Working as an assistant on The Prince of Tennis p9

It took a while, but we finally reached 35 comments! 😀
It’s time for a Tenipuri dance!

And time for a new post, of course!

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

Here are answers to questions asked on part 8:

Rachael: Were your family and friends supportive of your dream of becoming a mangaka?
A: My mother always asks me to come “back home” (to the US), but I think she’s pretty supportive, lol. My friends were too, of course. Without their support, I don’t think that I could have done it!

Rui: I am wondering… do you still like TeniPuri?
A: I do! Although I wouldn’t consider myself a big fan anymore, I guess. Mostly because I’m out of the yaoi and out of the musical fandom now.

Denise: I hope you tell us more about your Tenimyu experience with Konomi-sensei! Did you get super duper VIP treatment? How was it like?
A: I’ll tell you as much as I can! ^.~

MJ: 35 comments? if I separate my long comment into more little ones does it count?
A: Instead, you should get your friends to comment too! ^.~

Natsumi: Can you help us by telling Konomi-sensei’s email address intended for fans (please, please… you can send it to me)?
A: Like most mangaka, Konomi-sensei doesn’t have a fan-mail email address that I know of. Instead, you can send snail mail to (print it out if you can’t write japanese):
集英社 ジャンプスクエア

Helene: Are you planning on showing us any of your own drawings anytime soon?
A: Do you mean my drawings from Tenipuri, or my own drawings?

Blayne: Any other screw ups fixed?
A: Nothing big at the time, though fixing my own screw-ups eventually became routine!

Aya: Is there something you wish you have done (or said) the first 2 days you were there working for Konomi-sensei?
A: It was so nerve-wracking that I’d never want to go back and do it just to change something! LOL

Stacey: Am I allowed to use some of your pictures to advertise your blog on mine?
A: Yes, go ahead! ^^

Thanks for all of the questions and keep them coming! (^o^)/

This time: You got called in and paid to do WHAT?!! (with some pictures) Now that’s living the life!


As it happens, when I left the studio at the end of my first (sudden) three days, I was filled with conflicting emotions.

One one hand, as a fan and hopefully one day a mangaka, I was elated! What a dream come true, to be able to work for and with my idol! To get to see (and be a part of) the behind-the-scenes! To get to turn my hobby into work that pays?! It was a dream come true!

But on the other hand, I was filled with worry, because I had no idea if I was going to be asked to come back! Had I passed the test? Did he like me? Or on the other hand, was I, with my lack of experience and lack of Japanese, a bother? I didn’t know!

I mean, it wasn’t like I had signed a contract. I had just… left. Albeit, I had left with a smile.

But, who knew?

However, I did what any responsible person in my situation would do:

I went and quit my teaching job.

I had no idea if I would continue, but I was serious about it, and loathed teaching, so I took the plunge and quit. It turned out to be a turning point, and trepidation and uncertainty soon turned to complete and utter elation!

As I wrote in my journal at the time:

Eheheheeee… I don’t know, but things are REALLY looking up! I feel as if this is something that I’ve been waiting for forever! There is a lot of hard work ahead of me, but I am going to rise to the challenge. Yesyesyes!!! =^O^= The chance to be involved in something like this is really amazing, I am so happy!! ^O^

So many things have been changing!! I am really excited to be working with Konomi-sensei right now! Very very very very excited! I love it!! I am going to do my best and make this a permanent change!! =^___^=

I’ve quit my other job teaching, though I felt a bit bad to leave so suddenly (of course not THAT bad considering) so now it’s just the ASAHI column and this new job all of the time. Money’s pretty tight, but it’ll be alright, I’m very very sure. ^^ Nantonaku!

Last night, I went out with friends to dinner in Shinjuku, and then somehow spent the entire night doing karaoke with Aloni, Michelle, and Lindsay. Fun fun fun! It feels like it’s been forever!!

Wai wai wai!!! ^____^

You couuuuuuuuuld say that I was excited. Just maybe.

I was far more excited when I used that wonderful email address of Sensei’s to inform him that I’d quit and was his now, once and forever. He responded that he was glad, and he would see me next time.

In other words: I was in!

Cue elation x 1000!!!

I was on a high that I doubt any drug can compare to. There is nothing, nothing like being awarded the job of your dreams! (or at least, what you think is the job of your dreams!)

I’ve never been so happy about a job that an email from my boss made me cry. Until tonight ♥♥♥sensei♥♥♥ (no change, I am just happyhappyhappy)

I’m fighting and I will never give up!! ^O^ Aaaaaaand be sure I will tell the world when my work becomes available in Jump Square! Oh yeeeeessssss… Gah, I’m so happy. I’ve never worked this hard on my own before, and never felt this good about it. It’s like a dream, the way that life should be. =^___^= Yesyesyes… I’m about to start crying again… It’s kind of overwhelming, and I bet I understand how Ami’s friend, who won a big anime singing competition recently, feels. I’m so glad that I had people behind me telling me to take this chance, because everything is going to change after this!! ♥♥

(I really did cry)

After this, there was a lot of waiting. A lot. Actually, almost an entire month where I didn’t hear a thing. But since the manga hadn’t actually started production yet, I guess there was really no need of us.

