Ochazuke is a dish that consists of pickles and other toppings served over rice with green tea poured on top. For most Japanese, it brings to mind a simple, casual dinner – and Yasujiro Ozu’s The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice taps into this nostalgia.
The film depicts the unrequited feelings and subsequent reconciliation of an upper-class wife who has grown tired of her husband, a country man who shares neither her interests nor lifestyle habits. The wife, Taeko, doesn’t like ochazuke, a dish her husband Mokichi calls ‘the meal of the common folk,’ but once Mokichi has to travel overseas on a business trip, she finally realises how much she misses him.
On the night of his departure the airplane breaks down, so Mokichi returns home quicker than expected and eats ochazuke with his wife, blurting out ‘being married is like the flavour of this ochazuke’ – straightforward, familiar and honest, that is.
Buy The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] on Amazon