January 21, 2018 by readingoutside
I’ve recently finished watching a fun show on Netflix called Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman. If you love sugar, Japanese culture, or bizarre fantasy sequences involving people morphing into roasted chestnuts, then you will probably love this show.
The plot, based on a manga series, is relative simple. Kantaro, played by Kabuki actor Matsuya Onoe, is a straight-laced, poker-faced, hardworking book seller. His co-workers marvel at his unflappable work ethic and sales abilities, especially when faced with their tyrannical and capricious manager. What they don’t know is that he’s secretly “Sweets Knight,” the author of a popular dessert blog, and that in between sales jobs he’s sneaking into restaurants and cafés to get his sugar freak on. No one catches on to his secret vice, except for a pretty co-worker who has her own reason for being suspicious.
Kantaro can seem weird if you’re not familiar with surrealist, non-American-style TV, but if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief it’s a lot of fun. There’s more than a little sexual allusion in Kantaro’s sugar obsession (he basically has an orgasm every time he takes his first bite of dessert) but overall the show has a light sweetness to it (no pun intended). A big chunk of each episode is given over to describing the real restaurants Kantaro visits in Tokyo and how they prepare their specialty dishes, many of which will seem unusual to Western viewers. After watching this show, you’ll want to slow down and savour every bite of your dessert.