A survey shows that a Japanese salaried worker spends 510 yen on average for lunch, 30% less than the average 20 years ago. It's no wonder the 500 yen "one-coin" lunch has become so popular. We go to Sendai City and step into the kitchens of restaurants to examine the hard work and ingenuity that makes it possible to serve one-coin lunches. The second half of this episode takes place in a gigantic district heating and cooling center situated beneath the high-rise city of west Shinjuku, Tokyo.
The Shintencho Shopping Street in Fukuoka has an employee cafeteria to serve its hard workers. We'll take a peek at the delicious lunches of the workers who try to liven up the shopping street amidst the intensifying competition against large retailers. We have also "Onigiri from Different Seasons and Regions," in which we look at various onigiri rice balls across Japan. This time we'll get a taste of an onigiri rice ball made with the first nori seaweed of the year, picked from the Ariake Sea.
Groups from France and the US come to observe how the Japanese bullet train cleaning crew gets to work. In just 7 minutes, the crew cleans the entire train, and sends it off right on schedule. The secret to the superb teamwork making such a feat possible is the lunch they have! --In"Face-to-Face Lunch", we hear out working people by having lunch with them. --In Kyoto we visit a Japanese pickle shop run by a family spanning 3 generations. Let's take a peek at what they have for lunch!
In "Get in line for lunch", we take a close look into the excitement people are feeling as they wait in line to have lunch. In "Everybody's Lunch ON!", where we look at messages sent in from viewers, we visit a laundry in Tokyo. The employees look forward to lunch every day, and there's a good reason why. We also look at the lunch of a man who knows all the roads--he is a field researcher for car navigation systems.
450 meters up the TOKYO SKYTREE, Tokyo's latest landmark, is the TEMBO GALLERIA. This time, we look into the inspirational lunch loved by the composer who designed its unique acoustic environment. In the second half, we visit the world-famous fish market in Tsukiji and the Korean town in Shin-Okubo to take a look at the delicious lunches of working people.
Staff members at Okinawa's professional soccer club, FC Ryuku, had long thought hard about how they could best provide a nutritious lunch to its players on the tight budget. What is the bento they ended up choosing!? --In "Face-to-Face Lunch", we find out what a manager at an electronics appliance manufacturer loves to do when he's not working! --In "Let's Go See a Bento", we visit a doll-crafting shop in Iwatsuki, Saitama Prefecture. There, we take a look at what the skilled craftsmen eat for lunch!
A Tokyo company makes and sells 60,000 bento lunches every day. All employees eat the same bento that the customers are eating. Doing this encourages employees to talk about their product with each other, and come up with new ideas. We visited them during lunch time! In "Face-to-Face Lunch", we sat down with a woman who works as a manager for an IT company. In the 2nd half of the program, we take a look at the bento lunches of professional wind instrument repairmen.
We visited a young woman who works as a dental hygienist at a research center in Tokyo and found out that the secret to her good oral health was in the lunch she eats! In Japan, April is the month that kicks off the fiscal year. In the 2nd half, Lunch ON! has fresh recruits across the nation to film their first lunch on the job!
We visit a very busy theatre company that is always performing musicals all over Japan. With around 600 actors to feed, its cafeteria is busy too. We find out that the cafeteria has a unique system! We also go to Hamamatsu City to visit areas that have delicious names. Let's see what the residents at such tasty places do for lunch!
The JICA Tokyo International Center's cafeteria serves people from 140 different nations. Its head chef uses a variety of ingredients and goes out of his way to think of new dishes to serve. We find out what he eats for lunch. Mt. Hakodate of Hokkaido boasts a spectacular view of the port town at its foot. Day and night, its ropeway leads countless tourists uphill for the magnificent sight. We visit the people who operate the ropeway, and check out what they have for lunch!
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Helicopter Rescue Squadron uses the air-sea rescue aircraft to rescue and transport people in emergency situations. We fly with the men to see what they're having in the air! We tag along with a foodstuff salesman as he negotiates to have his products put on the end-aisle display of a supermarket. We find the key to his success in his lunch.
The "mother" of the employee cafeteria at a mega furniture shop can improvise dishes with whatever ingredients that come her way! In "Let's go see a bento", Satoru Abe visits a team of motorcycle policewomen. As the women need strength and have to train with motorcycles weighing 300 kg, they must eat properly.
Many Tokyo-based IT firms are putting up satellite offices in Kamiyama Town, Tokushima Prefecture. The influx of workers from big cities like Tokyo is rapidly changing lunch in the small town. Fishermen use the traditional Okinawan fishing technique to catch Gurukun, the locally popular fish. For lunch, they eat manly rice balls on their boat. And their side dish is -of course- fresh fish!
A designer in the gaming industry packs unique, visually-artistic Bento for himself every day. He shows his work to his colleagues, and enjoys hearing their opinion. We watch him as he makes a Bento like no other! Thanks to their Bentos, landscapers in Osaka are able to create a beautiful Japanese garden during the steaming hot summer.
