Many of you like Japanese comic books Manga or anime, and I am sure you know much more about manga than I do. Manga was there when I was a child too, I talked about it with friends at school just like you do now and I still remember how fun it was to watch my favorite anime on TV. Japanese manga and anime have been a good entertainment for a long time and still is. Years have passed and I do not read so many manga comic books anymore but still I like one particular kind of it. It is called “Gourmet Manga” and it sure does make me hungry.
The most famous and long-running manga is called “Oishinbo”, it has been published on and off since 1983 (maybe before many of you were born) and I am a big fan of this manga series. If you are interested in food and cooking, this manga is very addictive and at the same time very educating. “Oishinbo” does not only invite you to the world’s culinary, it also teaches us food-related lessons.
In Japan, when a manga gets very popular it tends to be turned into a movie or a TV drama with real actors and actresses who perform the manga characters. The production company tries their best to find actors and actresses who resemble to the manga characters to a certain extent but most of them are not so well done and disappointing (to my taste). Unfortunately it was the case with Oishinbo when it was adapted into a TV drama, I also chose to stick with the book.
However, there is a good one, it is called “The Lonely Gourmet”, a TV drama based on a very popular gourmet manga with the same title. I heard it has been translated into French and English already and maybe some of you know about this manga. In French the title has been “Le Gourmet Solitaire”.
The man you see on the cover is Mr. Goro Inogashira, he is the main charactor in this manga. He owns a small import company in Tokyo and visits his customers here and there mainly in Tokyo and this drama is about his casual lunch he eats between his meetings with business customers. It is called “Solitaire – lonely” because he is almost always alone but he seems he does not mind it. He is not married nor have children, he is free like a bird.
The restaurants that appear in this TV drama all really exist. The choice of the place is very interesting, it is rather a small joint which looks very far from being fancy, they will never get Michelin starts. But the food they serve always look so good, we viewers suffer from so deliciously looking pictures on the TV screen. (I recommend you not to watch this TV drama when you are hungry!) It is broadcasted in Japan in the middle of the night so deliciously and so dangerously. It is fare to call this TV drama “a food terrorist in the middle of the night”.
Goro’s lunch is a salaryman’s lunch of everyday. It is in a way a gamble you have to play when we just drop in a strange restaurant in a place we have never been. And when the food is good, it is a win and you feel so happy with your choice you made. The gap between the shabby looks of the joint and the wonderful taste of the food they serve is a maniac and so addictive!
The actor who plays the main character Goro eats very clean and yet he is very good at conveying his experience of tasting something good to us through his facial expressions and excellent acting. There are so many blogs in Japan that follow each episode of this drama and they visit the same restaurant in person to write their own reviews.
I myself have 2 restaurants from this TV drama on my list of the restaurants to visit in Tokyo. I can’t wait to give you my review soon! Stay tuned!
Rie - Bento specialist, Oslo, Norway
Hello, I love to cook and bake and I enjoy making bento everyday. I was one of the finalists at Bento&co’s contest in 2011 and later I joined Bento&co as Bento Specialist. I am living in Norway now but I am originally from Ishikawa in Japan where many of Bento&co’s bento boxes are made. I try to make bentos that are as beautiful as they are delicious, and I like to show you how to add more sparkles in your bento life! - Rie