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It never hurts to call companies to see if you can get a better deal. I recently looked at the phone/internet bill and was struck by how high it was, so I called the cable company for a price to switch internet over. I then put off calling the phone company to see how much just having landline service would cost because they have crap hours (something like 7:30-5:30 M-F!). But when I did? I found out that just landline isn’t all that cheap, and I can bundle internet with faster speed with landline service for a monthly price that's over $10 cheaper! It wasn’t worth switching to cable internet, but I will save over $100/year and get faster service by having made a 10-minute call.

Besides obsessively rewatching Natsume Yuujinchou episodes and continuing to watch the new anime (Witch Craft Works in particular amuses me even though it makes no sense), I've been rereading some books.

Mahoutsukai no shotaku and Mahoutsukai no kokuhaku by Tanizaki Izumi and illustrated by Rikuyu Chikako I bought because I’ve enjoyed other books by the same author and artist (particularly Shiawase ni dekiru), and I liked the premise. It’s about a young man whose parents died in an accident who gave up going to college and went to work to support his younger brothers. I love that premise (young dude has to raise his younger siblings/nephew/whoever after some tragic accident), but then throw in the young man’s former neighbor and first love showing up after years of no contact. He’s half-Japanese (and I think half-American?) and he’d moved to next door when the main character, Hitomi, was about 15. Jin, the neighbor, has a very bad and aloof dad and doesn’t go to school because he’d already gone to college (and beyond? Can’t remember now.) even though he’s the same age as Hitomi. Jin got really close to Hitomi’s entire family, calling Hitomi’s parents “Papa” and “Mama” and getting along with Hitomi’s younger brothers. He falls in love with Hitomi, and the two become a (secret) thing. Then one day Jin is taken to America by his father and never returns, despite promising he would. So when Jin shows up again, after 6 years, Hitomi doesn’t want to deal with him. Jin hadn’t known about Hitomi’s parents’ deaths and is devastated. He quickly hits it off with Hitomi’s younger brothers, but Hitomi doesn’t want to let Jin close again. Jin had been working on some important project his father had forced him to work on for some secret(?) organization in America, and he’d left as soon as he was done. Unfortunately, a member of the organization shows up (with bodyguards) to try to convince Jin to come back. Jin is very cold and nasty to the guy, but Hitomi is very nice to him which causes lots of fun situations where Jin wants to coldly get rid of the guy but doesn't want to tick Hitomi off. Hitomi’s brothers are adorable. They are very well behaved and very considerate, except that they compete to eat more food than each other. Hitomi doesn’t make a huge amount of money, so he has to be really careful with the finances in order to feed the bottomless pits that are his brothers’ stomaches.

It’s a sweet story. The biggest issue in the first book is for Hitomi to truly accept Jin back into his life. The second book has Hitomi face his future. There are hints that Jin’s father and the organization he’d been forced to work for are shady and possibly dangerous, so it’ll be interesting to see how much more shady and dangerous things will get and how they will mix with the sweet domesticity of Hitomi's home life. There’s a new book out I haven’t bought yet, but will be doing so in my next order.

Another set of books I’ve enjoyed is Kokui no zeirishi (The licensed tax accountant wearing black clothing) 1 and 2 by Umino Sachi and illustrated by Asou Kai. It’s about a licensed tax accountant who willingly works with companies connected with (or run directly by) yakuza. He goes to a company that buys and sells used cars. Mostly they get cars from a yakuza clan, of whom the president of the company is a member of. He isn’t an active member, though his father had been an important person in the clan. He’s a bit…lazy. He lives on the top floor of the company building and is always looking sloppy (but hot) in a yukata. The employees are a motley crew and their bookkeeping is a mess. The accountant has to straighten them (and the lazy president) out in more ways than one. I like the characters. The accountant is uptight, but doesn’t quite get to tsundere. The president is very relaxed most of the time, but then can be very manly when needed (but not in an overbearing way). My favorite bit? The accountant is saved by the president when he’s attacked at one point. The president says, “Who do you think you’re messing with? Some random licensed tax accountant? Or MY licensed tax accountant?” I laugh every single time I read that scene! The art is lovely, of course. I hope there will be more books…
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I figured I should do a "I LOVE THIS" post because sharing the squee is always a good thing. So...the following are things I love.

