Tag Archives: Japan

Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (Full List of Locations)

Sometimes you encounter a fictional character who speaks to your soul, who is you. For me, Kantaro Ametami is such a character. He is the hero of Netflix’s Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman, a weird-af but delightful show based on the manga Saboriman Ametani Kantarou.

Kantaro is a salesman at a publishing company, but his true passion and top priority is sweets (#relatable).

Same

He arranges his sales calls and maximizes his productivity in order to visit Tokyo’s best sweets destinations during the work week. He documents each visit on his blog, which he writes under the pseudonym “Sweets Knight.” His sweets obsession and workday-shirking is a dark secret that he must conceal from his colleagues. But one of them, Kanako, follows the blog (she comments on it as “Sweets Princess”) and suspects that Kantaro is the Sweets Knight.

When you’re surrounded by people who don’t properly respect dessert.

Each episode centers around a single dessert, with Kantaro visiting a real shop in Tokyo that serves it in its highest, purest form. The show breaks down the ingredients and techniques that go into the dessert with rapturous narration from Kantaro and surreal, gratuitous food-porn shots. This part is educational and sometimes oddly erotic.

“It’s magnificently creamy!”
Come for the wacky premise, stay for the shots of firm, glistening desserts.

Upon eating the first bite of the dessert, he enters “sweets paradise,” a vignette in which he interacts with the dessert or its ingredients.

For example, a love triangle where he must choose between a curvy and self-sacrificial caramel pudding, or a slender and vampish almond tofu.

Jiggling with anger.

Or where he beholds… an erupting peach.

Do not watch Episode 4: Parfait with your parents.

If you love dessert and the idiosyncrasy of Japanese manga, you’ll want to binge watch this sweets paradise.

True believer.

Here’s my foursquare list of all the shops featured on the show. Follow it to use as an itinerary while you visit Tokyo! I’ll update it if another season of Kantaro comes out. Many thanks to user danny_ds for posting the full list on Reddit:

  1. Episode 1: Anmitsu –  red bean paste with white syrup.
  2. Episode 2: Kakigori – shaved ice.
  3. Episode 3: Mamekan – kanten (agar agar cubes) with red bean paste, topped with brown sugar syrup.
  4. Episode 4: Parfait – fruits parfait.
  5. Episode 5: Hotcakes
  6. Episode 6: Bavarian Matcha Cream
  7. Episode 7: Savarin – aka rum baba; a brioche cake soaked in syrup with custard cream and rum-soaked raisins.
  8. Episode 8: Ohagi
  9. Episode 9: Eclair – choux pastry filled and topped with cream.
  10. Episode 10: Caramel Pudding
  11. Episode 11: Chocolate
  12. Episode 12: Mont Blanc – sweetened pureed chestnuts.

References
IMDB
Reddit

Retro Space Saka, Sapporo’s museum of vintage and oddities

I spotted Retro Saka in a tourist brochure picked up from New Chitose Airport, and knew immediately I had to visit. Billed as a “vintage museum,” it seemed like just the kind of unique local attraction I favor over regular ol’ art and history museums. The brochure didn’t list the address or operating hours, and googling it didn’t provide a lot more information. Apparently it’s been open since 1994, but it’s still quite under the radar. It has no website, although it does seem to have a Facebook page (liked by 125 people, as of this writing), and it’s ranked #129 of 350 attractions on TripAdvisor (none of the reviews are in English).

But, my fellow Americans and other English-speaking people, you should visit this place if you go to Sapporo. For one thing, it’s free! And photos are allowed, and there are a lot of things you’ll want to get photos of.

Some background, according to the Facebook page and one of the two English articles on this place: the museum is the personal collection of Kazutaka Saka, director of the Saka Biscuit company (Saka Eiyo Shokuhin K.K.). The company was founded in 1950, and it’s crackers are well known in Hokkaido. As far as I can tell, Mr. Saka is still alive and adding to the museum. Most of the items are everyday objects from the 1940s through the 1970s.

I walked from Maruyama Park (about 30 minutes) but you can take the Tozai line to Nijuyonken Station and walk about 10 minutes. There is no English signage, and the building has little to indicate it’s an attraction, so memorize what the outside looks like before you go or you might walk right past it.

Seems legit.

Looking from the outside, you can tell that calling it a “museum” is a bit generous. Step inside, and it feels more like a cramped old shop. Or a perverted grandfather’s house. That’s because the first “exhibit” you’ll see is this:

At this point, you might be asking yourself if you’ve made a huge mistake coming to this place.

 

What appears to be a picture of Kazutaka Saka, in front of a birdcage of dolls.

There was no one else, either visitor or staff, inside. This was around noontime on a Friday. I guess they really trust people to not touch or steal anything. Most of the items are simply set out, not behind any barriers (again, it was like being in a shop or home).

There are no plaques or explanatory texts anywhere, and the displays are basically a random assortment of collections. In one room, most of the items seemed to be from the 1950s–a collection of those perfume bottles with the squeezy balloon thing, trays of cigarette packs, shelves of cameras, a corner with half a dozen geisha wigs, etc. In one hallway, cases of creepy dolls. A shelf of gas masks. Mannequin limbs. And all throughout, vintage erotica.

Geisha wigs. They’re huge. They seemed to be made out of real hair.

 

Gas masks.

 

Saka luchador mask.

 

Bunch of rotary dial phones.

 

The panty nook.

 

Here’s a blender and a mannequin head.

 

A fat “Millennial pink” phone.

 

Random knick knacks.

 

A nice collection of lamps. And instruments. And erotic plates.

 

Vintage cigarettes.

 

Not sure what these are.

 

Icky “Sambo” merchandise.

It took maybe 30 minutes to get a look at everything. To exit, you can go out the way you came, or you can walk into an adjacent room where Saka products are sold. There are a few shelves with different kinds of crackers, and it’s all incredibly normal and disjointing, considering the preceding weirdness. I bought a bag of their most famous product, the Sapporo Beer Crackers (around ¥100, or $1), and ate them as I walked to the train station.

Retro Space Saka
レトロスペース・坂会館
3-22, 3-7 Nijyuyonken
Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan