Kinou Nani Tabeta/What Did You Eat Yesterday Episode 2 (recap)

Episode 2

It’s hot in July, and the fan is already on as Shiro packs up for work. Kenji walks in yawning and complaining about the heat, apologizing for sleeping late and thanking Shiro for making him an omelette. 

Shiro warns him to either eat it or put it in fridge because of the heat, but Kenji is more interested in looking at today’s horoscopes. He smiles because Shiro’s horoscope today foreshadows a meeting with love. Shiro rolls his eyes indulgently, telling Kenji that he (Kenji)'s too old to believe in such things, but Kenji pouts. There is no age limit to love! Shiro smiles at him as he leaves. These two just give me the feels.

When Kenji goes into the kitchen to fill the coffee container like Shiro had asked, he notices that Shiro has left his phone. He goes to call him back but hears a notice come in on. There is text from a Kayoko Tominaga saying that she will meet him (Shiro) at the same place at 7. 

As soon as I saw this, I knew there would be a problem. Kenji is very insecure in his relationship with Shiro. Of course, he’s going to think this is some sort of rendezvous, especially with Shiro’s horoscope and his belief in Shiro’s “seductive prowess.” When Shiro comes back for phone, Kenji smiles pleasantly but can hardly let go of phone. Shiro has to tug it out of Kenji’s hand, but when asked, Kenji just smiles and lets it go. But we all know he isn’t letting this go.

We shift to Shiro at work, telling the boss that he really doesn’t care about getting promoted as long as he has steady work. He’ll take on all the boring and mundane cases that no one else wants as long as he gets to go home every day at a regular time.

His colleagues clearly can’t figure him out, He's clearly a good lawyer. Why doesn't he want the big cases. They seem to feel both admiration and suspicion (okay maybe just the office manager). But the viewers not only see Shiro with Kenji, but we also see how he handles cases like the one this week with a client that no one else will take on just because he looks like a gangster. I, for one, am glad that these "smaller" clients are getting such good care.

Unfortunately, his boyfriend is also thinking about how wonderful he is but not in a good way. Kenji can’t stop looking at the horoscope and this being his day off, he has nothing to do but think about that text Shiro got. But why does he keep staring at a half-eaten loaf of bread as if it contains all the ills of the universe?

We don’t get an answer to that. Instead, we get the lovely opening credits of the smiling couple and then come back to Kenji lying on sofa. Time has passed, and he’s obviously done nothing on his day off but think about that damn text! 

He stares at the clock which shows that it is now very close to 7 PM. He can’t resist and jumps up telling himself that he’s going to go on an innocent walk trip to convenience store but, of course, ends up outside of market in shades and hat (in this heat!) as if he’s in some low grade spy movie. 

He gives himself a heart attack assuming an attractive woman who stops outside the market to wait is waiting for Shiro, who is shopping inside. Of course, he gets caught by Shiro while it turns out the woman is waiting for her friend.

We see them next at the apartment with Shiro prepping dinner and telling Kenji that he’s an idiot. He explains that the woman he got a text from is a neighbor and that they often grocery shop together to get deals. (My kind of friend!) He said the text was because a farmer friend of hers had sent a whole bunch of strawberries, and she wanted to give some of them to him.

Kenji, still embarrassed, is surprised because Shiro has never wanted to meet any neighbors. So Shiro tells him the story of how he met Kayoko.

We go back to two weeks earlier with Shiro standing outside the market looking at watermelons that are on special.
Shiro: My grocery shopping spirit animal

I can so relate. I get excited when the grocery circular comes. I get excited when I find a good food deal. I love buy one get two free. I've looked at grocery items the way he is looking at this watermelon.  The last time I found turkey necks on special (good, meaty turkey necks are a find, people!), I clapped outright. Yes, people looked at me oddly, but I feel Shiro would understand.

Anyway, back to the story. The watermelon is a really good price, but he’s hesitant. His refrigerator isn’t big enough to hold all that watermelon. He could buy it, but if half of it goes bad, it’s not really a bargain. He stares it it. A woman is also looking at the watermelon, and he can tell she’s thinking the same thing.

They both end up going inside the market without the watermelons, but when they come out, they can no longer resist and in a funny interchange decide to share a watermelon.

This is how Shiro ends up at her apartment. Kayoko is going to cut up the watermelon and give him half. But she still has watermelon in her fridge because she bought some on sale the Friday before. And now today, an even better watermelon deal?!? She couldn't resist, and I love her food bargain-loving heart.

She gives him that watermelon to eat while he waits because it’s so hot out. She serves it with a spoon, but poor Shiro is concerned. Initially, he was looking around the pleasant apartment with a smile, but then his introvert self starts second guessing everything. Why is here in a stanger’s apartment? Why did he make this deal? This continues with the watermelon offer. He usually eats watermelon with a spoon and meticulously takes out all the seeds, but will she find out he is gay because of this? He will probably see her again because she is a neighbor. Will he be embarrassed? Will she say anything?

Poor Shiro, he is so stifled by his own assumptions about gay people and what other people think of gay people that he decides that he needs to eat the watermelon with his hands. What we get is him hilariously wrangling that watermelon and wiping his face with the back of his hand in an attempt to look uber masculine. There is even slo-mo camera work involved.I laughed out right.

Unfortunately, for him, when Kayoko see this, she suddenly realizes that Shiro is really attractive (really--how did she miss this at the market?) and jumps to her own conclusions: Why did she invite such a man to her apartment while she’s alone? Would such a man really want to share a watermelon? Is this just an excuse to get inside the apartment to rob and molest her?

