Kaiseki 24-7

Kaiseki detail 3.jpg

Kaiseki 24-7

JAPAN: ...Sparkling and clean ...Brilliant colors and kanji, graphic design ...Polite people ...Many people, objects, sounds and colors ...Overwhelming and delighting

Nothing sums up my Japanese experience of crowded activity, bright colors and design, obsessive order, and incredible beauty any better than the presentation and culture of their cuisine.

As a way to record my experience, and to sooth my rattled midwestern sensibilities, I took the obligatory “food” pictures, not realizing what a treasure I had until I looked at them together.

Modern “kaiseki” features highly structured, multi-course meals that showcase micro-seasons, where menus shift dramatically depending on the availability of ingredients. Another notable aspect of kaiseki is how visual it is, partly to showcase seasonality, and partly to delight and surprise the diner.

I call this series of images “Kaiseki 24-7," as the food and cuisine in Japan were ever imaginative and always delightful. The graphic nature of the imagery is my attempt to re-create the heightened sensory impact of my experience, and to express the brilliance and beauty of a wonderful culture.

A common question in Japanese culture that is reflected in the wabi-sabi of their cuisine is:

“How can you make the simple things complicated, and simplify the complicated?”