This episode is a special on Mount Fuji. For 2 months during summer, 10 workers take shifts working at the shrine on Mount Fuji's summit. What do the workers at the shrine above the clouds have for lunch? Also we focus on the bulldozer which is essential on Mount Fuji, as it delivers food and other supplies to the cabins on the great mountain. Let's look at the stamina-boosting bento the bulldozer drivers eat!
We visit the construction site of a 52-story skyscraper in Toranomon, Tokyo. What does the crane operator who works 260 meters above ground always have for lunch? Enjoy the heart-warming story behind the bento eaten by those who work with horses on Mount Fuji's 5th station.
Asakusa welcomes 4 million tourists each year. We find the lunches of the people who work in the popular tourist spot. A rickshaw man who is pursuing his dream to become a lawyer sits at a table to have lunch with experienced rickshaw men, as he learns valuable lessons on life. For lunch, the 78-year-old attendant of an established tempura shop has an exquisite bowl of mixed-tempura on rice, made by his life-long friend.
A man who works in Shinbashi, Tokyo is an authority on standing soba noodle shops. With more than 1,400 shops visited, he knows exactly how to tell if a shop serves good dishes or not, and he gives us a lesson on the subject. Photographer Satoru Abe visits an umbrella factory in Chiba Prefecture. The factory produces innovative umbrellas to compete with cheap, imported products. We take a look at the delicious, home-made bentos eaten by the factory employees.
A 36-year-old office worker continues to make bento for his 2 male colleagues. But why!? At an Osaka office, "lunch on the floor" is held monthly, where workers sit between desks on the office floor and eat together. Since this gives workers the chance to sit down close to each other and talk, the monthly event has brought about many positive changes.
In Japan, restaurants don't only serve lunch for customers; they also cook lunch for their staff. At a Kanazawa company that distributes local produce, the director personally cooks delicious dishes for the staff using expired vegetables. We take a look at the staff lunch of a popular Thai cuisine restaurant in Tokyo. Check out what the Thai chefs cook for themselves for a heart-warming taste of home.
Is a move up of the corporate ladder a move up in lunch as well? We visit the nation's largest book distribution center to look at the respective lunches of new recruit, assistant manager and manager. On "Onigiri of various seasons and regions", we visit Shodoshima Island, the cradle of olives in Japan, to find the delicious onigiri made using olive oil.
Every day, at the Kyoto woodblock print studio with a history of 120 years, craftspeople and other employees - ranging from ages 25 to 78 - take turns to cook lunch and dinner for everyone. We take a look at the unique lunch each person makes. In the latter half of the episode, we report on a woman who packs her lunch not in a bento box, but on a plate to take to work. Her method of safely transporting her lunch is an outcome of series of trial and error...how does she do it?
On Aogashima Island, 360km south of Tokyo, there are no restaurants that serve lunch. Therefore, residents mainly eat lunch at home, and the employees of a Tokyo construction company eat lunch made by the dorm mother. When the regular ferry cannot make it to the island for extended periods, Ms. Sato picks wild plants, and makes ingenious use of them to cook delicious dishes. At the central part of the island, many people steam vegetables and fish with geothermal heat, while they work on the fields. We look into the slow but blissful lunchtime on this small island.
A temporary shopping street with 30 shops was built in February of last year in Minamisanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture. We take a peek at how the shop owners here help each other through the lunch they have every day. In Kamaishi City, Iwate Prefecture, Kenichi Sasaki runs an oyster farming business. He once gave up on restarting the business after the great disasters of 2011. However, last December, he succeeded in shipping out raw oysters for the first time since the disasters, with the help of public organizations. Mr. Sasaki has lunch in the little tent where he processes the oysters. We follow him as he works hard to get his business back on track.
The president of a shipyard company personally cooks an extraordinarily filling dish, prepared on an iron grill. Also we have a new corner where we put the spotlight on curry with rice, which is on the menu at all staff cafeterias. What emotions cause people to order curry?
What are the sincere thoughts of a boss behind an "uneasy lunch"? In "Let's go see a bento", we visit Wakkanai, Hokkaido early in spring to look at the bentos, rich with the blessings of the seas, eaten by workers who produce dried cod sticks.
We visit a company that specializes in making movie trailers. Most employees spend work hours editing all alone. To have everyone talk to each other, the company president makes curry for her employees once a week. In "Let's go see a bento", we look at the lunchtime of part-time female employees who work at a factory that produces unique erasers.
We visit a high-end French restaurant in Tokyo to see what the chefs do for lunch. At this restaurant, the lunch for the staff must be curry on Saturdays, as it is the perfect dish to clean out a week's worth of leftovers. Onigiri of different seasons and regions. We visit Hadano City in Kanagawa Prefecture, known for its production of edible cherry blossoms. There, the seasonal specialty is a simple onigiri rice ball of just rice and cherry blossoms pickled in salt.
