Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories Ep. 3 "Tonteki"
A diner opens at midnight where a chef called "Master" will whip up anything as long as he has the ingredients for it.
In Ep. 3, a woman named Suzuki knits clothing such as sweaters and scarves for men she is attracted to. The knitting is therapeutic for her; she puts forth all of her emotions into each thread as a way to express love. Most of the time, unfortunately, it is an unrequited love and she has to disassemble the article of clothing.
Suzuki is resilient. Despite facing numerous rejections, she always manages to bounce back with a smile on her face.
She falls in love with one of her juniors, Kurihara, in her real estate office and knits a sweater for him. Unbeknownst to her, the sweater gets ruined and another junior named Shirano decides to repair it for her.
In the end, Suzuki realizes Shirano has feelings for her and decides to reciprocate them. While this was a sweet story about relationships being found in the most unlikeliest places, the one thing that I found odd was how fast Suzuki fell for Shirano. Shirano's love for Suzuki was well-established from the very start of the episode, but not the other way around. This made me wonder if Suzuki's love for Shirano was simply out of desperation and relief that she had finally found someone who accepted her quirks.
I quite liked how the tonteki, a Japanese pork dish, was used as a bridging element in the episode. Suzuki used it in the beginning as a way to appeal to Kurihara. The tonteki was also the first point of real connection between Suzuki and Shirano when Suzuki spoke about how she used to love eating this dish when she was younger. Right after this conversation, Suzuki and Shirano are shown in separate scenes eating alone. Later on in the episode, the two also share a meal together eating tonteki together as a couple.
Although I was not impressed with the character development of Suzuki in this episode, I found myself captivated with the interactions she had with Shirano, especially when the tonteki dish was used as a backdrop to their conversations.