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Izumi Okaya's "Would you like to have a drink at my house?"

A Conversation with Kanako Nishi: Midlife Etiquette

2023.12.8

#BOOK

New Series: “Wouldn’t You Like to Drink at Home?” by Izumi Okaya begins!

For the inaugural episode, we visit the Okaya residence, welcoming the renowned novelist Kanako Nishi, known for works like “Yellow Elephant” and “Sayonara!” Her recent non-fiction book, “Kumo o Sagasu,” depicting her personal battle with illness, has also stirred significant discussions.

Join the conversation between these midlife writers as they share their current perspectives, accompanied by the scenes of a lively session of sipping orange wine.

Additionally, discover a featured snack from that day and get the recipe. This time, it’s the “Persimmon and Chrysanthemum Salad” (Recipe at the end of the article!)

Exploring the Unique Cultures of the Novel and Manga Industries

Okaya: Do you drink orange wine? I received it as a gift when I held a solo exhibition. I couldn’t drink it even if I opened it by myself.

Nishi: Oh, it’s delicious. Isn’t this a good one?

Okaya: Literary editors know a lot about good souvenirs and stores.

Nishi: That’s true. But not for manga?

Kanako Nishi
was born in Tehran, Iran in 1977. Won the Sakunosuke Oda Award in 2007 for “Tsutenkaku”, the Hayao Kawai Story Award in 2001 for “Fukurara”, and the Naoki Award in 2003 for “Saraba! Naoki Prize in 2003 for “Saraba! His many books include “Sakura,” “Round Table,” “Fisherman’s Port: The Meat Boy,” “Furu,” “Makuko,” “i,” and “Omajinai. His first nonfiction book, “Kumo wo Sasasu” (Searching for Spider), published in April of this year, has attracted a great deal of attention.

Okaya: In my case, meetings are often held at family restaurants, and I don’t often go to good restaurants. I don’t often go to nice restaurants. Maybe successful people do, but I don’t. Also, I rarely have a meeting before I start painting.

Nishi: Then, how do you start working?

Okaya: I send them an email and say, “Well, please go ahead and draw my name. So, when I work with people in the literary field, I often hear, “I came for a meeting, but was it okay if we just chit-chatted? What time is this?” It’s like that.

Nishi: I understand! If I were to do that, I would probably be more suited to manga. I don’t like that time of fluffy exploration, either.

Okaya: Work is not a commitment. I wonder if it’s okay to just buy me a drink.

Nishi: I understand. After a very lively conversation, about an hour later, I go to the restroom. And when you come back, the editor suddenly says to you, “So, Nishi-san, what are your plans right now? I don’t like that kind of atmosphere, so when we go out to eat, I say, “If you want to talk about work, let’s talk about it first.

The snacks of the day were persimmon and garland chrysanthemum salad, marinated shiitake mushrooms, and yam with ume paste. The recipe for the persimmon and garland chrysanthemum salad is at the end of this article!
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