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Book review: 『お茶の時間』by Miri Masuda

Introduction

Title: 『お茶の時間』(おちゃのじかん)
Author: Miri Masuda 益田ミリ
Published by 講談社文庫

This is an autobiographical manga (エッセイ漫画) of 155 pages. Contrary to other books by Miri Masuda that had manga and text, 『お茶の時間』is manga only.

Review

お茶の時間は、ふと、なにかを思うための、人間らしい時間だった。

In this manga, Miri Masuda talks about going to a cafe and enjoy the お茶の時間, either alone or with others. Discussing work over a fancy beverage or a delicious looking cake, catching snatches of conversation from the next table, enjoying some time alone… the cafe seems to always be the place where you let your thoughts wander and eventually end up thinking about your life.

If you like Miri Masuda’s style, then you will certainly love this manga too. I enjoyed every one of the stories in this manga, and even though I don’t often go to cafes myself, I found some of the stories very relatable, like the one that takes place in Korea.

Miri Masuda goes to all sorts of cafes, from the crowded Starbucks to the fancy and expensive Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons Hotel in Marunouchi. I have never experienced going to expensive cafes, but the Afternoon Tea experience was described in another novel I have read recently, so it was very interesting to read about it from two different points of view.

Overall speaking, I love Miri Masuda’s autobiographical manga, I like the sincerity with which she confides personal thoughts to the reader. Somehow, it makes me feel more comfortable with my own thoughts or experiences. 『お茶の時間』is also a good way to glimpse at all kinds of different tea/coffee shops in Japan. I think that I should go out more and experience different cafes for myself. (Of course, when the coronavirus is over.)

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