the latest title
I confess that I always used to think manga was just for teenagers. Hence, it was a big surprise when I learnt last year when chatting to a Korean and Japanese friend, how manga teaches people about wine. Known as Kami No Shizuku in Japanese and The Drops of God in English, the manga took the wine world by storm. In Korea, as I was told, whatever wine label that was introduced in the manga series would end up being sold out. It also caused a general appreciation for wine and wine-tasting especially among the younger crowd. While it has been translated into French and Chinese, sadly there's no English version. The closest we will get to an English version is the Japanese television adaptation of the manga where English subtitles explain the nuances of each wine. For more information regarding the manga, read the New York Times article in 2008, the Decanter article and the Daily Mail UK article.
collect them all
Recently, Lyrical Lemongrass highlighted to me this food manga that was being sold during Kinokuniya's Christmas promotion. While I didn't manage to catch the promotion (when I went to see the books, only two titles remained), I was able to accumulate the six titles from plowing Kinokuniya Singapore's bookshelves. Just this Monday, the last title of the series arrived at Kinokuniya Kuala Lumpur - Izakaya: Pub Food.
Definitely a must read for Japanese food lovers, the manga details a competition between two rival newspapers in Japan (the Ultimate Menu vs the Supreme Menu). There's showdowns between the two rivals with various topics and that's where you learn more about the Japanese cuisine through the various stories. In Japan, there's 100 books but these are 7 titles selected to be translated into English. Even though they're grouped by the particular topic i.e. rice or vegetables, you find a jump in the series especially when it comes to relationships. Nevertheless, the manga is extremely enjoyable reading and makes you crave for Japanese food (I had an incessant craving for rice balls after they did the rice ball challenge!). For detailed reviews on each volume, see this great site. Each book is retailing at RM44.33 at Kinokuniya Kuala Lumpur where new stocks for the titles have arrived.