☆ life

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p24

To see a list of all of the posts in this series, click here. (*^-^*)

 

“I GOT FIRED! I HATE HIM. WHAT A COWARD.”

That was the mail that I’d received from my (now ex-)coworker, Su-chan. Nobody had expected this. After all, Su-chan had been with us for months now, and she had been doing a good job, as far as anyone could tell.

So why in the world did she get fired all of a sudden?

Plus, in an all-japanese environment, it was hard for me to connect on more than a superficial level and she was the one whom I had bonded with the most. She was the only one whom I really talked to a lot outside of work, and we had spent a ton of time talking about her obsession with Aiba Masaki from the Johnny’s band, Arashi. I had no idea that there were all kinds of ways for fans to get invited to parties with their idols, and be invited to dressing rooms backstage, to do all sorts of things.. until she told me about them. We had gone to Tenimyu together, been nearly kicked out together, gone shopping at Ikea, and she was a big part of the reason that I started to relax in the studio.

You know how it is when you make a friend at work. Suddenly everything is sparkly. (More sparkly than normal. I mean, this *is* Tenipuri we are talking about here.)

But…

Now, apparently, she was being taken away from me. T_T

Su-chan, Tamusho, and I met later that day at Kichijoji station and walked somberly to a cafe nearby.

And that was when the bile started. As some of you guys commented on the last post, the honeymoon was over. 😉

I’d never heard Su-chan cuss before. Oh man. But she let loose on exactly what she didn’t like about working for Konomi-sensei, most of which I heartily agreed on. Facts like he would text us at the last moment asking us to come in for a few days, which would actually turn out to be a week, at which point we had run out of clean underwear. Or how we would be left on our own and have no work to do, and Sensei would not come into the office. At all. Practicing drawing speed lines, tennis shoes, and backgrounds gets boring when you’ve been at it for 48 hours with 4 hours sleep, haven’t seen the sun, nor any sign of your boss. Did I not mention it to you? I can’t remember if I’d brought this up yet, but Konomi-sensei’s home is where we worked. The first floor was our domain: the studio, and the second floor was where he lived. What was he doing for days on end when we were waiting downstairs for him with no work to do? I have guesses, but nobody can say for sure. (I choose to respect his privacy, so I can’t comment further about his home life, even just speculations).

It was a good b*tching session, for lack of a better word. Maybe that’s why Su-chan and I got along so well. She was hotheaded, and while she held her tongue at work, she was very vocal outside of it, or really late at night behind closed doors. It was hard to get criticisms out of any of the other assistants (though I did manage eventually), but she freely gave them when we were alone. This time she was clearly in her right to be upset, and I was right there with her.

He really hadn’t even done it himself. Konomi-sensei told us when to come to work, when to eat, when to go home, and paid us directly, but he had Watanabe-san call in and actually fire her. Is it just me, or is this cowardly? I suppose that it is common practice for people to pass the firing job off to anyone they can, but I felt like he should have had the decency to tell her himself.

Oh, and the reason for her getting let go? Apparently her art was “not good enough.”

…..

 The upper left panel on this page (where it says “Holy crap!” Incidentally, I was rather proud of that line of mine) was her work. I think it’s pretty good, but that’s just me.

Even a year after she had been replaced, we were still using backgrounds and people that she had drawn in the manga (we photocopied a lot of backgrounds to make work faster). Apparently those were good enough.

So, Su-chan spent a few hours complaining, and I joined in. I was devastated. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like… there were two things that happened to sort of shatter the sparkly, happy Tenipuri-manga-omgomgomg reality that I had built for myself. Does that make sense?  All of a sudden, my hero was a real person. And to top that off, I was losing the best coworker that I had. I was crushed, even though I wasn’t the one who had lost my job. I don’t know if there is a word to describe it better than just, crushed.

Tamusho… Well, he was there with us, but he didn’t join in at all. He was quiet and reserved and sort of just sat there, nodding a lot. He had never been a big talker, but he didn’t stand up for Su-chan, or really do anything much to comfort her.

I left the meeting feeling very upset, and it had not cooled when I got a text from Konomi-sensei that evening letting us all know that he expected us to be at work on Friday, for “about a week.” (Haha) He didn’t mention Su-chan, or say a word about staff changes at all. In fact, if she hadn’t told me herself I would have went to work assuming that she would be there.

So, still in a bad mood, Friday morning I packed up and boarded the train for Chiba.

To be continued tomorrow!!

 

Tomorrow: The difference between Japanese people at work, and me at work. Plus a little bit of good (?) news, and a new assistant enters the picture!

Also… wow, as I am sitting here, I am suddenly recalling a lot of funny and amusing moments that I left out of this story! Like the time that suspicious boobs appeared out of nowhere (yes, I said boobs). I kept a diary during this time, but it doesn’t have everything, and so I’m jotting down things that I missed as they recur to me. When I am done with this whole story, I’ll go back and add all of those details in and release it as an e-book! How does that sound? It’ll be easier to read, and I have a lot of my home life during that time to add in as well. I also forgot to add in certain scandalous details starring a certain Tenimyu actor! I still cannot look at pictures of him without wanting to throw up. >.>;;

I also have a photo of Tamsho and Su-chan at the restaurant, I think, but it is on the hard drives that I pulled from my old computer and can’t check at the moment. I’ll add them later!

(823 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

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