The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Tag Archives: Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san

The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko House – Whole-Series Review and Reflections on a Live Action Adaptation

“The oldest form of theatre is the dinner table.” –Michael J. Fox

Kiyo and her best friend, Sumire, move from their home in Aomori to Kyoto’s Gion district so they can fulfil a promise of becoming maiko. While Sumire finds herself with a talent for the practises and customs of the maiko, Kiyo struggles to keep up with the lessons and is asked to consider returning home. However, Kiyo shows aptitude with the housework and cooking; when the maiko‘s live-in cook develops back problems, and one of the senior maiko, Tsurukoma, accidentally starts a fire while attempting to cook something, the house mother allows Kiyo to remain with them as the new live-in cook. While Kiyo spends her days browsing around Kyoto’s markets in search of ingredients that let her to cook wonderful meals for the maiko, Sumire’s focus and growth allow her to quickly hit her debut as a maiko. All the while, everyday life at the maiko house is portrayed – other maiko consider their own desires and futures, at times struggling to decide if being a maiko is right for them, but while Kiyo is present at the maiko house, everyone is assured of a delicious meal. The Netflix live-action adaptation of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, known as The Makanai: Cooking For The Maiko House (and in this post, The Makanai for brevity) brings to the table another interpretation of Aiko Koyama’s manga. Unlike the anime, which was an eclectic combination of cooking and tidbits into the lives and roles of maiko, The Makanai has a drama component, favouring a portrayal of the maiko and glimpses into their lives while they’re preparing for their work, and during duty. In a manner of speaking, The Makanai is a slice-of-life series in that there isn’t a single overarching goal; instead, the nine Netflix episodes showcase more important moments in the series that portray how Sumire rises rapidly as a maiko, and how along the way, Kiyo does her best to support her. Along the way, other trials and tribulations are depicted; some maiko feel that their hearts aren’t in the profession and leave to pursue other goals, and others desire to return after realising the joys of being a maiko. Altogether, The Makanai is busier than its predecessor, with a larger emphasis on the other maiko besides Sumire and Tsurukoma, and less time is spent on the cooking piece. This allows The Makanai to explore the world of maiko to a greater extent than Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san: the anime had suggested that maiko go through a great deal, but otherwise, were quite committed to their duties. Conversely, The Makanai hints at the fact that while some maiko do make it in a difficult profession, it isn’t for everyone, but even then, people do end up finding their way. Kiyo discovers this early on and, when asked by the other maiko, she replies that she’s more than happy to be the cook, allowing her to support everyone in her own manner.

In The Makanai, there is a greater emphasis on making the most of the hand one is dealt: older maiko find themselves torn between continuing on in the profession or pivoting and exploring other aspects of their lives. Questions of the future are asked, and people wonder whether or not they can commit themselves wholly to their chosen profession, as well as how changes down the line impact how they feel. This was a secondary aspect to Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s anime run – Kiyo hadn’t been too worried about not making it as a maiko and had accepted that she’d be returning to Aomori quite readily, but here in The Makanai, Kiyo experienced a bit of difficulty in accepting that she might not be able to remain with Sumire after she was required to withdraw. Similarly, whereas Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san was quite free of drama and elected to go into great detail behind how dishes are prepared, along with their history, The Makanai presents more of the maiko‘s work and their interactions with the customers. Ancillary characters are given more screentime, and this creates the distinct impression, more so than the anime, that being a maiko is no walk in the park. For lesser maiko, they constantly wonder if this is a field for them, while talented maiko have their share of troubles: Sumire’s father initially finds it difficult to accept her decision to choose such a path, but over the course of The Makanai, Sumire proves her dedication and worthiness. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Tsurukoma decides being a maiko isn’t for her and sets off on a new journey. The gentle and supportive atmosphere in The Makanai indicates that there is no right answer, and through dialogue from Azusa and Chiyo, who oversee the maiko‘s training and day-to-day, it is supposed that so long as one picks a path and owns their decisions, then one has fulfilled their obligations. This message is conveyed at a very gradual pace, slowly utilising every second of The Makanai: this drama is very slow, deliberate in its pacing, giving viewers a chance to really take in details surrounding the maiko‘s lives. This element is where The Makanai really shines. Critics have suggested that other works, such as Memoirs of a Geisha, have unfairly portrayed these traditional performers as being glorified prostitution, and it is through things like The Makanai that maiko and geiko are more accurately presented as highly skilled and focused performers with celebrated and respectable traditions. By The Makanai‘s conclusion, Sumire makes her debut as a maiko, possessing the skill and drive to rival the last generation’s best, but despite her rising prominence, she remains mindful of her best friend’s endless support for her, too.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The Makanai became available on Netflix back in January, and this coincided with a very large number of inbound searches for Maiko-san chi no Makanai-sanThe Makanai is, strictly speaking, the English-language title for this live-action adaptation, as well: both the anime and live-action share the same title as the original manga. However, the manga and anime are officially known as Kiyo in Kyoto: From the Maiko House in English. The distinction does mean that there’s going to be a bit of ambiguity, so for discussions here, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san refers to the anime, and The Makanai will refer to the Netflix adaptation.

  • While The Makanai and Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san both follow the same premise and series of events, the former places a much larger emphasis on the world of maiko, whereas the latter splits episodes up with an instructive cooking segment featuring Kiyo, Sumire and Tsurukoma. The end result is that The Makanai feels a little more fluid and captures the maiko‘s tribulations more vividly. The large cast of characters makes things a little difficult to follow at times, but the intention here appears to be showing the different stories for maiko at various levels and everyone’s unique challenges.

  • Kiyo and Sumire had both aspired to become maiko as a promise to one another, and The Makanai indicates that Sumire had originally held this desire, prompting Kiyo to follow. Unsurprisingly, while Sumire’s drive and determination means she picks up the basics quickly and draws the eye of instructors and senior maiko, Kiyo’s not able to keep up. I have noticed that when people follow others, they tend to find less success than they would like because their objective wasn’t pursuit of a discipline or skill, but rather, to be with someone important to them.

