Friday, December 31, 2010

Kiww the Wabbit!!!



The Yeaw of the Wabbit is bwought to you by Mawk McCowwum


Youtube Page


Youtube Page


Youtube Page



Artists Page

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Celes, Turbulence and Gyroscope


(Celes - 1:8)

For the Gakken Akari kit (Otona no Kagaku #29), the publishers included pre-creased paper for two different origami patterns - Celes and Checker - and instructions for a couple others, including Turbulence. Celes and Checker were both doable. Celes did give me an incredibly hard time, but after several hours, and building it several times, I kind of got the hang of it. Checker was much less of a challenge, but still satisfying when I was done.



During my end of year break, I started thinking that Celes might be more interesting if the paper strips were longer. I pulled out my sheets of construction paper, and through trial and error settled on 6 strips each of 5 colors, 3 cm by 24 cm. Because of all the folding needed just to prepare the strips, the total construction time was close to 4 hours. I kind of like the overall effect, but I'm thinking that 3 cm by 21 cm might be a better ratio.

Then I sat down and tried to do Turbulence. No matter how I tried it, the instructions (in Japanese of course) just would not make sense. So I went to the net and tried doing a google search on "turbulence origami". That's when I discovered that these are all well-known patterns, and that Turbulence and Celes were both developed by the same person - Miyuki Kawamura. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find instructions for Turbulence, but Celes is well-documented. In fact, the primary approach to this kind of origami is to treat the strips as 1:5, 1:6, 1:7 and 1:8 ratios, and just by pure accident I'd picked 1:8. Still, I haven't found any examples of people using 5 colors of paper for making the stars, so I'm not too disappointed with how it turned out.


(Gyroscope)

As I was looking for youtube tutorials for Celes, I happened on one from Origami Nut for something called Gyroscope. Watching it, I got the hankering to try making it with the Japanese "washi" paper I'd bought at the Ochanomizu Origami Kaikan (I'd used this paper to make my Akari lantern).



Here are the results. The squares are 10 cm. The underlying paper used for making the interlocking corners is just plain yellow construction paper. I like the way this turned out, even though the photos don't do it justice.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sorakara-chan

A number of the news sources in and about Japan have just started picking up on Sorakara-chan, the mascot for the Tokyo Sky Tree. In fact, a foam-suit version of the character (below) had appeared as early as Nov. 16, according to the Sky Tree blog. But, the Japan Times ran an article announcing the manga-version on Dec. 29. What the media doesn't tell you is that Sorakara (which literally translates to "From the sky") has her own website.


(From the Sky Tree blog.)

If you go to the downloads page, you can get a screensaver and a wallpaper of the Tokyo skyline. And, if you go to the About Sorakara page, you'll see that she's being joined by two friends - Teppen-pen (Topmost Point Penguin) and Sokoburu-buru (Extremely Bulldog). Click on the blue balloon in the description about Sora, and she'll talk to you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

City of Animation, Nerima



Whenever I go to the Tokyo Anime Center, I make it a point to check out the tourist fliers table. Usually, the fliers don't change from month to month, but every so often something new gets added to the table. Even then, the odds are high that the new item still won't be of much interest to me (such as being for something down in Kyoto, or being related to Anpanman).



However, during my last trip there before the Christmas break at work (when I'm not teaching lessons), I happened across the "Animation City, Nerima" map. For those of you not aware of it, Nerima Ward is a district west of the Tokyo Yamanote train line loop. The loop, which pretty much contains the city of Tokyo, runs through Shinjuku and Ikebukuro stations on the west side. From these two stations, you can either take the Chuu-ou line from Shinjuku, or the Seibu-Ikebukuro line from Ikebukuro, and go west into Nerima. The two lines essentially border the north and south edges of the rectangle making up the primary home to many of the anime studios here. I've already done write ups of Toei Studios, the Sunrise gallery, and the Gundam statue at Kamiigusa.



The Nerima map mentions these studios and the statue, while adding information about annual events and various locations that have been used as references for buildings used in a given anime series (such as the Musashino Music School, used as a model for Nodame Cantible). The map is sponsored by Nerima Animation and Nerima City.



Now, one of the major features of the map is a list of 15 train stations along the Seibu lines that have anime-related landmark maps. Of themselves, the maps aren't much, just a couple of images from a specific series, a short description of the series, and then maps showing the locations of a museum, art gallery or other non-anime landmark nearby. So, unless you're a completist, it's probably not worth trying to visit them all.



