In the middle of winter,
Waves going back an forth,
The sun sets,
Sky painted orangish-red.
We sit at our table,
Only one thing on my mind: Yasai Ramen.
Yolk as bright as the shining sun
Broth as warm as a hot spring
And tears fall from my eyes
For this precious time
1. What piece did you choose to imitate?
I chose to imitate the poem, “A Noodle Poem,” by Cheng Ji (Third century AD)
2. Why did you choose this piece?
While I was reading the poems, this one stuck out to me because of its vivid imagery that allowed me to picture the poets words. Its allusion to nature in the first stanza, and description of food in the second stance provided a sense of connection between nature and the food. I really liked this concept because all food essentially comes from nature and the world around us, and when the speaker of the poem is in the setting described, they immediately remember Bing. Throughout this class, there is an underlying theme of how food is an experience. I chose this poem because I believe it captures that theme in a beautiful and descriptive manner. I wanted to connect a special moment in my life to the food I was eating.
3. What did you learn about the culture of the original author through imitating his or her style?
I learned that some food is seasonal, and the way the poet divided the poem in half emphasizes this point. The first part describing the season and the second describing the food. It also seems that the ingredients are from different places and it takes a lot of effort to make the food; therefore, it adds a sense of speciality. It shows certain aspects of the culture, such as holidays where special food is served. Through imitating the poet, I learned a different way to structure a poem and I learned more about the Chinese culture and their tradition of following the lunar calendar and cooking certain foods for certain holidays.
4. What did you learn about your own culture while writing?
While Ramen noodles aren’t a part of my culture, the tradition of going to Naples, Florida over winter break has been in my family for years. Every evening we go to the beach and sometimes we eat at the restaurant by the beach. I always order Yasai Ramen. The last time I visited was the winter break after my first semester at Emory, and when we were at the beach eating dinner I was so happy to be back with my family that I cried. Being on the beach and watching the sunset is an uplifting feeling, but eating the noodles is an experience that brought my family together. The connection of nature and food caught my attention in this poem and I realized that it is a family tradition to go to the beach and eat food there. Also eating these noodles remind me of the times I spent in college with my friends. These memories are those I will cherish forever. More than what I learned about my culture, I learned more about traditions and cherished memories.
5. Is there cultural DNA embedded in the piece you read and in your piece? How does this DNA manifest in the texts?
The tone of this poem is happy, and festive. I feel that it also emphasized oneness with nature and how food is connected with natures patterns sometimes. For example, “the second month of autumn” reminds him of Bing. Therefore, in my piece I wanted to add my experience of eating noodles in December of last year that was a special moment for me. I think a major part of both Chinese and Indian cultures is sharing meals with the family; therefore, I incorporated this into the my piece as well. In the end, where the poet says “your heart will pound” it shows some physical reaction to the food. So I talked about how I teared up being in the restaurant with my family, and eating a meal that warmed my heart.I think every culture has some form self actualization, and I believe being the presence of nature is an uplifting moment that allows one to feel something bigger than oneself. Therefore, the poets connection between nature and food could also imply the art of cooking and viewing food as a way to achieve this uplifting feeling described by many philosophers. This idea is embedded in the piece I wrote and pieces that I have read this week.