• 変わりつつある外国人社長

    [From June Issue 2013]


    Although some people say that the taxes and infrastructure of Japan makes it difficult to start up a business here, non-Japanese startups do exist. But due to the reluctance of Japanese companies to hire non-Japanese, until now, these foreigners had no choice but to become translators or restaurant owners serving up their native cuisine. These days, however, the numbers of a new breed of non-Japanese company presidents are swelling.

    “Japanese people are very enthusiastic about their hobbies. Ordinary office workers go to schools after five pm to learn English, or to take music classes. I thought I’d like to teach guitar to people who have such a love of learning,” says American, Michael KAPLAN. Overcoming many difficulties, he established American Guitar Academy, a guitar school in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.

    Having majored in guitar at college, Kaplan is a professional guitar instructor with a master’s degree. He had taught guitar in the USA. When he visited Japan on holiday in 2006, he loved the country. “With its beauty and cleanliness, it made a good impression on me and I came back in 2008. Because Japan is a wealthy country, many people love art. There are so many people who go to art museums, and there are many jazz-clubs, too. Jazz is close to my heart, so the numerous jazz fans impressed me very much.”

    Kaplan wanted to teach guitar in Japan, so he looked into how to do this. Then he found out that not only is it difficult for non-Japanese to live in Japan, but that it is even more difficult to start up a business. It’s hard to acquire a visa, also, if you want to start up a company, it’s necessary to establish an office, but landlords are reluctant to rent to non-Japanese. “Some people advised me to use a small place with only a telephone line and post box as an office. But I had my Japanese friends help to convince a landlord to rent out an office to me.”

    Kaplan came to Japan to open his school in February, 2011. He was badly hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred one month later, but he says with a smile, “Dreams come true if you don’t give up. If there are difficulties, all you have to do is just change your approach and try again.” His policy of teaching guitar in English went down well, and now the number of his pupils has swelled to 80, he has taken on new instructors. “My next goal is to make my school the most recognized guitar school in Japan,” he says.

    Having established Langtech, a software company, that produces apps, in his native country, Canadian Alain BRETON continues to develop his business in Japan. The Great East Japan Earthquake was the trigger for starting up his business. “Until then, I was an English teacher, but after the earthquake, work dried up. I had a lot of time on my hands and I needed to earn money to live,” he says.

    Breton visited Japan in 2004 while travelling around many countries. “It was April,” he remembers. “Tokyo was filled with cherry blossoms and people were happily enjoying cherry blossom viewing; after seeing this I fell in love with Japan,” he smiles. “Of course after a while I found out that I had come during the best season in Japan, but even to this day my positive feeling about Japan hasn’t changed.”


    Alain BRETON / App LEXI


    Breton returned to Japan once again as an English teacher, while also attending a Japanese language school. Then he got the idea for the business he runs today. “There were many Chinese and Korean students in my class. They improved really quickly.”

    Taking into account his experience at the Japanese language school and the environment he grew up in, Breton, who speaks English, French, and Spanish, came to the conclusion that vocabulary was vital to learning foreign languages. “The reason why Chinese and Korean students learned to speak faster was because there are similar words to Japanese in Chinese and Korean. That is why I developed the educational app ‘LEXI’ in which you touch a photo of an item when you hear a native speaker saying the name of that thing out aloud. Colorful pictures help with memorization, so you can learn words while playing a game.”

    He then received an email from a user asking him to“please make an app for children.” “Children of immigrants and children who have learning difficulties want to use iPads and iPhones, so they can learn without becoming bored. That is why I quit my job as an English teacher and established my company.” He is saddened by the fact that, except for teaching a language, it is very difficult for non-Japanese to make a living in Japan. “Because there was little variation in the routine of an English teacher, I wanted to change things up and to continue developing my skills. Starting up a business has made my life more varied and I am very happy now.”

    There are some people who choose to start a business by collaborating with Japanese partners. Ariawan, an Indonesian national who went to university in his own country and was hired by a big corporation, left his job after six months. He then established an IT company with three of his friends. “The corporation managed their business in an inefficient way. I created software and recommended it to them. They then said, ‘Start your own company. We will buy in your software from that company.’”

    Ariawan eventually wanted to go abroad to study further. So, he sold his company and came to Japan. After getting a master’s degree, he began to work in Japan, where he met and partnered up with Japanese citizen, KAKIYAMA Takehiro. The two established FlutterScape Inc. in May, 2010.

