Warm fuzzies: Shinya Shokudo 4 & 5

It’s been a while since I watched any Shinya Shokudo. Season 3 was a bit blah, so I was glad to take a break and move on to other things. I was a little hesitant upon hearing that Netflix has taken over producing the next two seasons, now with the tag “Tokyo Stories”, but am glad to report that it’s almost like the good old times. I’d initially intended to watch only season 4, but mixed up watching some episodes of season 5 and decided to barrel through both. Continue reading

Shiranakute Ii Koto

There are two sides to a coin. And there is always another perspective to every story we come across. Sometimes, we are so caught up in what we think is the correct version of the “truth” that we neglect to consider what the other party is thinking, or whether there is new information that sheds light on something and makes us reconsider what we think we already know. The good Japanese workplace dramas do that, without judgment as far as possible. Continue reading

Shiroi Kyoto 2019

Hospital politics have never been so intriguing.

Zaizen Goro (Okada Junichi) is a brilliant, ambitious surgeon at Naniwa University Hospital. An associate professor at the department of general surgery, he has his sights set on the professor post and will stop at nothing in his bid to climb up the corporate ladder… Continue reading

Tenno no Ryoriban

Food + Sato Takeru = watch. Voila!

Akiyama Tokuzo (Sato Takeru) is a good-for-nothing young man who loses interest in things quickly and creates trouble for his family. He is married off to a merchant household in Sabae to teach him discipline, and he and his wife Toshiko (Kuroki Haru) get along well. However, Tokuzo soon realises cooking is his passion and leaves the family to master the craft in Tokyo. Despite the hardship and humiliation he suffers, Tokuzo is determined to become the best cook in Japan… Continue reading

Murder she solved: Rakuen & Cold Case

I’m back in business! Well, on the drama-watching front that is, since I’ve finally got a new computer and can watch stuff properly again. Recently cleared two dramas featuring ladies whose characters flexed some crime-solving muscles, so it was nice to see women take charge when usually this is a male-dominated genre. Coincidentally, both are WOWOW dramas, so quality was definitely assured. Continue reading

Short Takes: Neko Zamurai 2 & Shinya Shokudo 3


It’s back to regular programming on this blog with two feel-good dramas. While there’s always a fear that sequels are unnecessary and don’t live up to successful earlier seasons, fortunately both Neko Zamurai 2 and Shinya Shokudo 3 still know how to keep a good thing going. The magic is knowing when to stop. For this round, kitty edges it, which makes me think a certain poet turned policeman needs to feature in a cat-related drama soon. Besides, how apt is that tagline on the poster of Neko Zamurai 2? It’s totally my motto in life! Continue reading

Suna no Utsuwa


Sometimes when I like what I see on screen, I make a beeline for the source material on which it was based. This was the case for Suna no Utsuwa, the 2011 tanpatsu starring Tamaki Hiroshi and Kobayashi Kaoru. The novel of the same name by Matsumoto Seicho has had a few adaptations, including a 2004 J-drama with Watanabe Ken and Nakai Masahiro, and a 1974 film by Nomura Yoshitaro, a testament to the enduring popularity of this story and the crime genre in general.

Given the difference in formats, I suppose it is mission impossible for screen adaptations not to add stuff that was not in the print source material. Still, I can generally accept it better if the adaptation more or less stays faithful to the essence of the source, even if certain changes have been made to improve story flow or tighten plot and characterisation. However, where the adaptation makes up a character or changes the perspective from which the story was originally told, it kind of annoys me. Yes, I’m Chiaki-like that way. Continue reading

Short takes: Neko Zamurai & Shinya Shokudo 2


Concise storytelling is one of the hallmarks of Japanese dramas, and the good ones make sure scenes contribute to plot, characterisation and the overall big picture. This is even more evident when it comes to dramas whose episodes are at most 25 mins each – you need to tell a story in that period of time and not leave the viewer feeling shortchanged. Fortunately, when Japan does something like this, it tends to do it well, as both Neko Zamurai and Shinya Shokudo will attest. The two dramas are slightly different in the sense that Neko Zamurai is one whole story divided into 12 episodes of 20 minutes each, while Shinya Shokudo is more episodic with loose connections between stories. But they both leave you wanting more. Continue reading

Shinya Shokudo season 1


I’d heard a lot about Shinya Shokudo and finally had the time to sit down and watch the first season. As expected, it’s excellent and heartwarming, and one can easily see why it has expanded to a season 3. It’s like comfort food that warms your insides on a cold snowy day, and the simplicity of it makes everything even more worth savouring. The short episodes (each is about 25-30 minutes) also make this a breeze to watch – you can easily polish off two or three episodes at a go and won’t even feel time passing by. Continue reading