Thursday, July 01, 2004

iron wok jan!

So for my birthday, my dad gave me these two comic books. He's been telling me for years about these Japanese comic books about the culinary arts, often translated into Chinese and which he is able to find around the city at various specialty comic book stores. We are alike that way, in our nerdy comic love. Anyway, I've always been interested to read these cooking comic books, but my interest has been foiled by the fact that there haven't really been any English translations. That is, with the exception of this one series, "Iron Wok Jan!"

I am obsessed with "Iron Wok Jan!"

The reasons that I love "Iron Wok Jan!" are as follows:

1.) It's called "Iron Wok Jan!" (The main character's name is Jan, by the way. I thought at first that it was a monthly comic, and was confused why there was no mention of "Iron Wok Feb!" or "Iron Wok Mar!")

2.) It's so melodramatic. For example, when the titular "Iron Wok Jan!" is cooking a banquet dish and accidentally uses the wrong proportion of vegetables to beef for a stir-fry, he dissolves into angry tears and starts punching the wall until his fists are bloodied into meaty pulp. Dude, chill. This is all very Japanese ("I have disgraced my family name with my poor stir-fry recipie!") and therefore hilarious. Cooking is very serious business in "Iron Wok Jan!"

3.) The teen girl chef (Kiriko) has the biggest boobs ever. She's always shown with either her bosom straining against the front of her chef's outfit, or in various stages of chaste nudity, as in the scene in "Iron Wok Jan! Vol. 2" where she's trying to figure out how to make the flower out of turnips and flings herself back on the bed in frustration, her pajama tops flying open yet not showing any of her naughty bits.

4.) It's bizarrely scientific. Sample panel from the scene where Jan and Kiriko face off in an intestines cooking competition:

Dig the little micelles surrounding the "odor" particles, reminiscent of my AP Bio textbook. This is a comic book that takes itself very seriously.


It just goes to show you that there's nothing as funny as that which is unintentionally funny. My dad only got me Volumes 1 and 2 for my birthday, because he wasn't sure if I was going to like it or not. I hope that the fact that I just ordered Volumes 3 through 9 will show him that his was a very fine birthday present indeed.

Currently reading: On a completely different note, "1984." Again. I was just reminded of it when I watched "Fahrenheit 9/11" last weekend (catching the midnight showing on Saturday because every other show was sold out), and thought the Orwell version deserved a re-read. Or, in my case, a re-re-re-re-re-re-re-read. Also, I think that I've been spelling the word "Fahrenheit" wrong my entire life, up until right this moment, when I looked it up. Who knew there was that extra "H" in there? FaHrenheit. Huh.

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