What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 8

What Did You Eat Yesterday, Volume 8Creator: Fumi Yoshinaga
U.S. publisher: Vertical
ISBN: 9781941220238
Released: May 2015
Original release: 2013

I have been a fan of Fumi Yoshinaga’s manga for quite some time now, so I was very happy when her series What Did You Eat Yesterday? was licensed for release in English. Although I’ve enjoyed all of Yoshinaga’s translated work, I was particularly interested in What Did You Eat Yesterday? because it promised and has since proved to be a manga realistically portraying the lives of two gay men (and boyfriends) living together in Japan. As can be safely assumed from the title of the series, What Did You Eat Yesterday? also happens to be a food manga, which is another niche genre that I especially enjoy. Unsurprisingly, with its well-developed characters a touches of humor, I find the series immensely appealing. What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 8 was originally released in Japan in 2013 while Vertical published the English-language edition of the manga in 2015.

As a lawyer, Shiro often finds himself involved in sorting out other people’s relationships, helping to resolve child custody disputes and providing divorce consultations and such. In many ways, this allows him to better appreciate his relationship with his boyfriend Kenji. Shiro isn’t always the most outwardly or physically demonstrative with his affection, especially when in public or when compared to Kenji’s exuberance, but the two men have built a comfortable life together. Their relationship has its ups and downs, just like any other couple might encounter, though being gay in contemporary Japan still has its own particular challenges. While Kenji’s family is largely supportive, Shiro’s parents are still adjusting to the fact that their son is in committed relationship with another man and has been for years. Thankfully, both Kenji and Shiro have close friends and acquaintances who have no problems whatsoever with the two of them being together.

What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 8, page 53While Shiro and Kenji are obviously a couple, What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 8 offers several scenarios in which they’re actually acting as a couple. I honestly enjoyed all of the stories collected in the volume, but two that particularly stood out to me explicitly showed them as boyfriends. The first story featured a trip where the two of them visit Kyoto together for Kenji’s birthday in which Shiro acts more stereotypically romantic and boyfriend-like than he has during the entire rest of the series, stunning Kenji in the process. Granted, the underlying reason for Shiro treating Kenji to such an extravagant vacation is a little heartbreaking when it is revealed. A story taking place a few months later sees Kenji and Shiro baking brownies together to celebrate Valentine’s Day, which is all sorts of sweet and wonderful. That chapter is also an excellent example of how the food and recipes included in What Did You Eat Yesterday? can be directly incorporated into the story itself. Some chapters are more successful at this than others–occasionally the food in the series comes across as being tangential–but I absolutely love when Yoshinaga pulls it off well.

The relationships between the characters of What Did You Eat yesterday?, often expressed through the sharing and enjoyment of food, are a crucial part of the series. There are many different types of relationships portrayed, but What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 8 in particular reminded me of the importance of family relations in the manga. Just like in real life, the opinions and actions of family members can have a tremendous impact on an individual. The eighth volume reveals more about Kenji’s family circumstances when he returns home on the occasion of the death of his father. The acceptance shown to him by his mother and his sisters and their children was comforting to see, giving hope that in time Shiro’s parents, too, will be able to more fully accept their son. Family isn’t necessarily limited by law or blood in the series, either–Shiro ends up becoming a godfather of sorts when the daughter of one of his friends has a baby. And, of course, there is the small family made up of Shiro and Kenji themselves. Though they have their disagreements, What Did You Eat Yesterday? makes it clear that they greatly care for each other.


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  2. […] schedule. I’m a little behind in reviewing the series, but I finally took a closer look at What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 8 by Fumi Yoshinaga. I’m still really loving the manga, especially the realistic portrayal of […]

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