This entire episode is dedicated to sharing the messages we have received from viewers! What does the bento box collector woman in her 30's pack for lunch? At a certain clinic, staff members cook ethnic dishes for lunch, and they eat them together with patients! A 42 year-old bento man lives a disciplined life, all because he wants to see his beloved family.
A veterinarian who works at an Okinawa aquarium has had the same lunch every day for 4 years in order to examine his marine animal patients. We look at the bentos eaten by craftspeople at a Kagoshima factory that makes baseball gloves for players worldwide, including those in Major League Baseball.
Take a look at the home-made lunch for veterinarians who work at a rehabilitation center for race horses. Find out what people do for lunch on rainy days on Rain Lunch. We document the heart-warming relationship between the mistress of a cafeteria on a small island and a doctor who has been eating at the cafeteria for 35 years.
The new principal of an Osaka high school was recruited from the private sector. We document his first month on the job. How is his new job different from his old job as a screenwriter, and how has his lunch changed? We look at a couple who has devoted over 20 years to study rice plants, and the bento they eat in their quest to find the ultimate rice.
A marine weather forecasting company in Shonan, Kanagawa Prefecture, has an all-surfer staff. Watch how they manage both business and pleasure, even during lunchtime! In "Let's go see a bento", we visit a silk reeling mill in Okaya, Nagano Prefecture. We find some unique dishes packed in the bentos of vigorous veteran employees.
A veteran employee of a company staff cafeteria goes to the new, rival cafeteria to scout their lunch. On "Onigiri (rice balls) of different seasons and regions", we find a delicious corn onigiri made by farmers in Furano, Hokkaido.
Mount Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture is one of Japan's most popular destinations for mountain-climbing tourists. The Tateyama Center is the base for various types of workers who all operate to keep climbers safe. Although the workers face danger every day, they have Kinuko Aoyama, who manages the center's dining hall, to support them with her cooking. In the 2nd half, we visit a theater troupe to check out the filling lunch that they have, cooked by a former professional chef of French cuisine.
The sight of bento vendors walking around on platforms of train stations is rapidly becoming something of the past. We follow a bento vendor who devotes himself to selling bento that way, despite the times. What is the local lunch he loves so dearly? In the 2nd half, we check out the energizing daily lunch eaten by workers at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, who continue to excavate rare fossils.
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.
Sky Bento that Keeps Businesspeople Full We document a company that produces 15,000 "sky bentos" a day to be sold at Haneda Airport. Sky bentos must taste good without being heated, plus they must last for a while so that people can buy them as gifts. The people who develop the bentos cook all sorts of dishes and taste them day in, day out. The lunch they have every day is an assortment of cold bento dishes in development, so their wish is to be able to have warm dishes like soba noodles and ramen noodles every now and then. Lunch on Overseas! Working adults sometimes have work to do overseas. This is a segment where we look at the photos and listen to the stories of the lunches and the work a businessperson experienced during their business trip abroad. Before a certain company employee sets out on a trip to Europe with his bosses for a week, we listen to him talking about the expectations and worries about his upcoming mission. And after he comes back, we sit down with him for lunch and listen how happy he is to be back, and also some stories from his time in Europe… We take a look at the realities of overseas business trips.
The Unknown Worker at Izumotaisha Shrine Mr. Yamasaki is a photographer commissioned by Izumotaisha Shrine to take official photographs of weddings and official events at the shrine. For lunch, he goes to a Chinese restaurant he frequents. As he once used to take photographs for a cooking magazine, he cannot help but take a snapshot of his lunch before he digs in. We take a look at the work and lunch of the unknown worker at Izumotaisha Shrine. Lunch for the Ferrymen There is a company that provides regular ferry service connecting the Oki Islands with Japan's main island. Throughout the year, 3 ferries and a high-speed ship are operated by the company. The crew is always served lunch on the ferry, and the men who prepare it always go to buy ingredients before the ferry heads out. And then, they cook meals in the rocking kitchen on the ferry. The Contemporary Master Craftsman Who Crafts Abacuses Izumo has always been an area that has produced abacuses. Last year, Mr. Uchida was chosen as the first abacus craftsman to be named Contemporary Master Craftsman, an honor awarded by the government. An excellent abacus is marked by how well its beads move. The abacuses Mr. Uchida crafts feature beads that move and stay in place like magic, and are therefore sold at high prices. At lunchtime, he eats together with fellow craftspeople and his wife, who manages the exhibit at the factory.
