Midnight Diner (Tokyo Stories)

A one-man diner open only from midnight to 7 am, offering solace to folks with late night jobs or who, for some reason or other, don’t want to go home.  There is only one dish on the menu, but the chef will make anything, including some surprising dishes that usually turn out to have some connection to a customer’s life.

This is apparently a long running series in Japan, and it has a very different feel than Japanese programs made for an international audience.  It features characters in jobs not usually showcased in international productions – porn actors, exotic dancers, boxers – depicted with grace and humanity.  Some of the stories end well, some don’t, but they all have an emotional honesty that is rarer than it should be on commercial TV.

Episodes are only half an hour, but some of them are so emotionally intense i found it hard to watch more than two at a time.  In Japanese with English subtitles.

On Netflix.

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