First sushi, then noodles; next sake and wagyū beef: The world's fascination with Japanese cuisine shows no sign of abating. More and more people are writing about it, too, from travel buffs and visiting cooking experts to untold legions of foodie bloggers.

Rarely, though, do the books, articles and blog posts go further than the standard tropes: "This is what I put in my mouth"; "Look how quaint/weird Japan is"; or "I found the real hidden Japan." It's hard to find much in-depth writing that sheds new light on Japan's food culture, either traditional or contemporary.

There are plenty of recipe books and endless restaurant reviews. But where are the articles about, say, the last surviving tofu artisans, pickle makers in Kyoto, shōjin ryōri (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) or the colonial origins of ramen?