Another Oyajism title makes its way into the Oyaji Romance Manga: Amatsu Sora Naru. I thought reading this title would be a chore because there’s a lot of specialized terminology I’m not familiar with, ranging from the characters’ Kansai-ben to specific terms associated with tea ceremony and traditional Japanese clothing. However, I managed and even enjoyed because it flowed naturally and I was able to fill in (and look up) the blanks. The best part of the manga is the lovely clothing–true to the story’s theme, the main characters are seen in both traditional and Western outfits.
Amatsu Sora Naru by Mori Hinoto
type: josei, romance
length: 1 volume (complete)
Chidori is the heir to a household that has practiced Japanese tea ceremony for generations, but she has no personal interest in these traditions or carrying on the family business. She’s more enamored with modern and foreign trends and attends an American university. However, she’s called back to Japan and has to endure her strict mother and uncomfortable, constricting kimono.
Chidori meets a local kimono merchant and cleaner, Saiuchi Tsumugi. Although Tsumugi always maintains a polite smile, his words are sharp and he’s not shy about sharing criticism. Although a bit harsh and hard to read, he never completely rebuffs Chidori. She is intrigued by Tsumugi, always finding herself drawn back to his shop. But before she can get to know him better, she has to deal with her mother’s plans for an arranged marriage. With Tsumugi’s (not particularly gentle) encouragement, Chidori has to assert herself and decide her own future.
The oyaji: Saiuchi Tsumugi
42 years old. His store sells and cleans kimono. He’s not a dry cleaner–his shop practices the arai hari cleaning method in which the kimono is taken apart, the panels are washed separately, and then resewn together. Although he’s quite skilled in traditional practices and often seen wearing kimono, he has interest and experience in foreign affairs and culture. Chidori’s mother offhandedly warned her not to become interested in Tsumugi, which was a bit of a mystery.