☆ life

Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p16

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

I realized just now that I’m going to have to include JUMP Festa in this week’s posts, if I also want to include the tragedy! What should I do…

Let’s just pick up and see how things go. 🙂

At this point, with full tummies and seatbelts fastened, we in Sensei’s car, and Watanabe-san (Tenipuri’s editor for JUMP SQ magazine) and the professional photographer in another, pulled up in front of a massive stone gate. It was huge-huge.

Huge huge huge huge huge.

Alright, it was about my height, but it was the kind of stone gate that can seem really formidable, and a lot harder than it probably really is.

“Daystar,” it said on the side, in english letters. The gate was open, so after a brief pause, our cars were led inside.

Full as I was, and hyped-up on discussing naming ideas, I, honestly, wanted to stay in the car. It was getting later in the afternoon, and being November, pretty chilly. But when you work for someone and they say, “outta the car,” you don’t really have a choice.

We had pulled up to the front of a really large building that was modern but rustic all at the same time. Around us were pine trees, and beyond them, just visible through the foliage, wide-open fields. We had arrived at Daystar, what turned out to be a posh, very very expensive golfing resort.

An employee in a suit and white gloves rushed out of the building and approached our little group.

“How may I help you?” he said, looking around, I guess, for a leader.

Watanabe-san (even though he was the shortest in the group) stepped forward and commanded the valet’s attention. “I am Watanabe from
Shueisha
, and this is Konomi Takeshi, the author of The Prince of Tennis.” He gestured at Konomi-sensei.

Pleasantries were exchanged, and we were led into the large building. Thankfully, because it was getting really cold now! Sensei gave us free reign to take as many pictures as we wanted, and to meet back in the lobby in a half hour.

Grateful to be inside, and to be able to wander where we wanted, Su-chan and I split up and walked off to take photos of whatever struck our fancy.


(A not-so-remarkable shot of the gorgeous interior, lol)

We were walking along a tall glass wall, overlooking the forest line below, when Su asked me, “Jamie, why did you want to become an assistant?”

We slowed down, and I watched the scenery through the window. To be honest, I had never thought in a million years that I would be here. I’d never thought that I would be chosen. The most that I’d really hoped for was the off-chance that I might, maybe, possibly… be able to meet Konomi-sensei. I had been trained in art, true, and been drawing my whole life, but I’d never picked up the kinds of tools that mangaka use before. I had no experience. My Japanese was atrocious. I’d thought that there had to be so many more-talented people out there, so when I had applied, I hadn’t dared to hope.

Finally, I let out a slow breath and replied, “I really wanted to learn how to make manga.”

It was the truth, pared down to it’s bare essentials. But that, I hadn’t realized until that moment, was what all of us assistant artists had in common. We wanted to learn, so that we could have our own series someday. Su-chan’s face brightened with a smile.

“Me too,” she said.

“I actually want to write Shonen manga,” she continued as we ambled along the windowside together.

“Were you a fan of Tenipuri, then?” I asked.

She shook her head. “Nope. I’ve never actually read it,” she said with a smile, “but Prince of Tennis is so huge.”

“Plus,” she added, “he accepts newcomers.”

I laughed. That was another very good point. A lot of mangaka at all don’t even accept newbies as their assistants. Even fewer are as famous as Konomi-sensei. I haven’t seen Su-chan for a few years now, but I still remember that conversation vividly, for some reason.

It was soon after that that we had to assemble in the lobby. We met the others, and Konomi-sensei ushered us outside. No– not to get back in the cars! Instead, it was time to photograph the grounds!

It was getting really cold by now. Oh boooooooy.. It would have been all worth it if I had gotten to drive a golf cart. But I don’t have a Japanese driver’s license, so Marie got the chance to drive it down the long driveway, screaming. I love her to death, but she has sure got a low tolerance for adventure. ^-^;

We followed down the walkway, snapping pictures of the trees, and eventually ended back up at the massive gate.


(Does this look familiar to anyone?)

We eventually were able to pile back into the relative warmth of the cars, but that wasn’t where things ended. We stopped at a random bend in the middle of the highway. To take pictures of the road.

There was one more stop on the way home: to Sensei’s “favorite cheesecake store in the entire world,” according to him. He dropped ¥6,520 (about $65) on tiny little cheesecakes for us without batting an eye.

It must be nice to be rolling in money. 🙂

And then, night creeping up on us, we arrived back at the studio, where we bid goodbye to Watanabe-san and the photographer, got ready for bed, and lounged around eating cheesecakes. All in all, a healthy, productive day, right?

The playtime was about to end, though. Sensei sent us home the next morning with instructions to print out our photos and save the receipts, and come again on Monday morning.

It was there that the real work started!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the continuation! (^o^)/
Fire away with your comments, so that I know that you’re reading! 🙂 🙂

(550 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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