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Good Tokyo Restaurants (Not Comics)
posted January 21, 2009
Rick Kennedy, Ryosuke Kami, Akira Odagiri
Kodansha, softcover, 192 pages, 1985, $9.95
One of the odder books in my far too vast for as many holes as it has comics library is a small book from Kodansha published in the mid-1980s that, as the title suggests, is a page by page guide to Tokyo restaurants. I bought it for 10 cents -- I would imagine most of the information is either unreliable due to 24 years having passed or, and this is more likely, no longer accurate in any way, shape or form. I keep it with the comics because it struck me that the book had not one but two illustrators: Ryosuke Kami (drawings) and Akira Odagiri (cartoons). They're employed in different, instructive ways. Kami's drawings are used for descriptive purposes: they're frequently literal depictions of a scene within the restaurant or the building's exterior. Odagiri's Sergio Aragones-like doodles are employed for laughs and mood, to convey the joy of eating or the occasional comedic tableaux of a kind that might take place in a restaurant. There aren't a ton of comics that mix styles, but few that make that clear a distinction between them; it's an idea I wanted to keep around. Plus the art ain't bad. I can't speak to the reviews, but the writing style is in the classic, droll, and slightly bemused manner of 1930s occidentals discover the peculiarities of the East. I have to hope the food recommended was at least pretty good.