Kinou Nani Tabeta/What Did You Eat Yesterday - Episode 8 (Recap)


I was excited to watch this episode because everyone has been saying how this was their favorite episode so far. However, I did not expect to be as moved as I was.  Kinounaniresource posted a link in her blog to an article about the show and its popularity in Japan based on the cooking in it. https://asia.nikkei.com/Life-Arts/Life/Japan-s-latest-celebrity-chef-is-a-gay-lawyer-in-hit-TV-drama I’m not surprised. I’ve made all sorts of food in response to watching this show! Remember that I will add a link to recipe for dishes if I find them.


Episode 8

We open in a busy restaurant with Shiro and Kenji seated at a table. They are clearly waiting for someone, and Shiro looks on edge while Kenji looks apologetic. However, it turns out that this odd dynamic is not because of the guests but because they are seated at a table in the middle of restaurant where everyone can see them, and Shiro is worried about people watching them and judging them for being together.

It doesn’t get any better when the people they are waiting for show up because it’s another, older gay couple. They are very sweet but nothing out of the ordinary. One couple other couple looks at them when the older gentleman wipes the face of the younger, but really no one else is paying them any mind. In fact, even the people who look have no look of hostility.


However, Shiro spends the whole dinner on edge, thinking people are staring, talking in monosyllabic responses, and focusing on the food while Kenji tries to bring up common topics and the other two try to get to know Shiro. He even knows he’s being rude, but he’s so freaked out he can’t seem to do anything else.


The walk home is painful. He strides ahead of Kenji who finally stops him to ask him if he’s angry. Initially, he denies it, saying that it was fine, the restaurant was in their budget, and there was nothing in fridge. However, when Kenji presses him about about their conversations, Shiro yells at him about thinking about where they meet and making sure they have a more secluded table or a private room.

Kenji had thought that because they had had double dates with Kohinata and Wataru that Shiro was fine, but those places were places full of gay couples. Kenji apologizes, and this just makes Shiro furious.
He walks away, leaving Kenji behind. I think he’s angrier at himself than at Kenji, but I don’t think Kenji knows that.

We break here for the opening credit sequence, which is back to the original one. I’d like to say here that all of that above happened in less than five minutes. There are lots of details in the acting and the directing. Nothing is wasted in this show.

They open the next scene with a shot of a box of beautifully individually wrapped peaches.

Kayoko got a great deal on them, and she and Shiro are in her apartment while she divides them up. Of course, she couldn’t pass up this deal, but 12 was far too many for them to eat. Shiro comments that fruit is so sweet this time of year that you can get satisfied with just one, so Kayoko wonders if she is forcing the peaches on him. Shiro is a bit embarrassed, but he sweetly admits tha Kenji loves peaches and that he likes to him to have something nice sometimes.

We know that though this is true, it’s also important here because he feels bad about what happened at the restaurant, but Kayoko just thinks he’s being a good boyfriend.

While this is happening, we see Kenji (looks like he’s in the store room at his job) on the phone. He’s talking to Tetsu amd apologizing. It sounds like Tetsu also was apologizing, but Kenji feels like he is completely to blame for springing everything on Shiro. Tetsu must have something he wants to talk about with Shiro because Kenji promises that he will bring whatever it is up with Shiro himself.


We go back to Kayoko’s apartment where she and Shiro are having a snack. She tells Shiro that he’s good at taking care of Kenji. Shiro says that he believes that Kenji loves him more than he loves Kenji, and Kayoko teases him about being confident, but Shiro has really looked at their relationship logically and admits that though Kenji would be the one who cried for three months if they broke up, Kenji would also be the one who would find someone new easily.

Shiro then goes on to complain about the world of trying to date as a gay man in his 40s. Kayoko commiserates but also believes that he is getting these peaches because he likes to surprise Kenji. Shiro readily admits that, but he also states that he needs to work for the relationship. There is no outward pressure for them to stay together from society like there is for married couples, so he has to work hard at the relationship and do these kinds of things. Kayoko sighs, wishing her husband put in the effort.

On the way home from Kayoko’s, Shiro gets a text from Kenji—multiple texts. They tell him that Yoshi and Tetsu want to come over that night and that he’s sorry about the late notice.

I immediately went into a panic and thought the same train of thought that Shiro is. What food does he have? Kenji might say that anything is fine, but we just sat through a dinner where Yoshi talked all about how he has gone completely organic and how much he cooks. Yikes!
Shiro is going through all of this in his mind and thinks about the different things he uses in his dishes that are NOT organic or fancy.

