Japanese cuisine is, as we often hear, unique. Bruno Taut early noted that “the appetite of the Japanese is aroused principally through appeal to the optic nerve.” Later, Roland Barthes stated that the Japanese meal was primarily a palette: “These trays fulfill the definition of painting.” And recently Rudolph Arnhem told us just what kind of paintings: “The range and delicacy of Japanese sensibility is displayed in colors suggesting Impressionist painting.”

That is an apt comparison when one remembers that the Impressionists sought to deal with the way things really appear, not how we think they do. The Japanese cuisine insists upon rawness, crispness, freshness — things as they really are. Not for it the facade of sauces; rather it provides a clear view of food presented, being itself.

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