Lunch ON! offers insights into working people of all kinds, by looking at their lunch. Discover what they eat as they strive to reach new heights!
We visit busy sesame farmers during the peak of harvest on the island of Kikaijima, situated 1,200 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. Farmers there eat a unique rice ball that is absolutely delicious. In the 2nd half, we visit an IT company where male employees have a potluck lunch in the office. Let's look at the lunch that is turning the male employees into cooking enthusiasts, one after another.
From Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of Japan's main island, we bring you the lunches eaten by people in the fishing and apple production industries, which are things Aomori is famous for! We take a look at the unique bentos eaten by craftsman who produce traditional wooden boxes to put the apples in. At Aomori City's central wholesale market, we discover the seafood lunch eaten by seafood specialists.
The shochu spirit blender who preserves the taste of a traditional shochu brand must fight his urges during lunch to keep his tongue in good condition. In the 2nd half, we look at the heart-warming bentos eaten by the employees of an amber museum in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, one of the world's biggest amber producers.
We look at the homemade bento of a woman whose job is to protect the Imperial Family as an imperial guard. In the 2nd half, we look at the delicious lunch served at the cafeteria of a dairy products manufacturer in Shimane Prefecture. Most of the vegetables and rice in the lunch are grown by the employees!
There are professional bento deliverymen in Tokyo Station, which recently celebrated its 100th year. What is the lunch they most look forward to? In "Onigiri of different seasons and regions", we look at the delicious onigiri rice ball eaten by a bus driver who drives through mountains on the longest non-highway bus route in Japan.
2 coworkers of a certain company in Tokyo always go out to have lunch together, but it seems there's a set of rules they must follow in doing so. What is the secret to how they choose where to eat? In "Onigiri of different seasons and regions", we look at big, black onigiri rice balls eaten at a family-run steel processing factory in Yokohama.
Kumano City, Mie Prefecture is known for its whole-dried sanma, or pacific saury. The Hamaguchi family, who process the fish, top off their lunch with sanma rice tea porridge. In the 2nd half, photographer Satoru Abe visits the operators of a cable car line on Tokyo's Mt. Mitake, and takes a look at what they have for lunch.
Satomi Watabe is the head of an agency based in Aomori City that staffs many corporations and organizations in Aomori Prefecture. Ms. Watabe, whose motto is "You can tell a lot about a company by looking at its cafeteria", sits down for lunch with her employees to hear what they've got to say. Kenichi Nagao of Tsushima, Nagasaki Prefecture, is a decorated master shiitake cultivator. What kind of lunch do Mr. and Mrs. Nagao have?
The restaurant next to a driving school in Iwate Prefecture provides vital support for workers in the area. We visit an aquarium in Fukushima Prefecture that had lost many of its animals by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. With the effort of employees and the support of many, the aquarium's exhibits have now been restored. We take a look at what the workers there do for lunch. Following the 2011 disasters, the staff cafeteria at an electronic appliances factory has provided the chance for interaction among employees.
We visit a master and his pupil who conduct the meticulous job of cutting vinyl records, which are regaining popularity. The head nurse at a general hospital in Ibaraki Prefecture prepares playful rice balls for her staff on night shift.
Fusao Ito, who performs balloon art as a clown, is actually a balloon crafter. Together with his wife and a part-time worker, he produces 6,000 balloons every day. We take a look at the lunchtime that the balloon-making couple has shared for 40 years. Hirotaka Fujimoto is learning the art of towel production as a worker at a towel manufacturer in Imabari City, Aichi Prefecture, established 60 years ago. We take a look at the lunch he cooks for himself in no time.
60km Northwest of Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture is the island of Tonakijima. The only hair salon on the island is open for just 10 days each month, as Takatoshi Fukuda, the hairstylist usually lives in mainland Japan. We look at the lunchtime Mr. Fukuda shares with his friends on the island, whom he had to work hard to befriend. Elementary schoolchildren in Japan use a leather backpack called randoseru. We visit a factory that produces the bags, and check out what the employees there do for lunch!
Vitalizing the Office with Shuffle Lunch An IT company in Osaka carries out a special event called shuffle lunch in an attempt to get employees to communicate more with each other. Once a month, voluntary participants are shuffled into groups of people from various departments and positions, so that they can all have lunch together. Since this event started, many employees feel that it has become easier to communicate with other employees about work. We follow a few nervous new recruits go out to lunch with senior employees. The Seafood Bento at the Mock Crab Meat Factory Photographer Satoru Abe visits a seafood processing factory in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture to take a look at the bentos the employees there eat. Kanikama mock crab meat sticks have now become a popular food internationally. Kanikama is made by stretching out and forming ground fish paste into the shape of crab legs. We look at the bentos - all made with plenty of love - that the employees there eat.
The railway safety maintenance team exclusively conducts maintenance work on train signal lights, which support the safe operation of trains. As the team conducts maintenance work near the tracks on over 200 light signals and railway crossings while trains are in operation, the team members depend on each other for safety. The lunch they have is one they cook in the office kitchen. To bond as a team, the members all eat lunch together. We watch the team enjoy their lunchtime, which is the only time when they can relax. Face-to-face Lunch at the Shizuoka Tea Farm In this episode of face-to-face lunch, where we usually join people in the city for lunch, we sit down for lunch with tea farmers in Shizuoka Prefecture, the number one producer of green tea in the country. At a time when they are very busy picking the first tea of the season, we join the farmers in their home-cum-processing plant to have lunch with them, and to hear them out about tea.
