Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p13

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

To start with, answers to your questions from the last post!

Perky: Watching the Tenipuri Festas, it seems that Konomi-sensei’s singing has improved, as has his stage “presence.” Did he ever take lessons?
A: Not that I’m aware of, but I kind of wondered if he practiced by watching videos of Kimeru’s concerts. XD

Blayne: But hey, you’re in a show right? Did any of the musicals influence you to be an actor along the way?
A: Sort of! It looked like a lot of fun to be in a musical, and a way to make good friends, so for a while I really wanted to take part in one. But recently, I’ve realized that I don’t want to spend the time, and I already have great friends, so I don’t need to! XD Honestly, I’ve never aspired to be an actress, but I do enjoy doing my tv show. ^^

Keep the questions coming, you guys!

And now, to the main event!!

Where were we?

“Don’t talk about this online on your blog,” Watanabe-san, our editor at JUMP, had just cautioned.

I guess that I’m going to get in trouble now, eh? ^.~

It was a long time ago, so probably not. ^^ At least, I hope not! Juuuuump, don’t hate me! ^o^;;

We had just arrived at the Sunshine 60 building, and I was busy texting my friends (and freaking out inside– for a fan like me, getting access, even just temporarily, to all of the hot musical boys, was like a dream come true!). It seemed that the ones that I’d seen near the entrance were already in the lobby. And as we (Konomi-sensei, me, Watanabe-san, and our small group) walked in, I spied them huddling near a pillar. “Look! Wow, some of my friends are here, what a coincidence!” I said.

Okay, well, I lied. Sorry, Konomi-sensei! ^o^;; I wanted to share the love… you. I wanted to share you with everyone! ^o^;;;;

I don’t know if he believed me that it was a coincidence, but K-sensei played the part of a good rock star (or, manga artist), and introduced himself. He loves meeting people, and loves being the center of attention, so I’m sure that he was happy, anyways. ^^

After that brief greeting, then we went off, and met yet another friend coming out of the convenience store in the lobby. Yet another introduction. XD;; It probably looked a little suspicious, but everyone was in good spirits, so it was all fun. ^^ After the short delay, our small group got into the elevator and rode it to the top floor…. and to the party of my life 🙂


MMV, the company that sponsors the musicals, had rented out a classy restaurant on the top floor for our party. The restaurant was dark and long– one long, thin room done in black marble, with giant windows overlooking uptown Tokyo. The Sunshine 60 building is one of the tallest buildings in the city, and the view at night (or even in the day) is breathtaking. You can see all the way to the water, or all the way to Mt. Fuji, on a good day.

With those huge bay windows overlooking the night city, and long black tables set with white linen tablecloths and pristine white plates, wine glasses on the side, the scene for an unforgettable night was set.

As we walked in, we were led to our own table directly in the center. We took up the entire table. To our right, directly in front of the empty bar and entranceway, was a tiny stage– just enough to fit 5 or 6 people, and a microphone on a stand. On our left were three more long tables, filled with various staff, and Ueshima-sensei (the director, and actor for Nanjiroh, Ryoma’s father) at the head of the nearest. Most of the staff was female, by the way.. but can you blame them? What girl wouldn’t want to work in a room full of up-and-coming young boy idols? At least some of them were really good-looking! (Not to mention, as I found out, these idols are mostly young guys, and well, if you’re a girl near them and available…. you can guess the outcome ^-^;;; )

On our other side, across from the stage, were three tables full of the aforementioned young idols. More than 40 young boys– all for the picking! Girls couldn’t have asked for a better party!!

There was an all-you-can-drink bar (unfortunately, only beer, which I don’t like, and water), but hey! Not a bad thing 🙂 And as we set down, food was brought out to the tables.

