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Talking Food with Naoko (July 23, 2021)

BROOKE MCCORKLE OKAZAKI IN CONVERSATION WITH SHONEN KNIFE’S NAOKO YAMANO


There is no question that the members of Shonen Knife love food; this is obvious from their banter at live shows about food, their book Shonen Knife Land. I explored the band’s relationship with food in Shonen Knife’s Happy Hour: Food, Gender, Rock and Roll. For that book, I had a chance to interview Naoko about the 1998 album, its creation, and her insights about music. I feel honored to communicate with her again via email for part of this blog series. This time, the conversation focused on food. I’ve provided Naoko’s responses in English translation (any mistakes are shortcomings on my part). Many thanks to Naoko and Manager Shibata Atsushi for their help and kindness. 

Bon appétit! 

Brooke:

Naoko, Shonen Knife has a song about ramen, and not long ago you all went on a Ramen Adventure world tour. Do you have any favorite ramen shops or types of ramen (tonkotsu, shio, soy sauce, etc.)?

Naoko:

Among ramen, I like Kyushu’s tonkotsu shoyu ramen. I prefer thin, straight noodles that are hard boiled. Among the major chains, I like Ippudo’s menu item called “Hakumaru Moto Aji”. During the tour, I have also eaten ramen at Ippudo restaurants in Sydney, Australia and London, UK in 2017 and 2018. Other than that, Yamachan in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture  and Isshintei, also in Hakata are great. All of them are Kyushu Nagahama Tonkotsu Ramen. It’s delicious.

Naoko’s favorite ramen from Ippudo (https://www.ippudo.com/news/2011_asakusabashi_open/

Brooke: 

Shonen Knife sings a lot about desserts, and it looks like you’ve enjoyed a maritozzo lately! Do you have a favorite dessert?

Naoko:

Right now, since it’s summer, shaved ice (kakikoori) is my favorite. I like shaved ice with soybean flour at the Amaoto Maeda coffee shop. I also like Gari Gari-kun and Sakure (Sacre Ice) from convenience stores. I only eat them in the summer. In June, I had a very delicious melon parfait at Morozoff in Sannomiya, Kobe. It’s only available for a limited time, so it’s not listed on the web site.

Shaved ice with soybean flour from Naoko’s Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/ShonenKnife/status/1294778568640040960)

Brooke:

Lately, I’ve been enjoying watching Oishinbo and Midnight Diner on Netflix. Do the band members like to watch shows about food or read manga?

Naoko:

My friend lent me the Oishinbo manga before and I read it. It’s very interesting! I also watch Sarameshi from time to time. Nakai Kiichi’s narration is very good. There are many delicious looking dishes in the show.

Brooke: 

At the recent 712 concert, I felt the pride of Osaka during your onstage conversations. Have you ever thought of writing a song about takoyaki or okonomiyaki? *(Osaka is famous for these dishes)*

Naoko:

Takoyaki is my favorite food. Of course I love okonomiyaki, but I actually prefer Hiroshima okonomiyaki to Osaka okonomiyaki. In addition, I love akashiyaki as much as I love Osaka’s takoyaki. Have I never written a song about takoyaki and okonomiyaki before? Maybe takoyaki and okonomiyaki are so major that I forgot to write a song about them?

Naoko enjoys takoyaki, a famous Osaka dish (https://twitter.com/ShonenKnife/status/1237426422517391361

Brooke:

We are all very much looking forward to your tour next year in the UK. What are Shonen Knife looking forward to eating in the UK?

Naoko: 

Fish and chips. I want to eat fish and chips. Potatoes are very delicious in England. Potato chips are also better than in Japan. I’m really looking forward to our first tour in a long time!

Shonen Knife’s 2022 UK Tour Schedule (https://www.shonenknife.net/news.html?id=n299

 

 

Brooke McCorkle Okazaki specializes in opera of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, film music, and the music of modern Japan. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, she is the co-author of Japan’s Green Monsters: Environmental Commentary in Kaijū Cinema (2018)and the author of Shonen Knife’s Happy Hour: Food, Gender, Rock and Roll (2021). In the 2019-20 academic year, McCorkle Okazaki received a Japan Foundation Fellowship to complete her monograph Searching for Wagner in Japan. She currently splits her time between Osaka, Japan and Northfield, Minnesota, where she serves as an Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College.

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