    “Kakiyama was in charge of setting up our company,” says Ariawan. “Our company runs a membership based shopping site named MONOCO that sells unique merchandise. I am in charge of the technical side of our website.” Though they’ve gone through some tough times, sales have increased by 20% in one year and they now employ a staff of nine of various nationalities.

    “English is mainly used in our company. Our headquarters is currently located in Tokyo, but we might move to a country with more favorable tax laws. As for myself, I wouldn’t mind going back to start a business in Indonesia someday. Because the economy is now rapidly growing,” says Ariawan. It seems that even in Japan, the time has come for people and businesses to move beyond borders.

    The American Guitar Academy

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo










    ブレトンさんは再来日して英語教師になり、同時に日本語学校にも通い始めました。そして今のビジネスのアイディアを得ました。「クラスには中国人や韓国人の学 生がおおぜいいました。彼らの上達が、とても早かったんです」。









    Read More
  • 並んでも食べたい! パンケーキが大ブーム

    [From June Issue 2013]


    The Harajuku area in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, is a spawning ground for new trends. Crepes have long been the confection of choice in Harajuku, but recently there’s been a pancake boom. Cafes are increasingly adding pancakes to their menus, and recipes and techniques for making great pancakes at home can be found on the Internet.

    In the past few years, from JR Harajuku to Omotesando Avenue – including the Jingu-mae area – shops specializing in pancakes have been popping up one after another. “Eggs’n Things” is so popular that customers line up outside before the store opens. About 900 people of different sexes and ages visit the shop each day and the wait can be as much as two and a half hours.

    Eggs’n Things is a popular breakfast restaurant in Hawaii. President OGINO Shinobu says, “Hoping to spread the Western custom of eating a hearty meal for breakfast, we opened our first store in Japan in March 2010.” Word quickly spread, and their fluffy, crispy Hawaiian style pancakes became a huge hit. It’s been said that the pancake boom originated from this shop.

    The most popular item on the menu is pancakes with strawberry whipped cream and macadamia nuts. The plentiful whipped cream has a light texture, so the dish appeals not only to women, but also to men. The pancakes themselves aren’t sweet, so they go very well with stir-fried potatoes and ham. The store offers a number of Hawaiian dishes such as “Spam & Eggs” and “Loco Moco,” and after 5 p.m. you can enjoy alcoholic drinks, such wine and beer, while eating pancakes.

    “Pancakes used to considered to be a sweet confection, but since they began to be enjoyed as a savory meal, their appeal has broadened across the generations,” says Ogino. “I don’t think pancakes would have become this popular if they had remained a mere confection.”

    Pancakes are called “hottoke-ki” (hot cakes) in Japan. Their dough tastes slightly sweet, so they are usually eaten with butter and jam. Hot cakes first appeared on the menu of a department store restaurant in Tokyo in 1923. In those days they were considered to be a luxury Western dish; something people aspired to eat.

    Before long, pancake mix became available in stores and people could easily prepare and eat them at home. SUZUKI Hideko, a homemaker in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, says: “It’s great that you can make something delicious with only eggs and milk. To reproduce the taste of shop bought pancakes, I add ricotta cheese and yogurt to the dough. The charm of pancakes is that you never get tired of their simple taste, and you can also devise different variations, depending on the ingredients you use.”

    Civitas is a coffee shop in Ota Ward, Tokyo, which has been around since 1968. Since the shop opened, their pancakes have been popular. They are thick, crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. People come from miles away, taking a number of different trains, just to get a taste. This pancake boom has once again put the spotlight on Japanese-style “hot cakes.”

