Washoku Shock Japanese Food Project

October 8, 2014
Lecturer Kurt Pipa's "homegrown" cross-cultural project continues on campus this fall.
Students in the campus garden

Above image of the garden courtesy of Kurt Pipa

This fall, Wells Lecturer in Japanese Kurt Pipa continued the ongoing Washoku Shock project, one of several cross-cultural educational opportunities he’s introduced at the College. The project, which started out as an educational dinner in the preparation and eating of Japanese food, has grown into a multi-disciplinary local foods effort.

Taking advantage of the former campus garden south of the College’s McGordon House, Kurt worked with students in the Japanese program, exchange students from Doshisha Women’s College, and Professor Emerita of Chemistry Linda Schwab and Professor of Anthropology Ernie Olson to establish a patch of Japanese greens and white turnips early this fall. The food grown in the garden will be collected by Kurt and his students and used to create an authentic Japanese home-cooked meal this fall.

“The event has two major benefits to the students: they get to see firsthand how food is prepared traditionally in Japan, as well as take a part in growing it from the ground up,” said Pipa. “And I think the whole thing connects very well with a lot of the efforts that Wells is undergoing to promote sustainability on campus. Just to have the interaction with food they’ve grown themselves is an opportunity not all students get, especially in language classes.”

The Washoku Shock project was first proposed and presented to the community as part of Wells’ Celebrating Scholarship and Engagement Series in April of 2012; the first dinner that fall included organic vegetables from local gardens donated by Wells faculty and staff.

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