Roswell Hosoki enjoys a tasty snack to enhance his drinking sessions, just like Sotatsu Iwama, the 30-something office worker character he created for his long-running manga series “Sake no Hosomochi” (The narrow road of drinking).

Each episode in the series, which is carried in the manga magazine Shukan Manga Goraku (Weekly manga goraku) published by Nihon Bungeisha Co., features a scene where the characters enjoy a drink. The short manga series has also been published in book form, reaching 40 volumes to date since its debut in 1994.

The manga does not feature serious incidents or dramatic events, but depicts the sense of liberty that an after-hours drink brings, as well as the excitement felt when tasty accompaniments to wash them down are served.

It also captures those typical incidents that tend to occur in drinking establishments, such as “a character gets drunk and forgets his reading glasses at the bar” or “while a character waits for his colleagues to arrive, the day’s specials run out one by one, to his chagrin.”

In an episode in the 18th volume, titled “Zeitaku Kani Kibun” (Splurging on crabs), Iwama cooks for himself. As accompaniments to his bout of drinking at home, he makes “crab stick omelet” where imitation crab meat is used instead of the real thing; and for “crab cooked with egg white” he uses the reasonably priced canned flaked snow crab. The manga shows how he whips up the dishes using bargain-priced crab sticks and canned crab and feels as if he is splurging without spending too much.

In real life, Hosoki makes his own accompaniments to evening drinks based on what he has been served or things he has seen in cooking programs and gourmet magazines.

“The accompaniments must be cooked quickly and economically. You can’t eat the dish right away if it takes time. You want to start drinking fast,” reasons the manga artist. He says both dishes introduced this week are “versatile” types that go with any type of alcohol.

The key to making “crab cooked with egg white” is to mix the whole content of the can, soup and all, with the egg white and stir while heating to cook off the water content. Add a bit of salt and white pepper to two egg whites. Then add 10 grams of chopped “enokidake” mushroom, one can (65 grams) of snow crab (“beni-zuwaigani”) and katakuriko starch mixed with water. Heat sesame oil in a frying pan over medium heat and pour in the egg-white mixture. Stir while cooking. Serve on plate in round form. Make a dent in the middle and drop an egg yolk.

Hosoki was born in Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture, in 1956. In 2012, his “Sake no Hosomichi” won the 16th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in the short work category. A graduate of Waseda University, Hosoki is well-versed in Edo culture and jazz and has also written books titled “Oedo Sake Doraku” and “Roswell Hosoki no Bluenote Michi Annai.” He enjoys drinks in the evening in between writing manga.


For crab stick omelet (serves one to two):

40 grams crab stick (kani-kamaboko)

10 grams each of boiled bamboo shoot, green onion, shiitake mushroom

Bit of ginger

Some sesame oil

2/3 cup water

Little less than 2 tsp Chinese soup stock powder

2 tsp katakuriko starch


Loosen crab stick. Cut boiled bamboo shoot, green onion and shiitake into fine strips. Cut ginger into fine strips.

Break eggs and mix. Add bit of salt and white pepper and mix. Add vegetables to egg mixture.

Pour sesame oil in frying pan and place over medium heat. Pour in egg mixture and mix swiftly. Turn down heat to low and mix further and make omelet shape. Serve on plate.

Add water and soup stock in same frying pan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add katakuriko starch mixed with equal amount of water and mix. Turn on heat. When soup thickens, pour over omelet.

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From The Asahi Shimbun's Watashi no Ryori column