  • I understand why people follow this approach: friendship and companionship is of indisputable value, and people find that their best selves are brought out in the company of those they care about. However, there are realities that make this impractical at times, and this is why for one’s future, it is necessary to part ways. A lot of fictional works suggests that this parting can be difficult (it’s a recurring theme in many anime), and stories often end with characters forgoing what might be seen as the more practical path in favour of friendship. This is admirable, but there are costs attached to doing so in the long term.

  • Thus, when Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san chooses to portray Kiyo as managing to find a way to fulfil her promise with Sumire even though she lacks the skills necessary to become a maiko, the series shows that there are other ways. The Netflix drama is, for the lack of a better word, more dramatic than its anime counterpart: in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, Kiyo had accepted her fate stoically and didn’t seem too saddened after she was asked to return to Aomori, but here, Kiyo is visibly disheartened. The anime had felt a little idealised in this manner: the object there had been the food, so many emotions associated with the path to becoming a maiko were abstracted out in favour of showing nuances in cooking for maiko.

  • Nana Mori plays Kiyo: I know her best as Weathering With You‘s Hina Amano. Natsuki Denguchi portrays Sumire. The Makanai also introduces Yoshino, a former geiko who left the field some time ago after she got married and returns in the hopes of picking up the profession again. I was admittedly lost with some of the stories in The Makanai: the original anime had been very minimalist: besides Tsurukoma, all of the other maiko were unnamed, and have a much smaller presence. Similarly, Tsurukoma became a regular, accompanying Kiyo and Sumire as they discuss food.

  • While Kiyo is resigned to the fact that she’ll have to return home to Aomori without Sumire, one evening, Tsurukoma decides to try her hand at cooking after growing weary of convenience store food, but accidentally starts a fire in the process. Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san had stated that the maiko take turns with the housework and help with cooking where needed, but unsurprisingly, variation in experience means some maiko are more proficient than others. With their current makanai out, the maiko haven’t had a good meal in a while, and this incident is what lets Kiyo shine. I will remark that in response to a pan fire, the safer route is to dump baking soda into the pan and then cover it with a lid. Kiyo had no idea what was in the pan, and if grease was present, adding water would have resulted in a steam explosion, spreading the fire.

  • The original Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san simply had Tsurukoma burning dinner into an inedible crisp, so I imagine that The Makanai chose to go with a pan fire for visual flair. In both cases, dinner is ruined, but for Kiyo, there’s another way, and in moments, she manages to turn things around entirely, whipping up a simple, but delicious dinner for the other maiko, who are impressed as they watch Kiyo working away in the kitchen. In this moment, it becomes clear that, just because Kiyo lacks any promise as a maiko does not mean she’s useless, and this incident is what convinces the House Mother, Azusa, to keep Kiyo on board as the makanai, the live-in cook.

  • Throughout The Makanai, closeups of Kiyo’s cooking are prominently shown. From cutting up vegetables, and putting ingredients into a pot or pan, the beauty of each step in the process is rendered in detail. Recipes aren’t shown in The Makanai, and similarly, anyone looking for history and background information on some of the dishes would find them in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, but the care and attention to detail is plainly visible in The Makanai. Photographing food is a skill, and I remember in Tamayura, Fū had initially found it difficult to take good food photographs, wondering how to best capture the flavours of a dish.

  • As a novice food photographer, I find that a good image of food captures the texture and colours in a given dish. One should compose the image so the centrepiece of a dish stands out, and use the appropriate white balance so different colours can stand out next to one another. The Makanai manages to do this in a video format, and the end result is that everything Kiyo cooks looks amazing. The maiko certainly agree, and Kiyo’s ability to turn things around show that she has skill as a cook. Although she isn’t going to be training and performing alongside Sumire as a maiko, being the makanai allows her to continue supporting Sumire in her own way, and in a manner of speaking, this does mean that the pair’s promise is honoured.

  • After Kiyo becomes the makanai, her days change from practising basics with Sumire, to heading over to Kyoto’s shopping districts and picking up fresh ingredients for that day’s meals. It was pleasant to see Kiyo and Sumire hanging out in the kitchen in a manner reminiscent of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san. Although the cheerful conversations surrounding food are now absent, The Makanai still manages to showcase its appreciation of food in a different way.

  • To most viewers, The Makanai would be a very slow-moving series, with an end-goal that isn’t immediately apparent, and very little in the way of open conflict. Bill Watterson had mentioned this in Calvin and Hobbes – people favour entertainment that’s filled with drama and disagreement. By comparison, peaceful introspection and quiet contemplation isn’t as marketable. However, this is precisely how days would go for most people. The Japanese appreciation of the everyday speaks to their cultural values, but I’ve also argued that slice-of-life works encourage viewers to not take their everyday lives for granted.

  • Although people express a desire for excitement and adventure, of freedom, recognition and luxury, the reality is that we are wired for routine and stability. Slice-of-life series encourage the appreciation of the ordinary and suggest that there is merit in slowing down. Emphasis on the cooking in The Makanai accentuate this – in reality, we often blaze through the meal preparation process, but loving close-ups of moments like Kiyo roasting fish over an open fire remind viewers of how there is beauty in most everything. Appreciation of the ordinary in slice-of-life series goes well beyond small moments in life: at scale, the slice-of-life genre also acts as a celebration for consistency and normalcy in life.

  • The aspect I most strongly respect about The Makanai is its portrayal of individual growth – Sumire is hailed as being the next great maiko with limitless potential, but she’s shown as being uncommonly dedicated and disciplined, putting in a great deal of effort into being the best that she can be. On the other hand, Kiyo might lack the disposition to be a maiko, but she finds that cooking is her way of helping support the others, and in time, she improves as a cook by experimenting with different ingredients that shopkeepers recommend to her, learning from their suggestions to produce dishes that increasingly wow the maiko.

  • In this way, The Makanai shows both Kiyo and Sumire as being happy despite walking completely different paths. While a lot of self-help gurus and influencers will argue that anyone can become exceptional in whatever field they set their mind to, the reality is that anyone who’s exceptional chose a field they excelled at and then did what’s often ignored: they put in a lot of hours to hone their craft. No one ever comes out of left field as a powerhouse, and while social media gives the impression otherwise, the reality is that anyone who’s achieved anything of note did so through the admittedly unexciting process of hard work. This is something that’s shown in The Makanai: otherwise unremarkable moments are portrayed to show how Sumire and Kiyo improve in their respective areas.

