Showa's Udon: A-Rated for Taste, X-Rated for the Prurient Thoughts It Puts in My Mind

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If the photo looks familiar, it's because I just showcased the inaka udon at Showa in this week's Mein Man column. Now, two days later, the noodles are providing fodder for this week's Sexy Feast. Why?

I liked this udon dish so much that I wanted to learn how to make it at home. When feeling hot and steamy, it offers a refreshing way to cool off.

Turns out it's pretty simple to prepare. First, make dashi (stock made from kelp, dried bonito flakes, or perhaps small sardines) and let it cool. Next, boil udon noodles until cooked, strain them, and wash until cold. Then place noodles in a bowl and add toppings, such as daikon oroshi, tenkasu, nori strips, and green onions. Finally, splash the sauce (dashi) over the top.

So what does Showa's inaka udon teach us about sex?

It's all about personal preference when it comes to porn.

Splashing sauce made me think of bukkake. After all, bukkake is the noun form of bukkakeru, a verb that basically means to pour or splash. Showa's dish sparked a lot of conversation with my partner about the definition of bukkake udon. (I even found a recipe that resembles what we ate at Showa.)

Generally, bukkake refers to a small pour of broth or sauce over the noodles, but in this case, there was a considerable amount of broth. Now I'm not sure where the "tipping point" is in terms of broth quantity, and Showa's udon may not exactly be bukkake udon, but I say that any excess is symbolic of the extreme diversity of pornography.

Bukkake as a form of video pornography seems to have originated in Japan in the 1980's, perhaps in response to the country's mandated pixelization of the genitals. Videos focused on other parts of the female form, included the face, and an "outcome" of sex--semen--could be shown. In Japan, this spawned scenes of men taking turns ejaculating on a woman's face, typically a "schoolgirl" or office lady. Bukkake as a genre soon spread to Europe and the United States, eventually crossing over to gay and lesbian porn.

Bukkake films soon became more extreme, with video series like "American Bukkake" boasting increasing numbers of men and ejaculations, as if performing for entry into the Guinness World Records stunt.

This genre certainly isn't for everyone. And as porn has gone more gonzo, much of it has moved away from the softer stuff, making the quest for "woman-friendly" and "couple-friendly" pornography more challenging.

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Time to call in the pirates. As Seattle's Seafair pirates come to town to shake things up, Digital Playground's Pirates can shake things up in your sex life. Pirates is an example of the "softer side" of porn featuring a story line, music good enough to warrant a separate soundtrack, and some softer scenes with costumes and all. Things do get a little nasty, such as the spitting and slapping when Jesse Jane and Carmen Luvana get it on, but this is where you have to decide what you like to watch. (Besides, most people won't get this far into the movie!)

When shopping for adult videos, look at the box covers together. Check websites for reviews. (By doing this, for example, you'll learn that the sequel, Pirates 2: Stagnetti's Revenge, is less soft than the original.) Do research to find more feminist-thinking directors. Most of all, talk with your partner about what you like and don't like.

When I first started speaking about pornography versus erotica in my work as a sex educator, I used the movie 9-1/2 Weeks as an example to challenge my audiences. Many people who watched that movie alone disliked it, calling Mickey Rourke's treatment of Kim Basinger degrading and complaining that the movie objectified women. But when many of those same people watched the movie with a romantic partner, they enjoyed it--finding it arousing.

Context is important. It's good to keep an open mind, and at least be willing to give something a try.

Just as you should try Showa's udon. If bukkake scares you off, no worries. The word's not on the menu. Just be careful not to spill any on you. Then, instead of bukkake, you're into sploshing. But that's a subject for another time...

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