NHK

Sunday night I was watching NHK with my wife, my Dad, and my son strutting in his walker. My father likes watching NHK since they showcase life that's just spartan, zen and--come to think of it, most of the shows are about septuagenarians! (My dad has just reached his sixties and very strong. All of my friends thinks he looks like in his forties. He's just stocky, that's all.) It must have been that desire to live life after retirement, as he's been planning to do in the next two years.

The show was about these two lanky twenty-something guys who went to this remote Japanese island (probably near Okinawa since it's quite tropical) to do an immersion with the locals. The culture in the island is to grow persimmons, gather turban shells and seaweed from the shore--all of which they cook in the afternoons. The panoramic shots of the camera takes us to breathtaking scenes of relatively undisturbed flora and fauna.

While watching this, I was helping myself with what seemed to be remains of a tub of pistachio (my wife likes pistachio, despite our inclination for double dutch) and my Dad was making fun of basically everybody in the show, and most of his jokes are bordering on dark humor. But it still is funny. My son was laughing with us, commiserating, his cheeks very full. My wife was laughing hard as well.

After having been immersed from the food and culture of this faraway island, these two guys have to utilize the food sources they have and rehash it to create new dishes. Dad has no idea about the show's title, but that's the premise: they cook things that the locals have never thought of. He has watched it several times, he said, and he really likes the show. "They even have this wagon to cook in," he said, and it looked like those food trucks in California.

At one point, the two guys visit a house where a grey-haired woman lives, and she retold the story of how her husband died in the sea. It was an accident of some sort which had something to do with the boat the husband made years before. Her husband, as he had been wont to do before, left a scroll with Japanese characters written over it. "He wrote this before he died," the woman said, and basically these are his last words. The caption reads something about the weather, remarks about fishing and the sea, and the last sentence, which saddened me: I got some of your rice balls.

I told my wife how unbelievable it was to be left with a weathered scroll and all these characters summing up a mundane scenario, and the last sentence had to do with telling your wife that you have the rice balls she made for lunch. She laughed again, and I laughed again, but this time disappointed about the entire NHK program. In all fairness, NHK does a really good job in promoting Japanese culture, to the point that it's just plain unfair for a Filipino to watch their shows. It always leaves me pining for a good life.