Watch Conan O’Brien Experience a Kaiseki Meal in Tokyo
A traditional Japanese dinner with his producer Jordan Schlansky was filmed in its entirety.
In the latest of his many travels, late night host Conan O’Brien is currently on the ground in Japan filming segments for his talk show. However, unlike many of his remote episodes which are inspired by political or cultural interest, the impetus for this excursion is a little more personal. Recently, O’Brien found out about a fictional Japanese anime detective character, also named Conan, who is such a big deal there’s even an entire town dedicated to him. With that, O'Brien set about getting into some friendly verbal sparring with the mayor of Conan Town (also known as Hokuei), which prompted a trip to Japan to collect three million yen in Detective Conan residuals believes he’s owed.
But along the way, it seems Team Coco is also taking the opportunity to collect some additional moments with O’Brien’s goofy, sarcastic, and at times intentionally “ugly American” persona throughout the country. Take, for example, this traditional kaiseki meal which O’Brien shared with his longtime producer and comedic foil Jordan Schlansky (who also hilariously withstood barb after barb thrown at him during the pair’s trip to Italy). The two reunite on camera to enjoy a traditional meal steeped in hundreds of years of tradition at Tsukiji Jisaku in Tokyo.
However, while most international Conan specials are shot and edited down into digestible segments weeks or months before they’re ever shown to the public, the Conan crew also filmed the kaiseki shoot from behind the scenes, giving us a raw look at an entire meal with the at-odds couple. Which is to say, here’s a full hour and ten minutes of Conan and Jordan making each other miserable in the most beautiful surroundings possible:
As they’re served cold sake and dishes of fish, rice, and miso soup, Schlansky attempts to get O’Brien to “submit” to the experience, which he likens to traveling through space and time one thousand years into the past. But, of course, O’Brien can’t help but focus on the minutiae of Schlansky’s explanations and actions. When his producer takes a deliberate sniff of the dish he’s just been served, O’Brien chides “You’re a pervert.” Still, Schlansky tries to stay grounded in what he describes as an intensely “romantic moment,” even though O’Brien is more concerned with trying to make a Japanese-dubbed screening of Mission Impossible: Fallout, asking for “to-go” containers so he can finish his dinner in the theater.
While there are some faux pas from both diners (Schlansky keeps gesturing with his chopsticks), some good advice for anyone traveling abroad does come out of the experience. Instead of constantly asking “what is this?,” as O’Brien does, Schlansky encourages him to try foods first, then worry about what they are. “Shut off your mind and open your spirit.”
Conan O’Brien’s entire Japanese adventure will air later this month on TBS.