A Distant Neighborhood

Some years ago, I had the chance to read the manga A Distant Neighborhood (遥かな町へ); one of the most famous works of Jiro Taniguchi. It is regarded by readers and critics as an excellent manga aimed for adults. It didn’t disappointed me one bit. It is a manga with very meticulous drawings and a wonderful and witty story that will make you think about your own past, your own life.

The story is about a 40-year-old-ish businessman who involuntarily travels in time, going back to his own 14-year-old self but keeping all his 40-year-old memories. He goes back to his life in high school in post-war Japan (to those of you who are interested in WWII stuff, the atmosphere and insight on Japanese society from post-war Japan can’t be better, as Jiro Taniguchi lived it himself) but with the mind of an adult male. From that moment on, he’ll try to fix the things that he couldn’t fix back in the day. What would you do if you had to go back again to being 14 but with the knowledge and mindset you have today?

A Distant Neighborhood

After reading it, the conclusion, or the message that I think Taniguchi wants to get across is that the only things that we really regret in life are the things that we don’t do.

I recommend this manga book to everyone, even to those who claim they don’t like manga. It’s compiled into only two volumes, you can grab them here and here.

Finally, I would like to highlight a small detail. When the main character sees himself traveling in time, there is a butterfly, as a reminder of the Chaos Theory. There are other details in the story that make you think Jiro Taniguchi had the Chaos Theory present when he was writing the story.

4 Comments
  • andycjw

    December 27, 2009 at 11:28 am

    very interesting, thanks to you, i found there’s offer on this book at my local online bookstore, ordered it and can’t wait to read it

  • Van

    December 27, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Agreed with Andy very interesting i didn’t know about this one.
    But there’s something that bother me, you say:
    “a posthumous work by Jiro Taniguchi” As far as i know Jiro Taniguchi is not dead.
    A mistake ?

  • XSportSeeker

    December 31, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Oh no, don’t kill Taniguchi just yet… xD
    He’s alive and well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiro_Taniguchi

    Love his works. I bought all his mangas I could find in Brazil, and then imported other titles.
    Still didn’t read A Distant Neighborhood because it’s out of stock, but will try finding it next time I import some books.

    If you didn’t read it yet, search for “Gourmet”… the best thing I ever read so far regarding japanese food. 😀

  • kirai

    January 3, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    sorry, my bad, Jiro Taniguchi is alive and well
    thanks for the corrections