Kinou Nani Tabeta/What Did You Eat Yesterday? , a weekly by the mangaka that brought us Ōoku: Inner Chambers, is a curious read.
It’s two parts a cooking how-to and one (very tiny part) slice-of-life that follows a vaguely dysfunctional gay couple. I happen to be very fascinated by Japanese cooking, but even I skimmed some of the more lengthy sections of food preparation. There’s currently only two volumes (thirteen chapters) available in English, so the risk of trying this out is minimal.
I ended up reading the whole thing.
I’m not sure why. The main character, Shiro, is a closeted lawyer and emotionally very distant from his lover, Kenji, a perky hairdresser. We get almost nothing about their relationship–we know who ‘tops’ (though we never see it) and we get a very, rather mundane story of their first meeting, and an almost sad way in which they end up living together (Kinji’s apartment is flooded after a storm; Shiro blurts out that he could stay at his place.)
There was, in fact, far more sizzling romance in no.6 (given there was an on-stage kiss between those boys) than there is in this manga. Shiro’s meeting of his straight girlfriend cooking/shopping partner was far more emotionally charged and interesting that anything the supposed-couple do.
Yet… I read the whole thing.
It’s weirdly compelling. It shouldn’t be. But, I think there’s just enough of Japanese life to keep me turning the pages. Plus, the food looks amazing. I’ll probably keep reading this despite myself.
The title feels like a big tease to yaoi fans, because what did you eat…? I mean, you could take that the wrong way.
But if you did, Shiro would be scandalized. Because it’s so not about any of that.