Samurai Gourmet is the title of a cool Japanese series on Netflix. It’s funny, moving and full of delicious food.
There is an ever growing collection of Japanese series on Netflix: Terrace House, Good Morning Call, Atelier en the wonderful Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories. I’d like to talk about Samurai Gourmet (Nobushi no Gurume). This series is based on an essay by Masayuki Kusumi and a manga with the same title.
Salaryman thinks he’s a samurai
In Samurai Gourmet we meet Takeshi Kasumi, a recently retired salaryman. In the first episode it is the first day of his retirement. Takeshi-san still has to get used to having the whole day to himself. Daydreaming his way around the city, in 12 epsiodes he rediscovers his passion for life in general and food in particular.
While he is walking he imagines himself a samurai who can eat and drink whatever he wants. In real life however, sometimes he struggles standing up for himself.
The actor starring as Takeshi-san, Naota Takenaka, plays him with much sympathy. It’s endearing to see how much he enjoys a simple meal and a glass of beer. This series is as heart warming as it is appetising. Apart from Takeshi and his samurai alter ego, you get to know his wife a little, but other than that there are no recurring characters. Takeshi-san visits a different restaurant for lunch in every episode.
Samurai Gourmet is filmed on location in Tokyo, in existing restaurants. They appear under their own name, with authentic dishes that are genuinely on their menu. Every episode contains close ups of ingredients and the preparation of the dishes. Just like in that other Netflix series Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories, every episode features another favourite dish. When Takeshi-san is daydreaming about the samurai, or about his childhood, you join him in his reminiscing because the location and the actors go back in time as well.
The 12 episodes all last 20 minutes. We recommend you watch it!
This article was originally written in Dutch and published in April 2017