Friday, December 02, 2005


I've raved before about the manga A*su and Hinshi no esseisuto (Dying Essayist) by Kotobuki Shiriagari. In fact, I placed both of these on a list of my ten favorite comics of any origin. I was up in the Chicago area yesterday, and the Japanese used book store JBC in Arlington Heights has copies of both of these for sale, for only a few dollars each. They also have three other books by Shiriagari, which I didn't buy only because I already owned them.

If you're interested in the potentialities of comics, I highly recommend buying these. A*su, in particular, I think is worth picking up even if you don't read Japanese: its art is amazingly expressive, and doesn't look like any other comic I've seen, aside from Shiriagari's other works. The books are on the shelves of manga opposite the entrance: walk in, and keep going straight until you run into a wall. For more help in locating the books, they were near to vols. 7 and 8 of Yaji Kita in Deep, two of the other Shiriagari books I mentioned, and those two volumes have "in DEEP" written clearly on their spines in English. And the dust jacket of A*su has holes punched in its spine.

The store itself is a bit tricky to locate. Here are the simplest directions I can come up with:
Exit I-90 at Arlington Heights Rd. and go north.
Turn right on Seegers (the first side street after Algonquin).
Turn right on Tonne (the first street off Seegers)
Turn right at the first driveway on your right.
The store is in Building 2035, which will be the first building on your left; it's in suite 103.

The store is closed Mondays. Don't confuse it with the JBC in the Mitsuwa shopping center, which is nearby: that one doesn't sell books, just rents videos (but there is an Asahiya in the Mitsuwa shopping center which sells manga, though they're all shrink-wrapped).

*A note on how I've written Shiriagari's name: when Japanese write their names in Japanese characters, they write the surname first and the given name second. However, when they write their names in romaji (our alphabet), the generally write the surname second, even in contexts that are purely for Japanese consumption. Hence that's the way I write them in this blog. However, there are exceptions to this, and often (though not always) when Shiraigari's name is written in romaji, it's written with the surname, "Shiriagari," first. In particular, that's how it's written on the copyright pages of A*su and Hinshi no esseisuto. Nevertheless, I've written the name with "Shiriagari" second for consistency's sake; but I'm open to correction. In any case, when the name is written in Japanese "Shiriagari" will always come first.

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