Jiro Talks of Sushi

Sushi Chef: Sukiyabashi JiroSushi chef (and subject of the 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”) Jiro Ono is a true original – passionate, obsessive, opinionated, a perfectionist and a brilliant technician. Diners lucky enough to have experienced a meal at his Tokyo restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro know first-hand that he is the Master.

But the rest of us are left wondering, what is it about Jiro that makes him so good?

In SUSHI CHEF: SUKIYABASHI JIRO, Jiro reveals his secrets. The book is the ultimate guide to all things sushi, from a detailed explanation of what fish to use and why, to seasonal ingredients for nigiri, the preparation process, sushi rice, nori maki and tamagoyaki, pickling ginger, grating wasabi, and much, much more.

Interspersed with the main chapters are “Jiro Sushi Talks,” in which the iconoclastic chef informally chats about a wide range of topics. Among his more eye-opening proclamations:

  • Kohada (gizzard shad) is the Yokuzuna (sumo wrestling champ) of nigiri. My throat    squeaks when I eat it. (p. 43)
  • It’s out of pride as a sushi craftsman that I disregard profit and make shinko (young    gizzard shad) nigiri. (p. 47)
  • The reason Edomae-style ebi (shrimp) is by far the best is that it’s superior in criteria    such as sweetness, aroma, and the color after boiling. This is probably because there’s plenty of food for them. The seawater needs to be somewhat dirty for the kuruma ebi’s food to grow. If the water is clean, ebi won’t live there, so Tokyo Bay became its perfect habitat. (p. 73)
  • Nori is such an important ingredient that it can affect the impression of a sushi    restaurant overall. (p. 208)
  • I’m often told that my customers don’t get thirsty after eating our nigiri. (p. 246)
  • Good sushi restaurants discipline customers. (p. 261)

When it was published in Japanese in 1997, SUSHI CHEF shocked the industry and aficionados alike with its revelations of insider information and startling opinions. Now, with Vertical’s new version, English-speaking sushi lovers everywhere will come to appreciate Jiro’s vision, and to understand why a seat at the counter of Sukiyabashi Jiro is, arguably, the most coveted in Japan.

Tis the Season for Vertical

As we move into the final month of the year, Vertical continues to progress as if there will be no tomorrow. By bringing the best in contemporary Japanese prose and comics we’ll also be filling stockings and hearts up with glee and wonder.

Every December is generally been an exceptional month for Vertical. This year, however, Vertical and Vertical Comics plan to trump previous efforts by bringing forth some of the biggest names in the industry within a few weeks’ span.

Fiction, nonfiction, manga…all from some of the biggest names in Japan are in store and we are more than certain they’ll be part of our readers’ holiday season this year.


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6 Books for Reading…

New Releases

MONOGATARI, Mobile Suit Gundam, and Ninja Slayer roll out to the North American J-Pop market with massive releases following success in Japan and across Asia.

This is it, Char and Amuro for one final showdown amongst the stars. The final volume of The ORIGIN wraps up this critically acclaimed series and then provides a glimpse into the universe after what transpires in the One-Year War.

In volume 2 of Ninja Slayer readers are treated to two more ninja tales. In “Killzone Sumo Wrestler” high-powered salaryman kill time and get their rage on by hunting down genetically engineered freaks in an abandoned mega-mall. Unfortunately for them as their kills pile up they would cross into ninja occupied territory. And in “Last Girl Standing” a She-Ninja is finally revealed. Yamoto’s abilities were latent until the day she was pushed to the brink of death…by another soon to be high school ninja.

In the second omnibus collection of Tokyo ESP a psychic hippo is on the loose! Thankfully, Rinka and her team have been training lately. And that includes Peggy, their trusty flying fish eating penguin. So if psychics and mutants running amok in Tokyo wasn’t enough, now it is like a super-powered zoo is on the loose as well!

The eighth volume of Witchcraft Works begins to reveal the origins of Ayaka and Honoka’s long lasting relationship. A few flashbacks reveal secrets that were deeply suppressed inside the magical pair. And once again, there is more little sister trouble. So moe…

After a short delay, NISIOISIN’s KIZUMONOGATARI is finally shipping. The beloved franchise is finally making its print debut in English with a brand new cover treatment by MONOGATARI illustrator VOFAN. Already shaping up to be a J-prose sleeper hit, KIZU will likely be the most demanded stocking stuffer for J-Pop fans this winter.