    Eggs’n Things

    Text: MUKAI Natsuko




    JR原宿駅から表参道、神宮前周辺にかけて、数年前からパンケーキ専門店の出店が相次いでいます。「Eggs’n Things」は、開店前から既に行列ができるほどの人気店です。男女年齢問わず1日900人ほどが訪れ、長いときで2時間半待つこともあります。

    Eggs’n Thingsはハワイで人気のブレックファーストレストランです。代表取締役の荻野忍さんは話します。「日本でも朝からしっかりとした食事をとる欧米の朝食文化を広めたいという思いから、2010年3月に日本第1号店をオープンしました」。看板メニューである、ふんわりとして香ばしいハワイアンスタイルのパンケーキは、たちまち話題を呼び、人気となりました。パンケーキブームは、この店から始まったといわれています。






    Eggs’n Things


    Read More
  • 国民栄誉賞受賞者のほとんどがスポーツ選手と芸能人

    [From June Issue 2013]

    On May 5, Prime Minister ABE Shinzou presented the People’s Honor Award to baseball superstars NAGASHIMA Shigeo and MATSUI Hideki. This award is designed to honor individuals who are widely respected by citizens, and have made an outstanding contribution to society by lifting the spirits of the general public. This honorable award was established in 1977 and is presented by the prime minister.

    The first recipient of this award was OH Sadaharu; just like this time, he is a professional baseball player. The award was founded when he set a world homerun record, and the then prime minister, FUKUDA Takeo, honored his achievement by presenting him with the award. Up to now 22 people and a team have received the award. This February former sumo grand champion TAIHO, who had the highest number of sumo tournament winnings, received the award. Most recipients are selected from the worlds of sports and entertainment.

    The award tends to be given to athletes who have achieved outstanding results; for instance, marathon runner TAKAHASHI Naoko. At the Sydney Olympics she historically became the first Japanese woman to win a gold medal in track-and-field events. The team representing Japan (Nadeshiko Japan) who won the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011, also won the award for the same reason.

    The award is also given to those who are recognized for their lifetime contribution to their particular field, especially in the entertainment field. Therefore, 12 people received the award posthumously. Taiho, who excelled in his sport before the award was founded, was honored after he had passed away. As a result, demands, that the award should be given during a person’s lifetime, have increased.

    Nagashima was a heavy hitter who played alongside Oh, the first recipient of the award, and, with his overwhelming popularity, contributed greatly to the development of baseball. After performing exceptionally well in Japan, Matsui played for the Yankees in the major league (USA) and was selected as the MVP (Most Valuable Player) in the 2009 World Series. As Nagashima had not had a chance to receive the award, when Matsui retired this year, both Nagashima and Matsui received the award together taking into account their relationship as student and teacher.

    Prime Minister’s Influence is Reflected in the Selection of Recipients

    People have been critical of the fact that since there are no standard rules, the prime minister’s own tastes are reflected in the selection of recipients and that he is able to use the award to increase his own popularity with the public. For instance, it’s been pointed out that, TANI Ryoko is well qualified to receive the award for her achievements in women’s judo. She has won two gold, two silver and one bronze medals at five Olympics.

    People have also highlighted the following personalities: KITAJIMA Kousuke, who won four gold medals in swimming; NOMO Hideo who with his excellent performance, paved the way for Japanese players to enter major league baseball in the USA; HARIMOTO Isao who holds the record for the most number of hits in Japanese baseball; and KITANO Takeshi who is a TV personality and film director.

    Some have refused to receive the award. Though composer KOSEKI Yuji was nominated for the award after his death, his family refused to receive the award. FUKUMOTO Yutaka who set a world record for the highest number of bases stolen in baseball, turned it down, saying, “If I receive such an award. I would not be able to take a piss standing up.” Ichiro, who currently plays for the Yankees has declined twice, saying, “I am still active and developing as a player.”











    Read More
  • 福井県――北陸の文化と日本海の風景が広がる

    [From June Issue 2013]


    Fukui Prefecture is located in the northwest of the Chubu region. Rich in natural resources, since it faces the Japan Sea, it also has an abundance of seafood such as echizen crab, wakasa puffer fish and amaebi shrimp. Divided into two regions by the Kinome pass; to the east is Reihoku and to the west is Reinan. Reihoku – known as Echizen in the past – has deep snows in the wintertime. Because of its proximity to Kyoto, Reinan – also known as Wakasa – has been heavily influenced by the former capital’s culture.

    Located in Reihoku on the Fukui Plain is Fukui City, the capital of the prefecture. Within the city beside the Asuwagawa river is Yokokan, the villa of the Matsudaira family, who formerly ruled the Fukui domain. These Edo era buildings have been reconstructed and it’s also possible to enjoy the beautiful gardens there. Visitors can see what life was like in the old days deep in the snow country at Osagoe Minka En, where five dismantled private houses from the Edo era, have been reconstructed.

