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Tokyo Is My Garden (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/12/24
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The title T?ky? Is My Garden is akin to the English idiom Like the back of my hand. When David Martin is sent as a sales representative to Japan for Heurault cognacs of France, he spends his time discovering Japanese culture and finding his way through the night-life of Tokyo. Then his boss announces an imminent visit to check up on his (lack of) progress. He must turn the situation around quickly or risk losing his job, his visa and the woman he loves. So starts an amusing and exciting chase as David attempts to chaperon his boss and seduce his lover through a bustling life that is Tokyo. By the creators of the cult titles Yukiko's Spinach, Cities of the Fantastic (NBM) and The Walking Man.
Jiro Taniguchi was born 1947 in Tottori, Japan. He trained in the 60's and debuted in 1971 in 'Young Comic'. During the 70's he worked with author Natsuo Sekikawa before launching into their massive work 'The times of Botchan' in the 80's. The 90's saw many solo works including the prize winning 'A Distant Neighborhood'. The new millenium saw Taniguchi's epic adaptation of Baku Yumemakura's novel 'The Summit of the Gods' into a 1500 page manga. He continues to live and work in Japan.
Opening with the main character's drunken arrival at what would soon become his ex-girlfriend's apartment, it's hard to decide whether he is a man to pity or applaud. In his mid-thirties, David Martin is a Frenchman living in Tokyo on a work visa that he was given as a sales representative for a French cognac company. Unable to convince anyone in Japan to buy the brand of cognac he is selling, David works at the local fish market to make ends meet.
Aside from wishing for a girlfriend that won't chastise him for smelling of fish or coming home drunk, David is content with his life as it is. He wants nothing more than to stay in Japan and continue learning Kanji--a form of Japanese writing that he is in love with. But when his boss announces that he will be flying into Tokyo from France to check on David's progress, David realizes that he has a limited amount of time to make some sales or he will be fired, forcing him to relinquish his work visa and leave Japan for good. To complicate things even more, David meets the girl of his dreams just before his boss arrives in Japan. His newfound love makes him even more determined to stay in Japan, and audiences are left wondering if love really can conquer all.
While "Tôkyô Is My Garden" chronicles many things--love, culture, language--it is ultimately a testament to fate. While David does everything he can to stay in Japan, it is ultimately events completely out of his control that decide the futures of him and the woman he loves.
Ultimately a feel-good book after a good deal of wondering how David's life will turn out, "Tôkyô Is My Garden" is definitely a book worth reading. Not only is the storyline and artwork unique compared to many other books on the market, but it might also appeal to readers who don't usually give graphic novels a second glance. It's like an independent film of graphic novels.