  • Here, at Tsurukoma’s request, Kiyo prepares to make some bread pudding for her. As memory serves, Kiyo does end up whipping up a bread pudding at some point in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san. However, the iteration seen in The Makanai looks delicious; anime has always been well-known for its loving portrayal of food and its enjoyment, but the main advantage about live-action series is that things like texture is better captured. The syrup that Kiyo adds to the bread pudding provides a light jolt of flavour, and the result is something that Tsurukoma greatly enjoys.

  • Tsurukoma occasionally joined Kiyo and Sumire in the cooking segments of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, but here in The Makanai, her appearances are fewer. The live-action version of Tsurukoma is portrayed by Heather Muriel Nguyen. Unlike her anime counterpart, who was quite happy with being a maiko and provided a comedic commentary of cooking, The Makanai presents Tsurukoma as being someone who wonders if being a maiko is right for her.

  • The question of who’s suited for being a maiko is a lingering one in The Makanai – although Kiyo’s made peace with her path, others who’ve made it in, or formerly were involved in the profession, occasionally wonder if this is a suitable calling for them. I’ve experienced this before: exiting secondary school, I had been pulled between studying computer science and medicine. After I earned my undergraduate degree, unsuccessful applications to medical school, and the revelation that software development had been more of my strength, led me to pursue a career in software. Finding one’s strengths and interest is always a challenge, hence the sheer number of works that deal with this topic.

  • I’ve now been around long enough to say that one way to approach this is to be open minded as a youth, because this lets one to try a variety of things. This way, even if one’s original hopes don’t pan out as one had hoped, there remain alternatives one can be satisfied with. Back in The Makanai, on a rare day off, Sumire and Kiyo end up hanging out together – they make a prayer at a local shrine and swing by an upscale café, before returning to the maiko house, where they make tarts together.

  • The practise of hitting a local market to buy fresh ingredients is still a way of life in some parts of the world, but with the advent of the automobile and refrigeration, things changed considerably. In my case, I buy my groceries every week and stick what I pick up in the refrigerator. Food still remains somewhat fresh, with the tradeoff that I need to plan for meals ahead of time based on what flyers indicate are on sale. The world today does not favour walking to the nearest market and picking up only one what needs for that day’s meals – between urban planning necessitating a vehicles and scheduling, people simply don’t have time to go out for groceries daily. This renders the process in The Makanai a bit of a romantic one.

  • Throughout the course of The Makanai, other maiko and even the house mother asks Kiyo if she enjoys what she does. Kiyo’s answer is unchanged every time – being the makanai is something she wouldn’t give up for the world, and on several occasions, Kiyo’s cooking is characterised as having a very nostalgic taste. There is no higher praise than this – for someone to comment on how food brings back memories implies that the cook has manage to achieve a sufficiently high skill level as to faithfully do something the same way someone in one’s past has done it, and remarks from the senior maiko, as well as the house mother give the sense that Kiyo’s cooking skills rival Sumire’s skill as a maiko.

  • The vivid, but laid-back portrayal of Kiyo’s life in Kyoto is counted as one of The Makanai‘s greatest strengths, with some critics suggesting that short of visiting Kyoto for oneself, The Makanai is probably the closest one will have to getting a very intimate journey of Japan’s most ancient city, in a manner that most visitors and tourists won’t experience. Maiko and geisha are traditional Japanese performers well-versed in singing traditional songs, playing traditional instruments and performing traditional dances at specialised teahouses. Originally, geisha performed for a male audience, but in modern times, geisha and maiko perform for men and women alike.

  • After looking into things, I found that the misconception of geisha stems from a law passed during the Meiji Restoration that misclassified prostitution and performances, leading to the belief that the two were related. This brand of thinking was reinforced during the Allied Occupation of Japan, when prostitutes declared themselves as geisha, and the term entered the English language as being erroneously synonymous with “prostitute”. These impressions have lingered to this day, so seeing a more accurate portrayal of maiko in The Makanai makes Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san and its adaptations a welcome one, serving to dispel some of the impressions people may have previously had.

  • Looking at the kanji and their original meaning gives insight into what the geisha and maiko professions are about – geisha (芸者) approximates to “art performer”, and in Kyoto, is synonymous with geikoMaiko (舞妓) translates to “dancing woman”, referring to geiko-in-training. This clarification shows that Yoshino was once a full-fledged performer, and everyone at the maiko house are apprentices. With the meanings behind things in the open, the merits of such an exercise are apparent, allowing one to gain a modicum of insight into things that would otherwise be hidden by misconceptions.

  • By showing moments like how the maiko are prepared for their evening’s work, and showing the performances, The Makanai is able to capture things in detail that other portrayals may skate over. Having the live-action adaptation ends up being quite valuable: while I greatly enjoyed Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, its emphasis on cooking meant that being a maiko was idealised. Some of the challenges maiko must endure (such as sleeping on a special wooden block meant to preserve their hair, being forbidden from entering convenience stores while on duty, and being barred from eating certain foods) were shown, but everyone in the anime had seemed quite happy.

  • The struggles were, in short, abstracted away, whereas here in The Makanai, the impacts of this lifestyle and its demands are shown in greater detail. Some maiko can accept this and begin considering making a profession of things, while others choose to retire in favour of other pursuits. Regardless of whether it’s the live action adaptation or anime, both Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san and The Makanai excel in its portrayal of food. Here, Kiyo’s homemade cakes, complete with entire strawberries, can be seen.

  • Whether it’s the manga, anime or live-action, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s celebration of food is a reminder to appreciate all meals in life, whether they’re extraordinary or mundane. On some occasions, meals can become wonderful memories, and for me, yesterday was such an instance – it’s been four years since I volunteered as a judge for a local private academy, and as the story goes, my secondary school biology instructor ended up taking a post with this private academy. I was invited to help out years earlier, and accepted once I had graduated from university. While the global health crisis put that on hold for the past three years, this year, things re-opened.

