Calling all people watchers, who like me are fascinated by the universality of human nature that often transcends cultural heritage yet also sometimes illustrates that aspect of our humanity as well. i've recently discovered an oddly calming half hour Japanese series, "Midnight Diner, Tokyo Stories". I'm halfway thru first season of 10 episodes and was happy to learn there is a second which hopefully will also be carried by Netflix.
Basically an anthology series connected by the diner and it's owner/chef, called 'Master' The diner opens at midnight as title suggests and closes in the early morning. Stories so far explore the various relationships people can have and how they can profoundly effect peoples lives (without bodily injury or wild beyond most dreams success). Examples: A entertainment mentor and the student who surpassed his success. The physicist and Hostess Bar girl who find love only to face familial disapproval because he is Japanese and she is Korean. A professional gambler trying to father the almost school age son he was surprised with by the prostitute mother (she abandoned the child). The woman who succumbs to crushes too easily yet doesn't realize a young co-worker has fallen for her till 'Master' points out the evidence.
i love these 'little' stories, economically told in barely a half hour. Master is a huge draw for me. He often helps his patrons work thru their problems---not with overt advice---but with observations and 'just right' questions that help them figure things out. He is very Zen-master in nature. There is a calmness about him no matter what is going on and the scar that traverses the left side of his face (from forehead to cheek) hints at an interesting backstory i hope they will eventually reveal---even if just a bit at a time. The device of his narration expedites the quick telling of these stories, tho some open-ended begging followups.
The diner is not only open odd hours but has a limited menu, however---if he has the ingredients the chef will make whatever you request---so patrons often bring a bag of groceries and get him to prepare some favorite of theirs. And often the show ends with featured characters of the night breaking the fourth wall and addressing us, waving to us.
Has anyone else seen this yet? What are your thoughts. i am resisting creating my own 'backstory' for Master, but if they don't give us a hint or two by end of season 1 that will get harder.