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In the news: tomatoes demystified

10 Jun

This story has obvious links to the Fukuoka reading for Tuesday. A critique of food–>a general critique of modernity, and re-connection with the sources of food is urged…

How we ruined the tomato

The plump red fruit has become a symbol of everything that’s wrong with modern agriculture. An expert explains why

How we ruined the tomato


Americans love tomatoes. As our second-most-popular produce item, we’re accustomed to the sight of them: plump and bright red, marble to soft-ball sized, and piled in abundance year-round in the refrigerated fruit and vegetable aisle of the grocery store. Many of us eat tomatoes every day: if not au natural, in ketchup, salsa, or marinara sauce.

Yet our favorite fruit may not be quite as innocuous and delicious as it appears.

continued, on

Some links to “ruins” blogs

16 Nov

A relic of the 1980s "bowling boom." Source:

When we look at the mystery-horror novel OUT, one important precedent to keep in mind is the gothic novel: the novel of architectural decrepitude and feminine confinement par excellence.

OUT‘s 1997 publication coincides nicely with a small boom in gothic tourism, to abandoned industrial properties located on the outskirts of towns. They are not necessarily feminine spaces, but still, they evoke similar senses of gloom, abandonment, and strange lyrical beauty. Here are some links to “ruins” (haikyo 廃墟) blogs which document and brood upon these abandoned spaces.

Michael John Grist is an American guy who has caught onto the ruin trail.

This guy is more nostalgic, and includes images of bygone foods you might have eaten in the ryōkan of ages past…

And finally, I include this one because it shows and links to the page for several of the amazing sub-varieties of ruin appreciation–railroad, amusement park, and most famously, Gunkanjima

DVD cover. Source:

Spirited Away clip/trailer

27 Sep

You can see a trailer of Spirited Away on YouTube, either dubbed into English, or in Japanese, as I pasted below with subs.

It uses “magic” to critique the present, and offer alternatives, in ways that echo with the Tanizaki, Miyazawa and Kajii short stories.If you have the whole DVD, or access to it, you can watch the first 13:00 or so, as we will tomorrow. Unfortunately, Studio Ghibli has pulled all the nice long clips off the web, so you have to acquire it privately to watch.

2nd blog assignment–a meal of taste or “wild nature”

13 Sep

On Tuesday, I am going to hand out a hard copy of the second blog assignment, which is due Thursday.

As you will recall, because those darling seeds required one day longer of TLC, everything is pushed back a day.

Basically, it is the same in form: posted BEFORE 11:00am on Thursday, and handed in, also, in hard copy/print.

I will also hand back the FIRST blog assignment. That was a fun read–you all have had interesting lives.

For assignment #2, rules about lateness are the same, but will be enforced. After a grace period (gracious!), when I did not take off points for not doing exactly what the assignment said, the clock will be ticking as of 11:00am Thurs. If you have not yet uploaded and linked a personal avatar to your name, it ticks. If your on-line version OR your print version is not turned in, it ticks. This was part of the last assignment, but a lot of people didn’t pay attention to the basic instructions. This is a really easy assignment, designed to let you get points for being creative, personal, having a “voice” in view of the textual readings. So you should read the directions; they’re easy, and ignoring them makes you lose easy-money points!