December 27, 2020

"Although Westerners date the origins of restaurants (those independent of inns) to post-revolutionary France, when chefs were suddenly freed..."

"... from the kitchens of the aristocracy, in Japan restaurants began more than one hundred and seventy years earlier, after the Tokugawa Shogunate instituted the system of alternate attendance (sankin kotai) to prevent its feudal lords (daimyo) from overthrowing it. Because after 1615 daimyo were required to divide their time between their fiefs and Edo, leaving their wives and children in the capital as hostages, a vast economic system grew up to support not only their travels but their substantial, non-productive retinues in the capital. Not only restaurants but all kinds of commerce, including shipping, banking, department stores, theaters, fine arts and crafts, have their roots in Tokugawa Period Edo, which by 1700 was one of the largest cities in the world. As the merchant class grew and prospered, its money and desires created something new and original: nightlife. Those familiar with the woodblock prints and paintings known as ukiyoe–the 'Floating World'–have seen the denizens of Edo’s vibrant nighttime culture: the geisha..., kabuki actors, singers, dancers, storytellers, wrestlers, merchants, prostitutes, masterless samurai and revelers who flocked to the entertainment district of Yoshiwara.... That world lives today in mizushobai, 'the water trade,' the wonderful Japanese term that denotes all the nightlife businesses.... In contemporary Tokyo, mizushobai is centered in the Kabuki-cho section of Shinjuku, where 'Midnight Diner' is located...."


I'd resisted Netflix for a long time but recently subscribed because I'd watched "The Crown" during our short stay in an Airbnb in Nashville, Indiana last month. I've settled in to a style of watching TV, with a few series mixed in with all those old episodes of "The Crown." The one that has established itself as our favorite is "Midnight Diner."

84 comments:

robother said...

Nighthawks, my favorite Hopper.

TickTock said...

Watched Midnight Diner for some years now. Great short stories with a dash of cooking show at end. Highly recommended.

Howard said...

Midnight Diner sort of reminds me of a dramatic version of Cheers with noodles.

TickTock said...

The Repair Shop is very different but may appeal to similar tastes. Also Netflix

Readering said...

Damn, Netflix DVD only has Chinese movie remake.

Political Junkie said...

TickTock - Repair Shop is well done. I am biased towards the British accent, however.

Mark said...

I was reading last night about how they have uncovered a take-out restaurant in Pompeii, where the food options are shown in pictures on the walls (kind of like the specialties shown at the brothel).

Michael K said...

Another reason why "Shogun," the book and the TV series, were so terrific. A friend's wife is Japanese American. Her mother spoke Japanese as a native tongue. "Shogun" was her favorite TV show and she watched over and over.

campy said...

So all restaurants other than authentic Japanese are guilty of cultural appropriation and must close their doors for good.

RoseAnne said...

I love The Repair Shop. People who probably got called nerds more than once in their lives get a chance to show off their expertise and provide a service to their customers without the manufactured drama of American reality shows.

traditionalguy said...

Japs had a social control system second to none. Obedience was expected. Nimitz freed them 75 years ago.

Wince said...

Take-out restaurants existed in ancient Rome and were called “thermopolia”

In Ancient Rome it was highly uncommon for poor people to cook at home and many of them would take their food to the baker who would then cook it in the oven. The other, more common option was to purchase food from the local thermopolium.

The thermopolium was an ancient form of a take-out restaurant, an outdoor service counter that offered ready to eat food. The word thermopolium literally means “a place where something hot is sold.”

mockturtle said...

Tokugawa was smart but tyrannical. First thing he did after winning 'the big one' was to remove weapons of any kind from the peasants.

Joe Smith said...

I may or may not have stayed out drinking one (I'll cop to one) night at a very small bar near our Tokyo apartment when my wife was back in the States on business.

I exited at 4am or thereabouts. The street was teeming with people in my same situation.

Depending upon the part of town, Tokyo at night is a blast.

The best news is, after staggering the half-mile home, my wallet, cash, and Swiss watch were all intact.

