Imagine that you are a regular Italian commuter on Line 2 of the Milan Metro subway. The train pulls up to Moscova station and you get off as usual. But wait! This isn’t right! You must have dozed off. This doesn’t look like Moscova station; it doesn’t even look like Italy. Like Captain Kirk in “Star Trek,” you’ve leaped time and space and have been beamed to Shibuya station in Tokyo.
As a senior project at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan, designer Mika Tsutai came up with this manga comic drawing approach to decorating Japanese-style plates. It’s a sight-gag that really works best when dining Japanese style, where each dish is served on its own small plate, rather than served with side dishes and entrée placed together on one large dinner plate.
On Tsutai’s manga plates, the food itself becomes the “hero” or subject of the story — e.g., the fist drawing striking a pulverized food mass; the strawberry slices forming the woman’s earrings, a volcano erupting a red lava flow. The presentation is meant to be appreciated as a single visual image. Even the arrangement of plates imitates the panels of manga comic strips. This is just as Tsutai intended. “By placing these dishes in a particular manner, you can transform your dinner table into a story, just like that of a page from a Japanese comic,” he says. It’s an interesting concept for those who like to be entertained while eating, but it’s hard on the cook who has to plan the menu around the storyline. Via Design Boom.
It was bound to happen. Publisher Shogakukan in Japan has just issued the second of two manga Twitter comic books, explaining the benefits of social media. Drawn by cartoonist Yoko Gendai, the first Twitter manga called “Mitaka no Chushin de Nau wo Tsubuyaku” – or “I Tweeted Now at Mitaka” – depicts in manga cartoons the artist’s experience in registering with Twitter and mastering Twitter protocol. The second manga Twitter book, released September 25, called “Koma de Tanoshimu Tonari no Twitter” – or “Twitter – Joy of Twitter in 4-Frame Cartoon” – is drawn by Ajiko Kojima and relates amusing incidents that Twitter users face regularly. These two manga Twitter books follow on the heels of a Twitter novel called “Twitter Shousetsu – 140 ji no Monogatan” – or “Twitter Novels – 140 Letters Stories,” published by Discover Twenty-One. It features very very short 140 letter stories by ten established Japanese authors. One reviewer pointed out, however, that Japanese characters can convey roughly double the information possible in equivalent 140 English letters, so maybe that isn’t as impressive as composing a Twitter novel in English. Then again, the Japanese invented the 17-syllable haiku and the 35-syllable tanka poetic forms, so literary brevity is an inherent part of the culture.