-spheres. Here is one example, from the Independent, the British paper. (Also, notice how the vague use of phrases such as “a major report,” and “a global panel of scientists” leaves mysterious the exact nature and credibility of the sources. As we saw in The Cove, and as you find if you follow the paper/money trail of many organizations that advocate on policy issues, science can easily be spun to be partisan, through selective presentation or cryptic methodology…)

The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today. The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

The beach, featured in the image below, is Redondo.

Credit: APP/Getty Millions of dead anchovies floating at a marina in Redondo Beach, California, in March

As you write up your plan for the USC area, you might consider: what is the balance of evidence, of shock, of emotional tone, of narrative, that you want as the skeleton of your paper? Ruth Ozeki’s novel, My Year of Meats, tackles similar issues–via industrial agriculture–but uses humor to do so. Does each strategy have different motivations, effects, results in the kind of community it builds?

Song list for Momotarō jazz opera

15 Jun

opening credit

:00      ojīsan goes out walking: Charlie Parker, “Now’s the Time”

:24      obasan washes clothes in river: Kenny Dorham, “Lotus Blossom”


:48      look, a peach approaches: Miles Davis, “Milestones”

1:40    ojī and obā break open peach: Thelonius Monk, “Misterioso”

1:48    Momotarō bursts out: Monk, “Blue Monk”


2:02    ojī marvels: Horace Silver, “Sister Sadie”


…some years later

2:20    Momotarō makes his plea to voyage: Bill Evans, “Waltz for Debby”       (

3:38    Art Blakey, from the soundtack to Dangerous Liaisons (1958)

4:27    Momotarō sets out: Art Blakey, “Blues March”

4:57    sendoff for Momotarō: Sonny Rollins, “Doxy”

5:11    on the road, 3 animals: “Five Spots After Dark,” feat. Benny Golson (

5:50    animal alliance: Bud Powell Trio, “Cleopatra’s Dream” (

6:27    Momotarō subdues the animals: Herbie Mann, “Comin’ Home Baby” (

7:00    ahoy, M hits the high seas: Herbie Hancock, “Maiden Voyage” (

7:32    devils on Onigashima: Charlie Parker, “Donna Lee”–Saitō Haruhiko sings here

8:15 more devils assemble: Clifford Brown, “Cherokee” (

8:43    pacification: Charles Mingus, “Fables of Faubus”


9:02    victory!: Miles Davis,  “Round Midnight”


9:13    celebration!: John Coltrane, “Moment’s Notice”


9:47    ensemble: Sonny Rollins, “St Thomas” (


8 Jun

Even you have never learned Korean before, you must know the word “Kimchi”. Kimchi is definitely the national food that can represent Korea the most.


 It is nothing flamboyant but a simple dish of fermented vegetables with seasoning that anyone can afford. Besides it is well known for beneficial to health, its flaming red makes people drool at first sight, not to even mention the flavorful taste that can spice up any dish and goes will with any other companion. It has such good taste that many of my Korean friends said that they can finish a bowl of rice just with kimchi.

It exists in everywhere in Korea, if you go into a Korean restaurant, you will be served with different side dishes, which for sure include kimchi that comes with anything you order. In addition, it is also an ingredient that constitutes for several kinds of Korean cuisine. For example, ramyeon, Kimchi pancake, Kimchi stew, stir-fry Kimchi pork, Kimchi fried rice and the list goes on.

kimchi pancake

kimchi fried rice

kimchi stew

Kimchi is an indispensable part of a Korean culture in the fact that many families still make their own Kimchi back at home though it can be easily bought at any market. Koreans certainly take pride in Kimchi that they also have been promoting the kimchi culture to the rest of the world. There is a museum in Seoul dedicated to Kimchi that attracts loads oof visitors from both domestic and foreign. Korean airlines also offer Kimchi as part of their airplane meal. I have also read a news article about the Korean astronauts bringing Kimchi to the space. 

Nowadays, Kimchi no longer is limited in Korea, it has breaks its way into the world, and had even became part of the food truck culture in Los Angeles.


