At the Manga Museum

Yesterday we took our first road trip in our new-to-us hybrid car. Yoshi was eager to try out the navigation system and the newly installed TV-viewing capabilities, and we were due for a family outing, so he was more than happy to drive all the way to Kyoto (at least 2 1/2 hours from here) for the last day of Yuka Hamano’s art exhibit at the Kyoto International Manga

Unfortunately, Hamano-san wasn’t there yesterday, but there was a big display in the lobby advertising the exhibit (as well as posters plastered all over the place) featuring three framed illustrations from Playing for Papa! And the book!


We went upstairs and had a look at more illustrations, some from the best-selling book “Hello Work 13”, a sort of guidebook to help kids decide what they want to be when they grow up based on their current hobbies and interests. I didn’t know much about Hamano’s work when she was contracted to illustrate my story, but now I’m a huge fan. She has a very distinctive style, full of humor and whimsy – and lots of great, true-to-life details, like the bamboo branch sticking out of the magazine rack in Playing for Papa.

After we had a look at the exhibit, we toured the rest of the museum. There are, of course, walls lined with bookshelves full of manga. Everywhere we went, we saw people reading. Downstairs, a couple of caricaturists were at work. We had them draw our kids. And yesterday just happened to be Cosplay Day at the museum.  Apparently, once a month young people dress up as their favorite anime or manga characters and hang out in the courtyard. I’m not sure what, exactly, cosplay (short for “costume play”) involves, but here it seemed to mean vogueing and vamping around in character for the camera.

Lilia is always excited by characters – Hello Kitty and Snoopy at Universal Studios Japans, the occasional appearance of Sudachi-kun in Tokushima – and she was thrilled to see people dressed up as her favorite anime characters. She became particularly excited when she saw this one woman with long dyed (or maybe it was a wig) red hair.

On the way home, Lilia was equally impressed by the golden facade of Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) and a nest of baby swallows under the eaves at the rest stop.


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