The Lunch of the Pros Who Make You Say "That looks tasty!" There are professionals who film foods for commercial videos and product packages! The experts who specialize in shooting foods display their finest skills in the photo shoot of a particular instant noodles product. We see handmade devices used to make dried food look great on photo. For lunch, the staff members deftly cook with the ingredients available in the refrigerator of leftovers from photo and video shoots. Viewer Message: Living Alone for Work Lunch A man from Singapore who lives alone in Japan for work keeps a rice cooker at his workplace. We take a look at the lunch meeting held at his workplace, which all started with the man's fluffy, just-cooked rice!
Mr. Kazuhiro Funakoshi, who works as a developer of ready-made curry products at a major foods manufacturer, eats curry for work, curry for lunch and looks for curry restaurants to eat at when he goes away on business trips. He's so committed that as soon as he leaves a curry restaurant, he always immediately documents his meal on his computer. His accumulated knowledge is frequently passed on to the curry researchers at the company. We follow Mr. Funakoshi through a curry-filled week! Viewer Message: Authentic Curry for Workers at the Goat Farm Every day at a goat farm in Okayama City, workers cook lunch for themselves. Mr. Perera, the Sri Lankan head of the farm is frequently the one doing the cooking, as the authentic curry he makes, rich with the aroma of spices, is the most popular dish among workers. We check out the hot lunch time shared by those who work with goats every day!
Viewer Message: Why Does a Husband Pass Out Bento His Wife Made to People at His Workplace? Seiko Taninaka makes up to 8 bentos every day, including one for herself, another for her husband, and the rest for her husband's coworkers at a company that produces mobile games. Seiko started doing this not because her husband asked her to, but because she wanted to take "adorable bento photos". She thought that the bento pictures she uploads onto a photo-sharing Website would look more adorable if there are multiple bentos lined up, so she offered to make bentos for her husband's colleagues. The guys eating the bento are also happy too, as Seiko makes them nutritious bento, tailored to suit each eater's health condition and preferences. Let's Go See a Bento: Oigawa Railway in Shizuoka Prefecture This time, we go check out what the staff who keep a steam locomotive in operation eat for lunch. The operator and his assistants spend 3 hours for preparation, which includes the tasks of starting up a fire at 7:30, and then filling up the train with water. During the trip, the crew in the cabin sweat ferociously as they work right near the burning coal. We look at the bentos eaten at the Oigawa Railway, a beloved tourist destination.
Ground Handling Staff Haneda Airport's busy schedule, which involves over 1,200 flights a day, could only be made possible with the efforts of staff members who provide all sorts of support on the ground. A plane that has landed in Haneda Airport sometimes must be back in the sky again within less than an hour. In that short amount of time, aircraft must be guided into its place, and cargo must be unloaded and loaded. In the summer, the job calls for physical labor in the intense Tokyo heat. That's why eating lunch properly is the basic necessity to carry out operations. We look at the lunches of such ground personnel. The Weather Station at Haneda Airport: The Stronghold of Safety The weather station at Haneda Airport forecasts the weather around the airport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. With 27 years of experience, Mr. Horikawa leads the team as a chief forecaster. It's his job to make final decisions after he listens to the forecasts his team makes. To keep all aircrafts safe, Horikawa constantly pays attention to how the weather changes. We join him during his hectic lunchtime.
Grilled Mutton that the Beer Craftsman Shares with Hops Farmers Mr. Hideki Kayaba, the head of brewing at the Sendai plant of KIRIN BEER, usually has the cafeteria's daily special for lunch. However, he looks forward to the special lunch he has once a year in Tono City, Iwate Prefecture, known as one of the nation's top production site of hops. Hops determine the taste and aroma of the final product: beer. About 10 days prior to harvest, Mr. Kayaba goes around and visits the 10 farms in Tono that provide hops to his plant. After he checks the aroma of the hops at the farms, he has the local specialty of grilled mutton together with the farmers. The Bento of the Lacquer Tapper Who Used to Be an Office Worker Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture is a major producer of lacquer, as it supplies 80% of lacquer in the nation. Masayuki Igari quit his job as an office worker 7 years ago, and moved to Ninohe, where he has been working as a lacquerware craftsman during winter, and in summer, as a lacquer tapper, extracting lacquer from trees that grow in the mountains. The lonesome task of lacquer tapping requires Mr. Igari to carefully cut into trees just a little bit, so as not to kill the trees, and to gather the lacquer that oozes out patiently. Mr. Igari explains that he can relax the most when he sits down to eat the bento his wife makes for him every day.
50 Million Households Nationwide! Conducting a Survey at the Heart of the National Census The Population Census Division of the Statistics Bureau of Japan is in charge of carrying out the national census, which is held every 5 years. In the spotlight of this episode of the survey is the nationwide online census, the first of its kind in Japan. As it is predicted that 10 million households will send in responses online, it is vital that a system that can withstand that much information is constructed. As head of the online census project, Mr. Hisachika Tanaka has been going through a series of trial and error for 3 years. At 12 a.m. on September 10, when the massive system goes online, Mr. Tanaka and his team wait anxiously. We conduct a lunch survey on the people who make the national census happen. The Annual Summer Gift Lunch Party! We visit an event planning company with 50 employees. Since 3 years ago, when the employees all cooked and together ate a huge amount of soba noodles sent to the company as a summer gift, the summer gift lunch party has been an annual event. Since the party gets workers from all divisions together, it has fueled communication in the company. We take a look at the fun lunch fiesta the employees look forward to.