That Foodie Life

Via Gelato's chocolate chip and Frosted Flakes flavors are attainable luxuries MELANIE TAKEYA PHOTO

Via Gelato’s chocolate chip and Frosted Flakes flavors are attainable luxuries

My favorite thing to watch on TV right now – indeed, the only thing I am watching on TV right now – is a Japanese drama, Wakakozake.

The drama’s premise is very, very simple: 26-year-old Wakako, who spends her days working a nondescript office job, spends her evenings in search of good food and drink. Every episode, she goes to two real-life restaurants in Japan, ooh-ing and aah-ing about the smoothness of cold sake or the warm, homey feeling that offal stew gives you.

Once she even went to a “canned food” restaurant that only served … canned foods. The cook tore open a can of tuna, threw on some chopped onions and kewpie mayo, and then seared the whole thing with a blowtorch. Awesome.

So yes, it’s basically like watching a 26-minute Instagram food porno. But every week, like clockwork, my sister and I sit down to watch, ignoring all the other shows I’m supposed to be watching, like Jessica Jones or Game of Thrones. I could watch a complicated show about politics or betrayal, or I could watch Wakako eat potato salad (with just the right touch of acidity) with a cold beer.

I think we know what sounds more appealing after a long day at work.

After all, it’s food! Who doesn’t love food? We have multiple TV channels, countless websites and billions upon billions of social media posts dedicated to mankind’s real favorite pastime.

Yet I am not unaware that food culture is one of privilege – showing off the luxuries of food instead of practicalities.

Consider the average food show on TV. Either it’s about some crazy cooking competition, where people make magic out of bologna and foie gras that you’ll never eat, or it’s about gluttonous 8-pound burgers that could cause a heart attack through sheer proximity.

Modern food media, as a whole, thrives on inaccessibility: the tantalizing wonder of what you cannot have. Sometimes, even I feel like owning a packaged takana like those you find in Japanese shows. Maybe someday I can own them. But the point remains that, currently I may not have ease of access to such foods.

But what I really love seeing is food that I can eat, what other people I know are eating. I love getting Snapchats from my friends of where they’re eating for dinner, or seeing what beautiful desserts people boast about on Instagram. I’ll even pause when Hawaii News Now airs its “Cheap Eats” feature.

Seeing what real people eat at real places I can really visit on my own is a modest type of luxury that I can indulge in. And while Wakako may live in Japan, it’s not too farfetched to think that I could find that canned food bar on my next Tokyo vacation.

Paige’s Pick of the Week:


Season two comes out, like, literally today, right this minute. Why are you still reading? Put this paper down and go turn on Netflix. (