What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 18
What Did You Eat Yesterday? volume 18 is another outstanding example of my favorite manga series.
It’s the story of Shiro, a lawyer, and his partner Kenji, a hair stylist, and the meals they have together. But it’s about a lot more than that — Shiro and Kenji are now firmly middle-aged (over 50), and so they deal with conversations about inheritance after one of them passes, complicated by the differences in legal status of a gay couple (as marriage equality isn’t the case in Japan at the time of the story).
Shiro is making the choice to work less challenging (and thus less remunerative) cases so he can get home in time to share dinner with Kenji. Meanwhile, Kenji is dealing with what his age means for the kinds of clients he gets for styling. In this volume, we also see them celebrating Halloween and New Year’s with special meals with friends.
The relationship between the two men is quietly solid, without a lot of proclamations or affection shown, but their trust in each other comes through. And while I rarely feel as though I could make the specific dishes shown, between the different ingredients and convenience products, I have learned a lot about balancing side dishes and using leftovers and including vegetables in meals. The food is illustrated with detail and appeal.
In this installment, author Fumi Yoshinaga also touches on recent world changes. The pandemic isn’t specifically mentioned, but we’re told the salon Kenji works at had some periods of closure, and Shiro was the only person at his firm that didn’t work from home. Mostly, we hear about struggling through a bad economy, and how Shiro thinks about splitting expenses with Kenji. It was a reminder that in spite of everything that’s been (and still) going on, we can survive with those we love.