Finally, on a slightly more somber note, we will also be releasing a new paperback edition of A Slow Death. This non-fiction recollection of the horrors of radiation poisoning has become increasingly poignant in the aftermath of the Tohoku Tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi Incident.


 

One Last Look at THE ORIGIN

A few years ago everyone, and we do mean everyone, thought Mobile Suit Gundam in English would be a pipe-dream. No one thought it was a good idea.

Now three years later, here we are about to release the twelfth and final volume of this best selling series. Penned by the legendary Yas, The ORIGIN is not only a retelling of the original First Gundam story from 1979, but as readers would come to find out the series ends up building on that series by digging deep and expanding the role of Zeon in this story.

Presented in hardcovers, similar to the Japanese Collectors’ Edition released by Kadokawa, The ORIGIN almost instantly became must buys in the West. Readers praised the deluxe presentation and showcased their collections in numerous reviews and photographs since the first volume dropped in the Spring of 2013.

In the final volume of The ORIGIN we send off this modern classic with a number of extras including an interview between Makoto Shinkai and Yas, and a final afterword from the author himself. Easily a worthy farewell for a title that completely changed the landscape for manga in North America.

And what about the Gundam property after this… Stay tuned to this newsletter for details. In the meantime…

Thank you, Yas for all your hard work! It was an honor to join you in this endeavor.


Digital Stocking Stuffers

Earlier this month Vertical Comics + Kodansha Advanced Media announced new digital editions of a number of Vertical Comics titles, constituting 24 previously digitally uncollected volumes, to be distributed through comiXology, iBooks,Kindle, Kobo, and nook.

Vertical Comics, working in conjunction with Kodansha Advanced Media (KAM), will see more digital releases this holiday season. Previously digitally uncollected series Ajin: Demi-Human, The Flowers of Evil, and Witchcraft Works made their digital book debuts on December 8.

In addition, Chi’s Sweet Home, Knights of Sidonia, and The Drops of God, currently already available at major digital bookstores, will also see release for the first time on the comiXology platform. All 6 series, up to the current print volume, constituting over 50 volumes of material, are on sale on comiXology, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and nook. So rejoice this winter as readers now have even more choices for their eBook needs, while Vertical and KAM further expand their digital catalogs.


Future Releases:

As you can see there is a number of new properties from an equally diverse range of genres and styles. From josei romance to light novels and thrilling Japanese prose to surreal Japanese gag manga, Vertical has treasures for almost every reader’s tree.

So as we close out the year, why not consider a Vertical book (or two) to gift a loved one, or yourself, this holiday season. We’re certain they’ll leave you jolly, healthy and wise.

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
Witchcraft Works © 2015 Ryu Mizunagi; A SLOW DEATH © 2015 NHK; Ninja Slayer © 2012 Ninj@ Entertainment; Mobile Suit Gundam: The ORIGIN © Yoshikazu Yasuhiko 2012, Sotsu – Sunrise; KIZUMONOGATARI © 2008 NISIOISIN; Tokyo ESP © Hajime SEGAWA 2011

A Vertical Feast

Last month we alerted you all of Vertical’s plans for this fall. Big launches for Ninja Slayer and Tokyo ESP followed. A successful New York ComicCon also came out of what was a monstrously big October. But that was just the start of what is going to be a hearty and tasty fourth quarter.

This month is when things really begin to heat up. Two of Vertical’s biggest hit-makers return after extended breaks. The English edition of one of Japan’s top selling novels eve will finally hit stores. To top that all off, we bring you more comedic gold from a rising star of Japanese humor.

There is plenty to be thankful this month, and we would be very grateful if you choose to have Vertical be a part of your fall this year.

A November to be Thankful For

New Releases

Back in 2009, Vertical began an initiative to expand its manga catalog. Prior to then we had only worked with three mangaka, releasing around a pair of titles a year since 2004. Now we have more than 50 manga titles under our belt. The first title from that new wave, though, was Konami Kanata’s Chi’s Sweet Home. By far the best selling manga title in our list and one of the longer running ones, at that, Chi is finally coming to a close this month with what might be the most heart-wrenching releases we have ever put to print. It will be sad to see this series wrap up, but thankfully we’ll be working more with Konami Kanata in the future. So that relationship will continue as we expand the North American cat comics market.