On the other hand, if you live in Nerima, it can be something of a quest to find them. Specifically, the one for Nerima Station itself was so far out of the way that I never did find it. Many of the people working in the area that I asked had no idea that it existed. For the smaller stations, it's much easier, because the landmark map will be fairly close to the central ticket gates. In all cases, the landmark maps will be outside of the station, so if you're walking between stations (most stations are only 1-2 miles apart) it won't cost you anything. If you're trying to get from one corner of Nerima to the other by train, then you can figure that you'll easily pay $30 USD in single-station-long trip tickets.



I started my quest in Sakuradai and wrapped up in Fujimi-dai. All told, it was about 3 hours of walking and looking around. Since I don't live in Nerima, I probably won't be back for the other landmark maps. But this at least gives you a sampling of what's there.









Monday, December 27, 2010

4th Quarter edition of the "related articles in the media"

Here's the batch of articles to show up in the media from Sept. to Dec., regarding anime, manga and related stuff. I've been kind of lax in uploading these, but I've also had plenty of other things to run on the blog, too, and the newspaper articles are kind of a second choice option. Enjoy.

Generic New News
===============


Japan Times

Festival of manga, 'anime' opens in Kyoto

'Anime' makes Japan superpower

Review of Vertical's English release of Tezuka's Black Jack series

'Mizuki Shigeru: Illustrations of Yokai'

Pac-Man fetes 30-year milestone

Review of "Redline" anime

THE MANGA BIOGRAPHY OF KENJI MIYAZAWA, Author of Night of the Milky Way Railway, by Ko Yano

Dream becomes reality for Scottish manga creator
Story on Sean Michael Wilson, author of "Hagakure, The Manga Edition" and editor on "AX: Alternative Manga".

Possibilities are endless as Japan's manga fans turn cell phones into libraries

Space Battleship Yamato live-action movie review

Review of Mizuki Exhibit at Hachioji Gallery

Temple turns to 'anime' to lure the young


Daily Yomiuri

Ultra Man vs Mozart

Obituary for Satoshi Kon

Designer Komachi revisits work of master mangaka Tanioka

'District 9' director found inspiration in 'Macross'

'Gundam' movie dazzles, expands metaverse

Edo video game romance takes to the Tokyo stage

'Black Butler' serves up satanic slapstick, skimps on plot

Review of "Fairy Tail"

Special Fullaction Body Type-1 (S.F.B.T-1)

New exhibit explores history of the multifaceted Ado Mizumori
(Exhibit at Yayoi- Yumeji)

New initiative fosters young anime talent

Eulogy for Yoshinobu Nishizaki

'Bleach' one hell of an adventure movie review

A procession of countless demons

E-reader boom inspires digital manga championship

A procession of countless demons

--------------------------

Metropolis

Review of Ax Magazine Anthology

Hagakure (The Manga Edition)

Kochikame look-alike contest

Other

Nobuyo Oyama, who'd voiced Doraemon for the TV series up until retirement in about 2005 is doing the voice for a character in an upcoming video game. You can see her here in an old TV ad on youtube.

-----------------------------

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Garo Special #63


Garo #63, July, '69. Cover by Shinji Nagashima. 266 pages.
This is another one of the dedicated special issues, this time for Shinji Nagashima. Shinji worked for Tezuka as an assistant before setting out to do his own manga, debuting in Garo issue #33, in May, 1967, with "La Masque". He then had 17 titles appearing in Garo up to May, 1970. He has a fairly cartoony style, and tends to gravitate towards retellings of folktales, but he also tries to capture the joy and pathos of everyday life.


(Back cover)


(Inside front cover)


生命 (Inochi (Life))
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 40 pages.
Inochi first appeared in Garo #34, June, 1967.


ク。ク。ル。ク。ク。パロマ (CU CU RRU CU CU PALOMA)


By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 27 pages.
George, a street balladeer, encounters Cosmos, a quiet young woman that takes pity on him one rainy day. She follows him to his apartment, where she writes on a piece of paper that she can't speak - she's a mute. He decides to let her stay the night and pretty soon they fall in love and get married in a civil ceremony that no one else attends. George has been suffering a solitary life, but as he starts writing music intended only for Cosmos to hear, he discovers success. In fact, he's so successful that a talent agent signs him on and he's lured by the fast life, with its fast cars and fast women. He forgets about Cosmos and she cries quietly at home as she watches him perform on stage in front of the TV cameras. One day, the two doves that had been keeping her company at home escape, and as Cosmos runs after them to bring them back, she crosses a street and is hit by a car and killed. At that moment, George is playing on stage and one of his guitar strings breaks. Suddenly, he remembers Cosmos and races back to find her dead body. A little later, he's also hit by a car and killed. The two doves land on Cosmos' gravestone, and rumors circulate that they're the reincarnations of the two lovers, finally brought back together again.


