I don’t usually recommend Japanese shows to friends unless they are Japanophile/Koreanophiles already (love K-drama or anime) or have sociological interest in other countries’ dramas.

But there are two show (subtitled) on Netflix now totally worth your while.

The first one is “Kantaro the Sweet Toothed Salaryman”.  He is a publishing sales man who sneaks in a visit to famous restaurants to taste iconic sweets (parfait, shaved ice, matcha cake, etc).  And then he basically has orgasms in the restaurant eating and has psychedelic visions involving people whose heads are ingredients from the sweet he is eating.

You know, what happens to me in real life 🙂

I was at first dismissive because its one of a genre of show popular now in Japan that’s bascially a cross between a drama and a commercial for various restaurants/foods. But….the main character is played by a Kabuki actor. And you’ve NEVER seen such an amazingly expressive range of emotions while someone’s eating. I mean…it’s totally worth it just to watch this guys’ eyebrows.

It grows on you. And it’s outrageously weird. So who wouldn’t like it? Try one, I promise you’ll both learn about japanese food culture as well as enjoy it. And they’re really short episodes.

Food and Wine magazine agrees with me.

You should also check out “Erased.” It’s a 12 episode show (dramas in Japan are usually limited run) about a young pizza delivery man who just happens to once in a while be sent backwards in time to stop bad things from happening. The main arc of the story follows him being pushed waaaay back in time to his elementary school self in Hokkaido to stop a serial murderer of children.

Feeling Stranger Things withdrawal? This one’s a good antidote. The episodes are short– so stick with it until the main character (Satoru) gets thrust back in time to elementary school. Then with his brave band of friends he tracks down the killer. The young actors who play Satoru and Kayo (the first victim who is an abused loner) are really, really good. And the tension is thick.

And there’s lots of homey details about Japan; the schools, the snow in Hokkaido, the curry rice, the way elementary school kids basically just free range all the time that are quite interesting.

And the shots of the town in Hokkaido where they live with smokestacks and snow– quite beautiful and eerie.

erased

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