YoungHegelian said...

@mockturtle,

First thing he did after winning 'the big one' was to remove weapons of any kind from the peasants.

"Hi, my name is Zato Ichi, and I'm the NRA.

mezzrow said...

Curses, this will pull me in to Netflix. Must resist.

I hope the pandemic kept the crowds down in Nashville. Last time I was there, it was nightmarish with the tourist crush. It was a wonderful place 45 years ago.

effinayright said...

Michael K said...
Another reason why "Shogun," the book and the TV series, were so terrific. A friend's wife is Japanese American. Her mother spoke Japanese as a native tongue. "Shogun" was her favorite TV show and she watched over and over.
**************
I had just returned from almost five years living in Kyoto when "Shogun" was aired. My Japanese was pretty good then.

IIRC there were no subtitles in the series, so viewers were forced to concentrate hard on what was going on. I got numerous phone calls from friends, asking "What did he say? What did she say?"

Sometimes the great Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, as warlord Toranaga, used really archaic language, so I was hard pressed to interpret . For example, Mifune said an attack would begin "Myoh Soh Choh", which means "early tomorrow morning", but it's not a phrase modern Japanese would use. So I had to rely on my memory of kanji to figure out what he meant.

I couldn't do it today. Not a chance.

J. Farmer said...

Commodore Perry's gunboat diplomacy, shelling of Edo Bay, and forcibly opening Japan to foreign trade had a massive effect on Japan, ultimately leading to the collapse of the shogunate and the institution of the Meiji restoration. They quickly adopted Western technologies and science and became the first non-Western country to industrialize. In less than 40 years Japan would become a great power after achieving a humiliating victory over the Russian Navy in the Sea of Japan, resulting in the first Russian revolution in 1905.

Ironically, the victory also led to widespread anger and discontent among the Japanese, who believed the government had settled for pitifully small peace peace terms, which Roosevelt had forced upon them using American influence in Asia. After Japan entered WWI as an ally of Britain and assisted them in a number of endeavors, the UK terminated the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the early 1920s, causing widespread discontent and a great deal of mistrust towards the United States. In 1930, during the London Naval Treaty, Japan was denied parity with the US or UK and was forced to maintain its current ratio. This resulted in Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi's assassination in 1932 by 11 officers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. While it didn't quite succeed as a coup d'état, it set the stage for the domination by the military that was soon to come.

tcrosse said...

I found the book "Shogun" impossible to put down. I would stay up all night reading it, then stagger into work, and read more over lunch. My Dad kidded me about it, so I gave him a copy, and he couldn't put it down, either.

AZ Bob said...

There is a famous European restaurant established prior to the French Revolution. It sits on the outside wall of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid and is called Sobrino de Botín. I recommend asking for a table in the cellar, which dates from 1590.

Fernandinande said...

I date European restaurants (those independent of inns) to about 2,000 years ago.

Bob Smith said...

With all due respect to the French and the Japanese there are takeout kitchens dating to Roman times in Ostia Antica outside of Rome. And the prototype of the modern inside mall.

Darrell said...

Take-out restaurants existed in ancient Rome and were called “thermopolia”

Same in ancient Greece. And wherever there were food markets, some of the vendors offered cooked food, even using produce from other food vendors. I was told they stayed open after the regular market closed.

The less you know, the more likely it is that you will "discover" something.

MayBee said...

I'll look into Midnight Diner, but I too thought this was going to be about the very intact thermopolia uncovered in Pompeii just recently. So cool!!!

Michael said...

Nighthawks is not only my favorite Hopper but my favorite painting, and for a non-scholar I've seen a lot of paintings. It is profoundly American. I don't find Hopper's people unhappy or even lonely. They are people who have stared existential dread in the face and decided to go on living. I once saw a one-act play where the curtain opened onto an embodiment of Nighthawks and the characters in turn came alive and presented short scenes of who they were and how they came to be there, before settling back into the "painting" and making way for the next. Someone should do a serious full-length play like that.

Bob Smith said...