Finally, on October 22 (a Wed), I got a mail from Sensei telling all of us that we should come back to the studio on the following Monday, to practice. And that manga production would start in November, so we should get in as much practice as possible.

Dokidoki!! It seemed like I was finally part of the team!

So, I passed the time working out, socializing, and trying not to spend money (since I was now without a decent income), and eventually, after what felt like years of waiting, Monday arrived. I went off to the studio, this time prepared with clothes, pajamas, my new towels, and everything I’d ever need to stay over. Art supplies as well.

I even went in an hour early, sure that my earliness would be met with cheer, and I would get brownie points. Plus, I’d have times to ask Sensei any of the million questions that I had burning in my head.

Why did you pick me?

Who is your favorite character?

Do you really live here? Are you gay? Do you have a family? Are you married? (Hey, I love shoujo manga, and so those kind of questions are the ones that I’m most interested in.)

But, to my surprise, there was no Sensei to be found. I rang the doorbell, I knocked, and waited, and.. nothing.

Well, I was an hour early and all. No big surprise that he wasn’t there, right?

So I went on a walk around the neighborhood. It’s a charming new-ish neighborhood in Chiba, filled with row after row of what looks like middle-class homes. (Though in Japan, these type of Western-style homes are actually quite upper-class. Rich-only need apply!)

I returned in 30 minutes, bored. There really isn’t anything to see in that area besides other houses.

But nothing.

Eventually, 10 minutes to starting time, Tamusho showed up, and we waited together. Five minutes later, we were let in and we set our things into the bedroom and settled into our seats in the studio.

What to do? Sensei was there, but he just seemed interested in chatting, and so as the other two trickled in, we just picked up where we had left off.

I was still working on this:

We worked and chatted a few hours, until dinnertime, and then sensei sent us to bed early.

This is easy! I thought. What a great job!

I had no idea.

The next morning, we woke up refreshed. No work, no deadlines, no anything meant that it would be an easy (if possibly boring) day of chatting and drawing, right?


Not even close!

We woke up around 8 am and filed into the studio one by one. We were idly picking things up from the night before and chatting about breakfast, when Sensei walked in and announced cheerfully, “get dressed, we’re going out for breakfast!”

Yay! I could deal with that!

So, we got ready and filed outside. Eventually, Sensei emerged too and pulled his car out of the tiny driveway behind the house. “Get in,” he announced, and we started to drive.

And drive.

And drive.

And still drive.

Almost two hours later, after a drive though the city, then the countryside, and finally we seemed to be up in the mountains somewhere, we finally pulled up to a tiny shack with what seemed like the biggest parking lot ever.

We ate some very delicious fish-on-rice dishes, but was it really worth the 2-hour drive?

Not that I’d complain, though!

This was my breakfast, taken with my cell phone camera at the time:

When we finally piled into the car, stuffed, Konomi-sensei turned to me and asked me, “Have you ever ridden a horse?”

Hey wait.. what?

“N..no…” I answered.

“How about you, Marie?” he turned to her.

She shook her head.

“Alright, then let’s go try!”

Hey, I can’t complain!

We did actually drive up to a horse-riding range about 30 minutes away from there, but it turned out that they were closed on Tuesdays, much to Sensei’s dismay. (not sure why!)

But rest-assured, he wasn’t dismayed for long!

You see, Sensei’s favorite pastime is golf. He plays gold all of the time. On his days off, when a deadline is due, when he should be working, on vacation, in the rain, in the biting wind, in the summer heat. Inside, outside, you name it. He even practiced in the studio sometimes later on by putting a ball around the floor!

So, we went to play golf.

Sensei on the practice range:

Marie and Tamusho on the practice range:

We played golf for about three hours, then went to eat again, and by the time that we returned to the studio, it was getting dark.

So, Sensei sent us home. “Have a good week!” he said.

“Oh, and by the way, we’re all going to go to the finale of the Prince of Tennis musical next Monday together. Be sure to dress nicely!”


I tried to be cool, but inside I was grinning. If I was just n average fan of the Prince of Tennis anime/manga, you can say that I was a mega super-ultra fan of the musical. To me, the cast of the musical at the time were like unattainable gods to me.

I would have given anything to meet them, to go behind-the-scenes, and to chat with them like equals.

You might say that my dream came true… but that’s a story for next time!

Next time: Tenimyu with the VIP treatment: where a fangirl’s dreams come true!

Upping the ante a bit this time: 40 comments and I’ll post the next part! (So if you want me to post it soon, encourage all of your friends to read and comment! (^.~)/

(1,374 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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