I was talking to my friend Jun about the second volume of this series, and he said that he was a bit disappointed that it didn’t highlight the relationship between Shiro and Kenji as much. That may be so, since volume two focused on each of their individual lives – Shiro’s relationship with his parents, and Kenji and his customers. (Or am I confusing volume two with volume three?) But I did think that these separate stories give a larger picture to Shiro and Kenji’s life together. And I appreciated that in another level, the depiction that even those in long-term, committed relationships having lives and relationships separate from each other. I had really liked that.
In this volume, the focus is definitely back on their relationship. It opens with Shiro and Kenji having dinner with another gay couple, Kenji’s friends Yoshi and Tetsuro. Shiro was obviously uneasy, being quiet throughout dinner as the (straight) couple at the next table speculated if the four men are gay. When home, Kenji apologised for asking Shiro to come out for dinner. Shiro seemed more mad at himself, though, because he still couldn’t afford to be outed, as it was something that might affect his career badly. The next morning, Kenji asked Shiro to cook him hamburgers for dinner, causing Shiro to reflect on how cooking Kenji’s favourite foods have become the way for them to make up after fights or misunderstandings. In another chapter, Shiro was offered a TV role, and refused. And then there’s a chapter in which Shiro gets sick, which Kenji is rather cheerful about – because he finally gets to pamper Shiro, something he usually never gets to do. Two further chapters focused on Shiro’s adventures in getting more free ingredients (apples and onions this time) and how he used them, closing with a story where both Kenji goes out with his boss for dinner. Dinner is the main constant in their lives, so spending it separately had both Shiro and Kenji thinking about how things were before and after they got together, and how much they appreciated each other’s presence in their lives.
Overall, I find this volume very sweet. I like that it doesn’t depict Kenji and Shiro as a lovey-dovey couple, and that even after all their time together they still have a lot to figure out, with room to grow. One of my friend’s misgivings about volume two was Shiro saying (many times) that Kenji isn’t his type, but I think that that part is pretty important – Kenji isn’t Shiro’s type, and yet it doesn’t seem to matter to either of them. Perhaps Shiro will find himself overthinking their relationship every now and then, as he’s apt to do, wondering why he’s with Kenji, how did it happen, and all that. But I liked that message about relationships, that it’s not about the other person being your type, but about things working out anyway, and having a sort of mutual understanding and affection despite that.
Oh, and the recipes and cooking scenes are mouth-watering, as usual.
Note: I read the English translation of this volume. I started the first three in Japanese, but now that the English versions have caught up to where I left off I’m thinking that I might continue reading it in English, because the recipes are a lot easier to read that way!
– previously posted on Weebly