仮面 (La Masque)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 17 pages.
La Masque first appeared in Garo #33, May, 1967.


アシスタント (Assistant)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 25 pages.
Assistant first appeared in Garo #35, July, 1967.


私見的永島慎二論 (Personal Opinion Regarding Shinji Nagashima)
By Toyoyuki Yamauchi (山内豊之). 2 pages.
Short 2-page piece on Shinji. The only hits coming up on Yamauchi is for someone that lived in the 1600's. However, Amazon does list 4 titles with Yamauchi as the author, 2 for business and 2 for art; although, they all came out in the 70's and 80's, and are long out of print with no cover art available.


純粋さを貫く精神 (Piercing Pure Spirit)
By Shouichi Sakurai (桜井昌一). 1 page.
Short article. Shouichi (1933-2003) has almost nothing on him in English, but according to the Japanese wiki he was a manga artist, with about 6 titles to his credit, including "Yamabiko Sensei" and "Soba-ya Sanshirou".


ちいさいな世界 (Small World)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 14 pages.
Small World first appeared in Garo #41, Jan., 1968.


禁じられた遊 (Prohibited Games)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 13 pages.
Prohibited Games first appeared in Garo #39, Nov., 1967.


少年の夏 (Boy's Summer)


By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 12 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
The story is set at a beach, where a young boy walks in the sand before sitting down. Crowds come in to enjoy playing in the ocean, and then leave, with trash scattered all across the sand behind them. Suddenly the scene jumps to a hospital office where an old man with a cigar is telling a younger, thinner guy something about cancer, the amount of money involved, the idea that the money might stay in the family, etc. Then the scene shifts back with the boy standing up, brushing the sand off his seat and walking back home.


永島慎二 (Shinji Nagashima)
By Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平). 1 page.
Short piece by one artist about the other.


時と漫画と人間 (Time and Manga and Person)
By ? Kadokura (門倉訣). 2 pages.
Short article. Almost no information on this writer. He does show up as having written some stuff, but there's no Japanese wiki page for him. The kanji for his first name "訣" is most certainly wrong, but NJ Star doesn't have the correct kanji in its look-up table and I can't find the correct form on the net. (The correct form has a small matching vertical line on the left half of the kanji, making a closed box over the shape of the person).


ふるやのもり (Furuyanomori)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 24 pages.
Furuyanomori first appeared in Garo #54, Dec. 1968.


おそめこのへんか (Ode to Osome)


By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 24 pages.
Ode to Osome first appeared in Garo #52, Oct., 1968. However, I haven't been able to find that issue, so I'll do the summary here. Once upon a time, there was a monkey, named Gengoro. Gengoro was the leader of a pack of mountain monkeys, and was highly respected and feared by all of them. However, he'd fallen in love with a beautiful young human girl named Osome. The rest of the pack tried to tell him that his passion was wasted, but he wouldn't hear of it. One day, an old man walking in the hills was menaced by a wild boar, and Gengoro stepped in to protect him. After the boar left, the old man promised to do whatever was in his power to reward the monkey. Gengoro recognized him as Osome's grandfather and just asked to have the girl's hand in marriage. The old man agreed, but when he returned home he had a plan. He told Osome what had happened, then instructed her on what to do. The next day, she went to the monkeys' village and agreed to marry Gengoro, but only if he would give her this one specific, delicious-looking persimmon she'd seen hanging from a branch on a tree standing beside a raging river. Gengoro climbed the tree, while the rest of the monkeys yelled at him to stop. Just as he managed to reach the persimmon, the branch broke and he fell into the river and was swept away by the current. The rest of the monkeys jumped in after him and were also never seen again. Osome returned home, where her grandfather cackled over the success of his brilliant plan - he'd never let a monkey marry his granddaughter. Eventually, he noticed that the girl was holding something in her hands and asked what it was. She replied that it's the persimmon that Gengoro died for. Later, she did marry a young village boy, but her real love remained Gengoro.