Kaiwa-san and I sat next to each other, and we scoped out the scene. But while we both had our cameras out, that was where it ended for the moment…

I’d just gotten hit with a huge case of nerves! That darn shyness of mine!!!!! ;______;

We talked and ate. Ueshima-sensei came to talk to Konomi-sensei for a while. Some of the actors wandered over to say thanks to Konomi-sensei. But Kaiwa-san and I were rooted to our seats, chatting and just watching it all. (So were the other assistants, but they in general weren’t really interested. The fangirls whom Konomi-sensei had invited? They were so nervous that they could barely even talk to me! I did try…. I asked one of the girls, “who is your favorite?” When she answered, I said that she should go introduce herself, and she shook her head violently. ToT)

So, I did what any good, desperate girl would do. Even though it was against my personal taste, I drank beer. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance! If I didn’t talk to any of the musical actors (especially the one that I had a crush on!!), then I was SURE that I would regret it!

Darn me for being so shy!

So, I drank a whole glass of beer in one gulp. Then I grabbed another. I only rarely drink at all, and it’s only delicious sweet cocktails or plum liquor (ume-shuu). So, probably one would have been enough. Yet, I wasn’t sure.

In the middle of my second drink, the lights suddenly dimmed, and someone in a suit that I didn’t know stepped up to the mike on stage.

Something was starting? We all turned.

The older man, wearing some kind of expensive-looking suit, was one of the executives in charge of the musical, and he only said a short few words about the musical and how it had had a successful run. After him was Ueshima-sensei, then Konomi-sensei, and finally one of the two Seigaku casts.

All of the team members lined up on the stage (and around and behind it), and they gave short speeches. One by one, each team went, until everyone had had their say. There were some short jokes, but mainly “thank you, you guys are all awesome,” over and over again.

I, though, excited out of my mind to be able to see something as “exclusive” as this, and filmed the entire thing. It didn’t seem boring at all, even though I’m sure it would be pretty boring now that I’m not into the musical anymore. But at the time, my heart was racing and I was feeling lightheaded just being in the same room, watching!

All of those cute boys, just an arm’s length away!!!!

The speeches ended without incident, and suddenly it was 11:30. The party was wrapping up, and the plates were being cleared as people mulled around with last words for each other. For some of these guys, it’d be their last chance to see everyone together, possibly their last chance to see some of their old comrades. Some of the cast members (Kato Kazuki, Takumi Saito, a few others, I think?) were even graduating.

I was getting hazy, so even though my shyness was still rearing it’s ugly head, I couldn’t lose this chance!! Kaiwa-san helped me, in a way– Aiba Hiroki came around.

(Hiroki Aiba – He played Fuji, Kaiwa-san’s favorite character.)

It was then that it hit me– If it wasn’t for me, then it would be a LOT easier!! My friends give me courage– I’d do anything for them!

So I stopped Aiba, and Kaiwa-san got his picture taken.

Sakurada Doori, aka Ryoma, just happened to come by at that.

(Sakurada Doori, who played Ryoma, my favorite character. The one I wanted to put in my pocket. XD)

I got my picture too! I swear, I wanted to squeeze his little cheeks– he’s so small and adorable! *^^* Like a little brother! I ♥ Ryoma!

There was only up to go from there!

My best friend had wanted an autograph from a certain long-haired actor, and so I sought him out. He was so friendly, so nice, and so accommodating (I made him sign a heart after his autograph), that we ended up exchanging phone numbers and email addresses. We’re still friends today, though the kind of friends that never see each other and only rarely talk. LOL But I’d still say we’re friends of a sort. I also met some great girls through him much later on, which I became really good friends with! *^^*

I don’t know if I can say who it is.. it depends on his agency. But I guess it doesn’t really matter. He’s a nice guy (if a bit, well.. guyish. That’s why we don’t hang out often, lol), so of course I wish him the best. ^^

Then, I spied Konomi-sensei over his shoulder, and excused myself.

