To see a list of all of the posts in this series, click here. (*^-^*)
I’m baaaaaack!!! And I am here to stay, now!
Actually, a number of things have happened recently. My life has been really hectic the last year or so. I was battling a blood condition called ITP, I was filming for my weekly tv show, and I was reporting for Asahi Weekly newspaper once a month, all while trying to find the time to work on manga and my blog. In February, my contracts ended for both my television show and my Asahi Weekly, so I picked up some freelance illustration business and tried to focus a little harder on what I really wanted to do: make manga. It was a decision that took a while to get to, and the reasons I will go into on a separate post, but in June I finally decided that it was time to leave Japan. Leaving after 9 years and taking a cat with you is a big undertaking, believe me! Especially when you are doing it alone. I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of 2013 with my family in Washington state in the US, since in the 7 years since I had last visited both my little brother and sister had married and made babies galore, and my mother had also remarried. The whole collective had been begging me for years to come and visit and I had never indulged them, so I am hoping that by staying with them for a few months, it will make up for part of that. Sansa (my cat) and I arrived in Washington a few weeks ago, and we are trying to adjust to how different life in the US is. I am moving to Hawaii when my visit here is done, and after all of the paperwork for Sansa is completed. Why? I like warmth and I am allergic to the cold. I also figure that if I am going to live somewhere, why not live in paradise? I love the ocean, I love summer, Hawaii is right between Japan and the US, and I can fly to either for less than $400. Sounds like a win-win situation. 😉
But you know what? That is not what I’m writing here for, and I bet that’s not what you are here for! You want more on the story of my life as a manga assistant–the true story, mostly unfiltered and definitely unedited!
So, in the last post, it was January and we were in manga production full-swing. Chapter one was finally done, and the job felt so much more real! I still felt like I was living in a fairy tale, and that I was so amazingly lucky to be working this super-awesome job. During the break, I would go to Animate, which is a big chain store that carries all of the new anime merchandise– from manga to figures to DVDs to keychains. They have it all! Anyways, I would go in there, and just sort of stare at the Tenipuri merchandise and think, “I’m involved in THAT. Omg, I am involved in THAT.” And whenever a group of girls happened to be around staring at the merchandise, I’d think, “you have no idea who I am, but I’m helping to create that. I bet you’d fangirl so hard to meet Konomi-sensei, and I work with him.” I’d never say anything, because it would seem weird and rude, but the thought was always in my mind.
Part of me thinks that maybe it’s full of myself to think things like that. But… is there anyone who wouldn’t?
So, our two week break was nearly over when one morning I got a text from Su-chan which read, “I GOT FIRED! I HATE HIM. WHAT A COWARD.”
Su-chan was the newest assistant, who had come in a few months ago. She seemed like a good artist to me, and she was even drawing characters in the background of pages, so her message had me really confused. She was also the person that I was closest to in the studio, and had already wormed her way into my heart. How in the world could she be fired?
“What the–? What happened?” I sent her back in broken Japanese, feeling the world kind of go dark around me, even though the January sun was shining.
“He didn’t even do it himself. He had Watanabe call me! What a coward!!” She sent back right away. Watanabe was (is still) the editor of Shin Tenipuri for JUMP Square magazine.
Until then, I had idolized Konomi-sensei. It was hard not to. He was famous, rich, and the creator of a manga that I’d idolized since before coming to Japan. It didn’t help that he was really good-looking, very generous, and, well.. he hired ME. He not only let me work with him, he paid me to do that amazing job, and took me to all sorts of events where I was able to meet and socialize with my idols. How could I not adore the man?
But, this was my first indication that Konomi-sensei was a real person, a real boss, and just the beginning of my troubles. Is it because I am not Japanese that I react in different ways than my coworkers? Or is it just because I am me, and culture has nothing to do with it?
I texted Su-chan back, asking her to meet that afternoon, and the two of us gathered with Tamusho (the assistant who came in just before me) in Kichijoji to discuss what had happened.
I’ll post the next part tomorrow, so stay tuned! Please spread the word that I’m back to writing this story, one part per day until it is finished!
Marie, me, and Su-chan while shooting on location^
Tomorrow: The disillusionment begins. This was my first of many, many troubles in the Tenipuri studio.
<3 Jamie (^.^)