Review: What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Kinou Nani Tabeta?)

What Did You Eat Yesterday? (Kinou Nani Tabeta?) is a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga that has been published by Vertical since 2007. There are 11 volumes, and it is still published regularly by Weekly Morning magazine in Japan. The series revolves around two middle aged men who are in relationship and live together. Shirou Kakei (right) is a 43-year-old lawyer who takes solace in being able to buy groceries and go home to cook dinner at the end of every work day, and Yabuki Kenji (left) is a 41-year-old hairdresser who very much appreciates and enjoys his boyfriend's cooking. Kakei is a bit of a by-the-book man who likes to live within his means and save money, while Kenji is a bit more impulsive with his life. But Kenji balances out Kakei nicely and it's apparent that, as different as they are, the two enjoy each other's company.

Whenever Kakei is cooking, the manga explains his thoughts about the food he's making and his reasoning behind it all. The illustration of the food always looks nice, even in black and white, and the descriptions of the meals sound delicious. The food, as suggested by the title, helps show the bond between Kakei and Kenji. They share dinner every night after work. There are also some recipes for food that appear throughout the series for those who want to try the dishes that are served.

The fact that the main characters are gay is written into the story in a believable way. They have problems like every other relationship, but there are some that are very specific to LGBT relationships. One big issue is that while Kenji is out to his coworkers at the hair salon and talks about Kakei a lot, Kakei is not out to his coworkers at the law firm, because he feels like he would be respected less if he says anything. Kakei worries about how he will be seen by others, and whether he seems manly enough, while he also worries about if he and Kenji will be outed in public if they don't try their best to only act like good friends and not partners. When it comes to light that Kenji is out at work, Kakei gets mad due to this worry that they will be judged and yells at Kenji, but calms down and drops the subject when Kenji gets sad and mentions how his coworkers can talk about the people that they love and how he just wants to be able to do the same. It's also mentioned that Kakei's mother knows that he's gay, and is confused about LGBT issues, but nonetheless tries her best to be supportive. On the other hand, Kenji states early on that his mother disowned him when he came out. The fact that there are real issues shown that LGBT people and couples face is a breath of fresh air compared to how many gay couples in manga are not represented realistically.

Another realistic element of manga is that it shows the two men when they are spending time together as well as when they are spending time apart. They are two middle aged men with their own lives outside of one another, but they make time to be there for each other and to love one another. They have their own jobs and friends, but try to involve one another in what they are doing.

Overall, What Did You Eat Yesterday? proves that there are manga series that can show a realistic domestic relationship between two men, and a big plus is that it looks so nice and it so easy to read!

Danielle Solomon's picture
on March 8, 2017

I am from Framingham, MA and I love all kinds of video games, anime, and manga.

Follow me on Twitter @DaniBSolomon.