Otoko Yamome mo Hana he Saku / For a Divorcee Too, A Flower Blooms is a very charming May/December romance between a burned out divorcee and a restaurant part timer.
The age gap is pretty profound here, but Uematsu, the middle-aged salaryman, is not the aggressor. In fact, he’s pretty clueless, if practical.
After his divorce, Uematsu started eating out a lot and ended up at a restaurant where Asahikawa works as a server, part time. One day, Asahikawa strikes up a conversation that makes it clear he’s had his eye on Uematsu for some time. Uematsu assumes that Asahikawa is just being friendly, but he discovers that it really perks him up to get to chat with Asahikawa on a regular basis. Every once and a while, Uematsu is surprised to discover himself finding Asahikawa cute.
What I liked about this manga is how it portrays what love is.
Uematsu is just… happier, when he thinks ahead to seeing Asahikawa. He finds himself humming at work, smiling to himself, etc. Nothing is profound. There are no sparks or flowers spreads on the page, just a general improved sense of well-being when he’s with (or thinking ahead to being with) Asahikawa.
And, ultimately, that’s what that scene above in the restaurant is about. When Asahikawa confesses to being bisexual and having romantic feelings towards Uematsu, Uematsu has had enough time to notice the effect Asahikawa has on his life. He knows how dreary things were before meeting Asahikawa and so, even though he’s not sure he can develop sexual attraction, he knows he’s smitten in his own way. So, instead of saying ‘no,’ he quite practically says ‘yeah, let’s date. I can’t promise anything, but I already know I like you a lot.’
Which, I mean? What is love if not this stuff?
Likewise, I was very fond of the fact that the story deals with Uematsu’s daughter, who is, awkwardly, closer in age to Asahikawa (in fact, they become texting pals, which is especially cute since Uematsu struggles to learn to text just so he can keep up with his new boyfriend) and that horrible feeling that first time you lie to someone you love because of homophobia. Uematsu isn’t sure how his daughter will deal and hesitates (like we all have) and mumbles that Asahikawa is an, “um…. friend.”
In fact, for awhile in my small corner of the queer community, we used to joke that “um… friend” was a legit way to introduce your lover.
At any rate, Uematsu hates the feeling of not being honest and, more importantly, feels like he’s betrayed Asahikawa’s love by not acknowledging it. But, still struggles very realistically with the whole “but what will my daughter say?”
Of course, in the end the daughter figures it out ahead of his confession and everything is resolved in a cute and heartwarming way.
In fact, generally, my critique of this manga could be summed up in those exact words: cute and heartwarming.
I loved it.
It’s not at all smutty. There’s some almost sex in the afterward, but this is one to read for the cute story not for the hot, hot times.