新雨月物語 (New Ugetsu Story)


By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 16 pages.
This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
This is a combination of three short stories. It's related to the ghost story "Ugetsu Monogatari", which among other things was turned into a movie in 1953. In Shinji's version, we first have a hobo and his son and a dog, walking the countryside before they find a massive tree. The hobo settles down and starts carving the tree into a Buddha statue. The man dies and his son grows up and takes over the carving. But, he turns the statue into a modern art sculpture. He too dies of old age, and a passing traveler chops the remaining parts of the tree up to make crosses for the bodies of the boy and the dog, then uses the rest of the tree for firewood. In part 2, a young boy standing outside of a girl's house, holding a bunch of flowers, waits so long that his corpse ends up wrapped in with the ivy vines that grew up the outer wall. In part 3, a man dressed up as a clown and holding a sign advertising a coffee shop, watches as people pass him by on the sidewalk. At night, he goes home, takes off the makeup, and sits in front of an easel where he does oil painting. Over time he watches as one girl grows up, meets a boyfriend, gets married and has a child. Just about when the painting of her is finished, the clown dies. The painting is put on display at an art gallery. The woman visits the gallery, sees herself in the painting and cries, remembering the clown that used to stand outside on the sidewalk.


かかしが きいた かえろはなし (The Scarecrow Hears the Frog's Story)
By Shinji Nagashima (永島慎二). 29 pages.
Scarecrow first appeared in Garo #36, Aug., 1967.


新宿のジプシーたち (Shinjuku Gypsies)
By Ichie Watanabe (渡辺一衛). 2 pages.
Article. No information on Ichie.


カングリラの発想 (Kanguerrilla Expression)
By Akane Touge (峠あかね). 6 pages.
Akane Touge was the penname for Mori Masaki (真崎守, 1941-), artist, writer and animator. As a writer, he appeared extensively in Tezuka's COM magazine. IMDB lists Mori Masaki as the director on the 1983 film "Barefoot Gen", and as the writer and director for "Toki no Tabibito" (Time Stranger, 1986).

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wall ads, 1

Big train stations like Shinjuku and Akihabara have a lot of open white wall space along the walkways, and lots of foot traffic at all hours. No surprise that they'd be popular spots for big wall ads. These are some that I collected over the past few weeks.





















Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One Piece - Strong World on TV

Back on Saturday, Fuji TV aired the latest One Piece movie - "Strong World". According to the One Piece Wiki, Strong World had a Dec. 2009, theatrical premiere, but the really big promotional push seems to have been during the summer when the DVD came out.



Initially, I avoided paying attention to One Piece because I thought the story was silly, and I didn't care for the character designs. I had seen a few of the early episodes of the TV anime in Austin, Texas, when the owner of a Mexican coffee shop would play them for his occasional Anime Night Mondays. It wasn't until this Fall, when I had yet another student tell me that his favorite anime was One Piece that I sat down and read the 594 (at the time) chapters of the manga. When I was finished, I had to admit that the story gets pretty overwhelming at times, and there is a lot of imagination at work. So I made sure to record Strong World when it aired, and finished watching it the following night after I got back from work at midnight.

If you've seen it, I won't bore you with the details. If you haven't yet but plan to, then you're going to like this one. If you have no interest in One Piece, then I suggest you read over the above Wiki description and try checking it out anyway. The artwork's great, the action is off the wall, and the entire film is one long roller coaster ride. Three thumbs up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Soy Sauce Kitkats



First up, "Kutsurogi cacao" kitkats. "Kutsurogi" means "relaxation" or "comfort". For Kitkat, it means a darker chocolate with more sugar added. Not bad, as far as Kitkats go.





Then we have the Strawberry Cake flavor. This one comes pretty close to tasting like strawberries and cream, or maybe strawberry shortcake. Just a hint of that artificial flavor tang that always spoils the effect. Not that bad.





Back a few months ago, there was a big promotional tie-in with Family Mart to promote the K-On DVD. One of the products was cup milk chocolate. Standard milk chocolate in an over-priced plastic cup.



Finally, Umadare Barbecue flavored Cheetos. "Umadare" comes from "umai", meaning "delicious". From the photo, it seems they wanted to evoke the images of grilled steak, vegetables and green peppers. What they created was something that tastes a little like hamburger fat. Not a great success.

