The Story of Lee – Thats reality part 2

I posted a bit before about some of the real life things and people in SOL, and here is more. On page 146 Matt and Lee go into ‘Page One’ books. This is a real place, in the ‘Times Square’ part of Hong Kong. It’s an excellent bookshop, with a sizeable graphic novel and manga section.  The illustrated version of Proust that Lee looks at is actually published by NBM, and I really did find that in the shop there. On the shelves next to it is ‘Hagakure’, which is a historical manga written by me and also drawn by SOL artist, Chie Kutsuwada. Just my little joke, sticking that in, as it hand not been published yet. Then underneath that is the book ‘As you like it’, which Chie Kutsuwada adapted from our pal Shakespeare, who knew how to knock em out!

On page 147, they go past ‘Chung King Mansions’, an infamous big block full of little, cheap hotels in the Tsim Sha Tsui part of HK. You may have heard of it from the film 1994 ‘Chungking Express’ by Wong Kar-Wai. I stayed there for 3 nights on one occasion, before a friend told me it was a very dangerous place, and several people had been murdered there. I didn’t know this at the time, and thought it was probably a bit exaggerated. But upon checking it out later I found that it does indeed have a rather unsavory character, and not just because of the cheap curries served there!
A Danish tourist was killed in the mansions in 1988 due to a fire and no safety exit. And an Indian lady was murdered in 1995. Later than year more than 40 people were arrested or drug trafficking and illegal entry. On the other hand, it has recently been estimated to play host to people from more than 120 countries and to be a key example of ‘globalization in action’.

As to my experience I found the curries that Indian’s serve on the ground floor to be delicious, and the big mix of people there was kind of interesting. Even though the rooms are VERY basic and small, I was treated well by the old Chinese owner, who even gave me a packet of biscuits for free (for no other apparent reason than kindness). Hence the bit in SOL where Lee says to Matt: “Lucky you – free biscuits and you didn’t get murdered.”

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About the Author

Sean Michael Wilson / Nami Tamura
Sean Michael Wilson is a comic book writer from Scotland, who lives in Japan. He has had more than a dozen books published with a variety of US, UK and Japanese publishers, including: a comic book version of A Christmas Carol ('Best of 2008’, Sunday Times), AX:alternative manga ( 'Best ten books of 2010’, Publishers Weekly), Parecomic (with an introduction by Noam Chomsky, his first contribution to a book in graphic form), Fight the Power! A Visual History of Protest Amongst the English Speaking Peoples’ (introduction by Tariq Ali). He is currently writing books for big Japanese publisher Kodansha, being the only British writer to do so. In fact, he is the only pro manga writer from Britain who lives in Japan. He is also the editor of the critically acclaimed collection 'AX:alternative manga' (one of Publishers Weekly's 'Best ten books of 2010' and nominated for a Harvey award). Working with Shambhala Publications in the US he has written a unique line of Japanese history/martial arts/Samurai books, including The Book of Five Rings, Hagakure, The 47 Ronin, and a biography of Musashi, with more on the way. His main influences remain British and American creators - such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Eddie Campbell and Harvey Pekar. He often gives lectures and talks about comics in schools and colleges.

NAMI TAMURA is a manga artist from Japan, now living in United Kingdom. As a young artist she received three prizes from the famous Japanese publishers Shougakukan and Kodansha, and she went on to work with Shougakukan on some of their weekly magazines. Now she is working as freelance artist in various fields. The Story of Lee volume 2 is her first book in English.

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