The above, my friends, is a nice meal of grilled sanma (さんま...mackerel pike) with a bowl of tofu, and endless bowls of rice and miso soup. I had it one night during our trip to Japan in late 2014, and that fish was sure delicious with the lemon wedge and a small hill of grated daikon. At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious, if there is one thing that Japan does very well, it is preparing fish.
And speaking of the beloved sanma, I caught the latest episode of another mellow slice-of-life anime "Amaama to Inazuma"（甘々と稲妻）which has been cleverly translated as "Sweetness and Lightning" in which the entire episode was devoted to filleting that particular fish in the right way. Not surprisingly, my anime buddy shows this show right before we head out for dinner.
Plotwise, "Amaama to Inazuma" revolves around a recently widowed teacher, Kohei Inuzuka, and his adorable daughter, Tsumugi (check out how she says "Dad" in Japanese if you catch a full episode on Crunchyroll and then check out your blood sugar) learning about cooking and the shared joys of eating homemade food with the help of a high school girl at her mother's hideaway restaurant. My buddy was correct in stating that the show is a blend of a couple of two other anime from the past, "Usagi Drop"（うさぎドロップ）which had a similar father-daughter dynamic and the washoku-loving "Koufuku Graffiti"（幸腹グラフィティ）.
The opening and ending themes for "Amaama to Inazuma", however, are closer in feeling to the ones for "Usagi Drop". Just as sweet as Tsumugi herself, the opener by Mimi Meme MIMI（みみめめMIMI）, "Hare Hare Fanfare" (Sunny Sunny Fanfare) was pretty much designed to fit the little lass' feelings. Sugar, spice and all things nice not included.
Mimi Meme MIMI is a duo consisting of singer-songwriter Yuki Takao（タカオユキ）, who created this song, and Chamoi（ちゃもーい）who is an illustrator. I don't get particularly hungry when I hear "Hare Hare Fanfare" although I have sometimes craved a candy cane.
The ending theme by rock group Brian the Sun is "Maybe" reminds me somewhat of the ending theme for the aforementioned "Usagi Drop", "High High High" by Kasarinchu（カサリンチュ）. It has that sunny and twangy melody that takes me back to the 1990s with bands like Mr. Children and Spitz.
But dang, despite the sunniness of the song, the lyrics by vocalist Ryota Mori（森良太）talk about some stormy clouds in that potential romance. Plus, there is that rather bittersweet music video whose plot seems to take a page out of movies such as "My Fair Lady" and "Frankenstein" and even one episode from "Star Trek: The Next Generation". Maybe...it was a page out of the slogan of Brian the Sun according to their website: "If you think it’s sweet, it’s become a habit. Experience Brian’s SWEET & BITTER sound!" Still, it's a fun song to listen to while you're digesting that home cooked meal (too bad the powers-that-be have made the YouTube video unwatchable to folks in Canada).
You can also find out about how Brian the Sun came to be at their website but they've been around since 2007 and "Maybe" is their second major single from this month.
There's another song from the show about sharks but the only thing you'll catch here is perhaps diabetes.