Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p6

15 comments get-o!! So here is the next part! \(^o^)/ Thank you guys so much!!

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

Answers to questions from part 5: ^-^

Kari: Oh, so konomi-sensei went to his home (above) to shower then?
A: He didn’t take a shower at all. Maybe he did when he went home at night, though? ^o^;
Katsubai_Gotsu: I’m interested in the process of the work. like, what did you have to do exactly, what supplies did you use. so on so forth.
A: That question deserves an entirely new series of posts! ^-^ I’ll get to it in the near future!
Cortana: what did they think of you snapping pics of everything inside the studio?
A: Nobody said anything.. at first! 🙂 Most of the pictures that I have, I took with my cell phone actually. ^^
Mai_Sasaki: What kind of courses should one take in College in order to be a mangaka or an assistant?
A: If you want to do it in your home coutntry, or you can get a japanese visa, you don’t need to go to college at all! Many mangaka never went to college. However, the Japanese government requires a visa to work here if you’re not a japanese citizen, so if you want to work in Japan you can either marry a japanese person, or get a bachelor’s degree in an art-related subject. I suggest something like fine art, animation, or comic art if your college has it!
Heather: What was the work like? Was any of it overwhelming? How were you able to balance two jobs?
A: It was fun at times, and tiring at times. Sometimes it was also really frustrating! Sometimes I felt frustrated, or overwhelmed with the japanese language, or even with my coworkers (especially Sensei!), but the actual art part was never overwhelming, even at the worst of times. ^^ As for the last question– I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I technically had three jobs when I started, if you include the assistant one ^.~

Oh yes– this was my first taste of Konomi-sensei calling all the shots (as Sirenya put it in the comments of my last post). It seemed well-thought out at first, but my opinion soon changed..

However, I wasn’t in that state of mind yet! 😀

I was finally alone, in the shower room in Konoi-sensei’s studio for the first time! Not only that– I couldn’t hear what the others were saying in the next room over, but I could hear murmurings. There was some kind of interesting-sounding conversation going on..

I wondered if it was about me! (Looking back, I bet that it wasn’t entirely about me, but at the time, I sure thought that it was!)

(Here is the layout of the studio as it was:)

And you know what’s funny? Even though there was a lock on the door, I was afraid of getting naked in Sensei’s studio.

Maybe it’s because, oh, maybe… I was in Konomi-sensei’s studio?!!

Boy, it had been a long day. A really, really long day.

So far, I had:
Been unable to sleep, as most people are before any interview.
On little sleep, fretted over what to wear, rush to the train, constantly fidget while I made the 2-hour journey to eastern Chiba to meet 1. my idol, 2. my possible new boss, 3. KONOMI-SENSEI!, 4. someone who only spoke Japanese!
Been poked, prodded, and otherwise had to speak Japanese, which I was not good at, for a total of about 10 hours at this point.
Met 4 new people (1 of whom was my idol and way too handsome!), when I wasn’t good at being non-shy.
Had to draw in front of people. NOT JUST ANY PEOPLE (you get the point..)
Suddenly had what I thought would be a short interview turn into 3 days? I was still reeling over this.

And now, I had to get naked and take a shower. Thankfully, alone, of course. But I did what any self-respecting person in my situation who felt completely overwhelmed would do:

I started to cry.

Well, mainly I did it in the shower after I’d started the water, so that it could cover any strange noises. I hope nobody noticed. It wasn’t a sorry-for-myself or I’m-sad type of cry. Instead, it was the normal I-need-to-let-out-my-feelings-or-I’ll-burst type of cry.

Well, regardless of what kind of cry it was, it was the precedent for many, many more tears in the months to come. Not usually of the overwhelming-type, though.

Eventually, I did finish my shower, and I got dressed and returned to the studio like the others before me had done. I’d made sure that I looked as little like I’d been crying as possible. I really didn’t want anybody to notice!

But, then.. I encountered another dilemma. Kaiwa-san, when he had gotten out of the shower, had said something. Like an “I’m done,” announcement. Some word that I didn’t know. Was there a special word in Japanese to say, “I’m out of the shower now?!

Really, it was too much to take. I was just so exhausted! Yet the night, as I figured out then, was far from over. (It was about 9pm or so)

I honestly have no idea what I ended up saying at the time. Probably, “I’m done,” or something like that. It wasn’t what everyone else had said, but I was too tired and too embarrassed to ask. The overwhelmingness of it all was getting to me.

The night dragged on and on, as the other two took their showers and returned. The hours dragged by– 10 pm, 11 pm, midnight. People were chatting, and I was doing my best to participate, and working on my art.

As a refresher, here is the piece of art I was working on at the time:

Hours later, and I’d made little progress. It was harder with Sensei leaning over my shoulder all of the time. Thankfully, as time does, time passed, and 2 am rolled around.

“Agari,” Sensei said.

What? To my knowledge, “agari” meant either up, or to give something. Thankfully, this time it meant “work is over for the day.”

BUT OF COURSE I DIDN’T KNOW THAT!! And as everyone aside from Kaiwa-san kept working, so did I. Even though drawing a scene from a book that I had never seen and didn’t care about was pretty boring, I kept at it.

One by one, though, Marie and Tamusho excused themselves and went to bed. Finally, Sensei tapped me on the shoulder, and asked, “aren’t you tired?”

I WAS! I so so sooooo was! But as much as I wanted to sleep, I also really wanted this job! So, I didn’t accept his prompt until the next time that he asked me. I excused myself, and took out my contacts and crawled into bed in my new track pants, and the same top that I’d worn all day.

(The bunk on the top right, in case you were wondering. That is Tamusho’s stuff piled on the top left bunk)

And, you know what.. as tired as I was, you’d think that I’d be able to sleep.

It would SO not be that easy. I tossed and turned for hours. And then committed a big faux pas that I didn’t even know about.

Which I’ll tell you about next time!

It looks like this comment thing is working! =^-^= So, whenever I hit 20 comments, I’ll update with the next part! If you like this (very very true) story and want to hear more sooner, paste the link around everywhere and tell people to comment! (Comments are how I gauge interest 🙂 )

Until next time! ^o^/

(1,603 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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