Roland Barthes's Empire Of Signs

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“Empire of Signs”---this is how Roland Barthes, a French philosopher who visited Japan in the 1960s, expressed it. When you take a look at the map of Tokyo as he did, here you notice a massive green belt right in the middle of the metropolis. It’s actually the site of Edo castle built by a shogun in the Middles Ages. Known as the Imperial Palace, this place is now inhabited by the Emperor and his family. Just like a hole of a donut, this central vacancy in the capital is its reason for being rather than just a void, although the access is limited. This hole in the center completes Tokyo as a capital. On the contrary, a political center, town square, cathedral sit at its heart of modern western cities. These buildings filled with “meaning” are the core of the formation of the cities.…show more content…
They're called Family Restaurant and abbreviated to Famiresu. Spreading nearly 10,000 Famiresu all over Japan, the number of which is more than that of railway stations. Nonetheless, it doesn't show up in almost all famous guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet and Michelin. The reason is obvious; there are few stunningly delicious dishes and little originality worthy of mention. If people need too much meaning in the dishes served there, the result will end in disappointment. However, anytime and any Famiresu you go, you can surely eat the typical dishes that many Japanese share its images. For instance, if you order a steak, what Japanese people imagine it to be will be served. The same happens to pasta, Chinese dishes, cakes, and Japanese dishes. It provides “picture-perfect dishes” as if it embodies the typical images. Many Japanese don’t want Famiresu to be packed with flavor (meaning). What they want in this "restaurant of signs" is to make sure that they eat what they imagined, or that they eat the way they

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