  • Youth form the foundations for the future, and science fairs are a pleasant reminder that most of society’s young minds do have what it takes; with the right support and encouragement, all sorts of incredible projects result, and this year, I found all of my assigned projects commendable. Back in The Makanai, the maiko enjoy their day off buy swinging by a McDonald’s before stopping to enjoy their burgers at the Turtle Rocks bridge on the Kamo River. Most of The Makanai is set at the maiko house and their performing venues, a world that most locals might not see, but on occasion, glimpses of the scenery around Kyoto are shown.

  • Seeing a more intimate side of Kyoto reminded me of my old promise to one day take a trip to Japan. The promise dating back to August 2021, when I commented in a blog post that I’d like to soak in an onsen and enjoy the tranquility of a ryōkan, and since then, conversations with readers have acted as a further source of inspiration. The thought of a future vacation has flitted through my mind, and I’ve caught myself daydreaming out a prospective trip and its destinations on more than one occasion. Seeing something like The Makanai only elevates my desire to go back, and it hits me that Kyoto wouldn’t be a bad place to check out. Of course, in any visit to Japan, I’d like to visit several places in one trip to make the most of things (and to this end, I’d probably need to use two weeks of vacation time).

  • One of my favourite stories in The Makanai comes when Sumire falls ill, and Kiyo learns that Kyoto tradition is to make a bowl of udon rather than congee (rice porridge, an equivalent to chicken noodle soup as the go-to whenever one is sick in Asian cooking). Kiyo thus sets out to buy ingredients, and in the process, learns more about how Kyoto residents like their udon by speaking to shopkeepers and listening to their feedback. I vaguely remember different kinds of udon were presented in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san: regional variations of dishes inevitably mean that, similarly to how there’s different interpretations of sandwiches and pizza in the United States, every region in Japan prepares their noodles slightly differently.

  • The end result is a meal that brings the warmth back into Sumire, and Kiyo is all smiles after Sumire enjoys the udon. Viewers favoured with a keen eye will have noticed an interesting contrast in The Makanai, where the maiko‘s living quarters are highly cluttered and filled with personal effects, while more formal spaces are styled in a minimalist fashion. The decision to show this in The Makanai is meant to remind the viewers that the maiko, while extremely elegant, are still human and therefore, can still get sick, desire home cooking and the like.

  • One aspect of The Makanai that I vividly remember seeing in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san was Sumire joining Momoko, a senior maiko, on a dinner with a well-respected client at a fancy restaurant. In both cases, Sumire remarks that she wasn’t quite sure what she was eating and feels a little empty after the meal, leading Kiyo to whip something up for her. Moments like these are done to accentuate the value of uncomplicated dining – as much fun as it is to sit down to a kaiseki or meals made from the finest ingredients, it does take a bit of background to fully appreciate things, and I feel that for most people, a simple meal made from fresh ingredients is all that’s needed to create a feeling of satisfaction.

  • I was a little surprised to see Tsurukoma calling it quits in The Makanai – while she had enjoyed the work, she found herself wondering more than once if this was something she could see herself doing for long, and in the end, decides to pursue other things. There is no right or wrong answer to these decisions, and I’ve long held that when people make decisions, so long as they own their decisions (and the consequences), I’d respect said choices. To see Tsurukoma off on a high note, Kiyo makes her favourite dish.

  • One thing I’ve not mentioned until now is the soundtrack to The Makanai – unlike Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, whose soundtrack never released despite being a delightful addition to the anime, The Makanai‘s incidental music was released alongside the drama back in January. Composed by Yoko Kanno, the live action drama’s music has a much greater emotional range than the bouncy, spirited tunes that Go Sakabe composed for the anime. From introspective to whimsical, Kanno’s music adds to the tenour of each scene in The Makanai, but the series also makes use of silence where appropriate. At the time of writing, there’s still no word on whether or not Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s soundtrack will ever become available for purchase.

  • Towards the end of The Makanai, Kiyo writes home and indicates a whole year has now passed. In this time, things have settled down for Kiyo, and here, she prepares egg-salad sandwiches for the maiko. On the topic of egg-salad sandwiches, I’ve never been too fond of the North American recipe; when hard-boiled, the egg yolk takes on a sandy texture I’ve not been too fond of. On the other hand, the Japanese recipe uses milk bread, Japanese mayonnaise and a bit of extra seasonings, which creates a smoother, creamier texture with a mild bit of sweetness that is absent in the North American recipe.

  • By The Makanai‘s end, Sumire debuts as a maiko and is hailed as the youngest to ever hit this milestone so quickly. Although Kiyo couldn’t fulfil her promise to accompany Sumire, her own ability as a cook and attention to detail in meal preparation has given her a chance to stay alongside Sumire. The end result was Kiyo’s own growth is not diminished by Sumire’s achievements in any way: the outcomes in The Makanai are such that both Sumire and Kiyo can share in the moment together.

  • The costumes in The Makanai are ornate and capture the intricate designs that maiko wear into their performances and work. Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san had the advantage of being an animation, and the art team had done a wonderful job of striking a balance between respecting the simple aesthetics of the manga, while at the same time, conveying some of the smaller details. In the live action adaptation, things become significantly more detailed, conveying a sense of tradition and history that was absent in the anime. Previously, in my discussions for the Yuru Camp△ live action, I had mentioned how different formats can lend themselves to different aspects of storytelling.

  • In the case of the Yuru Camp dramas, the live-action format sacrificed the anime’s humour and adorable designs while at the same time, accentuating the food and locations. Similarly, here in The Makanai, being a live-action means that the series can showcase details in the maiko‘s costumes and the food Kiyo cooks to a much higher level of detail than was possible in the anime. Overall, I did find the story in The Makanai to be a bit slower and tricky to follow in places compared to its anime adaptation, but once I took the time to take in the events being shown in The Makanai, I came to appreciate the series’ portrayal of a life that I otherwise would have no exposure to on top of its signature cooking elements.

