Kinou Nani Tabeta/What Did You Eat Yesterday?

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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.

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