Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Manga café economics

Someone's opened up a manga café in San Francisco. What are the rates? $5 for the first hour, $1.25 for every additional 15 minutes. So basically $5/hour. Given that English-translated manga runs $10 a volume, $5/hour is pretty good. I figure if a typical volume is 200 pages, and I spend a generous 20 seconds on every 2-page spread, that's approaching two volumes per hour.

The going rate in Japan seems to be a buck per hour. (Or more for swankier places, I guess.) So indeed, staying up all night (or sleeping) in a manga kissa would be a pretty economical way to live. And a really economical way to read manga, needless to say.

I also found this fond remembrance of the "jazz kissa". It really sounds wonderful: jazz cafes everywhere, listening to cutting-edge music, reading avant-garde manga and magazines. Youth subculture, indeed. Now I need to find some Japanese free jazz.

Change of topic: I was reading this thread at AnimeSuki, and have been enlightened as a result. Namely, I had previously believed that buying directly from Japan entailed either 1) amazon.co.jp or 2) some random Japanese export service. The main problem with amazon is ridiculous shipping -- $20 plus $3 per book. The problem with export-type sites is that they either specialize in finding stuff, or require more Japanese comprehension than I am currently capable of.

Enter bk1. They can ship via SAL! And their website is fairly obvious. So this means I'm going to buy stuff. Like the Maison Ikkoku reprint. And widebans of Kimagure Orange Road to complete my set. Pani Poni. Seto no Hanayome. And maybe Yume Tsukai, but I'm more interested in earlier Ueshiba Riichi stuff, like Discommunication / Seireihen. But bk1 doesn't have older stuff, so I'm wondering what's the most economical way to find such things. (What I really need to do is visit a BookOff. I go to NYC a few times a year for work, but wasn't thinking about manga the last few times I was there. The alternative is to take a bus down to LA... hmm.)

Oh yes, trashy manga. I was thinking of buying a few. Like A Girls, which appears to have been panned by the amazon reviewer. And quite deservedly so; but I still want to know what happens after the first volume. Well, now that I think about it, it's probably fairly cliché. After all, it's from the same team that brought us volumes upon volumes of Boys Be. Maybe I should just read it at a manga café.

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