☆ life

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p34

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

Ohh, chapter 4 had me in a panic, and it did not exactly let up!

It was back into the studio for a week, right on the deadline for chapter 4, and I was starting to get worn down. Not just with the grueling schedule at the studio, but from just plain not having much down time at home. The euphoria over having a week off didn’t last very long.

Remember that I’d accepted a second job starring in the tv show, right? And I’d asked Konomi-sensei about it first, and he’d said, “heck yeah!! I want to see you on tv, so go for it!” The part where he promised to work with my schedule and all of that?

Well, I was about to learn that it wasn’t going to be that simple. Of course.

Basically, we had been in and out of the studio twice this month already, working on Shin Tenipuri chapter 4. I wouldn’t complain, except that when we are in the studio, it means that we are not home. We can’t go home. We can’t see our friends, eat dinner by ourselves, or even go to bed when we want to. Yes, Konomi-sensei sometimes took us out for nice food, or to the arcades, or to the beach. We went to Tenipuri-related events, too. But more often than not, when we were in the studio, we wanted to work. Work hard, get the chapter finished, and then go home. In fact, if we had been working all of the time that we were in the studio, or even half of it, then we would have always finished sort of quickly.

How I feel at times like this… just barely hanging in there.

But Sensei was developing this habit of calling us all into the studio, buzzing us into the building (there was a video intercom system and he lived upstairs, so he often buzzed us in from home), and then not showing himself. At first, it was a few hours where we’d be sitting there, taking extra-long to get settled and try to ascertain whether there was in fact any work for us, and then, grudgingly, settling in to practice or draw background scenes that may or may not ever be used in the future. It’s not a recipe for production. But then it gradually got worse.

Have some pictures of my desk for hanging in there!

It was easy to deal with at first, but by this time, it wasn’t just a few hours before we saw Sensei. It was sometimes days. Literally days with no manga pages to work on, where we could have instead just stayed home and slept, played, hung out with friends, or something else. But nope. Instead, it was days of listlessness with little direction, trying to decide between ourselves what to practice on, or what photo we should draw in case it might come in handy later. We worked on that sort of thing, everyone complained amongst ourselves, and plodded on slowly, counting down the days left before deadline and the number of pages that still had to be done, fretting as it drew closer and we knew that, two or three days before the deadline, K-sensei would suddenly appear in the studio and finally want to work.

Something else strange that happened is that he would sometimes come in in the middle of the night and draw, all alone, while all of us were sleeping in the other room, and we would wake up to find a few pages of manga pencilled-in and waiting for our attention. Sometimes with little notes attached. I got up to go to the bathroom a few times and wandered in to chat with him, and those little interludes sort of mended my soul. They made me feel momentarily better about it, at least. It was like, okay, yes. I do like this man, he’s a good guy. He and I talked about all sorts of things, from love to how he advanced his career, and why he liked drawing late at night like this (the solitude helps him concentrate).

But the good-feelings never lasted long. Chapter 4’s deadline was Friday night, and come Saturday afternoon, thanks to the absence of our “hard-working” boss for most of the day, every day, we still had pages left to finish, and I had a filming for the tv show on Sunday. This was a date which had been chosen by and cleared with Konomi-sensei, AND it was after Shueisha‘s deadline for chapter 4, so theoretically it should have been fine.

Well, I felt REALLY, REALLY guilty when I was forced to leave in the late evening, because I had to be in Roppongi at 6 am, and there was just no helping it. Come the next morning, I learned through email that everyone had finally finished around 3am.

I felt SO, SOOOOOO guilty. Sooooooo guilty! Nobody ever blamed me for having to leave early, and I had done everything I could do finish things up, but our boss had made it his duty to put everything off to the last minute, even with all of use waiting at his disposal, and actually wanting to work. Sooo, yeah.

There was nothing that I could have humanly done, but I still felt guilty about it. Even though by the end of Sunday, I was barely able to stand upright, I still felt guilty. Looking at photos that I took of myself that day, I look TIRED. There are dark circles under my eyes that no makeup on earth could have hidden.

To compound matters, I dropped my little digicam on the sidewalk (this was before I had a smartphone), and it completely smashed the glass casing and split the side. Time for a new camera with my dwindling money (remember that I’d just moved!), oh joy.

I settled on a cute little blue one, though!

I grabbed a new suitcase as well, since I was at the store and lugging my pajamas and changes of clothes to the studio in a little handbag was killing my back, and in four a penny, in for a pound, right? Isn’t it cute?

I used that thing like crazy until it eventually fell apart. I remember still trying to use it with one wheel missing…. not so easy! I nearly cried when I finally had to toss it. >.>;;;

Weeeeeelllll, even though I was hurting for money, I did get one more thing…. I finally got a little tiny laptop to use in the studio!!!! It was a little netbook, and not powerful at all, but with that, I finally had computer access. Even better, I got it for 1yen, by registering for a wireless internet service! So that meant….. I could download and watch tv shows while I was at the studio! (And check on email and all of that less-important stuff).

YAY TV SHOWS! I knew that, at the very least, I would be significantly less bored. YEAH <3

Well, it’s not like I was raring to get back into the studio after all of this frustration, but after a few days off, we were supposed to go back in and get a head-start on chapter five. Considering that we’d worked down to the wire (and technically pushed it until it broke and then landed on the pavement with a splat) on the previous chapter, I was actually all for this idea (providing that we WORK and aren’t forced to just sit around).

Late the night before we were supposed to go in, we get a group email from Sensei saying, “WAIT! CHANGE!” He moved the date all the way to the middle of the month.

Well, it was nice to have the sudden last-minute notice that we’d have some time off, but:

1) That date left us 10 days to get chapter 5 done. No way was that going to happen.

2) Because Sensei paid us in cash at the end of the month, I wouldn’t get this month’s pay until the end of the following month. Arghh…………. I had just moved, too, and thankfully I had had to pay the first month’s rent ahead of time or I don’t know what I would have done.

3) Sensei told us to bring something nice to wear, since a tv program would be coming to the studio, and we’d all be filmed playing tennis.




RAWR! Read more tomorrow to find out what happened! ^O^;;;
I’ve been writing a lot faster now, so I think things will be moving along smoothly!

(757 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.

One Comment

  • KJM

    The Japanese work ethic is quite different to what we are used to in the west. I think it is great that you are hanging in there. Just be sure to look after your health, physical and mental. All the best from a gaijin that was in Japan for 26 years.

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