I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Tsunekichi Suzuki -- Omoide (思ひで)

Butter Chicken Curry in Kawasaki

There were a few restaurants during my time in the Tokyo and Chiba areas that I used to frequent enough that the owners became familiar and friendly towards me. One was the neighbourhood Skylark family restaurant near my subway station that I used to go for the all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast. Another was even closer to the station; in fact, it was literally under the tracks. That was Tonki the tonkatsu eatery and I'm certainly hoping that I visit it again once it's safe to travel to Japan. The last one, alas, closed up shop years ago but it was an English tea room in the Ichigaya district near my second school. I used to have some of the best tuna sandwiches that I'd ever had anywhere on the planet there while other teachers and students and I gathered there to chat. Ironically, I never had the tea service with the clotted cream and scones much to my regret.

The reason that I've started out with the restaurant story is that yesterday I came across the above video featuring some of the dishes that appeared in the 2015 movie version of "Shinya Shokudo"(深夜食堂...Midnight Diner). It began back in 2009 as a TBS TV drama and is currently streaming on Netflix. I knew about the movie because of a review that I had caught in "The Japan Times" when I was still living there. It's basically about an overnight diner based somewhere deep in Shinjuku called Meshiya(めしや)which serves comfort food and advice from among the Master and regulars. And I gotta say that the dishes served above sure look scrumptious and are the type of food that I've seen and eaten at some of the older Showa Era eateries that I occasionally visited, including in Shinjuku (although I very rarely got the opportunity to try them in the middle of the night). Just for the record, one of favourite dishes featured above is the Ginger Pork being made from 1:20. Feel free to let me know your favourite Japanese comfort food as well.😍

Although "Shinya Shokudo" premiered well into the 21st century, there's still very much an old-style anthology feel as if the Master and even Meshiya itself are acting like the show's Rod Serling. It even has its own spoken introduction just like "Space, the final frontier..." in "Star Trek" and "You unlock this door with the key of imagination...." in the original "The Twilight Zone" spoken by the aforementioned Serling.

Hamburg steak at Royal Host

When people finish their day and hurry home, my day starts.
My diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning.
They call it "Midnight Diner."
That's all I have on the menu. 
But I make whatever customers request as long as I have ingredients for it. That's my policy.
Do I even have customers? More than you would expect. (found at the TV Tropes website)

The opening theme for "Shinya Shokudo" is "Omoide" (Memories), an immediately calming and atmosphere-inducing ballad about the seeming ephemerality of life. Sung by Tsunekichi Suzuki(鈴木常吉), his well-worn voice directly reflects the old wood and metal that have absorbed the aromas of the food and drink of Meshiya along with the variety of conversations that have taken place in the little eatery over the years. The diner must be an oasis among the cacophony, visual and aural, of the neon and nightlife in Shinjuku, and I could imagine the singer coming into places like Meshiya as one of those traditional balladeers to offer to sing such an appropriate song.

"Omoide" was released on Suzuki's 2010 album "Zeigo"(ぜいご). Suzuki came up with the lyrics but as for the composition, although one site has listed him as the composer as well, other sites including JASRAC have stated that "Omoide" was based on an Irish folk song.

Suzuki started out as the vocalist and guitarist for the rock band Cement Mixers(セメントミキサーズ), although according to the cover of one of their CDs, the first word was spelled Sement. I'll give more details later since I plan on providing an article on this band but unfortunately I have to finish off here in saying that Suzuki passed away a little over a month ago on July 6th for esophageal cancer at the age of 65.

Hearty beef stew in Okachimachi

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! Great information and pictures!


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