Day 187 – waiting for Talas in the International Manga Museum
Big storm, wanna be typhoon, Talas is slowly approaching us from the vast Pacific. The main sign of its impending visit is the rain and random gushes of wind blasts that come from nowhere and break flimsy umbrellas.
To the contrast of the wet miserable outside, our late breakfast is calm and cozy.
We decide to spend the day in the safety of the Manga Museum, Miss Fab being the happiest about this decision, as the biggest fan of the art.
On the way over we not only get soaking wet from the waist down, but manage to marvel at the bus stop gadget that lets you know about how far the bus is. Entertain the kids for free – double tick.
Manga, for those completely unfamiliar with the term, is basically comics that originate in Japan. That is not to say that they are the same as the comics that we know. Although the differences are slowly washing away, manga has never been just for children. Yes, there is a book for the little kid around the corner, but also for the growing prepubescent, the annoying teenager as well as his stuck-in-commute-hell father or mother, and not last the sexually frustrated bachelor or romantic couple next door are equally serviced by the genre. The drawing style is less realistic than what we are used to, but the stories on the other hand, are firmly connected with the daily ‘mundane’ (think American Splendor). Even books for the little ones shy away from topics of death and sensuality.
I am not a manga fan or anything, but I like books and quality graphics, so spending time in the museum was not hard at all. Miss Fab is our resident budding appreciator and she quickly settles into the English selection wall.
The museum is housed in what used to be a school and has a lovely feel of comfort and history about it, very fitting with the subject matter. One of our favorite rooms turns out to be the reading section for the children, where we spend quite some time sprawled on the magic carpet.
Hey, Bulgarian readers, do you remember Барбароните? A trip down memory line…
A room on the third floor houses a small collection of items from the past history of the building.
“Filial devotion to parents”..mmmm…
All around the place, people of all ages sit quietly and savor the contents of the pages in front of them. It gives me some understanding of why manga is so popular, not only in Japan, but worldwide. Its accessible, unpretentious, quick and for everybody. Even I get lost in few of the books, without being able to read a word of the storyline.
Flicking through the pages I see fun, love, friendship,sex, fighting, longing, sadness…life.
One of the last books I pick depicts the pretty explicit love story of two young men and it affirms my new found appreciation for manga and indirectly for the Japanese way that left it down there on the lower shelf, accessible to anyone.