For ENGL 527: Visual Rhetorics
I took this photograph of plastic food models outside of a restaurant in Tokyo on my trip to Japan in 2011. These representations of food items offered, along with photos of food on menus, were my way of reading (living there at the moment, really). I could not read kanji or speak Japanese and I am a vegetarian, which complicated the basic task of eating. Traveling in a foreign place put special emphasis on maps and visuals and photographs on maps, because again, I could not read the kanji for the destinations of the bus or train lines, nor road signs, and could only communicate with people because of photographic aids in my maps and guidebooks. Although I was reliant on visual elements to experience the culture, the overwhelming amount of photos and images in places like Tokyo often became more white noise than aid. Accompanied by kanji (which became odd symbols of no linguistic meaning to me), or of icons/references I did not know, the very images that allowed me to interact could silence me in my tuning them out.