The Moby Dick is the only cruise ship in Okinawa Prefecture that provides dinner, and as such, many choose the ship as the place to celebrate special occasions and the stage to make marriage proposals. Most of the servers at the restaurant are young people in their 20's from a variety of countries, including Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. Server Ms. Tomoyo Gushiken teaches a woman from the Philippines important Japanese, and in return, she learns English from her Filipina colleague. Every day is a chance for the young workers to improve as professionals who provide comfort to the guests. Come lunchtime, staff members all gather in the break room, and those who are far away from their homeland are served employee lunch cooked by the chefs. Lunchtime on the ship is a fun one, where the multinational staff all talk to one another in both English and Japanese. We take a look at the lunches of the young staff members who work hard to provide a magical and happy time to guests. The Cafeteria with a Breathtaking View of Mt. Hakkai Mr. Shigehisa Miyasaka, who changed his job from one at a large electronics manufacturer to one at an electronic parts manufacturer in Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, sent in a message saying that the lunch he has with the breathtaking scenery of golden rice plants with Mt. Hakkai in the background is like nothing else. With his family in Tokyo, Mr. Miyasaka lives in the company dorm for single employees. Living in the country brings him many surprises, such as discovering vegetables at his door left by local farmers, and running into a swarm of grasshoppers. Mr. Miyasaka cooks his own bento, using the locally-grown rice, and absolutely savors lunchtime, when he can have his meal while quietly admiring the view of Mt. Hakkai. We take a look at the "bento with a view" which keeps him going.
Honda's plant in Yorii, Saitama Prefecture is a state-of-the-art factory that began operating in 2013. The unsung heroes who keep the factory running and able to manufacture 250,000 cars every year are the 17 employees at the facility maintenance department. It is their job to distribute electricity, water and gas to all corners of the factory, and to perform maintenance on related facilities. Whenever there is a problem somewhere, the team must head over to that spot immediately. That's why they are the only team permitted to ride bicycles on the premises. Team member Mr. Takashi Machida explains that his job isn't appreciated much, as for most workers, it is a given that the factory is always functional. Mr. Machida looks forward to eating the curry udon noodles at the cafeteria, which is deliberately served on Fridays so that employees can wash off the curry stains on their white work clothes over the weekend. Every day, when the bell that signals lunchtime rings, he hops on his bicycle and pedals hard straight towards the cafeteria. Onigiri of Different Seasons and Regions: Black Bean Rice Balls of Sasayama In a village deep in the mountains, Mr. Yoshihiko Ogura grows black edamame, the area's famous produce. After his son quit his job as a Web designer to inherit the family farming business, the harvesting work has become one conducted by Mr. Ogura, his wife Yaeko, and his son. For lunch, they look forward to the rice balls Yaeko rolls with rice cooked with just black edamame, konbu kelp and salt. She explains there is no need for additional seasoning as the black beans offer rich flavor. We look at the family's onigiri rice balls that feature local autumn blessings.
On November 23, right after the harvesting of new rice, the Niinamesai, or Harvest Festival is held at Kasugataisha Shrine in Nara Prefecture to show appreciation for the rich autumn harvest. We follow 2 young rookies at the shrine who busy themselves preparing for the big event as we look into the lunch on the job at the shrine, and take a behind-the-scenes look at the big event. In the next part of the episode, we visit a hot spring inn deep in the mountain of Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture. To get there, one must ride a train for 25 minutes from the foot of the mountain, and then walk the mountain path for another 15 minutes. All necessities at this inn such as food and other supplies are brought up the mountain by carriers. We follow the carriers on the inn's last business day before winter break, to see what they do for lunch, and to see how tough their job is.
There is a staff cafeteria-cum-tavern in Osaka, run by an IT company that has an average employee age of 28. 2 years ago, the president rented property near the office and opened a staff cafeteria so his employees can eat healthy. At night, that cafeteria is opened to the public as a tavern. We visit this unique dining space which is treasured by employees as it is where they hold parties and dine with clients. In "Let's go see a bento", photographer Satoru Abe visits a plant in Arida City, Wakayama Prefecture that has exclusively produced grilled eel for 50 years. At the plant, we witness the extraordinary skills of masters who process eels. What do they eat for lunch? Do they eat eels? We visit them during lunch.
When in winter, humpback whales migrate to the waters around Okinawa Prefecture, veteran whale watching boat captain Mr. Masuda and rookie captain Mr. Kamada set out to sea to guide guests to the breathtaking view of wild whales. It's serious business, as if they fail to spot any whales, they must give the guests a 100% refund. Let's see what these two do for lunch on their boat. In a different segment, we meet Mr. Sato, a company president who cooks lunch every day for his employees and the clients who come to the office for meetings. We visit the company's dining hall to sit in on their family-like lunch.
We crash in on the lunch of a family-run seafood wholesaler in Fukui Prefecture. In "Onigiri of different seasons and regions", we visit Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, which was once a production center of sumi inksticks. Today however, Mr. Kido Ito and his son Harunobu are the only ones there upholding the tradition. As the craftsmen's hands are all black from kneading ink, they always have rice balls in plastic wrap for lunch. Our new segment "Lunch IN Entirety" attempts to peek into people's lives by watching them eat lunch. Why? Because the way a person eats lunch says a lot about who they are!