  • While Sumire might be a maiko now, she and Kiyo retain their friendship – after the evening’s events, the pair share a quiet moment at the maiko house’s kitchen, and Kiyo whips up something comforting for her best friend. With this post in the books, readers coming in hoping for a discussion on the live-action adaptation of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san will no longer be met with just a talk on the anime. I realise that I’ve not covered all possible aspects of The Makanai in this post, and therefore, I have no objections to hearing what readers made of things.

The preparation and enjoyment of food, a core part of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, is prima facie present to a much lesser extent in The Makanai. However, just because recipes aren’t presented to the same level of detail as the anime did doesn’t mean it isn’t lovingly presented. Kiyo is shown speaking with various store owners about the best ingredients and often finds herself surprised with the knowledge shopkeepers have. Back at the maiko house, close-ups of Kiyo cutting up vegetables and frying things in oil make the preparation process all the more visceral. When a given dish is finished, the sighs of contentment and smiles on the maiko‘s faces speak volumes to the wonders a good meal can do for people. Kiyo might have access to some of the most seasonal ingredients and cooks for people that might be seen as otherworldly, far removed from everyday life, but at the end of the day, preparation and enjoyment of food is something that everyone can relate to. As such, emphasising the cooking and eating of food at a maiko house helps The Makanai (and Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san) to drive home the point that food is something that all people share in common, and as such, while the perception of maiko and geiko might be impacted by works like Memoirs of a Geisha, at the end of the day, maiko and geiko are still human and therefore, receptive to a good meal the same way common people are. This aspect of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san and The Makanai serves to convey one important notion: while people are interested in categorising one another into neatly defined buckets so they can identify how different others are, the reality is that people are more similar than different, and it is through food that our commonalities are made visible. Regardless of one’s culture, nationality or creed, all people share the same love and enjoyment for food. If food can be utilised to frame the maiko and geiko as being just like the viewer, then at scale, it is logical to conclude that irrespective of where one goes in the world, there is a universally-shared enjoyment for food. I’ve long held that the fastest way to understand another nation or culture is through their cuisine, as how a people prepare and eat their food speaks volumes to their values and beliefs. In the case of maiko, there are nuances in their cooking to fit their unique lifestyles (e.g. in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, Kiyo mentions that food must be cut into bite-sized pieces so the maiko can eat gracefully, and the maiko are prohibited from eating garlic while they’re on duty), but throughout different cultures, food speaks volumes to how a people regards its environment. In Cantonese cooking, for instance, the bewildering array of meat and use of offal is indicative of a people with a complex history: royalty enjoy exotic meats, and traditional medical practises involve eating unusual parts of animals. Similarly, tough times resulted in uncommon meats entering the diet. Details like these can provide a profound insight into a culture, and in both The Makanai and Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, the respective anime and Netflix series both succeed in reminding viewers to be a little more mindful, and appreciative of the foods they might otherwise take for granted.

Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san: Whole-series Review and Reflection


Kiyo and Sumire are childhood friends who move from their hometown in Aomori to Kyoto to fulfil their promises of becoming maiko together. However, while Sumire has aptitude as a maiko, Kiyo is a less able and fails to make the cut. Although she prepares to head home, the maiko‘s head chef unexpectedly becomes ill, and one of the senior maiko, Tsurukoma, burns dinner. When Kiyo reveals her own experience in cooking, the house mother allows Kiyo to stay. Thus, Kiyo begins to cook for and look after the maiko house, who come to greatly enjoy her cooking, which has specialised modifications to accommodate the maiko. As the year passes, Kiyo and Sumire settle into their roles: Sumire advances quickly as a maiko, taking on the name Momohana, while the other maiko come to look forwards to Kiyio’s cooking after a hard day’s work. This is Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san (literally “The Maiko House’s Cook”, alternatively, Kiyo in Kyoto: From the Maiko House), a manga that began running in Weekly Shōnen Sunday and whose animated adaptation began running last year. Unlike most anime, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s episodes aired monthly rather than weekly, and the series is distinct in that it has no story in the traditional sense; the events in Kiyo and Sumire’s lives aren’t impacted by a conflict leading to rising action, a climax of sorts resulting in a dénouement and concluding in some manner. Instead, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is part cooking show, part glimpse into the world of being a maiko: episodes are broken up into three chapters, each with a segment where events in a maiko‘s life inspire Kiyo to create something suitable, followed up with a Daily Dish presentation where Kiyo sits down with Sumire and Tsurukoma to review how to prepare or go over trivia a featured dish for that chapter.

Through its manner of presentation, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san proves an immensely relaxing series that acts as an animated travel show with two distinct facets to its presentation. On its Travel Channel side, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san provides insight into maiko and nuances in the world. Learning that maiko need to sleep on a special pillow known as a takamakura (a wooden block designed to allow maiko to keep their hair in a certain style), and seeing Sumire suffer through it on her first night, was a particular eye-opener; it shows the devotion that maiko have towards their craft, and Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san portrays the sort of activities that maiko do. They train in arts like dancing, singing and playing traditional instruments by day and entertain guests at teahouses and restaurants by night. Maiko are prohibited from entering certain establishments like convenience stores while in their outfit, and their obi indicates their rank. It becomes quite plain that maiko are highly talented and live a very regimented lifestyle – even their diet is specially modified to accommodate them. To prevent their lipstick from smearing, maiko can only take bite-sized meals, and they cannot eat particularly pungent foods like garlic, either. Fortunately, with live-in cooks like Kiyo on hand, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san shows that the maiko are also able to come home to a solid meal each and every day. Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san presents food as being a powerful moral booster, bringing life into tired maiko. In addition, subtleties about food preparation is also covered in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san; like a Food Network programme, Kiyo walks the other maiko and viewers alike through tricks she’s picked up while cooking at home and for the maiko, while Sumire offers trivia and novel details about a dish’s history, preparation style or design. On occasion, Tsurukoma joins the pair to express her love of the food they regularly enjoy. Both sides of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san come together to inform and entertain, showing how despite their tricky lifestyle, maiko are also looked after well.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Being a true slice-of-life anime focused on maiko and cooking, the act of preparing and enjoying food lies at the forefront of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san. Here, Kiyo has prepared omurice and tonkatsu for the maiko. I’ve always had a fondness for katsu, and whilst in Osaka a few years ago, I ended up ordering an omurice with curry katsu: this dish mixed in all of the flavours I wanted to try into one entity, giving me best of three worlds. Since then, I’ve been longing to have a good katsu, and last August, I had the chance to do so with a friend who’d been visiting.