He rushes to the organic food store, thinking he will get ideas and pick up items there. But anyone who has gone to one of these places knows that the prices are really high even for items in season. I know people who grow their own because they can’t afford to go organic, especially if they have families to feed. Shiro, who probably knows exactly how much they have saved this month, just can’t make himself buy anything in that store.


He rushes home, and we get this week’s cooking sequence. The meal includes eggplant and bell peppers;

a mixed sumeshi, salmon, egg, and cucumber dish;

broccoli served with a dipping sauce made of umeboshi, mayo, wasabi, mirin, and soy sauce; and Chikuzenni.


Yoshi and Tetsu arrive with Kenji. They bring wine as a peace offering for coming by with such short notice and were clearly not expecting dinner, especially not anything that looks that good. What I find most interesting about this is how happy and relaxed Shiro looks.
This is completely different from how he looked and behaved before. He has just cooked, and we know cooking relaxes him, but I also think it’s because he is getting an opportunity to revise the other meal that he had with them.

They, of course, love the meal. And they appreciate it the way a good cook would want them to appreciate it. Shiro is worried that they are going to judge his ordinary supermarket ingredients, but they know good food, and they ask him about his combination of flavors  rather than whether the mayonnaise from from a tube or not like he fears.


However, this isn’t why they have come. They are both nervous, but Kenji encourages them to speak. Tetsu says that he is 59 years old, and he has worked very hard to be successful with a couple of restaurants. He wants to make a will leaving everything to Yoshi if he dies. However, his parents are still alive. Shiro interrupts to tell him that they would be entitled to a legitime, which means they would still get a substantial portion of his estate. 

Tetsu knows this, and it is so obviously painful for him to say this, but he doesn’t believe his parents should get anything. What he wants to do is to adopt Yoshi, so that Yoshi will get everything. I learned about this practise last year from a documentary I watched. It's the only way for couples who aren't or can't be legally married to make sure their partners get what they want them to have.

They want Shiro to help them, but they know that he isn’t out at work, so didn’t want to put him on the spot there. Shiro hesitates at first, stunned probably by the way this evening has gone. Everyone is breathless waiting for his answer. I was, too, because I could easily see it going either way. He says yes, and Tetsu tears up, Yoshi tears up, Kenji tears up, and I tear up.


Kenji is so proud of him.


Later, while they clean up, Shiro tells Kenji that he should have told him why Tetsu and Yoshi wanted to meet him. He starts to explain, but Kenji interrupts apologizing and then apologizing for apologizing (remember how Shiro yelled at him for apologizing before). He says he knows he should think before he acts.

He then takes out the recycling. Shiro is stunned. I don’t think he was going to say any of that. I think he would’ve been relieved to know why they were coming and that probably would have made him less nervous about hosting the dinner. He doesn’t know what to say to Kenji’s abject apology or his sorrow, but he isn’t mad at him at all. He is now mad at himself. He thinks that he wouldn’t be surprised if Kenji never came back.๐Ÿ˜”

The next morning, he wraps up breakfast for Kenji and puts it in the refrigerator. He is on his way out the door when Kenji emerges from the bedroom having just woken up. He’s back to being the cheerful Kenji that we know, waving goodbye. But before he lets Shiro go, he asks him for a specific dish for dinner that he’s craving.
Shiro looks at him so fondly that I can’t believe he has the willpower not to grab him and kiss him right then.


While Shiro walks to work, he thinks of Kenji and what he’s learned from him. For example, this morning and how easy it is to make up after a falling out. He wonders, with some frustration whether he’ll ever be able to be more like Kenji.

We close back at the apartment with Kenji yawning and going to get his breakfast. When he opens the refrigerator door, he notices the peaches and is really surprised. He sits eating the now peeled peach sliced in a bowl, smiling—no squeeing—at the sweetness. Most importantly, he knows that Shiro got those peaches just for him, and it makes him feel very loved.


Let’s all say it together, “ Awwwwwwww.”

Comments

I can see why so many people said this was their favorite episode. We really get to see both sides of this relationship and how much influence Kenji has on Shiro although he doesn’t think he has much. I like seeing in SHiro’s mind because he is closeted in a lot of ways not just with his sexuality. It’s true that he’d have the harder time getting past their relationship if it were to end because someone would have to love him as much as Kenji to wait so long to get to know him and for him to them. I’m not sure that Kenji loves him more as he says. I think that Kenji just shows his love more. If anything, if Kenji loves Shiro more than Shiro needs Kenji more.