Mr. Mitsuoka, an employee at an IT Company in Nagoya City, is given the job to produce a staff cafeteria that would provide employees healthy meals. His task is extensive, as he must lead his project team to design the cafeteria's interior, atmosphere, menu and even the taste of its dishes. Photographer Satoru Abe visits an established wooden furniture plant of a city long known for its wood crafting, and discovers that the craftspeople there tend to eat alone in silence, and quickly at that.
The first winery in Miyagi Prefecture has recently opened. As the only unmarried man at the winery, Mr. Takane, in charge of wine making, only brings rice balls he makes for himself for lunch, but the other men always share their bento dishes with him. Although Miyagi's seaweed farming was devastated by the 2011 disasters, it is recovering fast. When seaweed harvest begins, work is hard. However, it is also the time when seaweed farmers get to fully enjoy the goodness of what they grow for lunch.
We look behind the scenes leading up to the summer tournament of professional sumo wrestling, which is enjoying newfound popularity recently in Japan. Sumo ushers are the unsung heroes of sumo, as they usher wrestlers to the ring, build the ring, and on the day before the tournament, go around to sumo stables in a ritual to notify wrestlers and others that the big tournament is about to begin. We follow the protectors of sumo traditions to look at what they do, and what they eat for lunch.
In our "Taxi Lunch" segment, we go to Kanazawa City, which is now bustling with the opening of the new bullet train line. We assume taxi drivers must know where all the delicious spots are at, so we join them for lunch to find out what lunch in Kanazawa is all about. In another segment, we are surprised to see the extremely skillful portrait bento sent in from Ms. Kitamura in Hokkaido. She deftly crafts seaweed cutouts and puts them in her husband's bento. How does he feel about it?
The Gion Festival is the main summer event in Kyoto, Japan. It features many hoko floats, and the most noteworthy one, as tall as an 8-story building, is assembled with just rope, without the use of even a single nail by a team of carpenters. Mr. Hirose, who leads that team has bento cooked by his wife for lunch. In another segment, we talk about eel. Since the expensive fish isn't something people usually consider for lunch, we ask eel lunch eaters the reason they're having eel lunch.
We visit a family-run workshop that produces traditional Nishijin fabric in Kyoto, Japan. The wife in charge of preparing lunch for all at the workshop cooks healthy dishes with local vegetables, and the family of 9 all sit around the table to eat together. In a different segment, we follow workers as they go back to work from lunch break. In this episode, we find 2 men scarfing down a gigantic plate of fried rice. We follow them to their workplace to see what all that energy is used for.
We kick off this episode with Ms. Aoki, an office worker at a trucking company in Nagoya, Japan. A few times a month, she makes bento lunch for 10 young men who work as truck drivers, and she just loves watching them chow down! In another segment, we go behind the scenes of the famous Tanabata Star Festival wherein local shops of Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, compete to craft the best festival decorations. We observe a crafter with decades of experience get to work, and also what he does for lunch.
We begin this episode with Mr. Suzuki, who works for a beverage company. He analyzes water quality by examining the condition of the mountain whose water his company uses. So it's his job to climb up the mountain for research, but what does he do up there for lunch? We follow him and find out. In another segment, we visit rock band Chatmonchy while they are cooped up in the studio rehearsing for a very big show. The staff who handle stage direction and lighting nibble on bread or rice balls whenever they get the chance, but what do the rock stars eat for lunch behind the scenes? Come rock out with the band, and find out!
In Japan, each fire engine is custom-made and delivered to local governments. We visit a factory that builds about 300 fire engines each year to check out its cafeteria, which is used mostly by men. In another segment, photographer Satoru Abe goes to Gojo City, Nara Prefecture. The city is Japan's top production area of persimmons, shipping out up to 200 tons per day. There, he visits a fruit sorting center, where most of the predominantly-female workers on the sorting belt bring bento for lunch.
Every day, a few young people walk with food through the allies of a posh Tokyo shopping district. The food they carry is lunch for the staff at a hair salon. Stylist Mr. Yamamoto personally cooks lunch for everyone at the salon's storage flat. We visit him to witness just how particular he is when it comes to cooking. In another segment, we go to the seas around Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, to meet Mr. Aramaki, who gave up his successful career at a major corporation in Tokyo to become a professional fisherman. At first, he couldn't stand being scolded as the lowest-ranking member of the crew, but now he has become to enjoy his new job and the delicious seafood meals that come with it.
Mr. Hirao, who handles publicity at a railway company, has the job to write a lunch blog on the company website. Each restaurant featured in his blog is one he can go to, eat at, and come back from in his hour-long lunch break. Despite his limitations, Mr. Hirao has gone to about 3,000 restaurants so far, all in hopes of vitalizing the communities around his company's lines. In another segment, we go to Akita Prefecture, northern Japan, to visit a company that develops and sells fungi, which are essential in producing fermented foods. We observe how the fermentation professionals develop fungi, conduct quality control and also what they do for lunch.