See.

https://www.abc10.com/article/news/nation-world/ancient-fast-food-discovered-pompeii-fully-excavated/507-3a029314-fdc7-4b6c-bdd9-28b1a9c4df8f

mockturtle said...

The less you know, the more likely it is that you will "discover" something.

So true, Darrell. This is only going to get worse as history is being destroyed and eliminated from school curricula. This is how the foundation is laid for a totalitarian state where the sum of people's knowledge will be what they allowed to hear.

razzbuddy said...

Love Midnight Diner. Great song to the intro. Japanese TV at its best. Been hard to find Japanese shows on Netflix that were worth watching for me but have found a few. A related heart warming show is Samurai Gourmet.

robother said...

Michael: "[Nighthawks] is profoundly American."

Agree, but, reading Ann's description of the Netflix series, there's also something universal about the late night life, something that big cities like NYC or Edo/Tokyo distill. I really got Nighthawks only after living in NYC for 3 years.

To your point, I was struck by this critical comment on another Hopper, Early Sunday Morning: "The painting’s bone-deep conservatism, and its obvious, almost polemical resistance to the most ambitious European art of its day. In the midst of the depression in America, that conservatism is as much a part of the painting’s subject as the closed shops it depicts." Blake Gopnik

Michael K said...

Ironically, the victory also led to widespread anger and discontent among the Japanese, who believed the government had settled for pitifully small peace peace terms, which Roosevelt had forced upon them using American influence in Asia.

Yes, Farmer, that is good history. The TR Treaty, that got him a Nobel Peace Prize, was probably the opening round in what became WWII. The Japanese blamed us and resented the treaty for decades.

mikee said...

Althouse wrote an entire post about nightlife in Edo without mentioning that sex for sale was an accepted part of the Japanese economy, and still is. Geishas weren't just waitresses who sang. And those 'schoolgirls' hanging out in Shinjuki today are looking for temporary sugar daddies, so they can buy more stylish accessories.

Colonel Mustard said...

Nimitz freed the Japanese of "Obedience"? Lost in Translation, perhaps. Japan retains a shared social conscience (and contract) second to none. Even the most enlightened and longest-residing non-Japanese understand they are only passing through.

mockturtle said...

Colonel Mustard @11:34: This is true. It is not a social contract that would suit most Westerners but it works for them. An impressive nation with a fascinating history. We should not be smug in our relative infancy.

Joe Smith said...

There are some very cool streets/alleys in Shinjuku that are filled with izakaya serving everything you can think of. Most near the train tracks.

In the usual Japanese style, each stall usually focusses on a single specialty.

In our case, we once sat down at a counter where the specialty was barbecued eel.

The cook pointed to the sign in English stating that only eel was served, thinking we'd be scared away.

But I like BBQ eel, especially with a big beer, so we stayed and ate.

My number one rule for anyone who visits Japan is this:

The closer you are to the train tracks, the more fun you will have.

Ken B said...

Restaurants are ancient. Ironic to see this silly article the same week one was uncovered in Pompeii.

Narr said...

"Rat on a stick! Get your rat on a stick!"

According to the OED, "restaurant" was in use for a dining establishment in Paris as early as 1763, so pre-Rev slightly, not post-Rev. But the bigger flaw has already been pointed out--fast food is nothing new in the West per se, and by the mid-1700s at least Paris was known as the late-night capitol of Europe--almost the only place where you could catch a play, dine out, and shop into the late night hours.

Narr
Peculiar people, the Japanese

mikee said...

Pompeii had restaurants.

mockturtle said...

My number one rule for anyone who visits Japan is this:

The closer you are to the train tracks, the more fun you will have.


Haven't been there since the 1980's. Had a three-week trip planned for September, all bookings and everything, but of course that didn't fly. Literally. I saved my itinerary and hope to try again in a year or two.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Another reason why "Shogun," the book and the TV series, were so terrific. A friend's wife is Japanese American. Her mother spoke Japanese as a native tongue. "Shogun" was her favorite TV show and she watched over and over.