Of course because of  this chain of thoughts, when Shiro approaches her for a napkin, she freaks out. No really, she screams bloody murder, begging him not to assault her.

Shiro freaks out, too. He understands that there is no way to explain this cops because he, too, recognizes the oddity of his being in the apartment. He desperately tries all sorts of things to get her to stop screaming, but none work, so he yells out that he’s gay. I guess to make her think that he won't sexually assault her. But that only stops her screaming for a bit, she just starts screaming again. He finally thinks to go into his wallet and take out his business card, telling her he’s a lawyer. This calms her down, and he groans thinking he should have used the lawyer card first instead of the gay card.

Her daughter comes in then with a watermelon; she, too, saw the good price and thought she could split it with her mom. She wonders at this handsome man in the kitchen and looks around for her father. But her mom is all like, don’t worry, he’s gay. Kayoko's husband comes in right then, and right when he curiously says hello, Kayoko says, completely unbidden, “don’t worry, he’s gay.” Poor Shiro doesn’t know where to look. He has wanted to keep it secret, but this whole family knows now.

They invite him to eat, and the family is really nice. Curious, welcoming and teasing like he's a new family member.. It’s clearly not what Shiro expects at all.  When they find out that he lives with his boyfriend, Kayoko wonders why they can’t eat a whole watermelon, but when she finds out that his refrigerator is too small, too, she comes up with the idea of sharing bargains at the grocery store. Shiro now has found neighborhood friends without even trying.

We come back to the present where Shiro has finished making dinner while apparently having finished his story. He has actually made the dish Kayoko had made for him for dinner. He describes the different ingredients and how the flavors play off each other (this part of the episodes have a very Let's Eat vibe w/o the snark). He is also letting some of the strawberries he got from her sit in sugar because he is going to make jam after dinner. 

Strawberry jam is the recipe we watch him make in this episode (I think we will get one full food video/recipe per episode). However, I would argue that what he really makes is preserves because he leaves the strawberries pretty whole rather than crushing them, which is what jam is. Jelly is made with just juice. Don’t tease me. I make (and can) all three. I’m particular about the difference because even though they all taste very good, especially on toast, they are not interchangeable for all recipes or occasions. I also don't know Japanese, so it may be  subber's fault calling it jam, thinking they were interchangeable. I know lots of people who don't know the difference.

Kenji notices the egg that is in the dish, and Shiro admits that he used the omelette in the fridge as part of the meal. Kenji guiltily admits that he couldn’t eat anything all day thinking about the text. Shiro scoffs. Kayoko is a woman’s name. How come Kenji was worried? But Kenji reminds Shiro that he had dated women in the past, and now we get the backstory about the bread. 

Shiro had only dated one woman in the past, and even though he assures Kenji that he isn’t bisexual, Kenji is still bothered because the bread Shiro buys is from the bakery that that woman owns and runs owns. It doesn’t make any sense when he can buy bread at the grocery store for half the price.
I labeled this picture "Bread of Betrayal"

Shiro looks a bit uncomfortable but says that it is a good price for bread made with local wheat and that Kenji should go by the bakery because he will know that she is happily married with teenage kids. He dated her 20 years ago. But Kenji has been by; he went to see when he first realized who she was and saw that she was glowing and friendly and kind. Nothing that would make him feel better.

Shiro reminds him that he has to make the jam and ends the discussion, but even though he is happy while making jam,

he doesn’t look happy when he watches Kenji folding the clothes. He looks sad and sorry.

Of course they have toast and jam the next morning, and though Kenji seems to have moved on from last night, Shiro has not. He tells Kenji about his ex-girlfriend and how he dated her because she had short hair and was a tomboy. He thought at the time that maybe he could be with a girl like that, but he realized it wasn’t working. He was still gay. She broke up with him feeling like he really didn’t like her the way she wanted, and he was relieved. He thinks that if she hadn’t done that, he might have been married by now with kids and fallen in love with a man and cheated on his wife, making everyone unhappy. He feels guilty using his ex-girlfriend like this. I’m wondering if he buys her more expensive bread because of this guilt. Kenji melts completely. Who wouldn’t at Shiro’s earnest face?

The episode closes with Kenji at work suddenly realizing that the whole story means that Shiro has told Kayoko (and her family)that he is gay. This makes him smile to himself, probably because this is a major step for Shiro in being more comfortable with their relationship.


The dynamic in the relationship is very interesting and honest. They obviously love each other but are both dealing with what they assume to be outside pressures differently. But I think the scene with them eating the jam and toast kind of solidified for me the reason why they fell in love. If they were friends of mine, I wouldn’t have thought of fixing them up. They are too different. However, the jam scene with Kenji’s comments were exactly what Shiro wants out of someone for whom he cooks.

Kenji understands and appreciates the nuances of all the meals, so when Shiro explains to him about how the ingredients in Kayoko’s recipe play off each other, he understands and tastes them. They may be very different on the surface, but they are in sync in the nuances of how they live.

I really like the scenes here, too, because they highlight the difference I see between Japanese dramas vs. Korean or Thai dramas (I don't watch enough Taiwanese or Chinese dramas to make this comment). Look at the apartments and work spaces. They look like real people live in these spaces. They are cluttered and messy and not as sparkling clean and a bit darker than people might like, but they look like real places as opposed to fantasy places. I know someone has commented on this before either in the comments or in my twitter feed, and I agree.
Shiro and Kenji's apartment

Kayoko's apartment