    In the suburbs of Fukui City are the Ichijoudani-asakurashi Ruins; a former castle town from which the Asakura family ruled over Echizen during the Warring States period. The family thrived for a century until they were overthrown by ODA Nobunaga in the War of Unification. As you stroll through the valley along the reconstructed streets, past the Asakura mansion ruins and its gardens, you almost get the sense that you have travelled back in time to that era. Also impressive is Japan’s oldest remaining castle tower, Maruoka Castle, in the neighboring city of Sakai.

    Located further inland is Katsuyama City, a “dinosaur town” that attracts international attention for its excavations of dinosaurs and research into fossils. Shaped like a huge egg, Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum has an impressive collection of more than 40 dinosaur skeletons on display. There is a lot to see, what with its enormous amount of specimens on display and large scale dioramas.

    If you’re interested in Zen, don’t miss out on a visit to Eiheiji temple. Built around 770 years ago by the Buddhist monk, Dogen, this majestic temple, surrounded by huge Japanese cedar trees said to be 700 years old, is the headquarters (to some 12,000 other temples) of the Soto sect. Even today about 200 unsui (monks in training) practice ascetic disciplines according to strict rules. There, it’s possible to experience Zen practices such as zazen (simply sitting single-mindedly) and sutra transcription.

    Well-known throughout Japan, Tojinbo cliffs have been designated as one of Japan’s natural monuments. Created by wave erosion, these rugged, immense cliffs stretch for about a kilometer and the sight of raging waves breaking against them is breathtaking. To the north of Tojinbo is Oshima, a small island about two kilometers in circumference, where, after crossing a long vermilion-painted bridge and climbing stone steps, visitors arrive at a mysterious place. Since ancient times, the island has been revered by locals as being divine.

    East of Oshima is Echizen Matsushima Aquarium. Their popular displays are not only visual, but also creative and interactive. There are also pools in which you can touch dolphins, sharks and huge octopuses, and swim with fish in summertime. It’s possible to experience the sensation of floating on the surface of the sea by lying down on the transparent acrylic floor of the “Coral Seawater Tank,” in which tropical fish swim.

    If you are going to stay the night in Reihoku, we recommend staying at Awara Onsen. This spa resort has a history stretching back 130 years and has gardens, open air baths and plenty of seafood dishes to be enjoyed. Across the rotary from Awara-yu-no-machi station on the Echizen Line, is “Yukemuri Yokocho,” a street with outdoor food stalls. There you can enjoy broiled offal and ramen in an old world atmosphere.

    The Echizen Coast is perfect for driving along. Created by the waves and wind from the Sea of Japan, “Kochomon” is a large natural tunnel of craggy and oddly-shaped rocks. In wintertime, echizen daffodils blossom, covering the cliffs, their yellow color contrasting impressively with the blue of the sea. You can also eat echizen crab, a winter delicacy, and other fresh seasonal seafood.

    Another attraction of Fukui Prefecture is the lacquer ware of Sabae City and the washi (Japanese paper) of Echizen City. Sabae also has more than 100 years of history of producing glasses. With their advanced technology, Sabae enjoys a more than 90% domestic share of the spectacle market. At the “Glasses Museum” dioramas show how glasses were produced 100 years ago and there is a glasses shop that stocks the latest stylish models.

    On the other side of the Kinome ridge, in Reinan is Tsuruga City, which was formerly a way station for cargo ships making their way between Hokkaido and Kyoto or Osaka. Not far from the port area is the “Pine Tree Field of Kehi,” one of three best pine tree forests in Japan, offering a beautiful tricolor landscape of sea, beach and pine trees. To the west of Tsuruga is Mikata Five Lakes; five lakes with different water qualities and depths. These beautiful lakes change color with the seasons and are also known as the “Five-colored Lakes.”

    Further west, the city of Obama is famous for its numerous temples and has been called “Nara by the sea.” Under the cultural influence of the capital, Obama prospered as the starting point of the “Mackerel Way” – a route called “Saba Kaido” that used to run between Wakasa and Kyoto, which transported goods, like seafood, including mackerel. The charming city streets, including the red-light district (pleasure districts containing geisha), of “Sanchomachi” still remain.