Ok, so you've probably been wondering where the thing about Soy Sauce-flavored Kitkats went. The truth is that I didn't take photos of them. Back on Dec. 5th, when I was buying some snacks at a Daily convenience store prior to going to take the JLPT test, I saw boxes of Shoyu (soy sauce) Kitkats at the register. They were 800 yen ($10) for a small box of 12 bars, and I didn't feel like spending that much money for Kitkats (normally it's 280 yen for a bag of 13 bars). Later, I tried finding them again at a different store chain, but it looks like they were only available at Daily. But, you can see a photo of the box here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fuji

Winter's coming. You can tell because Mt. Fuji, 80 miles away, becomes visible from my apartment window after becoming snow-capped again. I'll leave it to you to guess why the hiking trails get closed off for the year starting in September. Elsewhere in Tokyo, though, it's still just getting down into the 50's. No snow for Christmas. ;-(

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Garo 75


Garo #75, May, '70. Cover by Sampei Shirato. 234 pages.


カムイ伝 (Kamui-den) #61


By Sampei Shirato (白土三平). 70 pages.
Time has passed. Life has settled down in the new Hanamaki village, and everyone is focused on growing new crops. Shousuke teaches the farmers how to grow cotton, and goes on to show how to make silk. Villagers force thieves and ronin to throw down their weapons, and they even complete a tunnel through the mountain to connect with another village. The peace between the villagers and the vagrants continues, with mixed-class couples living together and having children. Kigusu has been given orders by Yokome to assault Shousuke but he can't do it. Yokome is hiding up in the hills, watching in disgust. Naturally, this state of bliss can't last long.

The first hint that trouble is brewing is a feudal lord who approaches Ryuunosuke to siphon off some of the land for himself. Ryuunosuke refuses and chases the guy out. A little later, some merchants and Edo townspeople show up carrying a certificate of ownership to various plots of land. Ryuunosuke kicks the certificate into a fire and has the interlopers arrested. But a messenger from Edo arrives and shows proof that the certificate is legally valid. The interlopers are released, and more Edoites arrive to claim the land the farmers worked so hard to develop. Both sides prepare for war again, but just before things can get completely out of hand, a veiled basket priest intervenes and calls the farmers idiots for not checking first whether this is a trap. Turns out that more soldiers are hiding just the other side of the hills, waiting for the signal to come in and aid the Edoites. The farmers angrily demand to know who this guy is. He throws the disguise off, revealing Gon, covered in scars from having been shot with arrows.

Gon rallies the inventor kids group, and sends parties of farmers out to the rice paddies under his orders. When the army, led by the first lord that Ryuunosuke blew off, tries to sweep in and take over, they find the villages deserted, and the bridges over the rice patties sabotaged. Suddenly, the villagers show up, stamping on the ground in unison. The vibrations in the ground spook the horses and the army is forced to back off. At the end of the chapter, an Edoite runs along the path and tumbles down a hill, shouting out a new warning.


大部屋 (The Large Room)


By Shouhei Kusunoki (楠勝平). 36 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
Note: The title, "Ohbeya", can simply mean "large room", an actor's common-use room, or a hospital ward.

The story takes place in a hospital, where various patients are waiting for major surgery. The majority of the conversations revolve around the decision whether to have the surgery or not, with jokes about why any given decision would be bad. If you have the surgery in the morning, the doctor might be coming in drunk; in the afternoon the doctor is tired and making mistakes. If you don't have the surgery, you usually only have 6 months to live. If you do have it, you may overhear the nurses wondering where one of their pairs of forceps went, or that their post-surgery inventory of the needles is coming up one short. Two guys get the surgery at the same time; one comes out of it fine, the other starts coughing a few days later and dies during a post-surgery operation. Another patient comes in, saying that he'll have his surgery in a couple of months, so two of the ones that have already had their surgeries start joking about missing needles, and the new guy yells at them for making him worry, with the resulting tension about to flare into a fist-fight. Eventually, most of the people have left, with one guy who put off the idea of being operated on looking emaciated, coughing weakly, and near-death.


[言論-出版の自由]とは (Discussing Freedom of the Press)
By Jirou Iwata (岩田二郎). 2 pages.
Article. Artwork by Maki Suzuki.


新-日本書紀 (The New Old Chronicles) #11


By Mamoru Sasaki & Satsuko Okamoto (佐々木 守 & 岡本 颯子). 6 pages.
Article.



近藤勇と国境線 (Izumi Kondou and The Border)


By Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる). 1 page.
Article with photos.


赤色エレジー (Red-Colored Elegy)


By Seiichi Hayashi (林静一). 23 pages.
The Elegy is finally making a small amount of sense. The two lovers move in together but the closer proximity drives them apart.


