Bonsai and sushi are two of Japan’s most well-known cultural exports with fans all over the world. But while Japan may cling to the traditional presentation of these two icons, globalization has taken these Japanese icons and turned them into something new. Not just happy with tiny trees and raw fish on top of vinegar rice, these cultural hybrids have evolved into something far beyond their origins in the Japanese archipelago.
First up are some bonsai plants that forego the usual trees to make a brand new art form. Usually bonsai artists take years to raise the plant from seeds, cutting, pruning and shaping the tiny tree. But here are some bonsai that prove you can use the traditional Japanese gardening technique on just about whatever plant or vegetable you like!
▼ A chili pepper bonsai from a Finnish Bonsai artist
▼ Another chili pepper bonsai, but with even more color
▼ This olive bonsai puts a little Mediterranean flair into the Japanese art
▼ “No I didn’t forget to throw out the garbage. I’m totally doing some Japanese bonsai with these carrots here.”
▼ Although definitely photoshopped, this broccoli bonsai is a beautiful thing
▼ This picturesque bonsai was born out of a potato
▼ And if you’re interested in trying your own bonsai (but don’t want to wait years), here’s a US$7 potato bonsai kit
▼ The potato bonsai kit comes with an altar that says “potato” in Japanese, pruning scissors and tweezers. You have to add your own potato (and buddha statue)
▼ This free-spirited sweet potato bonsai looks pretty easy to take care of
Next up is the Japanese food we all love: sushi. Although the first thing that comes to mind is “raw fish,” sushi actually refers to the distinctive rice cooked with vinegar that is below the slices of fish or seafood.
▼ What “sushi” means to most Japanese diners
But once sushi made its way outside of Japan, it quickly added ingredients or changed shapes to adapt to people all over the world. One of the more infamous non-Japanese sushi creations is the California roll, which has since come back to Japan as “foreign cuisine.”
▼ You can argue that sushi should never have avocado, cucumber, cream cheese or rice on the outside of the roll…but we can all agree that it’s delicious.
And sushi is not just the main course anymore, some people are even making “dessert sushi” with sweet ingredients like marshmallows, chocolate and kiwi.
▼ (Candy Swedish) fish on top of (sweet cereal made from) rice. That counts as sushi right?
▼ Marshmallow Peeps make more Easter-themed dessert sushi
▼ This very elegant looking sushi is topped with mango and raspberries
▼ Sliced pears that almost look like the translucent flesh of squid is put on top of chocolatey rice in this sweet sushi creation
▼ Strawberry jelly and kiwi go inside this dessert maki-zushi (rolled sushi) that is dusted with chocolate flakes
How does this new form of bonsai and sushi stack up to the real thing? Do potato bonsai and sweet sushi still count as “Japanese” or are we entering a new age where sharing our traditions and culture means we all get to add our own flair? Let us know in the comments below what you think about the bonsai and sushi creations!
Source: Naver Matome
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Broccoli bonsai and sweet sushi: Japanese culture’s evolution abroad