Progress Bar Key
Story/Artwork: The Story, Drawing, Inking, and Computer Work
Final Edits: Post-Production Edits
Incidentals: Designing the Cover, Preparing for Press, etc.
(More information about Tonoharu can be found here.)
Hurray! The artwork for Tonoharu: Part Two is finally done! The whole book now exists in a complete, readable state! All that’s left now are some final edits and the cover, and then it will be totally done.
For Tonoharu: Part One, the final edits were a real ordeal, and took months of dedicated work. Almost all the panels in the first book underwent significant cosmetic edits (as described here). Thankfully I’ve developed into a more consistent artist since then, so Part Two won’t require nearly as much of these sorts of changes.
So when will Tonoharu: Part Two be out? I’m thinking fall or winter of this year. Maybe late summer, but probably not. We’ll see how quickly the final edits progress once I really get started on them. Updates on my progress will be posted here in the coming months, so stay tuned.
Next week I’ll post a few new sample panels from the book.
I recently returned from a two-year stay in Japan. It’s the longest I’ve ever been outside of the U.S., so I was expecting the reverse culture shock to be pretty severe. But as it turned out, it wasn’t that bad. I’ve lived abroad on four separate occasions now, so I guess I’ve gotten used to the novelty of returning home.
That said, there were a couple small things that surprised me:
1) The large drinks in the U.S. are HUGE. A Japanese “large” soda is about the size of a US small or medium, only with no free refills. Japanese people just don’t drink that much; I usually would’ve finished my drink by the time my Japanese friends had taken a sip. I always thought the Japanese drink portions were too small, but I got used to them over the past two years. So when I ordered my first large soda at O’Hare Airport, I couldn’t believe how big it was. I couldn’t even finish it.
2) The roads in the U.S. seem obscenely wide after two years in Japan. A typical American suburban street is as wide as a four-lane highway. And two of those four lanes are just for parking. Again, this isn’t downtown, this is in the suburbs, where there’s virtually no traffic and everyone has a driveway. I guess I’m not arguing for narrower roads or anything, I’m just saying it sort of surprised me…
Product Names: Genghis Khan, Sapporo Beer, and Magic Spice Soup Curry Caramels
One of my favorite stores in Japan is Village Vanguard, which is sort of like a cross between a raunchy mall gift store and an alternative book store. For months I’ve seen these horrible looking caramels on sale there, so for my final Japanese snack review I decided to bite the bullet and try them.
Genghis Khan (Mongolian BBQ) Flavor
These were probably the worst of the bunch. They tasted like a combination of slightly off meat, garlic, and caramel. I couldn’t even finish one piece.
Sapporo Draft Beer Flavor
According to the label, these actually contain alcohol; about 0.1%. They smell like a drunk’s breath, and tasted like really terrible beer with the sweetness of caramel thrown in. You could probably simulate the flavor by taking a Bud Lite and adding a few scoops of sugar to it. Again, I spit it out after a couple of chews.
Magic Spice Soup Curry Flavor
This one tasted the most like what it was supposed to, and I think curry lends itself to the combination of sweetness that the caramel brings. Still pretty terrible though.
I can’t understand how these got made. I mean, it’s not like some crazy guy mixing beer and caramels together in a blender in his basement; a major company developed, manufactured, and distributed these. They don’t sound at all appetizing, and they taste even worse. The only market I can think of for this product is snarky foreign bloggers such as myself.
Well, that will be the last Japanese snack review for a while, what with me no longer being in Japan. Next week: something different!!
Product Name: Kit Kat Soy Sauce Flavor
The candy bar Kit Kat is huge in Japan. I’ve heard it’s because “Kit Kat” sounds a bit like “Kitto Katsu”, which is Japanese for “guaranteed victory”, so people would give them as gifts to students before exams as like good luck charms or something. I can’t be bothered to verify that, something about this ho-hum candy bar really seems to appeal to the Japanese. This flickr set shows over a hundred Kit Kat flavors, the vast majority of which were made for the Japanese market.
I guess when the number of flavors reaches triple digits it’s hard to come up with new ones, but I was still surprised to see a soy sauce flavored variety on a recent trip to Tokyo. This product is a Tokyo exclusive, intended to be bought by visiting tourists to give as omiyage (souvenirs) to colleagues when they return home.
At first I was baffled as to why they’re white, a color that doesn’t exactly evoke ”soy sauce”. A quick taste test resolved the mystery, however: these taste more like white chocolate than anything. Maybe they had just the tiniest hint of saltiness, but even though I was consciously trying to detect that soy sauce flavor, I barely could. If someone handed one of these to me without telling me what flavor it was, I never in a million years would’ve guessed soy sauce.
That’s the secret to making a good soy sauce flavored candy; bury any hint of soy sauce under a mountain of white chocolate.