どぶ街 (Ditch Road, Part 2)


By Tadao Tsuge (つげ忠男). 22 pages. This is a featured manga on Nihon-go Hunter this week.
An artist approaching a pachinko parlor gets harassed by some local thugs protecting their turf. The thugs' leader comes out, recognizes the artist as his friend and apologizes to him. They go to a coffee shop to talk. Turns out the artist has fallen on hard times and lost his job. They depress each other, and go back out to the street. A woman happens by and asks the artist to meet up with her to go drinking. A little later, the thugs run to get their leader to announce that a rival gang is trying to get into their pachinko parlor. There's a fight and one of the enemy gets knifed and dies. Everyone scatters, but the police are summoned and they catch the leader as he flees the scene. The artist and the woman happen by, and the woman runs to the leader to demand that the police let her husband go free. The artist wanders away and despondently kicks through some lumber at a demolished building site before walking off.


やさしい人 (The Gentle Person)


By Shinichi Abe (安部慎一). 19 pages.
An artist, wanting to draw manga, meets up with a woman. The two spend time in the guy's apartment, talking. She tries wearing his sunglasses, and then playing his guitar. She sees the red specks on the guitar and is told that it's dried blood. They drink for a while and he goes to sleep. She takes the guitar, runs her hands across the specks, and then licks her fingers.

Shinichi Abe (1950-) is the second of Garo's so-called "1-2-3" artists (along with Masuzou Furukawa and Oji Suzuki), because the kanji in their names can be read as the numbers 1, 2 or 3. While Abe has an extensive list of credits in the Japanese wiki, and his autobiographical manga "Miyoko Asagaya Kibun" was released as the movie "Miyoko" in 2009, there is very little information on him in English. In fact, the following information comes only from the Twitch Film review of the movie. Abe lived in the artist district in Tokyo in the 1970's. His debut work for Garo was "The Gentle Person" (May, 1970). He started out as a struggling artist until he decided to feature a model, Miyoko, as his main character. Later, they marry, and the "Miyoko" manga is serialized in Garo. However, Abe had a problem with drugs and alcohol, and things spiraled out of control, as described in the "Miyoko" manga. More recently, Abe was one of the artists to appear in the "Ax Anthology, vol. 1".

陰火 (Shadow Fire)


By Tsuguo Kougo (向後つぐお). 19 pages.
Another rambling, unfocused bit by Tsuguo. This time, a guy living by himself is having a conversation with his pillow, as if someone else is sitting in it. He gets excited watching a female neighbor undressing in an apartment across the street. After cleaning up, he goes to a bar, where he just drinks tea. At the next table over is a grizzled old man with a rough beard. The old guy just wants to drink his sake in peace, but a guy in a suit arrives to tell him that he has an appointment with a client. The old guy asks for 10 more minutes to drink his sake. The "hero" recognizes the old guy as a formerly well-known psychic and demands to have a palm reading right then and there. The psychic blows the "hero" off, and gets angry at not having been able to drink quietly in his remaining 10 minutes before leaving. He tells the "hero" to not do "that" anymore. The "hero" gets offended and orders sake for himself. He leaves and eventually makes his way to another bar, where he runs into the psychic again. He angrily repeats the psychic's words back at him, then stalks out of the bar. The psychic turns red and spills his sake onto the counter.


わら草紙 (Straw Book)


By Susumu Katsumata (勝又進). 22 pages.
Susumu is departing further away from his 4-panel gag format, which is given star positioning as the last story in this issue.

This is another one of his longer tales involving animals reflecting on human society, this time involving a tanuki. A young boy is cooling his feet in a pond. The tanuki invites the boy to his den for a meal of raw snails and sake. The tanuki turns out to be a grumpy old man, upset with the way his kids are growing up, the destruction of his hillside, his wife's obsession with grooming, and so on. Later, the tanuki dresses up in a jacket and a cap, and the two of them go into town to watch movies at night. Usually they'd return home along a specific road, but this time they take a shortcut past the school, where the tanuki spies a wooden tanuki statue standing outside of a restaurant. He gets offended, and the boy replies that this is why they were taking the other route. Eventually, the boy grows up and moves to Tokyo, where he gets a job making tires for cars. The burning smell of rubber makes him feel like he's going to die. After two years of this, he's taken up smoking and has developed a dead-looking face. Walking by a goods shop, he sees a raccoon dog hanging over a coat rack, looking like a fur stole. But, the stole has the same staring eyes as his old friend, and it laughs when he tickles it. But otherwise, it's stopped talking to him, and the teenager comments on how silly it looks.