We go to Fukuoka City, southern Japan, to visit a bus company's team that designs and updates control diagrams, which determine the schedules of bus routes. To combat traffic congestion, team leader Mr. Ishibashi personally goes to bus stops, observes the flow of people and buses carefully, and heads back to the office to fine-tune the diagrams based on his findings. And at lunchtime, he enjoys the bento lunch his wife prepares for him. In a different segment, we sit down for face-to-face lunch with Ms. Eri Nishida, who is a prosecutor. Through the conduit of lunch, we take a peek into the judicial world.
We go to an expressway rest area in Japan to find workers we could follow to their first task of the afternoon. Luckily, we find 2 men chowing down on big lunches who let us do just that. Their job is to apply markings on road surfaces and parking lots, and we follow them to examine their superb skills. In a different segment, photographer Satoru Abe visits one of Japan's biggest envelope manufacturers, established in 1954. Each worker exhibits extraordinary skill to carry out their assigned phase in envelope making. When the employees gather round for lunch, we are surprised to see that they all are treated to hearty homemade soup, cooked by the company president every day.
The coastal city of Toba, in Mie Prefecture, Japan is home to female ama diver fishers, most of whom are in their 60's or 70's. In the morning, Ms. Matsui puts on her wetsuit, goes out to the sea to dive for abalones, and then has lunch with her fellow women divers. After that, she drives to a pub owned by her sister-in-law, where Ms. Matsui spends her evenings satisfying customers with the dishes she prepares as the pub's chef. In a different segment, we visit Ms. Makino, who is in charge of designing the taste rice cookers in development will ultimately provide. As her job demands her to sample rice all day, Ms. Makino has about 5 bowls' worth of rice every day, but she still chooses to bring rice in her bento for lunch!
We get on one of the largest crane ships in Japan to see what the operators of the massive crane do for lunch. Mr. Yamada, the head chef on board, explains that he cooks meals placing utmost importance on not boring the crew with the same meals all the time, as there are times when the crew must stay on the ship for 3 months straight. Jump aboard and discover the meals that keep the heavy-lifting personnel pumped and fueled. In another segment, we travel to a grape farm in Yamanashi Prefecture, run by 2 bachelors who used to work together as government employees. We sit down for lunch with the duo to learn what they emphasize most when growing grapes.
The kumade is an auspicious item said to rake in good fortune, sold during a November festival at certain shrines and temples in Japan. We visit a company run by 5 brothers that crafts and sells this lucky item to find out how the siblings get along, and to see what they have for lunch on the day of the big festival. Then, we go inside a gigantic freezer warehouse for storing food, where it is 25 degrees below zero! As the extreme subzero environment gives workers the chills, Ms. Ito, a veteran worker of 30 years, continues her lunchtime tradition of cooking warm soup for her colleagues every day. However, when it comes time to eat, we find Ms. Ito eating all alone in a small room. Check out this episode to find out why.
The Sapporo Clock Tower is one of the best-known landmarks in Hokkaido, Japan, telling time since 1881. Mr. Shimomura is in charge of its maintenance, and he winds up the weight that keeps the clock running manually. When it is lunchtime, he eats the bento lunch he makes for himself, and in a very particular way at that! In another segment, photographer Satoru Abe visits a factory in Hiroshima Prefecture that produces beads for use on accessories and clothes. You'll be amazed to see the craftsmanship that goes into making beautiful, quality beads. Satoru checks out the bento lunches of the hard-working craftspeople there!
America's Cup is the oldest international yacht race. We visit the edition held in Fukuoka Prefecture to tag along with Team Japan. Mr. Sofuku, the team's manager, is also a part of the team as a sailor. At age 50, he is the oldest competitor in this edition of the competition, and even if he is not as physically strong as his teammates, he brings a wealth of experience to his team of international stars. And Mr. Sofuku is particular about the lunch he chooses for his crew! In another segment, we visit a boarding agricultural high school where the students actually raise and produce about 70% of the food they eat. We take a look at their school lunch wherein the students eat with appreciation towards the food they produce.
We tag along with a bus tour guide in Miyazaki Prefecture, southern Japan, to see what her job is all about and also what she does for lunch. While the tourists are busy enjoying local delicacies, the veteran tour guide often orders delivery lunch and has it with the bus driver. In another segment, photographer Satoru Abe visits a factory in Ibaraki Prefecture, central Japan that produces 100 thousand utility poles every year. Inside the factory, we get an in-depth look at the skilled craftsmanship that makes it possible to create safe and reliable poles. When it's lunchtime, we take a look at the homemade bento lunch people bring from home.
Once a week a special lunch event is held at a university in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, and its participants are students and researchers of the university from across the globe! The event is organized by a woman who usually teaches the participants Japanese, and the lunch is actually a session wherein students practice their Japanese while enjoying the food they bring. In another segment, we go to Saitama Prefecture, which is situated near Tokyo, to visit a foundry that produces manhole covers. The craftsmen work in unimaginable heat as they cast molten metal to craft durable and reliable manhole covers. At lunchtime, the entire staff gathers to have catered lunch together. And on some very special days, they are awarded with curry!
