☆ anime/manga,  ☆ being a mangaka,  ☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life,  ☆ photos

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p49

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

May 23, 2010.

The end of the end (almost). It took four months for Sensei to make time for my going-away party, but it was worth the wait. It was so worth the wait. I mean, and it gave me a few months of time.. free time. Time that I hadn’t had in so long that I barely knew what to do with it all. I went crazy, seeing and doing everything, and sleeping in to all hours. I was still working my tv and writing jobs, but they took up so little of my time in comparison.

I think that Sensei was actually waiting for this specific day to have the party– though I can’t say for sure. As if was waiting for the end of Tenimyu, because in effect, it felt like one ending. Why not make it two? It was appropriate.

So, Watanabe-san told me when and where to be, and on the very last day of Tenimyu Dream Live 7, the very last day of the first season of Tenimyu, I arrived at the venue. I met my friends outside that were also seeing the show, but had to leave them quickly.

I texted Watanabe-san to let him know that I was there, and he met me and we went in through the back. My heart was pounding. I hadn’t seen Sensei or any of the others in four months, and it was almost as nerve-wracking as our first meeting had been. I knew, knew, knew that I was going to cry today.

My knees were shaking.

Watanabe-san led me in through a maze of backstage doors, and into a waiting room. It was so, so quiet, and there was everyone that I loved sitting on a couch.

My Sensei…. My Kaiwa-san.. My Maru-chan and Marie and Tamusho… all of them there. <3 I wanted.. I don’t know. I wanted to hug them and tell them all how much I’d missed them, but it was so embarrassing with Watanabe-san watching.

I miss them so much, now.

I hugged Sensei and we took a picture. Ahh.. nothing, nothing had changed at all! Except that they tore him away to get ready for the stage and consult with him. While the rest of us were talking in hushed tones, stage manages and directors, and a few actors wandered in (Ueshima-sensei, Shirota Yuu), and there wasn’t much time to socialize, sadly.

We were soon gathered up to be led to our private booth. Ooh, our own private booth!! Down below us was the regular kankeisha area, and where we were was just for us. Wow.


Me and Maru-chan.

*You’ve noticed that I usually block out faces if they’re recognizable, but all of these pictures were taken with the understanding that they could be posted online, and they’ve all been posted online before, so enjoy the rare look at the real people that have been a part of this story the whole time. <3

Oooooooh, but there is one thing. To get to the booth, we had to be led across the lobby, and couldn’t go through the regular maze of backstage areas. As it turned out, leading Konomi-sensei across the lobby was a huge feed for his ego. 😉

It was right before the show was to start, but there were still a few groups of girls lingering in the lobby. I think that this particular group had been watching the staff door just in case someone they liked came through, and they were lucky today, I guess! 😉 They started squealing as soon as we left the door, and one of them screamed, “SENSEI!!!” Her and two other girls rushed up to Sensei and crowded around him, everyone trying to shake his hand at once.

Ahaha, it was soooooooooo cute! I know that Sensei loved that. He was beaming afterward. Completely and totally beaming. It was SOOOOOOOOOOO cute! =^.^=

Sensei, it seemed, had become a little bit of an Ikemen idol himself. Not too bad for a newly 40-year-old manga artist, eh? He certainly is good-looking, and pretty sweet. He deserves it (even if he frustrated me with his work ethic sometimes!).

Except for the part that Sensei was whisked off to be on stage (in the second half), we all sat together in the little booth, waving our light sticks and cheering. Well, me and Kaiwa-san cheered our hearts out (I’m infectuous and Kaiwa-san is just so good-natured), and Sensei chimed in a few times. I really think that he’s cut out for this sort of thing. 🙂

Funnily enough, I wasn’t the only one to cry. I finally lost it when Sensei came on stage, but for Kaiwa-san it was when Ryoma’s actor (6th gen, Ogoe Yuki) completely broke down on stage that he started crying.

I love these guys. All of them. <3

After the emotional show, we were all whisked back to the waiting room, and a few of my favorite Tenimyu cast members came in to thank Sensei (Kimeru and Yanagi Kotaroh, whom I talked to briefly as well. It’s nice getting to talk to actors that I admire, it really is!). Then, Sensei was whisked off to give some parting messages to the cast, since he wouldn’t be attending the wrap party.

Instead, he’d be going to dinner with all of us as my going-away party (soubetsukai)!

When he returned, we were all whisked off in a white van, driving to Yokohama. We went to my favorite mexican restaurant (it was a hit with everyone!), and joked and chatted. Everyone teased me, saying that it had been really hard with me gone to meet deadlines. I kept tearing up, but it wasn’t until the end of dinner that I completely dissolved into tears.

“We have something for you,” Sensei said, and Maru-chan reached into her bag and pulled out something long and flat.

I opened it up, and it was a signboard with heartfelt messages from everyone.

I totally, completely, dissolved into tears. I sobbed so hard. That one board is the best, most touching present that I have ever received.

