"Performing, Placemaking and Re-Presenting: Brazilian Restaurants in Tokyo": ICC Lecture, July 16, 5:30

Sophia University ICC Lecture Series 2010

Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research <KAKENHI> Project for Year 2010: "Traveling Cuisines" in Asia: Sociological inquiries into culinary contact zones and culinary soft power and Institute of Comparative Culture presents

Performing, Placemaking and Re-Presenting: Brazilian Restaurants in Tokyo

Vera Zambonelli

July 16, 2010 5:30 pm -- 7:00 pm, Room 301, 3F, Building 10

Through the notion of placemaking, here understood as the process that produces tangible as well as intangible sites, this presentation, part of a larger project, examines the role of Brazilian restaurants in the cultural landscape of Tokyo. As these restaurants regularly serve not only food, but also other Brazilian cultural performances such as Samba and Bossa Nova, they provide a place where “ethnic contacts are maintained,” rediscovered identities performed and re-presented, and “social diversity negotiated and designed”  (Zukin, 1995). To examine these inscriptions is compelling and vital given the  limited latitude of expression that migrants (read foreigner workers) have in the Japanese political and ideological-normative realms. In fact, the official discourse not only denies that Japan is an immigration country, but also that its society is multicultural. Thus, by providing accounts of how these several forms of Brazilian cultural appropriation, participation and inscription do occur in these places of urban consumption, this presentation intends not only to document how the urban space becomes spatially diverse, but also calls for a greater appreciation of the many different agents and identities that spatially as well as socially contribute to the making of the Tokyo of contemporary times.

Vera Zambonelli is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai'i Manoa and Summer Visiting Scholar at the Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture in Tokyo, Japan. Her research examines migrants’ processes and negotiations of placemaking directed towards the inscription of their cultural diversity in the urban space they inhabit and occupy. Concurrently, Vera is working on a documentary film about the places that anchor representations of Brazilian identities in the Tokyo urban landscape as part of her dissertation.

Lecture in English / No prior registration necessary

Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture
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