Our fav thing to watch on Netflix this week is Midnight Diner, a series about a diner in Tokyo that’s only open from midnight to 7am. Called The Best Show That No One’s Watching by Newsweek, it’s a refreshing, easily digestible series:
This fall, Netflix launched an original series from Japan that challenges these unfair misconceptions. It’s called Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, and it might be the most heartwarming and universally relatable shows on TV. It leaves viewers in a refreshing state of contentment, and at one with the world around them. Perhaps because of its slow, comfortable pacing, the experience of watching an episode feels like a meditation session. The show instills a sense of peace that you won’t likely find anywhere else on television. It also instills an appetite, as there are plenty of tantalizing closeups of the diner’s dishes being prepared and savored.
Based on an award-winning manga, the show was a hit series, and then a hit film, in Japan before the latest, 10-episode season made its way to Netflix in October. It centers around a small, back-alley Tokyo restaurant that is open from midnight to seven in the morning. Its owner, known only as Master and played by Kaoru Kobayashi, will make anything his patrons desire, so long as he has the ingredients on hand. Midnight Diner is an anthology, and each self-contained episode is named for a singular dish, which serves as a kind of soul-warming hearth for that episode’s protagonists.
Special attention is paid to the preparation of each episode’s dish, as well as to the story behind its significance. Some are whimsical, like the corn dog made with batter left over from the pancakes requested by a bitter comedian; while some carry more emotional weight, like the sour plum made for a grocer trying to cope with the death of his mother, who was able to pickle the fruit to perfection. The dishes recur throughout the episode as the characters return to the comforting embrace of the diner. Regardless of the turmoil in their lives, there will always be a seat at the counter, where the sage, omniscient Master will make their favorite dish and listen as they ponder their troubles.