  • While Napoleon and Frederick The Great have both stated that an army marches on its stomach, the truth is that the whole of humanity marches on its stomach: a good meal does wonders for morale. When the previous live-in cook becomes unable to continue, the other maiko attempt to cook but butcher things completely. Tsurukoma here ends up burning things, but fortunately, Kiyo is on hand to take over: while she isn’t competent as a maiko, she excels in housework and cooking, to the extent where, to allow the previous live-in cook to retire and recover, Kiyo takes over her position full time.

  • Maiko are essentially geiko in training; Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san goes through the differences that separate the apprentices and fully-fledged performers, and the key difference, besides familiarity with their art, geiko use a wig, whereas maiko‘s hair is elaborately styled. Kyoto offers visitors to kit themselves out as a maiko would, and back when I was visiting the Kinkaku-ji five years earlier, we saw some people who appeared to be maiko. However, I overheard said “maiko” speaking Mandarin, indicating they were probably tourists. There are ways of determining if a maiko or geiko is real, and the simplest test is when one spots them: real maiko and geiko are out and about by evening, when they entertain guests.

  • Kiyo’s best friend, Sumire, proves to be highly competent and picks up her training very quickly, earning her the praise and attention of both the house mother and her fellow maiko. Outside of her duties, Sumire acts as any high school girl might, and one evening, after Kiyo asks the other maiko their preferences for dinner, Sumire develops a longing for fried chicken. She’s able to keep her game together while entertaining guests, but has to actively stop herself from entering a convenience store. Luckily for Sumire, Kiyo’s got some freshly-made fried chicken for her. Japanese fried chicken (karaage) is made with potato starch rather than flour, yielding a lighter flavour compared to the heavier taste of North American style fried chicken.

  • It turns out that all maiko are involved with housework as a part of their training, and this is the area Kiyo particularly excels at: with Kiyo, her willingness to stay in Kyoto despite not being cut out for maiko training allows her to experience things from a different perspective. Despite not being able to become maiko together per their original promise (after seeing maiko perform in their home town, both Sumire and Kiyo are seized with a desire to become maiko themselves), Kiyo’s decision to stick around as the live-in cook allows her to see and do things that would’ve otherwise been off the table, speaking to the importance of maintaining an open mind and accepting opportunity as it presents itself.

  • When I first heard of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, I initially assumed it would be set in the Edo Period or Meiji Restoration. However, these misconceptions were swiftly shot down after spotting modern vehicles, and later, the house mother is shown using what looks like an Asus Zen AiO: I recognise the design because I’d gotten one for my parents back during the winter break. Their requirements were straightforward: the computer needed to be an all-in-one capable of word and spreadsheet processing, web browsing (banking, email and watching YouTube videos) and doing the taxes.

  • When Kiyo is granted an evening off as the other maiko attend a performance and dinner, she is excited beyond all words: she’s seen sashaying around for the rest of the day, and at night, becomes to excited to sleep: she kicks about in a most adorable manner in anticipation. While the others speculate Kiyo’s going on a date, the truth is a little more mundane: she plans to visit the former live-in cook and make curry with her. According to the narration, maiko are forbidden from eating curry because it would remind them of home and distract them from their duties. I’m not too sure if this holds true in reality, but does create an excuse for Kiyo to head off and enjoy a taste of home.

  • My family has their own recipe for Japanese style curry: in addition to the core potatoes, carrots and onions, I add either chicken wings or braised beef to create a full-fledged meal (with a side of baby bok choy to round things out). This is a dish I have fairly often, but it never gets old no matter how many times I enjoy it. I ran a poll on Twitter a ways back to see what the distribution was for folks who enjoy this sort of curry, and found that 30 percent of responses had curry some sort at least once a month, with the remaining 70 percent of respondents indicating they rarely have Japanese style curry. I will note that curry is delicious, and the old anime portrayal of leftover curry tasting especially good does hold true.

  • The moment that highlighted Kiyo’s personality at her best is found in a flashback – back home in Aomori prior to her and Sumire going over to Kyoto, Sumire and Kenta end up getting into a shovelling contest and promptly wear themselves out. On the other hand, Kiyo steadily shovels without tiring. Simple details like these speak volumes to how Kiyo is able to do things at a methodical pace: looking after the maiko house is doubtlessly a marathon rather than a sprint, and Kiyo has the right temperament for the job.

  • Every episode of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is broken up into three chapters, and each chapter has two parts. The second part is titled “Sumire and Kiyo’s Dish of the Day” and gives the pair a chance to explore the dishes that figured in the first part. Tsurukoma ends up joining the segments over time: typically, Kiyo walks viewers through how things are made and things to be mindful of, while Sumire consults a book to find trivia about a dish. On the other hand, Tsurukoma provides some gentle comic relief: her knowledge can be a little spotty, but she genuinely loves the food being made and is always game to try something.

  • Today is the Chinese New Year, and this year, it’s the Year of the Tiger. A quick glance at my horoscope for the upcoming year finds the usual – “do what’s right, and things will work out”. Beyond this, the Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate with family, and with the current circumstances, this year’s festivities are a bit quieter: yesterday, I enjoyed Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner with the family (char siu and siu yuk, whole roast chickenshiitake mushrooms on a bed of lettuce and pan-seared prawns with scallops). Chinese New Year is one of my favourite holidays of the year; while offering no time off, it represents a nice break during the gloomiest months.

  • During her time back home in Aomori, Kiyo spends time with her grandmother, Sumire and Kenta. Besides enjoying home cooking, Kiyo also hits the shrine for a New Year’s visit, but she draws “terrible luck”, leading her to despair (Kenta and Sumire both draw “fantastic luck”). In the end, both Kenta and Sumire tie their fortunes into the tree, signifying how their luck will average out with hers: despite their time apart, the three’s friendship endures.

