Some people are fortune enough to be able to regularly travel to Japan. They can browse the shelves at a wide variety of Japanese book stores and find unknown treasures and new series to read that exist outside of what is localized in their country. Some people shop online but that is mostly convenient for getting what you already know exists. If you know the series you can find everything from art books to calendars online at great prices. But if you are looking for a new series to get into you have to do a decent amount of research before you can even begin to browse online. Kinokuniya lets you have that Japanese book store experience without having to cross the Pacific Ocean.
After her visit to Toronto, which of course I couldn’t attend, we were lucky that Natsume Ono made a brief appearance in New York City at Kinokuniya. Even though Kino is often having events, getting a manga-ka is still fairly rare. For those of you less familiar with her, she is the manga-ka behind House of Five Leaves, Ristorante Paradiso, and Not Simple among many others. Natsume was kind and gracious, but camera-shy, and she spent a few moments in every signing to do a sketch.
As I have stated in the past my favorite part of any anime conventions is the ability to meet incredibly talented artists in the fields of anime and manga. The most coveted professionals are manga-ka because their schedules often make it that they cannot be pried away from their desks due to their hellish schedules. So I leap at the chance to speak to any working manga-ka as they usually have made a major sacrifice to appear in the US. When they are at something free like Kinokuniya it is a unmissable treat.
Kinokuniya in New York usually has one event for anime and manga fans every month. I have stopped in from time to time but December 12th was Anime and Manga day and it was a little bigger than their normal events. I got an invitation from Vertical and Mari Morimoto to attend the event because they were having a launch event for Osamu Tezuka’sAyako with a dinner afterward. That alone sold me on a trip to Manhattan but there were few other panels that drew my interest as well. I will skip the embarrassing story that is a prelude to this event but anyone who follows my twitter might have noticed my blunder. Continue reading →