☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 27

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

Tenimyu. Here we were.

I’d seen Tenimyu on DVD, but this is the first time that I saw one in person, and I think that it changed me. Forever. A while back, I talked about how I’d bought tickets in Japanese, and been upset at the girl waiting in front of me. The reason that she was waiting, though, is because she was trying to get tickets to this show.

Tenimyu had been running for over a year now, and it had had the same cast for most of that time, reprising their roles with each new part of the story. But this Tenimyu was going to be the last for the main cast. They’d be replaced with new, younger models. Literally.

Most of the cast were in their twenties or even thirties, around my age (I was 24), but their replacements would be much younger boys, as young as 14! Being that the characters are supposed to be in middle-school, though, it was actually fairly appropriate. So, in any case, this run of performances, that took place over the new year of 2005, was the last for the main cast. No wonder the tickets had sold out immediately, and why nobody had wanted tickets to the next performance, which would have a new, untested cast (the one that I’d bought tickets for).

Oh well, right? Well, not really. To combat ticket scalpers and the like, who were selling tickets online for upwards of $1000 for a single seat, a certain number of tickets were held back, and offered through a lottery system on the day of the show. You could line up, receive a piece of paper with a number on it, and then come back later to see whether your number was selected to win a lucky chance to purchase a ticket. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was quite a lot of fun, and led to making some new friends who would last a lifetime!

First day: Eda and I were determined, and so we lined up bright and early on the 30th, in the fresh snow that had fallen overnight. Aaaand we got. Nothing. Except for cold! We were up against hundreds of girls.


These girls were waiting around to get tickets, just like us.

And maybe some more doujinshi. We hung around the rest of the day shopping and eating, making new friends (for me) Ale (from Italy) and Ang (from Singapore), both of whom were in Japan just to see the musical, and then we stayed for something called demachi. Demachi was a sort-of-secret thing that fans did, where after a performance of a play/musical/concert, they found the back door of the performance hall and lined up outside to wait for the actors to leave. It’s like a slightly-less-creepy way of stalking letting the actors know that you love them!


This was THE DOOR.

I didn’t really know one actor from another yet and still hadn’t seen a show live, but I was really excited to get this close to people who played the characters that I knew and loved! It was sort of thrilling, in a conspiratorial way, and looking back on it, sure I was there with a hundred or so other girls, but some of what we did was still preeeeeeetty darn creepy. Well, later. In the beginning, we just stood there and squealed with everyone else, and tried to get someone to shake our hand while they were leaving.

But then we filed onto a train…. and it turned out that we, by complete and total non-stalking coincidence, ended up on the same train as one of the actors for the Ichinen trio (for those familiar with Tenipuri)!! Horio! Perhaps it was fate, because while we missed our opportunity to talk to us as he got off the train before we did, this wasn’t the end of the story by any means.

Second day: Once again, Eda and I struck out for tickets, but our friend Ale won one of the lottery vouchers! She already had a ticket of her own, but she gave it to Eda and they went to see the musical together. I didn’t mind too much, because after it was over, we headed to Shibuya for a concert by a little band called The NaB’s. The singer of the NaB’s was a cast member from Tenimyu, and we were shocked when we got to the live and.. there were only about 50 people there! The live house was tiiiiiiiiny, and they packed us 50 girls up near the stage. It was hot and sweaty, my first concert in Japan, and it almost felt intimate!

After that, we were really lucky, because a man approached us with his wife and son after the concert.. in English! It turned out that they were the family of the guitarist, Karl. They were so nice and friendly! Then, us three girls hightailed it back to Ikebukuro for another night of freezing-cold winds and demachi! This time, though, we were treated to something new… the mangaka was the first person to exit the building, and I personally freaked out!

This was the person responsible for this whole thing… the one that I looked up to. My god.

The very same person that I ended up working for three years later.


There he is. He wasn’t my Konomi-sensei yet, and it never occurred to me for the briefest moment that I would ever know him. And now that I look more closely, I think that’s Kaiwa-san to the left!

He They still doesn’t know about that, and I don’t know if I will ever tell him them. Maybe one day. ;D

Want to hear some more? Well, tomorrow I’ll wrap up the Tenimyu tale, and how exactly it changed my life for the better. 😀

See you again tomorrow! (*^o^*)

(190 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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