  • Upon returning to Kyoto, the maiko still have a day off and immediately hit the local fast food joint for some burgers: because maiko usually are restricted from things one would count as ordinary, going out for a fast food burger is a rare treat. My favourite fast food burger is from A&W – they use grass-fed beef in their patties, and the old standby, the Teen Burger, is a classic that hits all the right notes. Coupled with the fact that A&W has thick-cut fries made from Russet Potatoes, and root beers made from cane sugar, their combo is a grand slam. I don’t think there are any A&Ws in Japan, so the maiko here are probably digging into a generic burger, or perhaps burgers from McDonald’s. While McDonald’s smaller burgers, like the Quarter Pounder, are a bit underwhelming, their iconic Big Mac and Angus burgers are both hefty and satisfying.

  • Restaurant burgers count on cooking the patties at very high temperatures to allow for the Maillard Reaction to occur, creating acrylamide, a compound which imparts highly flavourful, browned crust on the patty. However, acrylamide is a carginogenic agent in excess. On the other hand, fast food burgers usually have a much higher sodium content (and it is well-established that sodium causes cardiovascular problems). In moderation, both are more than safe to eat: the occasional treat doesn’t hurt, and folks looking for healthier burgers will find that home made, burgers can still taste very good (using a higher-fat meat, seasoning while the burger is cooking and choosing the right sauce).

  • While some of the recipes in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san are distinctly Japanese, the series also covers dishes like the croque madame, a ham and cheese sandwhich covered with a cheese sauce and fried egg. For me, lunches typically consist of cold cut sandwiches, and I’ve found that even just varying the sauce can completely change a sandwich’s character. Since I’ve been working from home more, I foresee a chance to try out some fancier recipes on days where I’m not as busy.

  • While Tsurukoma isn’t seen as often as Kiyo and Sumire throughout Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, I came to greatly enjoy the energy she brought to the table. Here, she reminisces about Kiyo’s nabe, which was made with top-grade wagyu beef and ends up warming up all of the maiko to their heart’s content after the heat went out that day. It turns out that Tsurukoma is also fond of doughnuts: they share a story about how the doughnut got its iconic hole (which is consistent with the story I grew up hearing), but Tsurukoma declares her love of doughnuts matches that of an America. In reality, Canadians eat the most doughnuts per capita of anyone in the world and there’s the most number of doughnut shops per person here, courtesy of all the Tim Hortons floating around, so Tsurukoma would do well to say that her love of doughnuts matches that of a Canadian (in fact, Japan is second to Canada in terms of doughnuts eaten).

  • When the house mother falls ill, the assistant remarks to Kiyo that here in Kyoto, the remedy isn’t fish-and-ginger congee (a family tradition) or chicken noodle soup (the common Western equivalent), but Kyoto-style udon. The house mother initially fears that Kiyo will whip up the darker Aomori-style udon, although Kiyo is determined to learn the Kyoto-style. With help from local grocers, Kiyo learns of a way to create a clear broth with lighter soy sauce topped with fried tofu. The final product bears the love from local grocers and Kiyo’s own attention to detail, bringing tears to the house mother’s eyes (and in her typical stoic manner, she passes it off as soup getting into her eyes.

  • During preparations for the Setsubun Festivals, the maiko begin losing focus. Out of options, Sumire begs Kiyo to help out – Kiyo ends up whipping up a batch of cheese-covered hot dogs for everyone, and with renewed food energy, the girls are able to finish their task. Kiyo’s recipe is reminiscent of the kind of hot dogs that the specialty bakeries in Chinatown would sell: these ‘dogs use a sweet bun dough that incorporates a bit of condensed milk and egg, creating a gently sweet flavour and distinct yellow colouration that ends up being chewier and softer than Western bread. I have a particular fondness for this kind of bread, which tastes phenomenal even with just a dash of butter.

  • Kiyo’s recipe ends up being a scaled down version of the pizza ‘dog I cook: my all-pizza ‘dog calls for grilled honey garlic pork sausage, string cheese, shredded mozzarella and cheddar, pizza sauce, and if one were feeling particularly adventurous, pepperoni slices. Once the sausages are grilled to perfection, I cut a slit in them, slide the string cheese in, and place it onto the hot dog. From here, I add tomato sauce, sprinkle on shredded cheese and the pepperoni slices, then bake at 285ºF (140ºC) for a quarter hour. The end result is delicious, a pleasant spin on the hot dog. Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san supposes that the hot dog takes its name from the sausage resembling Dachshund dogs, but the actual name is contested, and it is supposed that the term has origins from the 1800s, stemming from claims that sausages of the time contained dog meat.

  • Setsubun is a spring festival celebrated to dispel misfortune from the previous year, and mamemaki is a common practise, in which soybeans are thrown out the door or at someone in a devil costume. In the Tohoku region, peanuts are substituted for soy beans, and in Kyoto, maiko perform a dance before throwing packet of soybeans into the audience. When Kiyo introduces her custom of mamemaki using peanuts, the maiko get into a peanut-throwing fight, anger the house mother and consider throwing peanuts at her before coming to their senses, leaving Kiyo to clean up the mess. Elegant and refined the maiko are, they’re still ordinary girls at the end of the day, as such moments serve to remind viewers.

  • One aspect of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san that is under-appreciated is the music – the soundtrack is composed by Go Sakabe and consists of a combination of traditional instruments, as well as piano, which serves to bring out the aesthetic within the series. However, at the time of writing, I’m not sure if the soundtrack will even be released. There’s no news of a date, and this leads me to wonder if the series will even get a BD release (if so, the music might accompany it).

  • Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s Kyoto is gently portrayed, using a style reminiscent of watercolours. While nowhere nearly as vivid as how Kyoto Animation presents their home town, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san nonetheless conveys a very lovely and relaxing sense about the city; use of visuals such as these do much to remind viewers of the series’ casual and slow pace. This is, of course, a deliberate choice: elsewhere, a much better-known blog than my own immediately criticised the series for being a “tonal monotony” owing to its “glacial” pacing. I’ve never been a fan of folks who apply a single set of expectations to all the anime they watch: different genres will employ different approaches in how they convey events, and not every anime will necessarily have a story piece to things.