Whoa, here come my tears again.

We took commemoration pictures, and then they dropped me off at the train station, and that was it.


From left to right, front row: Marie, Tamusho, Watanabe-san. Back row: Maru-chan, Kaiwa-san, me, Konomi-sensei.

I cried the entire way home. Happy and sad at the same time. I cried all night, and the next night as well. I don’t remember any more how long it took me to stop crying.

But a few months later, to my surprise, I got a sudden telephone call from Sensei, and he had something to ask of me…

What is it? You’ll find out tomorrow, in the very last part of this story! From deep in my heart, I thank you for coming on this adventure with me, and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the end! ♡

(1,118 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.

13 Comments

  • Aurora

    I love your blog!!! and you are such a good writer
    I just start reading your experience as Konomi’s assistant and I don’t want it to end ToT
    (Sorry for my english, I speak Spanish)

    I bet it was fun meeting lots of people (Shirota!!! *-* I like him so much)

    And who the hell is T? I’m so curious but I know you won’t tell. I have someone in mind but I’m not sure if it’s him.

    Mexican food is good in Japan? xD I’m mexican and I’ve tried mexican food in other countries and the dishes weren’t that good >.< and not spicy enough.

    I'll keep reading your blog because is amazing and I hope to read your own manga someday

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Aww, thank you so much, Auroroa! For a Spanish-speaking native, you write English really well! Actually, I would have thought that you were a native speaker if you hadn’t told me otherwise!

      Hehee, I will never admit in public who T is. I think that it adds some mystery… although there is the temptation of saving other girls from making the same mistake. I’ll just have to hope that they can protect themselves. 😉

      Mexican food is my favorite kind!!!! It was a staple in my life and I eat it all of the time. Finding good mexican in Tokyo is possible (there are two restaurants that I went to that were pretty good!), but none of them are very spicy. I think that even at “authentic” places, they water it down for Japanese tastes. 🙁 I can’t wait to go to Mexico someday and try real mexican food!

  • hirami

    Something confused me here… you were watching Dream Live 7th, right?
    Wasn’t 6th Cast Ryoma Takahashi Ryuki? :c
    (6th cast is kinda dear to me because Final Match Rikkai Second was the only myu I managed to see live…
    first I didn’t like the cast, but when I saw them there I couln’t help but love them <

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Yes, Dream Live 7th! They had three Ryomas there, if I remember correctly. I could definitely be confusing them, though. All that I wrote down in my diary the time was that he cried during 6th Ryoma’s speech, and I had to look it up to find out his name (I can’t keep them separate). I might have made a mistake when I looked it up. Sorry! ^^;;

  • Alice Hou

    Oh wow. It’s almost the end-

    truth be told if it wasn’t for one day where I was trying to find out more information about Prince of Tennis and Konomi-sensei, I wouldn’t have been able to read this wonderful blog :). Thanks so much.

    It’s been really enjoyable seeing all these behind the scene snippets :D. Thanks you so much for sharing~

  • haze

    OMG. these last 2 parts have been so emotionally strong. I felt every word. This one, specially the the part where everybody gave you the board, that made me feel a lump in my throat. I worked in a studio as well, and I understand how deeply you get attached to the guys over there. Up to this point some of them I still consider my best friends. I’m glad some of them achieved their dreams going pro, and some are still fighting to get there.

    Thanks Jamie. I have been enjoying your story all along.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Wow, thank you so much for your comment, haze! It does get really intense, working so closely with people for a long time, doesn’t it? I am really glad that I was able to convey my emotions so well, and thank you for sticking with me till the end!

  • Tray

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I honestly go through a lot of emotions whenever I read your entries. I can’t help but reflect on my own life and aspirations. :’)

    Can’t wait for the next entry tomorrow!

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Thank YOU so much for reading them! And for going through so many emotions. As weird as it might sound, I am happy that you guys are feeling– whether it’s excitement, frustration, sadness, or happiness. It’s like the ultimate achievement, and tells me that I did something right out there. I was able to bring all of you along on the ride with me. <3 It is only my story that I tell, but this sort of makes it a story for everyone, as if we all lived it together.

      I don't know if I'm making any sense. I hope so! <3

  • Audrey

    OMG Yanagi. And Shirota Yuu!!! I love Shirota. So much. Omg.

    These last two entries were so emotional! I felt really heavy reading them.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Shirota Yuu is sooooooo tall. Taller than me. It’s really crazy! I only talked to them for a brief moment, but I asked Yanagi if he remembered me, and of course he didn’t. He’s also fluent in English, but by that time he was having terrible trouble talking at all. It broke my heart. ;_;

      I cried so hard writing these. It was definitely emotional. It sounds weird, maybe even cruel, but I feel really happy that you guys are feeling sad/emotional for me, too. It means that I succeeded in conveying how it felt to me. I wanted everyone to share, even just a little bit, in my triumphs and disappointments alike, as if we were all a part of the same story.

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