Kakei Shiro is a 45 year old lawyer who works at a small law firm. He is a good cook and a meticulous and thrifty person who keeps the monthly food budget to 25,000 yen. Shiro’s daily routine is to leave work on time and head to a discount supermarket nearby. His partner Yabuki Kenji is the affable hairdresser in his 40s. The two of them share a two-bedroom apartment and the finer points of two men living together comes up at the dining table every day. Although the two of them have been in a relationship for three years and Shiro's parents know he is gay, Shiro never shares the fact that he is gay or Kenji is his partner to anyone. Edit Translation
Where to Watch Kinou Nani Tabeta?
Cast & Credits
No need to worry if you don't like heavy drama, it won't be that of a heavy drama at all, the overall cozy ambiance compensates for its heavy subject matter. This is a slice of life/food drama after all, so you can just chill, watch and enjoy. This is very similar to the Japanese movie "Little Forrest", they will show you how they cook the food then proceed to story, but unlike "Little Forrest" where it is 70% cooking 30% story, this drama is 80% story, so it has more plot and you won't lost into the story.
If you think it's already a big deal when Ossan's love uses mainstream actors to a gay drama, then this is more big deal than that. They not only have mainstream actors but established A-list actors. To give you an idea Hidetoshi Nishijima has a reputation of a tough guy in Japan, similar to Jason Statham in Hollywood. I also think it's a genius idea to cast him as the closet gay, his demeanor matches the character very well. Uchino Masaki (Tonbi, Jin), another A-list actor, portrays the more feminine character. Among the two I considered him the better and the more versatile actor, and this character he portrayed just added up to the vast range of characters in his resume. The chemistry of them both is phenomenal, they argue and makeup like a real couple. They also made decisions that even straight couples will be able to relate.
One of the highlights of this drama is when Kakei's mom told him "tell your co-workers you're gay, there is nothing wrong with being gay", and the actress who said this savage line is none other than Meiko Kaji, famous for Lady Snowblood series, the granddaddy of revenge movies which inspired Tarantino when he made Kill Bill. If you just realize what Lady Snowblood represents that time, and how it connects to what this drama represents this time you would also say the casting for this drama is really something, it's freaking genius.
Watch it not because it's a gay drama, watch it because it a very good story portraying a couple having struggles in our society and how they overcome those hurdles to become happy. This is a little gem here my friends.
In the current jdrama and overall Asian media landscape, LGBTQ+ themes aren't the best represented. There are a lot of stories created to cater to fanservice rather than representation, and it's usual to find series and audiences that can't separate the two.
This series is incredibly well crafted, which is not only a credit to the manga that originated it but to the overall adaptation and the great performances by the cast, especially the leads. Each episode is centered on a specific meal (they even tell you how to cook it!), a meal cooked and prepared at home, which connects to the intimacy and the complexity of this couple, two men in their 40s who deal with their daily lives and their very different ways to handle their identities in their respective environments.
Shiro is a lawyer, he is reticent to coming out at work or to not be hetero-passing enough in public, at the start of the series. He is out to his parents, but doesn't speak too openly about things and overall seems a bit unsure still on how to present himself. Shiro could very well be the prototype of "unwilling" you find in BL dramas, in those in which consent is never clear and someone always has to say "no" to no avail. But he is not. Shiro is certain on his feelings and his relationship, but he needs to learn how to reconcile the different parts of his life in order to feel more sure with letting others know. He cherishes his relationship and is actually the one who marks most of the pace, there is nothing in him that isn't consensual, and conversation is a big part of the drama that lets him grow as a lead.
Kenji is a stylist, he isn't embarrassed to be flamboyant and open about his identity and his relationship. He could very well be the prototype of "flamboyant" and "feminine" in dramas, but he is not. He establishes in various instances the misconceptions of gay relationships, the difference between drag and homosexuality, the elements in presentation and gender dynamics. He is very taken by Shiro and isn't afraid to show affection, but he is also filled with self doubt and needs to learn how to communicate them better throughout the series, and how to reconcile his past with his present self.
The series is filled with moments throughout the life of these two, their encounters with other characters that will widen the lens, and you can see a lot of layers of the prejudice and complications of acceptance in Japanese society and the way in which they, and other couples, deal with those. It's a series that isn't devoid of its tear-inducing moments but it's not intending to be sad, dramatic or tragic, it's a happy story, and the leads aren't used for any sort of gratuitious emotional torture.
The food is not only great, and boy do I love dramas with a focus on food, it's also increadibly heart-warming and cozy and it provides a sense of the emotion and feeling you'll see on the episode and complements the story really well. And, meanwhile, you learn how to cook it.
I also immensely appreciate the fact that the couple is over 40, it really serves to discuss things that dramas centered on relationships almost never focus on. I feel that every time a drama focuses on a couple, it's going to be all about confusion and misunderstandings until a grand over-the-top ending. This one, though, is relatable in its simplicity and emotional depth, not only for those in relationships, but also those who are not but are still figuring out ways into adulthood in a couple of generations where the landscape of expectations and reality have changed so much. It isn't just about life in a relationship or life as an LGBTQ+ person, it's also about adult life in a very fast changing social landscape.
Overall, this was a perfect blend of a drama to me, the cast made it a great watch as well (one character has an actor change mid-way because the original had medical issues, but they pulled through really well regardless), and it's definetly great as one of those dramas you can come home to and relax watching, while also having a story that is compelling and emotional at times. I don't even hesitate giving it a 10/10, something I rearely ever do, but this one did it for me.
I can only hope there is a second season or something else from it at some point.