I read a lot of manga when I was growing up, and so did my mom. She was obsessed with this one series called Oishinbo, a story about a food critic and his culinary adventures across the country &mdash it was so detailed and precise that you learned a ton about Japanese food and how to enjoy it just from reading.
I can confidently say that, if you want to learn about the intricacies of Japanese food, or if you want to know why Japanese people are so obsessed with white rice (last winter, I went to a restaurant in Tokyo where their specialty was white rice), reading this series is the best and most fun way to do it. The newest volume, Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi, and Sashimi, comes out in July and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
Oishinbo, Volume 1 by Tetsu Kariya