There’s quite a wealth of new manga and manhwa releases this week, according to Midtown Comics, but despite my love for things like Yotsuba&!, Goong, and Seiho Boys High School!, my vote must absolutely go to Fumi Yoshinaga’s Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!, released in English by Yen Press.
From my recent discussion at Off the Shelf:
The book is essentially a tour of several of the author’s favorite Tokyo restaurants, highlighting each establishment’s specialties, and including details ranging all the way from atmosphere to parking recommendations. What makes it especially rewarding for Yoshinaga fans, however, is that Yoshinaga herself stars as the main character, surrounded by her circle of friends. How much of this is fictionalized, of course we can’t know, but it feels so authentic, the overwhelming sense for readers is that we’re getting a peek into Yoshinaga’s private world, with a delightful view of her real-life quirks, hopes, desires, and of course, her obsessive love of food.
Yoshinaga portrays herself as an aging, neurotic slacker who eats like a horse, routinely spills food on her clothing, and has a thing for cute, chubby men, all of which makes her even more appealing to an older female reader like me. She strikes exactly the right balance between self-deprecation and self-love, warding off any danger of approaching either desperation or narcissism. She’s neurotic, sure, but also keenly self-aware, and her affection for her friends (be they real or fictional) is palpable …
And then there’s the food. Oh, the food, Michelle. It took about five pages of this book to get my mouth watering, and it didn’t stop until the end. Even things like “liver sashimi” and “stewed beef tendon” manage to sound appetizing in this context.
You can also find it featured in my 2010 Gift Guide.
This single-volume manga could not possibly be more charming. Go pick one up for yourself!
Sara K. saysDecember 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm
I love Fumi Yoshinaga, and I love food, and I love the whole concept of this manga … but I have a sneaking suspicion that I would have to skip over so much that it wouldn’t be worth reading (I had to skim just about every passage in Antique Bakery where they talked about how delicious the food is).
Melinda Beasi saysDecember 16, 2010 at 7:20 am
I would agree that if you don’t like food descriptions, this is not the manga for you!
Sara K. saysDecember 17, 2010 at 1:19 am
It’s not so much that they are food descriptions, as I do love Oishinbo … it’s that Yoshinaga seems to favor foods that I find … distasteful (I can at least avoid the Oishinbo volumes that I know I won’t like).
Melinda Beasi saysDecember 17, 2010 at 11:31 am
I like nearly all food, so this is not a problem I have encountered. :)