25.6.10

I Owe My Life To a Manga

Imagine owing your very existence to a comic book?

Okay, it is a manga to be exact and it happens to be a major contributing factor in the road that lead to me being here!

This manga hit the shelves of post war Japan in 1951 when it was serialized in a national newspaper. Soon after it was made into its own series. The manga tells the tale of a father who takes his son Wataru to Kenya on a business trip. They are attacked by a rampaging rhino and are thus separated. Wataru winds up being taken in my a Masai tribesmen and then has a wealth of adventures with giant snakes, dinosaurs etc.



It captured the imagination of boys and girls across the country but none so much as my father.

As soon as he hit 18 he decided to follow his dream and headed for Kenya. Here he met my mum and then I came along.

My father still lives in Africa. It’s been nearly 35 years and I don’t think he will ever leave. I have asked him about Shonen Kenya and he said this to me;

“I have learned that there are no giant talking snakes here. The masai don’t look like they did in the manga either!”



My father is not the warmest person on the planet. But his silence is reassuringly moving, his eyes are sad, his spirit of adventure and independance is humbling and his story is unfathomable.


Hiro told his father this tale and it just so happened that he was a Shonen Kenya fan too. Such a fan that when he had the pleasure of meeting the author/artist in the 70’s he had them signed! Sometime ago, he sent us the entire series to keep. They are so precious to me.



I hope that my little snippet from my yesterday has not bored you.
I am tirelessly interested in why and how people move from their birthplace to seek adventure.

Have you also a tale to tell?

23 comments:

  1. What a cool little story! They are interesting and I too love to find out about people (especially old people because they have so much to tell and are so willing to tell it) and where they've been and what they've experienced. It's so interesting isn't it?

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  2. Wow. Thank you for sharing such a story. Amazing. I am always interested in how people came about.I often ask my parents to tell me their stories of how they met over and over.and it gives me an idea for a blog post. How touching that Hiro's dad gives you guys signed originals.What a treasure.=)

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  3. That is amazing...I love the little ways that random people are connected.

    My father actually went to school with my aunt & that's how he met my mom. He was friends with many of my mom's family members before they ever met...

    My mom's tale is simple as to how she got here...my grandfather couldn't find work in PR and he moved to be near family here in New Jersey...my father's tale is MUCH more complicated. =)

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  4. that so touching, I know I wouldn't have the guts to make a move like that as your father. I love manga too but I think the mangas out today aren't as good as the old ones. the graphics do look more attractive and stunning but the stories just isn't the same. Thanks for sharing your tale with us! ^^

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  5. Just found your blog and really enjoyed reading through it. I'll be back for more!
    oxox
    Denalee

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  6. Wow, that's such a great family history! It looks like an amazing story.

    Both my parents tales aren't as adventurous as yours, my dad moved here when he was 13, worked for his dad, got his own business and my mum, she was an art student, her works are amazing, its a shame we don't have anymore.

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  7. Beautiful little tale, your life is never dull and I am always eager and enjoy your posts muchly! That is awesome!

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  8. this post was very moving. i like manga too expecially the adventure ones, but i like how it has a special meaning to you. No stories to tell for me, but i do know some manga really does inspire me=]

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  9. My fave Japanese comic is IJIWARU BAASAN!! I just loved that old lady...her political incorrectness and bluntness have been an inspiration to me!

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  10. what an awesome story! and so interesting that hiro's dad had signed copies & gave them to you :) I don't know too much about my parents story, but I do know that my mom met my dad through her sister and her group of friends - and I guess he was one of the popular guys in college because he owned a motorcyle!

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  11. Whoa...Such a beautiful story. I like manga too.

    There isn't an interesting tale behind how my parents met-I mean my mom was engaged to someone else and my dad came along..and blah blah with the romance.xD

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  12. Never boring, always FASCINATING. oh Glow, through your writing and your posts, I could very much see your father's adventurous spirit in you.
    I only hope someday, I'll have the courage to venture out and find my own adventure.

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  13. Oh what a wonderful story of your own family and Hiro's. It made the hair on the backs of my arms stand on end. My husband (Gabi) has lived and worked in Kenya too. I am looking forward to one day traveling there with him. Xxxx

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  14. That's such a great story! Thanks for sharing that.
    I never had much of a choice in all the traveling and adventuring I've done, but through all different places I found my love in a small little town in the middle of nowhere.

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  15. That's awesome that you found a Manga that is related to your life in an aspect! And the fact that Hiro's pop loves it too is another awesome thing! THen you add on the fact that he has an autographed copy?! :D

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  16. I read this in between seeing two patients in the Emergency Medical Unit at 3am this morning, and it really made me smile! Thanks for sharing such a lovely story...

    I'm afraid I can't say my parents were inspired by such a thing to move to the UK. My dad actually described though that one day when he was 15 he suddenly had the urge to get the hell out of Communist China because he realised as he was pushing his bike in the countryside that they were condemned to (that's what happened to academic families, they got put in the countryside to do farmwork to shut them up) that all the propaganda that was being spooned to them can't have been the whole truth. After that he studied like crazy and got a scholarship to study in the UK for his phD. And that's how I came to be born in Cambridge!

    Nowhere as interesting I'm afraid. Sorry!

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  17. Beautiful story!
    Treasure your signed copies, they are so special xxx

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  18. haha! how very cool, i love the story behind when people meet (:

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  19. your post is always entertaining:) great story!

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  20. I love the story behind the "manga" how your parents met...I thought it was soo cool ^_^

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  21. Ah, you're in the Japanese dads club too ^_^ My dad left as soon as Japan opened up too, must have been a weird feeling feeling like you couldn't leave when you wanted unless you were like, a diplomat, and then suddenly being able to.

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  22. oh yasumi. i love this post. i'm so glad you linked back to it so i got a chance to read. now i know something more about you. :)

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