Parent and child bond over oden, all-age drinks.

Like a lot of people during the coronavirus outbreak, Morikawa Yarushikane has been spending a lot more time at home these days. As a result, he’s also been able to spend a lot more time with his five-year-old son Yushi.

And yet, Morikawa has also been spending a lot of time drinking at a bar. Specifically, it’s a bar that serves oden, various bite-sized bits of meat, vegetables, seafood, and tofu stewed in a soy-based broth.

Typically, oden is eaten at simple bars like the one pictured above, often connected to a cart-like frame that can be pulled away when the bar closes up for the night. However, Morikawa’s new favorite oden joint isn’t located by the side of a boulevard or down some back alley, but inside his house.

“Oh, long time no see! I thought you might be stopping by today,” Morikawa greets his regular customer while handing him an oshibori, the thick moist towel diners receive before ordering at restaurants in Japan.

Morikawa, who’s a comedian by trade (he’s one half of the comedy duo Hopemans) put the oden bar together in his living room. So far he’s only had one customer: Yushi.

Obviously Yushi is too young for any of the alcoholic beverages normally served at an oden bar. Instead, he and his pop knock back glasses of juice, served ceremoniously from a glass bottle that Morikawa opens with a flourish, as well as the yogurt-based soft drink Calpis (also known as Calpico), served atsukan-style like hot sake and poured into sake cups, which they pair with traditional types of oden such as daikon radish, chikuwa fish sausage, and hard-boiled eggs.

Following proper Japanese etiquette, they touch cups with a hearty “Kampai!” (“Cheers!”).

Since the bar’s grand opening, Morikawa has been posting videos of the father-son oden sessions on his YouTube channel, Morikawa Papa Channel. There’s even a video where they reverse roles and Yushi works the counter while Dad orders the food and drinks.


With Morikawa being a comedian, obviously a desire to entertain is part of the reason why he made the videos. But it’s also a window into his philosophy of parenting. “I want Yushi and I to be able to interact as equals” he says, and these play sessions where they’re pretending to be two equal-footing adults create an opportunity to do just that. It’s also giving Yushi some experience in how the working world works, as he has to settle his bill when he leaves the bar, though at just five yen [US$0.04] per plate of oden, the prices are very reasonable, so even if the place isn’t getting all that many customers, the repeat business should be enough for it to keep going.

Source: YouTube/森川パパちゃんねる
Insert image:  Wikipedia/Opponent
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[ Read in Japanese ]