MMF: Oishinbo and Food Manga

Is it May 2012? It certainly is!

For this month’s MMF, I’m inviting the manga community to discover the joys of food through Oishinbo & Food Manga!

I’m sure that we’ve had our days where we cursed Oishinbo for making us hungry while reading it. Oishinbo is one of many food manga that shaped the Japanese palette. People know what good food tastes like because they casually read comics that talk about good food, among other things.

Food is at the heart of Japan. With a small resource for agriculture, Japan treasures what they eat. Food in Japan is unique and quite different compared to other countries. Fast food in Japan naturally has salads, pickles, and distinguishable meat. Fresh food entails slivers of raw fish and thin slices of young bamboo served as a sashimi. They eat roe, innards, fish cheeks — every part of the vegetable or animal is used to add flavor or texture to the meal. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is spared.

Food manga in Japan is serious business. Oishinbo is one of many titles that are synonymous to food manga. Other titles like Mr. Ajikko and Cooking Papa have yet to be translated in English. But it’s there. And the fact that some of these titles still go on for more than 100 volumes mean that it’s still relevant to Japanese society. Will it be relevant to the world as well?

If Oishinbo or any food manga has changed your life, then feel free to contribute to this MMF. You don’t have to be a manga critic to chime in~ You can be a foodie or just a manga fan and still be a part of this MMF.

If you want to prepare some things early for the MMF, I’m welcoming reviews, opinions, and so on for the MMF. At the same time, I’d like to invite you all to three activities for the MMF:

1. Oishinbo cooking

I’m not exactly sure how much of the recipes are available in the US edition (so far, I only have the pub edition in English… and the entire Oishinbo in Japanese. OTL) but if you think you can cook a dish featured in Oishinbo or in any food manga, with techniques that you learned from the series, then feel free to post the recipe in your blog. The recipe doesn’t have to be successful for it to be posted. It can be your experiment in achieving the Ultimate Menu! (Also, a warning for us not to get food poisoning!)

2. Ultimate Menu challenge

Oishinbo is not just about cooking, but also tasting the Ultimate Menu. During this week, I encourage Oishinbo journeys, food trips inspired from Oishinbo and other food manga. May it be a trip to a sake bar, a cornetto from a bakery, a breakfast bowl of rice, or your first bowl of mabo tofu, share your Ultimate Menu experience with us!

You can share a blog entry about your Ultimate Menu adventure or you can also just take a picture and post some comments online. If you’re posting your photos via tumblr or twitter, don’t forget to put the hashtag #oishinbommf so we can keep track of your Oishinbo adventure!

3. Oishinbo viking

Viking is a Japan’s term for buffets. Thus, this viking is the usual roundtable discussion among interested members of this group about food culture in Japan and how Oishinbo and food manga has been pivotal in building a generation of gourmets/oishinbo in Japan. I’ll be putting up links on people’s discussions on Oishinbo and food manga. You can look into the themes of localization, specialization, some food debates and what not and perhaps share a chit-chat about the things we’ve learned in Oishinbo while we’re having a drink of sake from our own shores.

Anyhu, if you’re interested in participating in any activity or for other Oishinbo related ideas, please e-mail me at with the e-mail subject of your selected serving (e.g. [OISHINBO VIKING] or [ULTIMATE MENU CHALLENGE]) or [OISHINBO VIKING] if you’re not just sure just place [OISHINBO MMF].

If you’re in tumblr or twitter, just use any of these hashtags to submit your entry: #oishinbommf, #oishinbo, #mmf.

Entries during the Oishinbo MMF

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