Thursday, July 16, 2020

A Calming Obsession

Kaoru Kobayashi, "Master" from "Midnight Diner"
In these troubled times for our world, we watch a LOT of television to escape. One show that we have been watching is called "Midnight Diner. Tokyo Stories" on Netflix.   Each episode is 30 minutes. The show gives me a sense of peace and meditation. Master runs a diner from midnight until 7 am. Master is like a wise man, listening to his customers, speaking briefly. However, when Master speaks, it is always eloquent and filled with meaning. His customers range in age and profession. Often, they are night workers, coming off their shift for food and conversation. Master only has one thing on the menu, a pork and vegetable soup, plus beer and saki. However, he will cook anything his patrons desire, so long as he has the ingredients on hand.
Each episode is named for a dish. Often this dish has been swooned over by one episode's character. After the swooning, many times, others at the diner request the same dish.  At the end of each episode. One of the characters explains the recipe of this dish while Master demonstrates how to make it.
Butter Rice. My favorite recipe from the show. Yes, it's rice with butter, a few green onions and 3 drops of soy sauce. Delicious!
The characters often return to eat their favorite dish. Master listens to their troubles and serves them comforting food. I've noticed that almost every character says, "Thank you for the food," on their way out the door. 
The Ochazuke Sisters, called this because they all order ochazuke which is rice with green tea poured over, topped with different items like salmon, roe or pickled plum
Sometimes, the scene changes from the Diner and you are taken into the world of one or more of the characters. Eventually, everyone comes back to the diner.  The show is rather melancholy and noir and reminds me of the painting, "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper.  Like I said, we're obsessed.
The cast of characters can include prostitutes, trans-people, gang members, working folks, policemen, lawyers and more
"Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper, 1942
"Midnight Diner" photos, courtesy of Netflix

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At 9:06 PM PDT, Blogger Unknown said...

Great evocative post and incites on this jewel of a program

At 11:58 AM PDT, Blogger betty said...

Oooh -- I must check it out. I love shows set in Tokyo. I don't watch the Queer Eye series much, but I loved the 4 shows they did in Tokyo.

Nighthawks is one of my favorite paintings! I think there's a parody of it somewhere for the now gone CSI TV show.

At 5:52 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Betty! You’ll love this show! So many fascinating characters and delicious, home style recipes!

At 4:41 PM PDT, Anonymous lilred said...

I love this series so much. The music in the beginning is entrancing and I never fast forward. The characters are unique and evolve with the series. What a treat to get the recipe at the end. I'm so glad that you like it, too!


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