Konomi-sensei was taking pictures with the three actors that had played Atobe!!! I took a few pictures too and then took his place and got a few of myself with them ♥ It was so much fun!!!!! *^^*

(Katou Kazuki, the most popular of the Atobe actors. He is in a lot of TV and movies now, from what I hear. He also owns a sugar glider, isn’t that adorable?)

I said quick hi’s to a few actors that looked my way, or I had met before through other exploits (those are long stories in their own, boring gossipy people-that-know-people types of stories, but I was never friends with any of them, I’d say). But my goal was HIM.

That one that I had a huge crush on. The very same one that a friend of a friend had asked me to get an autograph of before the show.

He was sitting beside the window, looking as sexy as ever. He looked like he’d just walked out of any of the countless magazine photo shoots that I’d seen of him.

Gaaaaaaah, I nearly melted just seeing him look my way.

Did I imagine a hint of sensuality in his voice? (probably) Was that more than just a friendly smile as he returned my hello and agreed to sign the photo for my friend.

“What’s her name?” he asked, and I fumbled around for the right response.

I actually didn’t know her name, since she was just a friend of a friend. But I was sure that he’d think that I was lying, that it was for me, and I was just a fan, so we’d never have our special connection. This could be the end!!! I was simultaneously dying, and drowning in his gorgeousness. (I’m pathetic, I know. But imagine if you had just met your ideal model/actor who also had your ideal personality, in a dimly lit bar restaurant at an exclusive party overlooking all of the city? The twinkling lights shining far down below. It was like a teenage crush x 1000.)

I couldn’t lie, so I said that I didn’t know, and then stared at him for a few moments (maybe longer… I don’t know, probably a lot longer!! ^^;; ). We chatted a little, but we were starting to get pushed out by the staff at this point, so I had to go.

“I’m so sorry, I’m really tipsy now,” I tried to explain myself. He just smiled.

That sexy, sexy, smile. I was on cloud nine. I wanted his number too, with a kind of desperation. But I wasn’t THAT drunk. I could get an autograph, but ask for his number? Nope.

Well, not yet, anyways…. ;D

I feel like I should end here, but I’ll wrap it up nicely, since there is so little left to tell of the night.

I grabbed my things and wandered over to the elevator, where Konomi-sensei was chatting with Luke C.

Luke was wearing the sunglasses that Sensei had given him on stage at the end of the show. “Can I really keep them?” he asked.

“Of course,” sensei answered.

Hey, I was pretty drunk (remember, I don’t usually drink!), and high on loooooooooove ♥

I interjected, and made the best pouty-face that I ever could have. “Where are my sunglasses?????” I turned my charm on Konomi-sensei.

Looking back on it, I don’t know if he was amused or offended, but he smiled and patted my head.

“When you’ve done a lot of good work for me, I’ll give you a pair too.”

It’s kind of embarrassing to remember how forward I was. We still didn’t know each other that well, and I was still an employee, not a friend. But in that moment, I felt much closer to him than before.

We rode the elevator down– us and Luke and a gaggle of other people, the elevator stuffed to the brim. And then there, at the bottom, was my crush.

That sweet voice, those eyes, that hair. He was talking to another boy, taking funny pictures together with their cell phones.

Somehow, then, somewhere from the depths of my soul, I mustered up the courage to do it. I sidled on over, and asked for his email.

“Do you have something to write on?” he returned with a smile.

“O.. of course!!” I produced just such.

And he left me with his cell phone email, number, and pc mail address. And a fluttering heart.

I walked back to the train station with some of the other assistants (Sensei took his car, but we wanted to enjoy the night air, even as cold as it was), and that was the end of the evening.

But it was nowhere near the end of my adventure with Tenipuri, and definitely not the end with my crush.

To be continued: What happened when we next went back to the studio? It’s back to business! Also, it’s time for a photoshoot!

Want the next post soon? Want to know what I mean by “photoshoot”? Then post some comments and start some conversations! *^^* Multiple comments are okay! I’ll post the next part when the comments reach 50! 😀

(1,236 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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