Japan Welcomes 2018 With a TV Show About a Man Who Eats Alone
While many parts of the world will be watching fireworks and singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve, our friends in Japan will be curling up on couches to see a TV show starring a man who eats all by himself.
Kodoku no Gurume, also known as “The Solitary Gourmet,” now in its sixth season, will air its very first New Year’s Eve special!
The 90-minute episode will feature Goro Inogashira, the show’s protagonist, who embarks on his last business trip to Setouchi, a coastal city in western Japan.
Of course, Inogashira will be there to eat just like in all previous episodes. Longtime viewers would advise not to expect too much action, because that’s pretty much everything the show is about. It’s “Terrace House”-ish.
But “The Solitary Gourmet” appeals to Japanese viewers in the sense that Inogashira is undeniably a breath of fresh air. The character, played by Yutaka Matsushige, deviates from notable societal norms and demonstrates the bliss that can only be found in solitude.
“Salarymen are corporate slaves who work tirelessly for their companies and their families,” Ushio Yoshida, a TV critic, told the Washington Post. “But Inogashira has escaped this slavery. That’s why he’s a hero to many people.”
So for the last six seasons, Inogashira just travels across Japan to sell soft furnishings and drops by restaurants to try local specialties. That’s when the fun kicks off.
Viewers have also come to love the show because Inogashira doesn’t mind being alone. He’s been to all sorts of restaurants, eating all by himself without looking for company even through his phone.
“The main character behaves honestly, following his appetite and his instincts like a wild animal. He’s just an ordinary middle-aged man, but he lives very freely. That’s liberating and refreshing to watch,” said Yoshida.
The New Year’s Eve special (Dec. 31) will run from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on TV Tokyo. The menu is still under wraps, but past episodes featured meats, sashimi, hot bowls of noodles, to name a few.