“Let’s ONIGIRI” Self-published
The story begins with the main character, Jiro, watching his mother making onigiris for his sister’s lunch box. Jiro was taught how to make onigiris by his mother, and he made so many onigiris. When Jiro hears that his mother can not eat such many onigiris, he takes those onigiris and goes on a trip to give his friends in the park, people on the street, and so on. Finally to the universe.
Jiro’s onigiri were very popular with the Aliens, but finally onigiris were gone. However, he was lucky enough to get rice, water, and salt, and Jiro made the Aliens “shio-nigiri”(plane salt rice balls). And also he taught the Aliens how to make onigiris.
The Alien elder, who was impressed by onigiris, squeezed Jiro’s hand and expressed his gratitude. Then, Jiro gets a big notice. As a result, Jiro has become a more and more lover of onigiris.
After returning home, Jiro tells his mother about it. The idea of “O-NI-GI-RI” that Jiro got made the heart of people around the world warm.
Sales talk from the author
（Reading caution: because it is too long）
I thought I would open my own onigiri shop when I was 25 years old. After training at a onigiri shop in Tokyo, I started “Ao Onigiri” in Kyoto when I was 29 years old. It has been nine years since then. During that time, I lived with thinking about onigiris all the time. It might sound like I am studying how to make more delicious onigiris, such as rice and ingredients, but it’s not.
I would like to give a little laugh and a little more energy to the daily life of people who eat my onigiris. And because it’s a simple food, onigiris, I want to feel the connection between the maker and the eater clearly on the human skin, and I want to enjoy the human dramas that are born there, whether good or bad.
At the onigiri store, I meet so many people, from small children to the elderly, from the local to tourists from all over the world, and even Carlos Ghosn before he escaped. And, of course, everyone eats the onigiri that I made.
When I focus on making onigiris, I am clearly stubborn, in a mood, and sometimes behave in unkind ways. So I can’t say “I make lovely onigiris”. Although I have the ideal to act nicely, it’s difficult for me to behave perfectly because I am doing everything alone. I am just doing my best every time.
However, what is consistently at the bottom of my mind is whether someone laughed at me today and someone was cheered up. After all, that is the ideal. I’m glad on the day I could make someone happy, and I drag disgusting feeling on the day I’ve failed. Therefore, of course, the quality of rice, saltiness, and the degree of squeezing are important but also my main goal is to make a cheerful onigiri that someone can be encouraged by.
I grew up in playing football, and have never studied art. But I was a child who liked physical education and drawing and crafts class. I like drawing pictures, making clay and making things by hand. I am a kind of men who want to make anything by themselves.
I’m not sure if it’s a picture book,a manga, or something (I think it’s a “Bibble of Onigiri”).
I have wanted to make a picture book about onigiri since I started my shop although I did not have any idea of the story. About 3 years ago, I suddenly started drawing the process of cooking rice and making a onigiri on a4 copy papers by using my son’s colored plastic pencils. That was a failure.
The texture of those pencils was very cute ,but it was difficult to draw fine lines and paint. I end up finishing with son’s pencils although I thought that I should have changed some other ways to draw,like watercolor paint and colored pencils. I drew 42 pieces of flip cartoon. After that, I did not do anything and left them for about two years.
One day when I was interviewed by an American broadcaster, I was asked a simple question such as “What is Onigiri?”. I just answered, “Onigiri is onigiri”, and also “Onigiri is a japanese soul food”. It was bitter memories. I felt like answering more original expression at that time. Before long, an idea came up with my mind to answer to “What is onigiri?” .That became the axis of the story of this book. (see the picture book for details).
I started drawing a story without thinking the page composition.So this book has 48 pages, more pages than the general picture book. Some people may feel strange about it. But this is the minimum volume to express my thought.lol. I did my best.
Then, the text of this picture book was written in both Japanese and English. That’s because I want to answer to the question “What is Onigiri?”, which inspired me to come up with a story and also I want to travel around the world and connect with many people through onigiris.
As of June 2020, the way of the world is changing due to corona virus. People are likely to live in a new era in a new sto be severe. My business, Ao Onigiri were made up of local customers and tourists like half and half. So more than half of them disappeared now. I am facing a difficult situation to manage the shop.
However, I think that it is very meaningful to me that this picture book, which I happened to draw before Corona, was published at this timing. Even though the times have changed, there is what I want to cherish and pass on to future generations. It is a power of onigiri.
I would be happy if more people would make onigiri each other between parent and child at home, and more people would know the importance that someone make a onigiri by hand for someone.
The model of the main character of this picture book is my son. If I say “let’s make the world peace with onigiris!”, that is just fine-sounding talk. so I would say it to him in my own words, “I wish I could make onigirs that make everyone happy like this book. But it’s not easy for me because I’m always angry… I’ll leave it to you! my son!lol! I ‘ll do my best though.
Even if this book doesn’t sell well, it’s no problem because this is my family treasure. I m glad to hold a stock of books.lol!
But I really want as many people as possible to read my book. Please buy one for you and one for a gift. lol. Please spread it around the world!
Thank you very much for reading a long text.