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Events - 04.23.2024

Movie & Bites |
“The Island of Cats”

An elderly woman and two men sitting in a Japanese-style room having tea as two cats lounge in the foreground 

© 2018 “The Island of Cats” Film Partners / © Mitsuaki Iwago

*To watch the video in full screen, please click play and then the YouTube icon on the lower right-hand corner.


04.23.2024 (Tue.)


06:30 PM – 09:00 PM


JAPAN HOUSE Salon, Level 5



JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles is bringing back its beloved “Movie & Bites” series this spring, featuring the L.A. premiere of the film, “The Island of Cats”(2019). Directed by the world-renowned animal photographer, Mitsuaki Iwago, whose photos have graced the cover of National Geographic magazine, the film takes you to springtime on a picturesque cat island, where adorable feline companions roam freely amidst the beauty of nature. Daikichi, the lead character, who honors the memory of his deceased wife through the preparation of traditional Japanese dishes, adds a heartfelt touch to the film's narrative.

Following the screening, Chef Yoshitaka Mitsue of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles’ restaurant, UKA, recently added to the prestigious 2024 MICHELIN Guide California selection, will guide guests to immerse in the culinary world of the film. He will demonstrate how to prepare dishes seen on-screen such as the delicate folds of tamagoyaki* (Japanese rolled omelet) as well as a vibrantly assembled chirashi sushi*, and introduce the nostalgic sweetness of melon cream soda*, followed by a tasting experience.

Don’t miss this delicious and enriching evening as we welcome back our popular program celebrating the unique connection of Japanese food, nature, and culture through film.

Program Outline

*Subject to change. Scroll down for additional information.

  • 6:30 PM – 8:15 PM | Screening of “The Island of Cats” (2019)
  • 8:15 PM – 9:00 PM | Demonstration & Tasting

Synopsis | The Island of Cats (2019)

Directed by Mitsuaki Iwago
103 minutes

Daikichi is a 70-year-old man living on a small island somewhere in Japan. His wife passed away two years ago and he now lives alone with his 10-year-old cat Tama. Having lived there his entire life, he is surrounded by old friends - including his childhood buddy and next-door neighbor Iwao - plus the many island cats. They gather together at a newly opened café, run by a beautiful lady, Michiko, who is a newcomer on the island. Their days go by peacefully. Daikichi’s son Tsuyoshi, who resides in Tokyo, worries about his father living by himself, but Daikichi and Tama enjoy their carefree and laid-back lifestyle and have no worries or complaints. However, although Daikichi expected his daily routine to last indefinitely, the death of a close friend and his own health scare begin to cast shadows over his happy life with his beloved cat. The movie shows hope and kindness while highlighting some social issues that Japan faces such as the aging population and life after retirement.

Demonstration & Tasting

JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles’ very own UKA restaurant chef, Yoshitaka Mitsue will introduce and prepare samplings three dishes:

  • Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet)
  • Chirashi Sushi (seasoned sushi rice topped with various toppings)
  • Melon Cream Soda

*Food Allergen: Tamagoyaki (eggs, fish, wheat, soybeans); Chirashi Sushi (eggs, fish, crustacean, wheat, soybean, sesame); Melon Cream Soda (milk, eggs)

About the Chef

© JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles

Chef Yoshitaka Mitsue
Born in Imari, Japan, Yoshitaka Mitsue first honed his skills in traditional Japanese cuisine in Osaka where he worked in kappo restaurants (a style of open-kitchen, multi-course meal originating in the Kansai region, similar to kaiseki), as well as seafood specialty establishments. From 2007-2014, he opened and ran his own popular chef’s table-style restaurant called Suzaku in Kobe, before moving to New York City to become the Chef de Cuisine at the official residence of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. ...  Read more.

After two terms entertaining world leaders and VIPs in this high-profile role, in 2017 he received the Minister of Foreign Affairs Award as the Outstanding Chef of the Official Residence. In 2020, he moved to Strasbourg, France, to take up his third appointment as Chef at the official residence of the Consul General of Japan, where he continued to refine his style of washoku (traditional Japanese food), with a special focus on handling bespoke menus for all types of diners, as well as elevating the sensory and seasonal aspects of fresh seafood.


Giada De Laurentiis learns Chirashi Sushi  

*To watch the video in full screen, please click play and then the YouTube icon on the lower right-hand corner.

As chirashi sushi is a featured dish at this Movie & Bites event, view our home tutorial through our archive. JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles previously teamed up with chef, cookbook author, restaurateur and Food Network star Giada de Laurentiis, and chef Shinji Ishida, of the Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant Nogizaka Shin, to present a special Master Class cooking series exploring fermentation. In the first episode, Chef Ishida guided Giada in creating chirashi sushi, introduced in this program.

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