While Chi is big, our best selling authors are actually Aranzi Aronzo. The DIY duo from Osaka broke through globally not long after we introduced the Western world to The Cute Book and Cute Stuff. These collections of creepy-cute so-simple-it’s-fun doll and accessory making books have become a cult hit over the years. Now, five years removed from their last hit The Cuter Book and a number of storefronts later, Aranzi returns to English world with another 40 or so patterns in their Cuter Stuff collection. Crafters of all experience levels will rejoice when they see all the new ideas Aranzi have come up with lately.

In My Neighbor Seki volume 5, Rumi Yokoi might have thought she could escape Seki’s games while her class was on an extended field-trip. She possibly was being a little naive as Seki would not only continue his games on the road, he would even have his beloved Robot Family on the trip with him providing an addition bit of tension into Rumi’s already stressful life. Now with essentially two field trips occurring at once, Rumi must find a way to split her time between watching over her favorite action figures and enjoying her edu-tainment with her classmates. This may be Seki’s most diabolical project yet!

After a brief delay, Naoki Hyakuta’s The Eternal Zero is now scheduled to land in stores this month. Already legendary for breaking sales records in Japan, it has been the subject of a lot of debate and media attention in and out of Asia since it launched in 2006. It is not often the West gets to see books of this magnitude translated so quickly, so we are certain it will cause a stir once it hits North American literature’s radar.

Listen to This!

At New York ComicCon last month Vertical made news when they announced their new line of audio light novels!

Coming Spring 2016 prose releases like KIZUMONOGATARI and Attack on Titan: Harsh Mistress of the City will make their way to MP3 players and eBook readers in the near future. Voiced by trained voice actors and enhanced by music and audio effects, these audio books should give fans new ways to experience their favorite series.

Details, such as when and where these books will debut, are still being worked out. But stay tuned to this newsletter for more information on this new and unique way to enjoy Japanese prose in English!

Future Releases:

So whether in audio or in print (or even digital) as you come together with family and friends this fall, we would be very thankful if you all would gather with a Vertical book (or two). We’re certain they’ll warm you up and satisfy any hunger for entertainment you’d have.

Image Copyrights – All Rights Reserved
My Neighbor Seki © Takuma Morishige 2014; Cuter Stuff © ARANZI ARONZO 2013; The Eternal Zero © Naoki Hyakuta 2006; Chi’s Sweet Home © 2015 Konami Kanata; KIZUMONOGATARI © NISIOISIN 2015

SEARCH, POST, UPDATE, VIEW . . . . VOTE?

General Will 2.0: Rousseau, Freud, GoogleWhat if governments were elected through a system based on subliminal  desires?

What if the most sophisticated technology and analytics were used to determine what a community really wanted from their government rather than what their words and actions seemed to indicate?

In GENERAL WILL 2.0: Rousseau, Freud, Google,  prominent Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma  suggests that the mechanisms for this actually happening are in place, and millions of people all over the world are already participating in the process, without knowing it.

Azuma takes as his starting point, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract, which says that government must be in service to the general will of the people. Rousseau uses the term to mean a collectively held will that aims at the common good, which is different and separate from individual or group interests.

How does Freud enter into the discussion? Azuma looks at Rousseau’s premise of the general will through the lens of Freud’s concept of the unconscious, which is the notion that people are not aware of their true desires. Azuma writes, “Rousseau’s own description of the general will can be interpreted. . . as the grouping of unconscious desires rather than of conscious agreements.” He then goes on to show how the unconscious character of general will 2.0 is related to the defining features of the internet today. Without even realizing it, we’re revealing and depositing massive amounts of personal information every time we do something on the ‘net. Whether we post a blog, connect with a friend on Facebook, search on Google, send a Tweet, or watch a video on YouTube, we’re enriching a database that is, in effect, the general will.  Azuma says, “The individual statements and movements documented therein are perhaps made consciously by the users. But once the accumulated data reaches a massive scale, we can derive through analysis surprising trends and patterns that the users themselves would never be conscious of.”

So. . . if the government serves the general will, and the general will is an aggregate of the unconscious wishes of a community – unfiltered by peer pressure or fear of public censure, and aggregated by the internet —  then this coalescence of unconscious desires becomes the foundation of democratic government in the 21st century.