    The best known souvenir from Fukui is “habutae mochi.” It’s a sticky rice cake made to resemble “habutae” – a kind of silk that used to be produced in Fukui. Fukui also has many other souvenirs that go well with alcoholic drinks: mackerel sushi named after the Mackerel Way and the dried “heshiko” Wakasa mackerel. Traditional crafts like refined Japanese-style candles and Wakasa lacquered chopsticks are also popular.

    To get to Fukui by plane, use Komatsu airport. It takes just over an hour from Haneda airport (Tokyo). From the airport to the urban area of Fukui City, it takes roughly one hour by bus. By train from JR Tokyo station to Maibara station on the Tokaido bullet train (shinkansen) Hikari, it takes about two hours and ten minutes. After transferring to the Shirasagi special express, you’ll arrive at Tsuruga in around 30 minutes. It takes about an hour to Fukui City.

    Fukui Tourist Association
    Awara-yukemuri Souseijuku

    Text: YAMAZAKI Yuriko



















    Read More
  • まんがやアニメのファンが楽しめるイベントを目指して

    [From June Issue 2013]


    TOYAKO Manga Anime Festa

    Toyako-cho in Hokkaido is a beautiful hot spring town. The town is known for being the location of the Toyako G8 Summit in 2008. Though this town has a rather staid reputation, this completely changes during two days in June. This is because the “TOYAKO Manga Anime Festa” is held here.

    The first time this event was held was four years ago. The ball got rolling after a consultation on what should be done to celebrate the 100th anniversary since the hot spring resort was opened. SASAKI Takuichi who owns a restaurant and hotel in the town suggested hosting an event for people who like comics and animation. He was simply motivated by the fact that he himself liked them; young people in the area gave their support. However, the idea was seriously opposed by the local elderly population.

    “Having received a powerful impression of extreme cosplayers on TV, elderly people were anxious about the sort of people who would attend. It’s not generally understood that this is simply a hobby that normal people enjoy.” In addition, some people mentioned that it might damage the reputation of the town that was known for holding a summit. Two meetings were held to explain matters. “The atmosphere was just as if we were trying to build a dam.”

    Once consent had been acquired, the event was successfully held, attracting around 3,000 people. Though originally planned as a one-off event, requests came in from attendees for the event to be held there again the following year. People, who had at first been opposed, came around after they discovered that participants had been well mannered; properly taking their garbage home with them.

    The event began to be held annually. In the second year there were 7,000 attendees, and by the time the third event was held last year, 30,000 people turned up. This has become an event that brings people to the town. “We do not host this event in order to revitalize the town.” Sasaki became vice chairman and, taking the point of view of an anime or manga fan, is always thinking of ways to improve visitors’ enjoyment of the event.

    Pretty much anything related to manga and anime goes on at the event: talks are given by voice actors, there are exhibitions of works, and fanzines are sold. “Itasha” cars with characters painted onto them gather and people in costume walk in and out of local stores. On the other hand, there are set rules for the general public about taking photographs of cosplayers and there are strict restrictions prohibiting the distribution of images and video. These rules take into account the feelings of people who might be hiding the fact that they cosplay from their acquaintances and employer, allowing them to enjoy the event without feeling self-conscious.

    This year – on June 22 and 23 – will be the fourth time the event will be held. More visitors are expected to attend. “It would be terrible if we lost sight of our goal of getting visitors to enjoy themselves,” says Sasaki. “One of the unique things about this event is that staff and visitors are brought together,” he says proudly. This year he is planning to get dressed up as his favorite character in order to freely interact with visitors.

    TOYAKO Manga Anime Festa

    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo













    Read More
  • 金魚に救われた美術家が器の中に金魚を描く

    [From June Issue 2013]


    FUKAHORI Riusuke

    After graduating from art college, FUKAHORI Riusuke worked in the corporate world, but he quit his job at the age of 26 to realize his dream of becoming an artist. However, he did not excel in any genre and neither did he have an original technique. Worried about his future, he was on the verge of giving up his dream. One day, exhausted from worry, he lay down in his room and caught sight of a goldfish in his aquarium. He had won this female goldfish at a summer festival seven years earlier in a “scooping goldfish” game.

    “I hadn’t looked after it and the tank was dirty with feces, but the bright red fish had grown to about 20 centimeters in length. From above it looked so beautiful that it sent shivers down my spine. It was as if the fish was crying out, asking why no one had paid any attention to her existence. I knew right there and then that she would save me,” recalls Fukahori. He now calls this his “goldfish salvation” day.

