Wednesday, July 12, 2023

VAoJ S2023RT Arc: Izakaya「Kōshū Kaidō: Uosada」as seen on the Meshi Tero Drama, "Wakako Zake" (6/28/23)

Wakako Zake (ワカコ酒, or "Wakako's Sake," BS-TV Tokyo) is one of the longest running (now in its 7th season) and my favorite meshi tero (loosely translated "food terrorism" and similar to the western term "food porn." However, food terrorism implies a deliberate attack or form of harassment that creates jealousy or resentment, causing victims to run to the kitchen or convenience store for snacks) drama. Like others shows in this genre, there isn't much of a back story and viewers watch the protagonist (and her/his reactions to) eating and drinking. Wakako loves to drink and eat.

The izakaya Uosado has been featured often in all 7 seasons (especially in the first and last episodes of each season) as Wakako is considered to be a jōren-san ("regular customer") of the shop. Wakako Zake, and other meshi tero dramas, usually take place at real izakaya and restaurants with actors taking the place of the shop staff, and the shops are introduced at the end of the show and on the shows' websites.

Going to this izakaya was one of my main goals for this research trip. And I was not disappointed. The owner and staff seemed to be surprised that a foreigner was a fan (and/or had knowledge) of the show. They cheerfully answered my questions and told me about how the show is filmed at Uosada. They let me take pictures of anything I wanted. And they took pictures of me there as well. Eventually other customers came. Two men sitting behind me were engaged in a discussion about Wakako Zake and then moved on to Yoshida Rui and other food/drink related shows. Two men next to me at the counter seemed to be cat lovers and we showed each other pictures of our cats. This place was too good to be true!
But how to get there (as I am not so familiar with Tokyo)? This is Google maps tellling me how to get to the shop. Just a 9-minute walk from the train station... But when I turned the other way after exiting the station the shop was just around the corner, not even a minute away... なんでやねん!?!
I got there and the shop was closed. Oh no, not again? But I checked the time and saw it was 5 minutes before their opening time. They opened exactly at 5:00 PM (raising the shutters and putting up the noren). I was the first customer. They pointing me to a seat at the counter and I asked if I could sit at Wakako's seat; they said yes, of course. Another meshi tero dream come true!
Although these shots don't really show it, the shop was a little different than what I have seen on TV. Everything seemed a little smaller. And there was a booth in the back corner that isn't apparent on TV.
Of course the biggest difference is all the posters from the drama on the back wall. (They take them down when they shoot the show...)
The long term emploee who did most of the cooking.
This izakaya is well known for its fish dishes.
The bottle keep shelves.
Takeda Rina's real kept bottles - with her writing and artwork on the bottles.
I sampled the same shochu (but not from Takeda's bottles...).
I also sampled a popular sake at the shop.
One last parting shot after I left. (It seems a little crooked - or maybe it was me...)
Screen shot from Wakako Zake, Season 7, number one (7/3/23) with the real owner and wife introducing the shop featured in the episode.

Wakako Zake 7 website:

Uosada's introduction on Wakako Zake website:

English transaltion: "Viewers of Wakako Zake are familiar with Uosada. Why not enjoy the taste of each season with daily recommendation written on the white board and sake selected by the master?"

The noren shot to prove I was (being) there!

No comments: