Should I change the name of this post? I love having a name to my series, and this is certainly going to end up  being a series before I switch over to a daily record of my life. What do you think? Great? Lame? Let me know below in the comments section (if you haven’t commented before, I need to approve the comments after you submit them, before they show up. You’ll get a notification when I do. Be patient!)

Anyways, Hawaii!

Let me say this.

I. LOVE. IT! The weather, the stunning beauty. The endless oceans, stretching in every direction. It’s spectacular, and more than that, it takes my breath away every time. What is underneath those pristine, crystal-clear ocean waves, where the light is no longer able to penetrate? Giant squid? A sunken Atlantis? Mermaids, even?

I don’t know. Continue Reading »

My heart was racing now.. I was there. I was in Hawaii! Was this really happening? Surely not.

But there I was!

“Anyone with pets on the cabin, please see the flight attendants before you exit the plane,” the pilot announced over the intercom. I looked at the booklet in back of the seat in front of me while people around me got their things and filed out. I’d never heard this announcement before, probably because I’d never before happened to be on a plane that had a pet in the cabin somewhere. This announcement was just for me, wasn’t it.

According to the card, I was going to be directed to animal quarantine officers that would be present, and I would have to surrender my pet to them along with any paperwork that I had.

I’d have to surrender Sansa to them? I couldn’t go with her??????

Continue Reading »

Two weeks before I left, I was sure that I would be blogging like crazy as soon as I touched down. Actually, I was sure that I’d be filming everything up until I left, and writing it down in detail.

Ohhhhh, was I ever wrong! A week before I left, I was mired down with work for a Japanese magazine, and I started to feel the crunch of time. I felt tense, all of the time, especially when they wanted changes to the art work (I wasn’t getting paid– this was basically promotional work for my book). I was happy to do it, but the timing was bad. I could feel the days ticking by without a spare moment.

My books had arrived, but I hadn’t come close to getting them ready yet. When my sister volunteered to help, I was SO grateful!! She shouldered at least half of the work, getting bookmarks ready and filling packages, checking invoices, while I signed books. It never seemed to let up. What a great experience it was (you can still get the book!!! Check out the links at the top right!), but I was running short on time. Continue Reading »

So, a while back, I had an idea.

I thought, “I don’t really have any ties to anywhere. So, I’ll just move to Hawaii!”

Continue Reading »

Hyaaaa—-h! That was sort of that sigh of relief that anime characters sometimes like to do. I don’t know why. I suppose that’s because things are coming together! I started to write a big life update post earlier today, but have set it aside for a while while I think about what I want to say, in favor of this. This story is still not yet over, after all!

My first year in Japan. It had its ups and downs, but all along it was coming along quite nicely. I was having a great time (outside of work), and at the moment, it looked like I wasn’t going to come back to the US anytime soon.

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

Of all of the things to stress over (not moving, not a new job), I was really stressing out over Tenimyu tickets. Those things could be really hard to get! This reminds me of how far I’ve come. If I wanted a ticket to Tenimyu now, I could call Watanabe-san at Shueisha and ask for a complimentary one. The last time that I went, it was my going-away party, my sendoff for working for Konomi-sensei. But back then, it was just me against the world. Or, at least against every other fan.

I was seriously outnumbered.

I’d had to resort to auctions to get seats at all, but for some reason, I ended up with a ton of good seats this time, up close.

The gods had smiled on my little fangirl heart! But those tickets weren’t all that fate had in store for me and my friends… not at all. Nope. Something really, really strange happened on July 1st.

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All the FEELS!

This has been a learning experience.

I’m filled to the brim with all sorts of feelings. Feels. Emotion, overflowing and tipping over the edge of ME,  rendering me incapable of stringing two words together for hours on end. So this is how it feels to finish something that you’ve been working on for a year! Since I’m having trouble typing it out, let me show you instead:



Is it perfect? I don’t know. John Green talked in a Vlogbrothers video about how when authors get a final copy of their book back, they immediately find a typo. That’s what happened when I got my proof, too. Oops! It wasn’t a typo exactly, just a place where the formatting went a little bit strange, but the idea is the same, no? I read through the book eight times after that, fixed all such errors, and then submitted the book again. All in this afternoon! It looks like tomorrow I will be putting in the final order for all of your gorgeous, gorgeous copies to the printer (they need to check my files again, which they are doing now). Then when they arrive, I will spend all day signing them and mailing them out. XD;; I may need some help with the mailing part. XD

So, back to the idea of perfect. Is Princess of Tennis perfect? Who knows. Part of it is written in fangirl vernacular. I was a huge fangirl for Prince of Tennis at the time. I am now, too, and the language of the book reflects that sometimes. I will just say that I am extremely satisfied, and who cares if it’s 1000% without error? It is pretty darned good, I love it, and I know without a doubt that you guys will love it, too!

There is not a single book out there like this, and I can say that for certain. If you find another memoir by a foreigner about his or her time working in a manga studio, then I will send you a free copy of this book as an apology for my erroneous assumption. :)

Preorders are still available (until Sunday), and they are here: http://jamieism.storenvy.com/products/7118063-the-princess-of-tennis-preorder


That said, I have some announcements to make!!!