I never read Clavell's book, but my father forced me to watch the TV miniseries with Richard Chamberlain when I was a kid. I didn't think it was ever going to end. It's so Anglo to make a series called Shōgun about some Europeans with the founding of Japan as a backdrop. I had similar thoughts abt The Last Samurai.

My father's uncle was married to a Japanese woman, and they had a son with the same middle and last name as my father and a very similar sounding first name. Several years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Japan with my parents. My husband and I were seated next to each other and my parents directly behind us. When the attendant came to ask about drinks, she made some quip about the name similarity. Unbeknownst to us, seated directly behind my father was his cousin. He had married a Japanese-American woman, and they were going to Japan to visit her family. He spoke fluent Japanese and had been traveling there for work since the 80s.

Japan was just about to reach the peak of its power. American industry seemed to be waning just as Japan seemed to be producing cars and electronics people wanted. It led to a lot of animosity and resentment. American companies tried to study and duplicate Japanese management techniques. People were convinced they were trying to dominate us. They were buying American companies and buildings. Mr. Miyagi went back to Okinawa, and the villain was still a greedy land developer. It was Nakatomi Plaza that Hans Gruber stole those bearer bonds. Trump began his career in politics frothing about Japan

I'm Full of Soup said...

My Wuhan Flu updated state stats:

The average deaths per capita for America is now 100 as of 1030AM on 12/26 per the Johns Hopkins website.

It looks like most states are going to end up around a similar range when it comes to the per capita death rate. That suggests we could hide from but not escape the Wuhan Flu.

22 states now have rates between 81-120 deaths per 100,000. As noted above, the country average is 100.

18 states are less than 80. Seven of these 18 have very low rates and I call them the outliers and they are also outliers geographically. the seven are:

Alaska 27
Hawaii 20
Maine 24
New Hamp. 51
Oregon 34
Utah 38
Vermont 19
Wash State 42

11 states are at 121 or more deaths per 100,000. These are mostly the Acela states plus IL, LA, MI, MS, ND, and SD. I think the Acela states got hammered due to population density, nearness to NY state and one or two dumb governors who f-ed up re nursing homes. It could be enlightening if Dr. Fauci would send someone to investigate why the rate is so high in the non-Acela states. Of course, that won't happen.

For the readers here:

Puerto Rico is 48 and Wisconsin is 86.

Unknown said...

I love Midnight Diner!

Lurker21 said...

China also had restaurants and the other components of the "floating world" though they didn't call it that. And of course, Europe had taverns long before Louis XIV and Versailles. What's at issue here may be the distinction between a "restaurant" and the equivalent of a grill house or deli or bar or fast food joint. Those Roman and Chinese eateries may not have had the aristocratic cachet of the French or Japanese establishments, and may have been more like grab-and-go or eat-standing-up or lunch-counter places than sit-down at a table restaurants.

Lurker21 said...

I suppose China will eventually slow down or break down or break up. Maybe even before we do. But with a quarter of the world's population, they are a more formidable competitor than Japan.

Narayanan said...

chefs were suddenly freed..."

"... from the kitchens of the aristocracy,
-----------==============
the way lockdowns are progressing in USA - chefs are cooking for the "aristocracy" now

DavidD said...

“ ‘ Although Westerners date the origins of restaurants (those independent of inns) to post-revolutionary France, when chefs were suddenly freed from the kitchens of the aristocracy....’ ”

Citation, please.

Ann Althouse said...

“ Love Midnight Diner. Great song to the intro.”

Yes, we’re so attached to the song that we play it on YouTube, independently of watching the show.

https://youtu.be/2t9yQYyXpSE

ALP said...

There is a movie version of "Midnight Diner" out there - can't tell which came first, the Netflix series or the movie. I have to track that down as the Netflix series never covers the backstory of the diner's owner. I absolutely love the look of the series - the warm brown/sepia tones of the diner's walls, glowing lamps in dark alleys.

