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[personal profile] starlady
Yoshinaga Fumi. Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! Trans. William Flanagan. New York: Yen Press, 2010.

I was pointed to this manga by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks' review of it, and it was so worth it. Not only is it an idiosyncratic restaurant guide to Tokyo written by a discerning and passionate foodie, but it's also an absolutely hilarious dissection of the ridiculous lifestyle of the contemporary mangaka, with an added dash of paranoia thrown in due to the fact that Yoshinaga, as the hilarious and brilliant translation has it, "makes her living by drawing men engaging in anal sex." The manga is also partaking in the venerable tradition in Japanese literature of the "I-novel" (watashi shôsetsu), which applies a thin layer of fictionalization to the author's life so as to allow them to speak more freely. Yoshinaga pokes knowing fun at herself as well as all the people she shanghais into going to restaurants with her, and the reader is privileged to go along with them.

I don't know how many of these restaurants are still around, and after the Tôhoku earthquake, I don't know how many of them are operating with full power. I'll be bringing the manga to Japan with me this summer, and I shall certainly report back on both those things as I can. In the meantime, I've been watching the beautiful, and unnerving, video below rather more times than I should. The use of light in Japanese cities is more pervasive than in many U.S. cities, I think--a lot of the cityscape is a lot more like Times Square than anywhere else in that respect--and the changes the video shows are correspondingly dramatic.


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