Sunday, July 11, 2010

review: Suppli

Suppli is my second favourite josei manga so far. And sorry: I have no idea what the title means.
Apparently in Japan there's seven volumes so far and there's also a drama series (according to wikipedia). Tokyopop USA published three volumes, but then stopped. Fortunately they have started again and just this summer issued Volume 4 and 5 in one book.

Rating: 4/5
Volumes: 7 (so far?)
Mature content: some, but not very graphic
Genre: Josei

Minami Fuji is 27 years old and works at an advertisement office. After she splits up with her boyfriend of seven years, she realizes she has always spend her free time with her boyfriend and no one else and thus has no friends.
She tries to concentrate on working hard, and starts spending her free time with her coworkers. She doesn't know how to socialize well, but they take her up into their midst anyway. One of them is romantically interested in her, but Fuji meets a new colleague who has just been transferred and falls for him. They start having a casual relationship, and she starts getting attached to him - and then finds out he is involved with another coworker, a married woman she had adored because of her seeming ease to combine being a working woman with being a feminine one, too.

Maybe I like Suppli because I can identify with Fuji. She is so clumsy about her social life and absolutely "un-cute", she's not a very girly or sexy type: "I really do want to be kinder and happier and cuter but something inside of me gets in my way."
Her appearance is practical, made to fit her work life, not made to be attractive, and she has a hard time trying to look more feminine.

Apparently the series depicts the work life in Japan very well, and I have to say I'm glad I don't work there, it seems very stressful. It is interesting to read though, and maybe gives a little insight into a foreign culture and work life at an advertising company.
At the end of every book there's one page with explanations and cultural notes - a great idea and very helpful at times.

The drawings take some getting used to, in my opinion. Especially the men look so similar that it's sometimes hard to tell them apart.
Some double pages have a background connecting the panels, raindrops, leaves, starry sky, etc., which creates a really beautiful and dense atmosphere. Read more on this article...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

review: Love Blog!!

No, this is not going to be a blog post about love, this is my first review of a josei manga. Which is called - you guessed it - "Love Blog!!", written and drawn by Akira Fujiwara.
Love Blog!! has three volumes, followed by a sequel called "Love Blog!! Next" (which I haven't read).

Rating: 3/5
Volumes: 3 (4 including the sequel), finished
Mature content: yes, some
Genre: Josei

Leading character is Eriko, a 23-year-old secretary with hobbies like long phone calls, going out and dancing, getting dressed up, shopping and drinking. Her best friend, cousin and room mate is annoyed by her constant ranting about childish men so he tells her to write it all into a blog. Thus every chapter ends with Eriko typing her thoughts about what happened into her blog.
She has set her mind on finding the perfect man, good-looking, nice and of course he has to be rich, too. In walks her new boss, who seems to be all that - except that he's got a girlfriend. So she drowns her sorrow in alcohol, has sex with her "childish" colleague who she knows has a big crush on her. On her way home she meets her boss who just split up with his jealous and controlling girlfriend and they have some amazing sex in the park.
Yes, that's how it starts.

Honestly Eriko is a bitch. She set her mind on getting together with her boss and his reunion with his girlfriend won't stop her, so she makes them break up. In the meantime she uses her colleague for sex and comfort (though she makes it clear she's out for the boss). Maybe some women can identify with her. I can't.
After the first book I gave it another chance. The second volume gets a little better as some conflicts arise when her gay cousin rebuffs her "femme fatale" best friend and her boss/boyfriends ex turns into a stalker.

The best and deepest characters in this series are the male ones, though her "perfect" boss Kai to a lesser extend than her supposedly childish colleague Azumi and her gay cousin Masami. All women are extremely dislikable.
In spite of all that it's readable, there aren't ridiculously many sex scenes and there's actually a plot. And it's only three volumes anyway. Cliffhangers at the end of each volume help continuing, too.
If you like "Sex and the City", you might like this manga, too. Read more on this article...

A month passed

I feel the need to blog about my new job, having spend a month there. But honestly I'm not sure what to say? What is important about starting a new job?

Well, first of all I found that a big part of the team is rather new, as is the organization. Many processes are not efficient or not yet established. For someone new this is a little confusing, but maybe also a chance to shape things.
On the other hand there's a set of Web 2.0 tools that are implemented, a wiki, a company instant messenger, a company-wide social network, and there's going to be more. Unfortunately not a lot of people use them yet, but I'm positive it will get better. To me it shows that at least the IT and a few decision-makers are open minded, looking into the future and trying to adapt and change things.

I've had a hard time finding into my actual job. What do I do there? I'm still not completely sure. As I said, the team I'm in is new and so there's no very clear instruction. But I think I'm getting there, slowly.
My first project will be finishing another project from earlier this year. It proves to be rather tricky because no one really seems to know how it's working. It has been implemented by an external coworker.

My colleagues are nice. There's not a lot of distance to those in higher positions, it seems. This week I was at a conference in a really good hotel with a colleague. I think it shows respect of the people to really send the ones who will have to work with the product. A lot of companies only send managers to such events.
There doesn't seem to be much of a dress code either, which I admit surprised me a little. After all this is a retail company selling clothes and furniture. I mean it's not high class designer products, but not exactly cheap either.
Also I seem to be one of the oldest. It's kind of strange when I think about it: my team leader is 2 years younger than me, the departmement head a few years older and the division manager 10 years older. But since they have more experience and do a different job, in every day work it's not much of a problem.
I'm not sure whether there's potential friends among my colleagues. One actually freaks me out, he always seems to be smirking; I'm trying to ignore it, but it makes me uncomfortable. Amongst the others... it's hard to say. No one I'd spontaneously think as absolutely sympathetic. But it's only been a month. I do miss having someone like my favorite colleague at the old job, someone from another departement with who you can get together from time to time to talk and maybe vent a little.
The IT guys always walk past my desk, and there's one or two good looking ones. ;) But we weren't introduced (yet).

Well, that's it, that's the update after one month of work at the new job. Read more on this article...