I’ve been meaning to mention this series for a while now, that I’ve really enjoyed on Netflix. Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is a wonderful series that sees a rotating cast of characters (with a few regulars, and fun cameos by Jo Odagiri) as they pop up at a bar/diner that only opens from midnight to the early morning. The stories are fun — and sad — and so very Japanese, to a point where I wonder how the show is taken in by a non-Japanese audience (it’s available on Netflix around the world). For example, one episode revolves around an old comedian and his kohai (disciple), and the story revolves around the relationship between the two (expectations by the sempai, or master). There were seasons of this (or at least one, under the name Shinya Shokudo) done before it was picked up by Netflix, and I really want to watch those as well.
I’m not a big fan of Japanese dramas in general, but there are the occasional series that I like to follow, usually something that my wife has been really enjoying. I would include Trick and Jikou Keisatsu in that bunch, and now Atami no Sousakan. Atami is a new Twin Peaks-ish mystery produced by the same crew behind Jikou Keisatsu, sharing the same black humor, and Jo Odagiri as a star, as well some of the supporting cast (it also includes Kill Bill‘s Chiyaki Kuriyama). It’s pretty interesting so far (episode 4 just aired, of a planned 8) and my wife has been especially obsessing over it, to the point where she’s even examining screen grabs for clues or oddities (the images above show that a passport that has been issued in 2008 includes stamps for 2007). It airs Friday nights at 23:15 on TV Asahi.