In late 2005 Dirk Schwieger, a German cartoonist, went to live in Japan for a year. He got an office job, and started keeping a journal of his experiences in Tokyo. On his blog, he invited readers to email him "assignments," which he dutifully carried out and reported in comic strip format in a Moleskine notebook.
The assignments included eating fugu (blowfish sashimi that has a toxin that could kill you if not prepared properly), going to a capsule hotel, visiting the Ghibli Museum, riding a roller coaster on top of a building in a shopping center, reporting on the "coolest of the cooler things happening in Japan" (some kind of barrel with poles on it and tentacle-backpacks hanging from it -- I have to admit I had no idea what he was talking about here), eating okonomiyaki (a bowl of raw egg, red ginger, pork, squid, shrimp, and cabbage that you cook yourself), and so on.
Schwieger's art is funny and detailed, and his observations are insightful. Moresukine is an enjoyable, too-brief account of a Westerner trying to discover Japanese culture.Next post