Film: Shinya Shokudo (Midnight Diner)
Director: Joji Matsuoka
Starring: Kaoru Kobayashi, Mansaku Fuwa and Tamae Ando
Who frequents a side-street Shokudo (diner) at early morning hours? What weird tales would the sleepless customers have to tell? What gossip and secrets would they share?
In Meshiya (an ordinary Japanese food bar), “The Master” (the owner) will cook whatever is your bidding, so long as he knows how. His dishes will tempt your taste buds, that’s a guarantee. And the enchanting tales around the table will add flavor to his simple but refreshing delicacies.
There is the story of a disappointed mistress who was not bequeathed anything by her late lover.
Then the sad tale of the inexperienced charmer who catches this mistress’ attention.
A penniless girl from the town of Oyashirazu (in Niigata) will unravel her reason for slipping away without paying her bill.
There’s also a widower who survived the Fukushima tsunami. He comes to Tokyo trying to propose to a volunteer who has taken care of him.
And finally a mysterious woman will tell her story about why she left an urn of her late husband’s ashes at the diner.
The customers in Meshiya are never boring. One can find a cross-dressing bar owner and his yakuza (Japanese crime syndicate) admirer; a loquacious strip tease dancer; a pair of quarrelsome detectives; and a formal kimono-cladded ryotei (luxury restaurant) proprietress who has a crush on The Master….
Based on the popular manga books, and now a TV series, Shinya Shokudo (or Midnight Diner) tells extraordinary tales of ordinary modern city dwellers. The stories — told and enacted — are mostly hilarious with unexpected twists.
And most importantly, perhaps, it will show you what off-menu dishes to order next time you visit a Japanese restaurant.
Shinya Shokudo is directed by Joji Matsuoka and stars Kaoru Kobayashi, Mansaku Fuwa and Tamae Ando.
Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): Four Whistles
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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Shogakukan/Shinya Shokudo Film Production Committee