Anyone interested in Asian history should check out this video of a visual interpretation of the region's history, rendered in agario style (which I had never heard of before this): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1z_IVXwwLQ&feature=youtu.be

And do check out "Mr. Sunshine" - Nexflix series set in the Joseon period of Korea as Japan colonizes the country. Beautifully filmed and visually stunning. The Japanese don't come off as well in this one.

mockturtle said...

ALP, another entertaining movie depicting the Joseon period in Korea is Kundu: Age of the Rampant. My favorite Asian movie, after Kurosawa's Ran is Shadow, a 2018 Chinese flick. Amazing photography and intriguing plot. A must-see, IMHO. Wish there was some way to watch all the Asian movies I want, old and new, without buying them. I usually buy my favorites.

J. Farmer said...

@Lurker21:

I suppose China will eventually slow down or break down or break up. Maybe even before we do. But with a quarter of the world's population, they are a more formidable competitor than Japan.

If China breaks down in a big way, that will be bad news for us. The US is making the same mistake with China we did with Japan over a century ago. China is far behind the US in terms of GDP per capita or military power. It was the victim of western imperialism. The UK, Germany, France, Russia, the US, and Japan all acted in a more aggressive and expansionist manner during their industrializations. We have our military forces right up on their border. We involve ourselves in their internal affairs.

Yes, China is an authoritarian country. Not as much as the Saudis, though. Who have also been carrying on a brutal war for 5 years against innocent Yemenis. How concerned are we with this?

ALP said...

mockturtle: thanks for reccomendations will check those out. I can't get enough of those Joseon Dynasty hats!

Have you tried Rakuten Viki (www.viki.com) for Asian movies? Streaming service featuring movies/TV from Korea, Japan, China and I think Taiwan. Like Hulu, it is free if you can stand the commercials but has subscribtion tiers if you want to get rid of them. Might find what you are looking for there.

mockturtle said...

Thanks for the suggestion, ALP. Currently I do not have high speed internet and can't stream but plan to get it for at least the half a year when I'm home.

mockturtle said...

Farmer, our issue with China is not their authoritarianism but our dependence on them. We don't want to be China's bitch any more than we've been the Saudis'.

mikee said...

Farmer, glad to see you are on board with Biden/Harris/Democrat sucking up to China's sucking.

China was a victim of Western imperialism, indeed. That Western imperialism happened right after several thousands of years of Chinese imperialism victimizing the Chinese people, keeping a huge population so stagnant, corrupt and defenseless that theirimperial government was overcome using sea power from halfway around the world.

This oppression by the West was followed by some much more professional victimizing of the Chinese people by Japanese imperialism, until 1945, at which point Marxist imperialism/totalitarianism showed the Chinese people pretty much what the limits of oppression were. As continues to this day.

China is not just an authoritarian country. It is a kleptocracy run by mass murderers who follow a political ideology that has killed tens of millions of its subjects, and will kill tens to hundreds of millions more if it is not removed from power.

madAsHell said...

Understanding that PECTOPAH was Cyrillic for restaurant was a big help in Moscow.

Another observation, beer-and-wine are universally understood.

mikee said...

As to the Saudis oppressing the Yemenis, how about we blame Iran for running a proxy war against the Saudis, using the Yemenis?

ALP said...

My burning Althouse Netflix Question is this - will Ann ever watch the German series "Dark" and will she (or Meade) make it through? Most complicated story ever - I threw up my hands and bailed on the series early in its third, and final, season. Hell - if ANY of you regular visitors here managed to finish that one I'll pat you on the back. I love a complex plot but this one totally defeated me.

Ann Althouse said...

"There is a movie version of "Midnight Diner" out there - can't tell which came first, the Netflix series or the movie. I have to track that down as the Netflix series never covers the backstory of the diner's owner. I absolutely love the look of the series - the warm brown/sepia tones of the diner's walls, glowing lamps in dark alleys."

