Book review: 『お茶の時間』by Miri Masuda

お茶の時間 (おちゃのじかん)
Title: お茶の時間 (おちゃのじかん)
First published: 2016
Published: 2019
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 155
ふらっと立ち寄ったカフェの店内で、周囲の人間模様を目にしつつ、自分自身もあれこれと思索にふけった経験はないでしょうか。まったりするからこそ、ふと人生について深く考えることもある。そんな瞬間が見事に切り取られていて、思わず「そうだよね」と頷いてしまいます。喫茶店あるあるやクスッと笑える描き下ろし漫画も満載! 益田ミリが描く、じんわり染みて面白さが後を引く傑作寄り道系コミックエッセイ!ゆるっと、ふわっと、今日もどこかへお茶しに行こう。ちょっと気分を変えたいとき、カフェに足を運ぶ方は多いと思います。少し騒がしい店内で、「あそこの女子会では何に盛り上がっているのだろう?」「あのカップル、初々しいなぁ」「あっちの男性はパソコンで何をしているのだろう?」、そんな風に周囲を見渡しながら、実は自分自身もあれこれと思索にふけったりしているのではないでしょうか。まったりゆったりしているからこそ、ふと人生について考えることもある。じんわり染みて後を引く面白さ。益田ミリが描く、カフェあるある満載なコミックエッセイ!

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.)