Osen starring Aoi Yui as Okami (Handa Sen) in the J-Drama. Okami means “proprietress”. It was released in 2008 but it stands as an evergreen drama in the food drama world. Aoi Yui is one Japanese star I adore for her acting skills and the sheer simplicity with which she expresses herself. You never feel like she is over acting.
Osen required Aoi Yui to be a young naive yet strong girl who grew up to fulfill the role of being the proprietress of a century old traditional restaurant called “Isshouan” in the lower end of Tokyo. Supporting her are many sweet actor/idols of Japanese industry like Uchi Hiroko (as Ezaki Yoshio aka Youchhan), Mukai Osamu (Takeda Tomekichi), Oizumi Yo (Daiba Kenji Guest) etc.
Summary : Handa Sen is the Okami of Isshouan. A long standing traditional Japanese restaurant in the heart of Tokyo where modernization is catching up through every corner of the world. Isshouan still follows the traditional slow cooking style that the Osen’s mother passed on to her as a child. Osen has been learning to cook since a young age. She loves food and traditional values that it carries into our everyday life. She is an airhead who loves drinking and eating but she has exceptional skills as a Chef, Ceramics, Calligraphy and the ability to think about people to in turn make people think. This drama is about her struggles to keep the values of the traditional restaurant while growing in the modern world.
Osen is a mix of many emotions conversing with our senses through food. With the start of the drama we see Youcchan leaving his job as a fleshy actor chef in a modern Japanese restaurant to cook traditionally. He ate at Isshouan as a child and the taste has never left him. So he walks in direction of his future to Isshouan. First day he meets a drunk Okami Osen who hires him without much question.
Takeda San is an under appreciated but talented chef at Isshouan. He feels unappreciated in front of Youchaan at times but sticks around to help Osen in her toughest times. Youchaan is an airhead modern youth who wants to be a chef and do it easy. However, at Isshouan it is not possible to do anything without following a ton of methods.
Take for example the preparation of Miso. It takes days of hard work. First you separate the soy beans, you clean them, dry them, boil them, mix them with yeast and rice and so on. The preparations of different food items shown in this drama just melts your heart.
Chawanmushi is a stem egg dish. I looked for videos of its recipe all over internet however nothing compares to the one in Osen, maybe it’s the presentation of the dish.
Steam Salmon eggs in Sake. The customer who eats it goes ‘mmmmmmmm’ after having it and you feel like please God grant me the power to have the food directly from the screen itself.
After watching the process to make Miso your respect for the mallow taste of simple warm Miso soup increases. Do you want to know how Miso is made? This is how it is mass-produced. After all, you can rarely have a traditionally handmade taste with something mass-manufactured.
Do you love food? You will love this drama for the many food items presented in traditional style. Plus, when you are hungry even a simple egg omelet preparation sounds delicious. For me, I felt like running to kitchen just by looking at the boiling teapot.
Here I finish my photographic review of Osen. I hope you have fun watching it. It is only 10 episodes of ups and downs in Osen’s life as a Okami and how food is at the center of it all. I hope they have a season 2 of it even after 10 years from now, I will definitely watch it. So, here’s the last picture.
Feel hungry yet?