Midnight Diner

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The Master (Kaoru Kobayashi) owns a small, unassuming izakaya (restaurant and bar) in a small side alley in Tokyo. With a small menu and only a few seats at the bar, this cozy establishment is low on frills but big on atmosphere. The Master’s izakaya is known as a “midnight diner” as it only opens for business after dark, closing in the early hours of the morning. The patrons are mainly regulars, who come by to enjoy one another’s company – as well as receive pearls of wisdom and cheer from the Master and feast on treats like sausages, omelet rolls, and hot noodles. The customer base comprises a motley crew of gangsters, strippers, a kind-hearted policeman, and a local businessman’s mistress. One day, a homeless girl named Tamako Kawashima (Takaoka Saki) pleads with the Master to give her a job. He agrees, only to discover that she has a remarkable talent for cooking. The movie explores aspects of the characters’ lives as they wind in and out of the bar and interact with the Master and one another. But along the way, the Master appears to have picked up an admirer – could this long-term singleton find romance in his own izakaya? “Midnight Diner” is a 2014 Japanese movie that was directed by Joji Matsuoka.