The movies are later. Wikipedia: "Midnight Diner (深夜食堂, Shinya shokudō) is a Japanese anthology TV series directed by Joji Matsuoka, based on the manga of the same name by Yarō Abe. ... The show has been a success in Japan, with five seasons produced in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2019. To date, two theatrical feature films were produced by TBS and MBS: Midnight Diner (2014) and Midnight Diner 2 (2016). The fourth season (released as Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories) was produced in 2016 by Netflix Japan. Netflix Japan purchased streaming and production rights from the original Japanese producers to produce the fourth and the fifth series, which are shown on Netflix internationally. The ten episodes of the fourth series were streamed on October 21, 2016. The ten episodes of the fifth series were simultaneously streamed on October 31, 2019."

mockturtle said...

ALP: That's my reaction to most spy movies. And spy novels.

Ann Althouse said...

The comic doesn't seem to be available in English. I looked.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm trying to picture what "Cheers" would have been like if the bar were that small. I love the very confined space.

Ann Althouse said...

What other TV show is mainly in such a confined space? I'm thinking "The Honeymooners."

ALP said...

The confined space of the series also makes it very much like a play - I'll bet there are a few stage adaptions out there.

Many movies/tv out of Japan/Korea have origins in manga/comics. Sort of like doing the story board first. Isn't doing a story board fairly common practice when developing a story? Thus making a series/move from manga saves that step!

Joe Smith said...

@ Narr

"Peculiar people, the Japanese

Odd maybe, but in a very orderly and polite way.

And no, they don't eat rats or cats or dogs...

'"What other TV show is mainly in such a confined space? I'm thinking "The Honeymooners."'

We called a bar near our apartment the 'smallest bar in Tokyo.'

It wasn't actually, but probably close. It was about the size of a medium walk-in closet in the U.S. As such, most of the drinkers were forced out onto the sidewalk.

J. Farmer said...

@mikee:

China is not just an authoritarian country. It is a kleptocracy run by mass murderers who follow a political ideology that has killed tens of millions of its subjects, and will kill tens to hundreds of millions more if it is not removed from power.

Brilliant idea, Mike. If there's one thing we've learned from the last 20 years it's that when a government we don't like is removed from power, things always turn out great. Over that same period, we've overthrown multiple governments, got hundreds of thousands of people killed, created millions of refugees, destroyed tons of infrastructure, and left millions of more people to live in the place we just destroyed.

As for their "political ideology," Mao's interpretation of Lenin was long ago abandoned, and the era of Chairman Mao is not regarded fondly but as a time of chaos, and as soon as he died, his Cultural Revolution reforms were dismantled.

J. Farmer said...

'"What other TV show is mainly in such a confined space? I'm thinking "The Honeymooners."',

It's been a while since I've seen it, but I remember Mel's Diner on Alice being pretty small.

Joe Smith said...

Any of the old-school comedies were in confined spaces.

I don't recall any 'Barney Miller' episodes filmed outside the small room at the police station, and there were usually 5 or 6 actors in the scenes.

ALP said...

Barney Miller was my ideal of the Perfect Boss when I was a young girl - loved that show!

Mark said...

About BM --

The set on EVERY ONE of those 70s shows is brown and dirty and dreary.

Narr said...

FTR, I don't believe the Japanese eat dogs, cats, whatever. That was a reference to Monty Python, not a comment about Japanese cuisine.

I find a lot to admire about Japanese culture, but overall it leaves me cold. A visiting Japanese scholar, whose daughter was also his interpreter, presented me, with great ceremony, a pop-up desk-top address book and business card holder, finely made, in thanks for my helping him with some research-- as I would have done for anyone. We spent a lot of time smiling and bowing, and alas the gift went in a drawer unused.

An Italian brought me two bottles of wine--strictly verboten and I delegated them to wine-bibbing staff, equally verboten of course but I wasn't going to drink it.

I taught a history course in the early 90s, when the Big Threat was Japan, Inc. They were eating us alive, and soon we would be their serfs . . . It was a scary glimpse of the media-manipulated American mind, which of course is now manipulated in different directions.

I do count it as very good sign that Western culture in the form of classical music has established itself in China, Japan, and other areas of Asia. To the extent that remains the case, other Western ideas and practices might catch on too. That puts those countries on a higher plane than, for instance, squalid, backward, Other-hating Islam.