1. I bought my ticket to Hawaii!!!! I’m moving, for reals!! I don’t have enough money to do it, but I am sick and tired of being stuck where I am, slowly having the soul sucked out of me. Therefore, I’m traveling on a dime and letting my fate rest in the hands of lady luck (and all of the hardest work that I can squeeze in). I’ve been talking about the move and my worries on twitter and Facebook for a few weeks now, but I wanted to wait until I had time to make a proper post to say anything here. As you know, if you’ve been reading, I’ve been staying with my mom, and had a really hard time finding a job in her very, very small city. After months of looking (and the only real bite that I had was for the newspaper, who wanted me to write freelance for them…. in a year or so), I said “screw it,” and started working full-time on my blog and the book. Neither of those are very lucrative at all, but it gave me just enough to survive as long as I didn’t have a cell phone, and enough to pay for my hundred or so chiropractic visits.

What happened was, one day, I was walking down the hill that my mother lives on, and I took a misstep. Excruciating pain rushed down my neck, and I asked my sister to give me a ride to my mother’s chiropractor in tears, unable to move. He took x-rays, said that what I had was actually advanced arthritis in my neck, caused by years of bending over desks, and one of my vertebrae had settled on a nerve, inflaming it. Ouch. It hurt, so much so that I had to wait for 24 hours without moving, before he could even begin to work with it. It was very, very expensive to take care of, but eventually, I returned to normal…ish. I’ll have to keep going back to a chiropractor on a regular basis unless I get a new back, but getting help was something that I don’t regret, one bit. It was the best decision that I could have ever made! But, um… yeah, thanks, Sensei for the neck problems! ^o^; They’ll probably only get worse, as I intend on drawing until I can’t hold a pencil anymore, but then hopefully I’ll find a way to telekinetically move a pencil with my mind instead.



2. I’m going to be speaking on a panel at San Diego Comic Con!!!!!!! July 24th at 5:30 pm, I will be co-starring in the “Making manga in Japan” panel, helpfully organized by the totally wonderful and amazing Deb Aoki. This is the first time that I’ve been able to make it to a panel, ever, anywhere. I have been invited a few times before, but I could never afford it. This time, I committed to the possibility of this panel thinking “I can do this! Somehow!” months ago, when my book was on the horizon and I was feeling really optimistic. Things aren’t any better financially, but I will go! Somehow! I want to speak to everyone so badly, to be able to answer questions in person and meet distant fans and friends, and new fans, in person. I am so, so excited! The timing, though, is terrible for me. You see, before I got confirmation for the panel, I was facing getting kicked out of my mother’s house and when an old friend from high school, who lives on the US military base in Hawaii with his wife and dog, invited me and Sansa to stay with them until I could get both a job and apartment of my own over there, I jumped on it. Place to live, check! Plane ticket, check! Hawaiiiiiiii, my next step, check! I wouldn’t have to worry about being homeless, even if I was barely able to afford to go.

But San Diego Comic Con? Oh, no. Oh my god, I maybe, maybe could afford the plane ticket. Oh, noooooooo. I wasn’t sure what to do. Even if what I have to do is fly up there, speak, and then fly right back, I am going to pay for it. I can’t wait to speak to everyone, and I don’t care how tired I am because I can’t afford a hotel room, or what circumstances arise. Even if I’m totally broke afterward, I won’t let anyone down. BUT, well… this is where I am going to ask you for help.

If you have even $5 to spare, I’d really, really appreciate any help that you can offer! I know that it’s a lot to ask, and most people don’t have a lot of money (like me), but if you can help me speak at Comic Con, then I can hopefully stay on my feet and the next time that I speak somewhere, I’ll be able to fund it all myself. Things will only improve from there, I hope! So, this is me asking from the bottom of my heart, that if you have anything to help pay for the plane ticket and hotel (if I’m lucky), I would be forever your servant. The link to the campaign is here: http://www.gofundme.com/9v7x64

Please.. and thank you, so, so much!!!

Right now, I am a struggling, starving artist, hoping to do good in the world, but in the future, when I’m the one with hard-won funds, I am going to spread the love and be someone else’s hero. <3


That’s all that I have to say right now, but I hope to write again soon! Very, very soon, with even more news! :) In the meantime, I have some art to do for the postcards and other freebies that come with preorders of the book! I am also thinking about a postcard design to send people who help out with the Comic Con expenses as a thank you. :)

See you all soon, and thank you so much for reading!! Ganbatte ne, minna! *^__^*

☆彡 Click here for a list of all of the posts in this series. *^_^*

In the first part of this series, I talked about the paths that an aspiring mangaka in Japan can take to get published and finally work as a real, full-fledged manga artist. There are a few ways to go about it, but the most common path is to enter a manga contest.

But what about people outside of Japan? What can they do if they want to be published in the land of the rising sun?

It might surprise you, but of course they can enter!

People from outside of Japan can and do enter Japanese manga contests. In Japan, when someone enters a manga contest, most of the parent magazines will list the name of every applicant and where they are from. And, even though it wasn’t all that common, I did see entries from artists who lives in other countries.

Well, now, what if you don’t speak Japanese?

Well, the biggest barrier to foreigners who want to enter these contests is that they can’t speak or write Japanese. Even I, who worked in a Japanese studio for years, don’t yet feel confident writing a story all in Japanese and getting all of the nuances right.

That’s all solved by getting a translator, right? You can write your story in your native language and have a professional translator or a friend (if you have one) translate it for you.

That’s definitely one way of going about it.

In part 4, I’m going to talk more about those contests and outline how you can enter some of them, but today I want to talk about the other side of things. I want to talk about contests and places to submit work that are specifically aimed at people who live outside of Japan.

There are quite a few contests just for foreigners, so read on!
Continue Reading »

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