Despite the drama having reached Season 6 this year, this was the first time that there was a press conference held before the drama's run. Matsushige commented wryly that he found it odd to be doing this now since they've not done this for the past 5 years. He recalled that when he was first offered the role, he did wonder who would be interested to watch a middle-aged man like him eat on screen and didn't see how people would be entertained by this. As such, even though he's already doing Season 6, he still doesn't understand what made the drama such a huge favourite among TV viewers.
Matsushige also commented that the production conditions and his popularity have seen a huge change since he started doing this drama. When he was doing Seasons 3 and 4, the elderly people in rural areas who he met were always able to identify him through this drama. Last year, he happened to encounter a group of Chinese tourists who came up to him and exclaimed that they had been watching "the drama where he eats". He later found out that there were even TV programmes in China and South Korea featuring the places where he had eaten at in the drama and realised that his name is now known in Asia. Recently, he found out that actor Wakabayashi Go's German son-in-law is also a big fan of his after watching "Kodoku no Gurume" so he joked that even Europeans know about him now even though he still doesn't get what's interesting about this drama.
Matsushige revealed that although this drama was his first where he had a leading role, he feels that the food featured in the drama is more of the key attraction rather than himself so the emphasis should be making the food look as delicious as possible. As such, he sees himself as a byplayer who needs to enhance the appeal of the food. In view of this, he is just doing half of his usual work as an actor since the food accounts for the rest but he has to keep his weight in check every time he films this drama.
Filming usually takes place over 2 days for each round of which one whole day is spent on the eating scenes alone. Since that usually starts from 3pm, Matsushige will usually not eat anything since morning so as to show the joy Inogashira gets from eating on an empty stomach. After all these years, the number of staff members working on this drama has also grown from a mere 10 people and they have all become close like family members rather than just colleagues.
Last but not least, Matsushige said that he loves to eat cabbage rolls but this dish has not been featured in the drama yet. As he had been raised not to pick on food, Matsushige can eat almost everything dished out to him in this drama. However, there was something he hated since he was a child and he actually vomitted it out when he tasted it for the first time in his sandwich when he was a Primary 1 student. He then said that he hasn't told the staff about this secret yet and turned to look at them at the side of the stage where he jokingly said that if they ever give him that to eat in the drama, that would probably mark the end of this series.
"Kodoku no Gurume Season 6" will be shown at 12.12am on 7 April.
Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Yomiuri Hochi / Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com