Castle Mango volume 1 by Ogura Muku (art) and Konohara Narise (story) is a manga I picked up thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wednesday_10_00 and OMG the cute is pure love. It's about a high school student who lives at the love hotel his mother runs (his father had run it until his death) along with his younger brother. They have themed rooms and a porn production decides to use various rooms for their movies. The director is a gay guy and the high school student gets it into his head that the director may have designs on his younger brother. So one night when the director is brought by his co-workers to sleep off major drunkenness the student decides to pretend they've had sex and guilts him into dating him. As a condition he wants the director to stay away from his younger brother. The director is a nice guy and vows to keep his hands off the student until the student is 18, but they do have interactions that bring them closer. Really adorable interactions that mostly emphasize intimacy rather than sex (sex =/ intimacy!). I so look forward to the next book. The student is one of those capable but not emotionally expressive kids, and he has a father complex. He wants to string the director along long enough to protect his younger brother, but finds himself drawn to the director. I worry about Konohara Narise springing a horrible turn of events later on as this series is so far mostly fluffy and sweet, but I'm going to classify my fears as just being a worrywart. Oh yes, and the art is fabulous. ♥

Merry Checker by Suzuki Tsuta is a spin-off of a manga I haven't read, Sangen Tonari no Tooi Hito. It's about a salaryman who runs a BBS-ish site where he writes about other people in a very perceptive and amusing manner. At a RL meet-up he gets to know a popular blogger who everything thought was a high school student (female), but turns out to be a very tall adult man. The story is sweet but not cloying. The salaryman and the blogger are both nice mature guys, dancing around their attraction to each other. The story doesn't fall into a lot of the genre cliches and just makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It is a bit shallow, but I can get behind this kind of shallow. My biggest complaint is that there should be another volume. I want to see them act adult and nice! And dorky with awkwardness and apologetic when they feel like they've hurt/offended the other person! The art is fabulous and the last panel of the manga ) is pure gold.

Switching to novels, Sore wa tsumi na anata no sei by Hagino Siro and illustrated by Natsume Isaku is something I reread quite often and had planned on summarizing because I love it so. Unfortunately I've become quite lazy lately (and it is LONG), so I'll just squee about it. It's about a high school student, Saiga, who is dumped by his girlfriend because she's fallen for some awesomely cool looking guy named Natsuki. He is incensed and goes looking for Natsuki to see for himself, and ends up falling down the stairs in front of him. And is confronted by a very good looking and very nice guy. He becomes a bit obsessed and basically stalks him. Except his stalking sucks and he's found out very quickly by Natsuki. They end up hanging out together. Saiga realizes over time that he's fallen for Natsuki, but Natsuki is very very very dense. Natsuki is used to keeping people at a distance because he's so good looking he's had people fawning over him his entire life, but isn't very perceptive when it comes to people he's let close. So Saiga has to make the first move. There is a lot going on in this quite long book (almost 300 pages) because Natsuki is dense and Saiga is spastic (and thus isn't the most efficient at getting what he wants). some things I really like about the sex ) Of course, the art is wonderful. Saiga is splendidly spastic in that way Natsume Isaku is very good at portraying in her manga.

Beauty & Ghost by Umino Sachi and illustrated by Isaka Jugoro starts off and ends hilariously. Sato Seiji is a salaryman who doesn't really like his job but feels pressured to do well because he's quite capable and is depended upon (and he's proud). He's even more stressed lately because of a younger employee, Sakaki Kouta, who he doesn't care for and is also quite capable. How does he deal with the stress? He finds kids in a playground and tells them scary stories. He is filled with unholy glee at the look of pure fear on their faces. He learns that Sakaki can't handle scary stories and is again filled with unholy glee telling scary stories to Sakaki and getting that white faced reaction. And get revenge for being a problem in his life. When he pushes Sakaki too far, not letting him cover his ears to avoid hearing any more scary stories, Sakaki shuts him up by kissing him. So cliched! But still so funny to read! The relationship develops over time with Sato being tsundere and Sakaki being one of those puppy-dog types. Very cliched but very funny.

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December 2015

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