  • Much as how one cannot reasonably expect something like Man v. Food or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to have a story, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is more of a cooking show mixed in with elements from a documentary about maiko. In this way, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is probably more similar to Little Forest – the characters’ learnings and discoveries are much more slowly paced and subtle, and they aren’t the central focus. As it stands, while I find merit in people who explain why a given work isn’t suitable for them, I do not take stock in individuals who make broad, sweeping generalisations about a genre as though it were indisputable fact.

  • Overall, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s focus isn’t necessarily portraying how Kiyo and Sumire grow as individuals, but rather, to provide a combination of insight into what maiko‘s lives are like, as well as how home-cooked meals do much to lift one’s spirits. The approach is general enough so that were one to do a show about cooking on board something like a cruise ship, there’d probably be enough to portray over a one-cour series. Of course, there are quieter moments at the maiko house, too, and during the hours of the day when Kiyo isn’t cooking, cleaning or shopping for ingredients, she’s looking around for recipes to make.

  • During one conversation, Tsurukoma mentions a list of her favourite foods, all of which are brown. Kiyo mentions that vegetables, besides adding nutrition, can bring much colour to a dish. It is accepted that a colourful dish is more likely to be healthy because different colours represent different nutrients, and in practise, colourful dishes actually encourage the uptake of nutritional variety. A 2018 paper by Laura M. König and Britta Renner found that more colourful dishes encouraged people to eat them, translating to a healthier diet.

  • Because maiko cannot eat any strong-tasting foods like garlic, Kiyo cooks gyoza without garlic and in a form factor that maiko can easily eat. However, since Sumire’s got the day off, Kiyo prepares some gyoza for her: the intense flavours blows her away, leading to some envy from Tsurukoma. Garlic imparts a very potent flavour on food, although I’m on the fence about its use because it leaves a powerful aftertaste that can last for a half-day. Unsurprisingly, cooking garlic for longer, or at higher temperatures, breaks down the responsible compounds without destroying the flavour. This would explain how Rin and Nadeshiko were able to eat whole garlic cloves without worrying about the consequences during their Izu camping trip in Yuru Camp△.

  • The finale of Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san has Sumire on a rare day off with Kiyo, allowing the pair to hang out as ordinary high school girls might; they visit an arcade, where Sumire wins a claw machine game, and then get triple scoops of ice cream to enjoy. It’s a suitable conclusion to the animated adaptation; the manga is still ongoing, and like Yuru Camp△, a live-action drama is in the works. Nine episodes are planned, and the series will be available on Netflix: it will be titled Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House.

  • The prospect of seeing a live-action Kiyo and Sumire will be interesting; Yuru Camp△’s live-action adaptation was generally successful in its portrayal of the series, and I was particularly impressed with how they’d brought everyone to life. Last year, I spent a great deal of time catching up on Netflix’s The Series Unfortunate Events, as well as The Falcon and The Winter SoldierWandaVisionLoki, and Hawkeye, all of which were fantastic in their own right. This year, with news of the live-action adaptation of Halo, as well as The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, there appears to be no shortage of shows to look forward to.

  • On the whole, I found Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san to be a highly enjoyable series that stands on its own merits: the series earns an A grade (4.0 of 4.0) for being able to bring even the most mundane aspects of cooking and a maiko‘s everyday routine to life, weaving everything together with food. I can imagine that for folks who were actively keeping up with Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, this anime would’ve become an old friend one could look forwards to on a monthly basis. For me, I watched the episodes all at once, and while the series’ premise prima facie would suggest one could grow tired of things quickly, no such thing occurred.

  • Between the likeable characters, interesting tidbits about maiko and a genuine, sincere presentation of the nuances of cooking, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is a worthwhile journey for folks who like cooking shows or are seeking slice-of-life series in its purest form. The absence of an overarching narrative and objective means that viewers get glimpses into life at the maiko house in a true slice-of-life manner, and in this way, one can make the case that anime like these are as close as one can get to a true slice-of-life series. I am going to be sad to see this one go, but as previously noted, there is a live-action adaptation coming out later this year on Netflix, and it’ll be exciting to see how this compares to the anime.

Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san‘s infinitely peaceful tone makes the series an absolute joy to watch; it combines the aesthetic of Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni with the informative aspects from something like Rick Steves’ Europe and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to create a show that is entertaining, relaxing and instructive. However, it is worth mentioning that Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is not an anime in a traditional sense. Challenges do face the characters from time to time, and messages of resilience and adaptiveness do pop up. Sumire’s resolve in becoming the best maiko she can be by practising frequently, and Kiyo ends up taking the opportunity to stay in Kyoto despite lacking the traits of a maiko by becoming their live-in cook, allowing her to experience something that otherwise wouldn’t be possible – seeing the daily lives of maiko outside of their duties. Viewers looking for a definitive story will not find it in Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san, but on the other hand, anyone seeking a presentation of Japanese food, both contemporary and traditional, in a relevant setting, will be pleased with what Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san presents. I have heard that Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san is rendered entirely using computer graphics rather than traditional hand-drawn cells, and that initially, people were flat-out refusing to watch this series on the basis that the trailer had looked terrible. Having now seen Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san in full, I would say that, at least here, these fears are unfounded. Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san looks far better than its trailer did, being akin to how DOOM Eternal and Halo Infinite both delivered a product fr surpassing what they’d shown at their respective E3 demos. While this series is no Makoto Shinkai or Kyoto Animation production, the character design, artwork and animation are more than serviceable – the characters convey the deliciousness of the food they’re eating, and for a cooking anime, this means the visuals have succeeded in their function. While the series’ unusual schedule meant that folks who were keeping up with each new episode would’ve been left with a long wait, I myself ended up picking Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san up a few weeks ago, and blitzed through the series at a very high rate: each episode was cathartic and enlightening, so it quickly became a series I came to enjoy. Having said this, Maiko-san chi no Makanai-san isn’t going to be for everyone, and it should be evident that slice-of-life and/or cooking fans will get the most out of Kiyo and Sumire’s time in Kyoto.