Restaurant staff in Japan eat makanai. Chefs-in-training often prepare it. Employees sometimes eat leftover makanai. The head chef may taste makanai dishes and evaluates young chefs. In certain circumstances, new chefs are often asked to cook makanai while in others, the executive chef cooks for the staff so that they will acquire the restaurant’s taste.
In coffee shops, maid cafes, hostess bars, and restaurants, waiters and waitresses are offered light meals called makanai.
The protagonist, Kiyo, gets hired to make makanai meals at a maiko house because everyone liked her “oyakodon” (egg and chicken bowl) in the well-known Netflix drama available from January, 2023, “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House.”
A makanai chef prepares such meals. “Makanai-san” as in the TV program title means a cook who prepares such boarding meals although makanai also means the foods prepared for employees. The Netflix show’s original title in Japanese is “Maiko-san-chi no Makanai-san” which refers to a makanai chef, so one can tell that the makanai in the title refers to a cook.
Makanai dishes in Netflix drama
Kiyo cooks well in the drama “Makanai” on Netflix. For example Oyakodon, stew, udon, kakimochi and other foods are served at maiko home. Everyone including maiko and geisha enjoy the makanai meals she prepares.
Girls from throughout the nation of Japan move to the maiko house in the old capital of kyoto to become maikos. Therefore, it’s necessary to provide these young maiko apprentices “common tastes”, the kind of foods served at some fancy expensive restaurant, but food that tastes like ones cooked by their moms back home.
Useful reference about makanai: https://www.jluggage.com/blog/japan-facts/what-is-a-makanai-in-japan/
What is a maiko?
A Kyoto hanamachi (leisure town) maiko entertain banquets male customers with dancing, music, and chat. Maiko are actually geiko in training and do not get paid for this reason.
Maiko are considerably you and they are 15–20 years old and train as geiko apprentices for five years before deciding to become geikos. The meaning of the Japanese term, maiko is “dancing girl”.
They represent Kyoto’s traditional culture and draw tourists from throughout the world. Maiko have beautiful hair, makeup, and kimonos.
Maiko and geiko origins
Maiko and geiko developed in the Edo period (Tokugawa Era), when roadside tea houses in the capital city of Kyoto provided tea to tourists who visit shrines and temples in the area. Although such roadside teahouses initially provided tea and dango (dumplings). Sake and food were provided, and the girls there started playing shamisen musical instrument and dancing like Kabuki actors. Even in the 21 century, Maiko operate in Kyoto’s Gion-centered hanamachi areas under tight customs.
Maiko for tourists today
The number of foreign tourists that touch, follow, or violently photograph maiko, known as “maiko paparazzi,” has been rising, therefore the local government and locals have started warning such tourists with no manors in multiple languages by handing out leaflets and placing warning messages on the roadside,
A “maiko experience”, one-day excursion is for those who wish to be a maiko but don’t have the confidence to become one. There are several “maiko experience” providers. English-speaking providers exist. Why not try one to make your Kyoto visit memorable?
“Maiko experience” providers normally accept email or phone reservations. Ask for a daily routine. Ask them anything and confirm everything important. Tour packages vary per company. Choose your favorite and enjoy!
If you arrive early, the service provider may be able to assist you better.
A maiko makeup artist will assist you. They’ll powder, draw eyebrows, add eyeliner, and rouge your lips. Waiting will excite you. Some shops employ cosmetic material that protects sensitive skin.
4. Kimono dressing
Your preferred color and pattern kimono is available. Red or black? Professionals will outfit you. Wearing a maiko-style kimono for the first time will make you feel fresh.
You’ll then wear a Japanese hairdo wig. You may have never worn a wig. The hairstick (kanzashidangling )’s ornament (bura) will hit your forehead, rustling. Is this me? Voila! Cute maiko.
You can then receive your travel package services. Photographers will snap your maiko outfit photo. You can also go out in maiko costume. If your package solely involves photography, it will take 2-3 hours. Would you like to try this amazing experience?