Narr
The best thing to do with a (re)collapsing Chins is stand clear

Joe Smith said...

"The set on EVERY ONE of those 70s shows is brown and dirty and dreary."

New York in the '70s was an even bigger shithole city than it is now.

But I appreciate the fact (now) that it wasn't a sanitized version of a police station with cops (male and female) that look like super models.

Kind of like 'Alien,' where the spaceship wasn't clean and gleaming and shiny, but a piece of junk with leaks and dirt...a freighter in space.

Don't think anyone had done a 'gritty' version of space before that.

ALP said...

A visiting Japanese scholar, whose daughter was also his interpreter, presented me, with great ceremony, a pop-up desk-top address book and business card holder, finely made, in thanks for my helping him with some research-- as I would have done for anyone. We spent a lot of time smiling and bowing, and alas the gift went in a drawer unused.
*********
My SO is half Japanese - we live in the house he grew up in - a house crammed full of objects obtained via decades of Japanese gifting. Plenty of Japanese in our military area - he watched as gift after gift was given to his Japanese mother (by her fellow Japanese friends) then stashed away. They would get 'regifted' all the time - eventually the crap you gifted made its way back to you. Objects would stay wrapped for years - getting passed around. The way he tells it, nobody wants these things but they just can't help themselves. Pickle dishes, fancy chopsticks, geisha dolls... we've got it all. I think we could open up our own "Japanese Curio Shop" there is just SO MUCH.

We don't entertain often but when we do, we hold people hostage and don't let them leave until they've agreed to take some pickle dishes and a sake set. THEN we give them their car keys back.

BudBrown said...

Hill Street Blues filled up whatever space was available.

effinayright said...

Joe Smith said:

We called a bar near our apartment the 'smallest bar in Tokyo.'

It wasn't actually, but probably close. It was about the size of a medium walk-in closet in the U.S. As such, most of the drinkers were forced out onto the sidewalk.
*******************

They are called "tachinomiya", literally a "standing drinking shop".

Another interesting expression is "tachi shon" , which means "standing while pissing", which is something tachnomiya customers pause to do in dark corners while staggering home.

Kate said...

This is a wonderful post. I love reality shows on Netflix. It's why I've continued paying a subscription over the years. Chef's Table was so alien and fascinating.

Joe Smith said...

"They are called "tachinomiya", literally a "standing drinking shop".

So desu...did not know that...

AndrewV said...

I can think of only two episodes of Barney Miller that weren't in the squad room. One was in a small apartment where the detectives were on a stake out. The other had a scene in Barney's home before the show wrote out the wife. Aside from that it was all in the squad room.

Narr said...

ALP, that's hysterical. I don't feel like such a Western clod now.

Narr
(China, not Chins)

Susan in Seattle said...

Midnight Diner and Samuari Gourmet are much-loved in our household.

Unknown said...

Midnight Diner is wonderful. It's warm-hearted and emotional but not sentimental. I just wish there were more episodes; we have only a few left and I'm going to miss the Master and the rest of the gang.

Unknown said...

Susan in Seattle, you might like Sweet-tooth Salaryman as well.

Mr. Forward said...

Could I get that to go? Hold the ash, please.

Tina Trent said...

Black Books. Set in a grim and extremely tiny bookstore. Hilarious.

I still think the finest thing I’ve seen in years is the series No Offense. It doesn’t fit the tiny scheme, but it has the single most inspiring and claustrophobic deserved murder weapon of all time, and it is must-watch for any man who is drawn to unashamedly chunky ladies. I’m not really doing it justice with this description.

I miss Vaudeville. They could do anything with nothing.

Tina Trent said...

Well, also, Two Fat Ladies, if you can get it. And that show where they go to country estates and recreate historical menus. And that ludicrous hippy Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, all his River Cottage shows and specials are strangely delightful, even though you want to scrub his ears and cut his hair. The British are just good at entertaining.

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