Last night the Japanese Restaurant in the Piazza of World Cuisines section of the Salone del Gusto was the venue for a meeting between Slow Food international vice-president Giacomo Mojoli and the international press. Mojoli’s speech focused on Slow Food’s success in Japan over the last year and its prospects for the near future. After the traditional Kagami Biraki ceremony (which consists of ‘breaking’ the lid of a sake barrel and serving the liqueur to all-comers), Mojoli, the journalists present and Slow Food’s Japanese friends sat round a table to make the final summing-up of an outstanding year for Slow Food.
All those present spoke of the incredible interest of the media and Italian and international visitors for the Japanese stand and restaurant at the Salone, not to mention the number of Japanese visitors at the event (over 100 accredited journalists). On top of that, Katsuhiko Takedomi of Japan was also one of the five special Jury Prize winners at the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity last Wednesday.
Vice versa, Japan’s interest in Slow Food is reflected in the decision to officially set up Slow Food Japan next year with regularly elected representatives and the creation of a Japanese Ark steering commission. Also indicative is the plan to send a Slow Food International delegation to Japan in January to work on a Japanese edition of Slow magazine.
The prospects are excellent, as Mr Oguro, head of the Sotokoto publishing company, was at pains to point out. In view of recent food scares, concerns about food and environmental security have increased in Japan. Combined with the country’s traditional love of good food and conviviality, this phenomenon has certainly contributed to the boom of Slow Food in Japan. The meeting ended with a toast … of saké, of course!