    “In the early days, I would paint goldfish with shadows to create a sense of solidity. But I realized that to survive as an artist that wasn’t enough, and continued experimenting to create my own technique. One day I recalled my experience of working part time with resin. I tried painting directly onto transparent resin and achieved excellent results.”

    In 2002, two years after “goldfish salvation,” he came out with his 3D goldfish painted with a technique he’d developed himself. These realistic goldfish, that looked as if they were frozen in time, made quite an impact and came to be highly valued as works of art. Winning an art prize the next year, in 2007 he opened a new studio in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, and in 2009, began exhibiting overseas in countries such as Germany, the UK and Hong Kong.

    Fukahori’s painted goldfish aren’t in aquariums, but in teacups, square shaped containers for measuring sake and even old drawers. He explains that this is because, “I don’t paint by observing real goldfish. I watch my pet goldfish daily. When I look at a vessel, goldfish just pop into my mind’s eye and I paint from memory.”

    Goldfish are commonly found in aquariums in Japan. Unlike tropical sea fish, they depend on humans to exist. Fukahori says, “Goldfish are not only beautiful and mysterious, but also poignant creatures. Just as humans pollute the earth, they pollute aquariums with their own feces. They make me think about life and the environment day after day.”

    Though there have been times when he’s gone without sleep in order to complete big commissions, he no longer accepts these requests. Fukahori, who was born and grew up not far from the famous goldfish breeding city of Yatomi, Aichi, says, “Just like goldfish breeders, I want to breathe life into my imaginary goldfish and create works that people will fall in love with.” Today he continues to paint, searching for answers to the puzzle of what the existence of goldfish means to him personally.

    Kingyo Yougajou



    深堀 隆介さん









    Read More
  • 個性的な6人が繰り広げるアクション・ストーリー

    [From June Issue 2013]


    Yukan Club

    “Yukan Club” is a manga which was first serialised in a magazine in 1981. The well-paced plot revolves around six super rich and eccentric male and female high school students and contains suspense, action, horror and romance. Read by readers of all different ages, no matter what their gender, even today, the work occasionally appears in magazines.

    The six main characters all attend Saint President Academy: KENBISHI Youri, an excellent fighter and daughter of a wealthy family; sharp minded KIKUMASAMUNE Seishirou whose family runs a large hospital; graceful HAKUSHIKA Noriko whose parents are a Japanese painting artist and a master of a tea ceremony school; mechanical whizz kid SHOUCHIKUBAI Miroku who is the son of the superintendent general of the Metropolitan Police; the fashionable KIZAKURA Karen whose mother is a jeweler; and the handsome playboy Bidou GRANDMARNIER who is the son of the ambassador of Sweden.

    The word “yukan,” in the title means either having free time or having too much time on your hands. The six main characters who are very good friends are also members of the student council. Bored of their unchanging routine, the group name themselves the “YukanClub.” Because every member is an eccentric and stands out at school, other students admire them.

    The first episode begins when Karen’s mother mistakenly sells an imitation jewel to a customer. To help their friend out, the Youkan Club plans to switch the fake jewel with a real one at a party. On top of this, a chain of events unfolds in which Youri is kidnapped, a murder is committed and they come into contact with supernatural forces. The main characters all make use of their special abilities to solve difficult cases.

    Besides the main characters, other highlights include family members, pets and the different villains that appear in each episode. Many offbeat characters, such as Youri’s father, Mansaku, and Miroku’s father SHOUCHIKUBAI Tokimune, appear and have an important part to play. Additionally, depictions of the luxurious and extravagant lifestyle of the wealthy characters mean that readers never get bored. They take cruise trips on luxurious passenger liners, and Mansaku even flies his private jet to Hong Kong just to eat gyouza (dumplings).

    In an interview on the Youkan Club official website, the author of these manga, ICHIJO Yukari says, “I want to depict what I can’t do myself in manga. Stories that are ‘so delicious’ they’re like a dream.” The greatest charm of this manga is that, though it is about Japanese high school students, it depicts an imaginary world that is completely different from our own daily lives.

    An official fan book was published in 2002 which included an introduction to all characters in the story, an interview with the author and secret behind the scenes stories about the production. In addition, it has been adapted into an animated cartoon and was broadcast as a serialized TV drama.

    Text: SHIBATA Rie












    Read More