7 Jun

Every kid in Korea has an experience of eating a red, spicy, delicious mouthful of tteokbokki at a street vendor’s cart on their way back from school. Although modern type of tteokbokki has a short history, it is considered one of the top street foods in Korea.


Tteokbokki can be easily bought and consumed anywhere. It is sold in millions of Kimbap Chunguk chain restaurants around the country, which is equivalent to McDonalds of America. It is also the main food that is sold by millions of street vendor carts.

Garaetteok used in tteokbokki is a long cylindrical rice cake that is used for various of  Korean recipes. Tteok is a food with a long history in Korea, which can be traced all the way back to the 3 Kingdoms period in Korea. Modern tteokbokki is related to Gung Jung tteokbokki, a dish which includes nuts, meat, vegetables, and eggs steamed in a soy sauce based sauce.

Gung Jung Tteokbokki

Because tteok required lots of grains and care to make, it was considered a delicacy, only to be served to the royal family. Interestingly enough, tteokbokki is one of the cheapest snack foods in Korea today although it has changed dramatically from its original form. Modern tteokbokki is stir fried with vegetables, eggs, oden in a gochujang (red pepper paste) paste based sauce.

Tteok is no longer handmade, but made in factories and can be easily obtained. A plate of tteokbokki only costs around 1000-2000 won (1-2 dollars), making it one of the top snack food choices for Korean people.

Images from and

Food Truck-o Taco

29 May

Living in Los Angeles most of my life, I’ve seen my own share of food trucks growing up and I have seen the evolution of food trucks growing. Tonight I ended up going to a typical Mexican food truck down near Vernon and Normandy for dinner with my mother. My mom loves tacos, so we thought this would be a great opportunity to blog about my food truck experience and spend time with my mother. When we got there, we saw the menu in between the two open windows, where one window you order and the other you get your food, and I ended up getting two tacos Al Pastor and two Asadas and my mom got the same thing but with “Chile” on the side (a spicy side dish for your tacos). The drinks were available right on the bottom with ice covering them and I got water while my mother got a soda and we paid for them at the first window. The atmosphere of the truck was somewhat and the neighborhood surrounding it was a bit dingy. The taco truck was white with neon lights laminating the menu and the area surrounding it. Despite the surroundings, the staff attending us was very friendly and they attended us with smiles. Our wait time for the food was around 5 minutes and we got our food at the second window. The food was overall ok, not the best tacos I have eaten. The truck experience itself was not that out of the ordinary experience of any food truck I have been to, since I ended up going to a more traditional version of a food truck that is more aimed to working people in the Latino community. Despite this being a typical experience, it was still worth the try on our experimentation on trying out a new food truck with my mother.

Authentic as you can get

29 May

Once again, I went to dinner with my mom and yes it was taco again like it was Taco Tuesday, but this time not from a truck. My mother and I went to King Taco near Hoover and Pico. Growing up in Los Angeles, King Taco used to a hole in the wall type of place within the Latino community of Los Angeles, and as I kid, I remember going there and it would be packed with Latinos of different origins. Nowadays, King Taco has been discovered and is now renowned all over the city and you are able to find people of all races coming to eat delicious tacos at King Taco. Why, out of all taco restaurants in Los Angeles, has King Taco gained popularity within the last few years? According to food articles that talk about King Taco, it is because of its authenticity that gained mass public attention. In many ways, I think, King Taco is authentic. One example of its authenticity are the carne asada tacos (as shown in the picture). The beef is cooked over a grill, given a few spices and sauces, and you taste tacos that give taste buds euphoria. The carne asada tacos have a hint of lime, the meat has a very nice juicy well cooked texture and the tortillas have some form of flavor as well. I guess the main thing about King Taco, atleast in my opinion, that the tacos are made uniquely with its distinct flavor that I have not been able to find anywhere else. Sure, there are other taco places that offer similar food and similar taste that may come close to King Taco, but, as far as I know, King Taco is the best out there that I have had and would consider the most authentic that Los Angeles has to offer.