At a hot spring facility in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, 2 brothers work as fire knife dancers! That had been their dream since they were little, but the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 forced the facility to close for a long time. Yet, the brothers kept training, and their dream came true. Although they love their job, it demands a lot of energy. Find out what they charge up on at lunch. In a different segment, we visit a seafood processing plant in Iwate Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The company president's son used to live in Tokyo alone, but the disasters of 2011 made him want to move back to his damaged hometown to help revitalize his father's company. The bento his grandmother cooks for him keeps him going.
We visit an insurance company in Fukuoka Prefecture, southern Japan. The all-women team of sales representatives has it tough, as its members mostly have to visit clients during lunch hours. So when they finally come back to the office, the reps are very hungry! To reward such hard workers with a nice, homemade meal, a whopping 200 servings of staff lunch are cooked several times a year, by the 10 ladies who work as office workers. In a different segment, we drop in on a farming woman in Chiba Prefecture, which neighbors Tokyo. Not only does this incredibly strong and healthy 83-year-old woman work out on the field all alone, she also eats lunch alone, and has been for the past 30 years, since her husband passed away. But on the day of our visit, we join her for lunch to hear her secrets for staying so healthy.
We visit a soy sauce manufacturer in Okayama Prefecture, western Japan. Once a month, the company president cooks a hearty lunch for his staff all by himself, using only the company's products to season dishes. He organizes this lunch to give his young staff the chance to actually taste what they make and sell. In a different segment, we visit a seafood processing company that has quickly recovered from the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, thanks to its passionate and loyal employees. The chairman's wife -- affectionately called Bappa, meaning "old lady" -- cooks staff lunch to show appreciation towards the workers.
We visit Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan to meet up with Mr. Saito, who works as a salesman for a company that sells a high-speed seaweed salting machine. At a glance, it only seems like he goes around from harbor to harbor to chat and eat delicious seafood lunch with his fisher clients, but whenever someone has an issue with their seaweed salting machine, he rushes over to save the day! In another segment, we meet a young lady who works as a baker in her hometown of Kitakyushu, southern Japan. Every morning, her father wakes up at 3 in the morning to prepare bento for his beloved daughter. However, as he can't really cook, the bento features a heavy serving of sausages every day.
Twice a week at the staff cafeteria of an industrial mixer manufacturer on Awaji Island, western Japan, employees have to sit at the table determined by a drawing. This unique lunch system was devised to encourage communication among employees of different ages and departments. We visit the company on such a drawing lunch day, which coincided with the first day of work for the 8 new employees who joined this year. Will the rookies be able to speak with the people they are seated with, or will they be too nervous? In another segment, we talk to a weather forecaster who utilizes the program he personally developed to release forecasts every year of when cherry blossoms will bloom in Japan. Will his forecasts prove to be accurate? Tune in and find out!
We go to Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, to visit the home/studio of Yasuo Otagaki, a popular manga comic artist. Using the latest computer technology and his fulltime staff, Mr. Otagaki produces his manga with efficiency. Come lunchtime, the children's room is changed to the lunch room, and the staff members all gather to enjoy the lunch prepared by a veteran cook hired specifically to make everyone a healthy lunch every day. In a different segment, we follow photographer Satoru Abe as he visits a tea field in Shizuoka Prefecture, in central Japan. The tea field spreads over a very steep hill, but a group of tough elderly women hit the field to harvest the first tea of the season. At lunchtime, the women have a good time sharing the homemade dishes they've brought.
For our segment "First task of the afternoon", we stop at a rest area in Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan. At the restaurant there, we meet 2 interior renovators who are kind enough to let us tag along on their first task of the afternoon to conduct renovation work on an apartment room. We watch carefully and find out what the energy they stocked up on at lunch is used for! In another segment, photographer Satoru Abe goes to Kumano in Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan, to visit a calligraphy brush production studio that has been around for more than 100 years. There, he sees the delicious bento lunches of local craftswomen.
The workers at a waste management company in the city of Niigata, Japan, all look forward to the pork soup day that comes around once a month. Office worker Ms. Horikawa cooks this soup for the men who go out every morning, despite any weather. They gather garbage from more than 100 collection points, scattered across the city. The soup not only warms up the workers' bodies, but their hearts as well. In another segment, we visit a factory in Osaka that produces windows and doors. The factory hires Vietnamese interns. 3 times a week, the company president's mother-in-law cooks staff lunch for all workers. And she does so with a hint of Vietnamese cuisine, to treat the interns with a taste of home.
