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Ano Shoutengai no, Honya no, Chiisana Okusan no Ohanashi

A long, long time ago, there was a little town in Tokyo which was said to have spearheaded a successful reading campaign among its residents. Prior to that however was the aftermath of war for about ten years, and on that little town overlooking the fields was a little shopping district where a modest bookstore ran business at one corner. In that bookstore worked a tiny lady boss. Welcome to Aoba Shoten, where the story of this tiny lady boss began.

Her story is titled 'Ano Shoutengai no, Honya no, Chiisana Okusan no Ohanashi' which is quite a mouthful. An English translation that reads 'Of that shopping mall, The bookstore, The story of a little wife' lies somewhere in the middle of this beautiful manga by Takahashi Shin. The phrase 'Don't judge a book by its cover' clearly didn't work on me since it was precisely the pretty artwork on the front that had drained my wallet of another few dollars. While the purchase wasn't exactly immediate, the image of the tiny lady boss donned in a simple kimono trying her best to tend the shelves had promptly etched its way into my soul. Now, I'm sure that many of us have a place in our hearts for books and bookstores. There isn't really an appropriate word that is enough to sum up those feelings. Through the life of the tiny lady boss, there is a reborn resonance towards the sheer existence of perishables, paperbacks, hardcovers, and the paradise that houses them.

A little more about the tiny lady boss...barely a week after she had married the owner of Aoba Shoten, her husband succumbed to illness, leaving her with the bookstore which became unmanned for a while. Opposite the bookstore was the greengrocer whose wife was worried about the well-being of the tiny lady boss. She sent her son Hachi to check on her one day. To Hachi's horror, the tiny lady boss was painfully inept at basic survival as she had fainted at her backyard due to prolonged hunger. After wolfing down the bento kindly made by the greengrocer's wife, the tiny lady boss sheepishly said that she didn't really know how to go about managing the house. Apparently, she had done nothing but physical labour down at the fields before her marriage. Her naivety baffled and annoyed Hachi who then chided the tiny lady boss to put her life back together before anything else.

Armed with initially a stack of books, the tiny lady boss began an adventure which went on to stretch past life's necessities. Her knowledge bank was surprisingly quick to process new-found information, and eventually she completed reading all but one book that her late husband had left in the bookstore. However, bigger challenges awaited the tiny lady boss over time, and gradually she realised the true wisdom that could only be gained through emotional connections, in particular love.

There is so much goodness in this manga which I wish that I could convey, but I suppose that the gist of all that wonder could only resonate with the heart through actual appreciation of the story of the tiny lady boss. Even though there isn't much information available online, this manga is a piece of diamond that has become refined over time. I highly recommend it to anybody who loves books and bookstores. I believe that each person would be touched in their own unique ways. Thank you, Takahashi-sensei, for your beautiful work!

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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1 comment to ''Ano Shoutengai no, Honya no, Chiisana Okusan no Ohanashi"

  1. hello there, may I know where I can read this manga online/download?