Why is it that we eat what we eat? Why is it that certain foods are familiar and comforting, while others remain strange and exotic? My own experiences have shaped my preferences, and that means some foods will always be representative of the Other. One dish in particular is as much a part of my life and memory as it is foreign. Ramen, a dish that has been so cheap and ubiquitous throughout my life, is a dish with a long and rich history that is representative of the way our respective circumstances have shape our perspective of food as it relates our identities.
During a decade of rapid change, modernity created within Japan an identity crisis in which the broader Japanese culture suffered from an “authenticity complex;” the moga embodies the clash between East and West in Japan’s late Taishō and early Shōwa periods, and this clash within her reveals how her eroticism was at once both uniquely Japanese and universally Western. Thus, an exploration of the moga in the East must first begin in the West.