Ryu Uchiyama, who lives in Wakayama Prefecture, south of Osaka, Japan, is an unusual type of underwater photographer, as he specializes in shooting freshwater wildlife. He's loved rivers since he was a child, and today, he spends over 6 months every year diving in rivers. Since the best time to take photos is around noon, when the sun is directly overhead, Mr. Uchiyama always has lunch past 2 o'clock. But before he eats, he goes into the river again to catch his lunch! In another segment, we visit the Wakayama Electric Railway's Kishigawa Line. The feline stationmaster of the line's Idakiso Station does an excellent job of charming customers. When the train company's employees have lunch, they always discuss new ideas to vitalize the areas around their line.
The patent office in Japan receives more than 300 thousand patent applications every year, and those applications are reviewed by examiners. There are about 1,900 examiners, and each one goes through about one application a day. Although the job is naturally tough, as it demands a thorough understanding of some very scientific and technical things, the examiners seem to be enjoying their job. In fact, they enjoy it so much that they get together to watch technology-related videos during lunch break a few times a month! In another segment, we visit the Minato City Hall in Tokyo. As we hang around in the cafeteria, we get to talk to city hall employees of various sections, each with different tasks.
We visit a famous whisky distillery near Sendai City, in northeastern Japan. There, we look at the work conducted by a team of 9 workers that together craft 10 thousand whisky barrels every year. What's interesting is that they don't actually make new barrels from scratch. Instead, they fix up and build barrels by combining different parts taken from old barrels. Since the quality of barrels greatly affects the taste and aroma of whisky, this is a profession that calls for a discerning eye. At lunchtime, the hungry barrel crafters go to the staff cafeteria where the rice is all-you-can-eat. In a different segment, we visit a public library in Aichi Prefecture, in central Japan to meet a librarian who has put up a special feature section there titled "Read ON!", which is obviously inspired by "Lunch ON!" The library users all seem to enjoy this section, but do they know the origin of its name? Tune in and find out!
We go to Ishigaki Island of Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, to visit a pineapple farm. The island's pineapple farming industry once flourished, but today, it is faced with tough competition. However, the pineapple farmer we meet keeps producing tasty pineapples. Harvesting the fruits under the scorching sun is extremely hard work, but the farmers keep going as they hydrate themselves with the juicy pineapples they grow! When they sit down for lunch, we see the farmers all eat a unique local specialty. In a different segment, photographer Satoru Abe visits a mosquito coil plant in Wakayama Prefecture, which is located south of Osaka. For 120 years, the plant has produced mosquito coils, and although much of the production processes are today automated, there are still some things that are done the old-fashioned way: with gentle human hands. And at lunchtime, the break room is full of smiles and delicious-looking bento lunches.
Tokachi, in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, is the number one producer of wheat in all of Japan. Every year in July, the wheat that had been planted in the fall of the previous year must be harvested at once, since rain during harvest season could cause the wheat to germinate and become ruined. To harvest quickly, giant combine harvesters owned by the community are put to work non-stop around the clock, and the combine operators take turns working 24-hour shifts. Find out what keeps the men going all day long! In another segment, we meet an 83-year-old lumberman who has long dreamt of appearing on NHK. Tune in to learn about the amazing work he does and the heart-warming bento lunch his wife has made for him for 59 long years
We visit the staff cafeteria of a publishing company in Tokyo, where every day, lunch is prepared for 280 employees. Although the cafeteria only offers the very inexpensive daily special, it comes with a variety of all-you-can-eat side dishes. The hungry employees can't help themselves from piling on huge portions on their plates, and many testify that the cafeteria has made them gain weight! In another segment, we visit a plant near Tokyo that produces traditional Japanese socks called tabi. An 18-year-old rookie is now training to master the most difficult part of the sewing process, as the plant feels the urgent need to pass the skill down to the youngest generation. The rookie lady makes her own bento, and so does her coach, who is 40 years older than her.
Onisasa is a popular meal on Okinawa Prefecture's Ishigaki Island in southern Japan. Since onisasa consists of a rice ball, onigiri, and some chicken tenderloin, sasami, pressed together inside a bag, it is the perfect quick meal for people on the go. We go to the island and spot a man who is just about to have onisasa for lunch, and follow him back to his workplace, a cattle ranch, to check out his first task of the afternoon. In another segment, we visit a company in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo that makes lining for jackets and coats. Twice a year, the workers here have to take on the daunting task to do inventory, but their efforts are rewarded with a delicious lunch and another bonus lunch at 3:00 p.m. as well!
In Kawasaki City, just south of Tokyo, Japan, an 18-year-old girl fresh out of high school has just joined a local tombstone shop. She had always thought that the tombstones on display at the shop were pretty when she used to walk by them on her way to middle school, and for that reason only, she decided to join. Her seniors and bosses think highly of her enthusiasm, energy and good work ethic, and she's getting on at the company really well. Although the workers usually have lunch from convenience stores, we visit on their once-a-month potluck lunch day! In another segment, we visit an old fishing town in Kyoto to meet a 17-year-old boy who has moved out to the town to pursue a fishing career. The impressive young man works hard and cooks for himself every day, but never forgets to play video games at his house, where he lives all alone.