Mizuki Shigeru’s French Fry Heaven

Mizuki Shigeru French Fry Heaven

Translated from Mizuki Shigeru’s Twitter Account

Mizuki Shigeru relishes his Double Quarter Pounder from McDonalds this spring afternoon. He eats a bit of burger, then some French Fries. Look how he closes his eyes to savor the flavor.

Translator’s Note:

This picture from Mizuki Shigeru’s Twitter account was too good not to share. The great sensei savoring one of his favorite treats, a McDonald French Fry.

Mizuki Shigeru posts a lot of food pictures. This isn’t really anything amazing–lots of people post food pictures.  But after translating Showa: A History of Japan, I have a much better perspective on his absolute adoration of food.

This is a man who almost starved to death, and watched people starve to death all around him when he was stationed on Rabaul island. Food has a deeper meaning to him than I think any of us can understand. One of the lines of Showa that really stood out to me was when his character Nezumi Otoko is explaining the lack of food, and he looks to the audience and says:

“I don’t think you modern readers can really understand how terrible it is, to have no food. Starvation is more than just an empty stomach. Hunger eats away at your soul. You slowly succumb to despair until you can’t see any hope in the world.”

Keep that in mind when you look at this picture. Sure, on the one hand it is a funny picture of a great genius having fun with something as mundane as a McDonald French fry. On the other hand it is a picture of a man who knows more than most people the actual connection between eating and being alive, and who embraces every bite with a gusto we will never know.

Eat well, sensei!

You can pre-order Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan here:

Showa 1926-1939: A History of Japan

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jose Prado
    Apr 10, 2013 @ 23:42:02

    There is NOTHING mundane about a McDonald’s French fry lol. On another note Starving to death was considered so horrible by some cultures that to die of Starvation often meant you would come back as a particularly nasty spirit.

    Like the Gashadokuro of Japan. That thing is freaky. Have you written any posts on it?

    Reply

  2. Zack Davisson
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 15:32:05

    I did a write up of the Gashadokuro for a video game I consulted on, but haven’t posted it yet. It doesn’t really have anything to do with starvation though. The Gashadokuro is the bones of soldiers or the unburied dead.

    I will be doing something on the Hidarugami–the Starvation Gods–that appear in “Showa: A History of Japan.” Not sure when, but soon …

    Reply

  3. evan dorkin
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 16:42:21

    If McDonald’s gave out Kitaro mugs I’d eat there again. Hell, I’d even work there again for Kitaro stuff. And then get fired. Again.

    Fun post, I’ll have to look for his Twitter account (won’t understand it, but if it has pictures…).

    Reply

  4. Zack Davisson
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 16:45:34

    I translate his Twitter posts every time he makes one. Well, not “He.” His son actually runs his Twitter account @mizukipro. I’m @zackdavisson, so if you see a @mizukipro post just keep your eye out a little bit later for the English version.

    And I LOVE how Mizuki Shigeru is always sure to use his own branded goods. The guy seems to own nothing but Kitaro cups, plates, etc … he always sneaks them in the picture.

    Reply

  5. angryscholar
    Apr 11, 2013 @ 19:09:29

    Brilliant!

    Also, Zack, you mentioned in a a reply above that you’ve been a consultant on a video game. That’s, like, my whole bag–not only as a blogger, but as a researcher. I’d love to hear more about this work you do.

    Reply

  6. Zack Davisson
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 08:25:33

    I’m just the opposite. I rarely play video games, and know little about them as an industry. I did some work for a game called “Kodama,” putting together yokai profiles and helping them select themed yokai for levels in the game. That’s about the extent of it though … no actual design work or anything.

    Reply

  7. angryscholar
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 21:14:21

    Still pretty interesting.

    Unrelated, but I hope neither you nor anybody close to you was affected by the quake in Kansai.

    Reply

  8. angrygaijin
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 18:19:36

    There are some older people in my family who likewise have a great respect toward food because they lived in times and places where it was scarce. Thank you for sharing this!

    Reply

  9. Lin
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 12:56:40

    I’ve only recently discovered your blog, but I love it! Thank you for your hard work and research, and it helps a lot. I’m a huge fan of youkai and all things related, and am working on a) playing catch up with some stuff (like Kitarou!) and b) searching out new stuff.

    One of these days I’ll hopefully finish my learning of how to read/speak/write Japanese, as that’ll help.

    I don’t tweet, but it definitely sounds like Shigeru-sensei’s twitter would be interesting. I’ve been wanting to read more about his life, and covet owning his youkai-encyclopedia, so now I’ll have to check out Showa too.

    Reply

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