We Eat Each Other's Food
to Nourish Our Body:
The Global and the Local as
Mutually Constituent Forces
Given the dual emphases on global dynamics and on food in this volume, this chapter starts with a very brief review of approaches to understanding global forces, past and present, primarily in anthropology, in order to situate my discussion of food as a symbol. Then I use a major portion of this essay to argue that "the global and the local" are mutually constituent forces and that in order to understand the complex dynamics of these interacting forces we must examine the role of global dynamics as historical processes. I do that by exploring the representation of three food items introduced to Japan at different times in its history. These include the introduction of rice from somewhere in Asia and the subsequent uses of rice as a metaphor of the Japanese self as it changes over time; the introduction of meat in the context of Japanese reassessment of self at the end of the nineteenth century; and the introduction of the McDonald's restaurants in this global era.
In terms of quantitative flow, the current evidence of globalization is imposing. Examples range from Coca Cola, McDonald's, and the television pro