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Manga Touch

112 pages
Dana is excited about her school trip to Japan despite the fact that she is surrounded by the Melly Mob, "in-crowd" kids who make fun of her. Dana is certain she will be less of an outsider in Japan, home of manga and anime. But she soon discovers that it's just as difficult to fit in with a foreign culture as it is to fit in at school. And the only other manga fan that she meets refuses to talk to her. As Dana learns to meet people halfway and gains some friends in Japan, Melissa, leader of the Melly Mob, makes every effort to remind her that she's still an outsider.
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M a n g a To u c h
Jacqueline Pearce
Orca Book Publishers
CôpyRîgHt © JàçqûéLîné PéàRçé 2007
ALL RîgHtŝ RéŝéRvéd. Nô pàRt ôf tHîŝ pûLîçàtîôn mày é RépRôdûçéd ôR tRànŝmîttéd în àny fôRm ôR y àny méànŝ, éLéçtRônîç ôR méçHànîçàL, înçLûdîng pHôtôçôpyîng, RéçôRdîng ôR y àny înfôRmàtîôn ŝtôRàgé ànd RétRîévàL ŝyŝtém nôw Knôwn ôR tô é învéntéd, wîtHôût péRmîŝŝîôn în wRîtîng fRôm tHé pûLîŝHéR.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication PéàRçé, JàçqûéLîné, 1962-
Màngà tôûçH / wRîttén y JàçqûéLîné PéàRçé.
(ORçà çûRRéntŝ) ISBN 978-1-55143-748-4 (ôûnd) ISBN 978-1-55143-746-0 (pK.)
I. TîtLé. II. SéRîéŝ.
PS8581.E26M35 2007 jC813’.6 C2007-903835-2
Summary:THé màngà tôûçH îŝ évéRywHéRé în Jàpàn, ût Dànà ŝtîLL fééLŝ àLôné.
FîRŝt pûLîŝHéd în tHé Unîtéd Stàtéŝ, 2007 Library of Congress Control Number:2007930411
ORçà BôôK PûLîŝHéRŝ gRàtéfûLLy àçKnôwLédgéŝ tHé ŝûppôRt fôR îtŝ pûLîŝHîngpRôgRàmŝ pRôvîdéd y tHé fôLLôwîng àgénçîéŝ: tHé GôvéRnmént ôf Cànàdà tHRôûgH tHé BôôK PûLîŝHîng IndûŝtRy DévéLôpmént PRôgRàm ànd tHé Cànàdà CôûnçîL fôR tHé ARtŝ, ànd tHé PRôvînçé ôf BRîtîŝH CôLûmîà tHRôûgH tHé BC ARtŝ CôûnçîL ànd tHé BôôK PûLîŝHîng Tàx CRédît.
CôvéR déŝîgn: TéRéŝà BûéLà CôvéR pHôtôgRàpHy: Gétty Imàgéŝ
DRàwîng ôf àûtHôR: Nînà Màtŝûmôtô
Orca Book Publishers Orca Book Publishers P O Box 5626, Station B P O Box 468 Victoria, B C Canada Custer, WA U S A V8R6S4982400468 www.ôRçàôôK.çôm PRîntéd ànd ôûnd în Cànàdà. PRîntéd ôn 100% PCW RéçyçLéd pàpéR.
010 09 08 07 • 4 3 2 1
For my daughter, Danielle
This book couldn’t have been written without the help of others. I’m enormously grateful to my good friend, JeanPierre Antonio, who has lived in Japan for over seventeen years, was a great host during my visit to Japan and continued to answer questions via email and phone calls throughout the writing of the book. I would also like to thank the many people in Japan who showed me kindness and hospitality, especially Kyoko Nishihara, Masako Nakai, Kikumi Tanaka, Takako Horri, Taeko Kobayashi, Aisling Braiden, Michiko Kihira, Sakanosan and the Ito family. Thank you also to Sheya Eno, who shared her experiences as a Canadian exchange student in Japan; to Tomoyo Ihaya who read over some scenes in the book; to the students at Iino Highschool in Suzukashi, who answered questions about Japanese student life; and to everyone else (both in Japan and Canada) who answered questions, talked with me about manga, and otherwise offered support and encouragement. And finally, I would like to acknowledge the artful wordcutting skills of my editor, Melanie Jeffs.
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c h a p t e r o n e
I stare out the window as the airplane ta x is dow n the runway. With my back to the other seats, I can almost forget I have to share my two weeks in Japan with Melissa Muller and the others. The Melly Mob, I call them. If you’ve ever seen a gang of crows mob some poor raven, you can figure out why. Melissa and her friends flock together like crows. If they don’t like you or your
J a c q u e l i n e P e a r c e
clothes or your hair color—pomegranate red, being my latest—they don’t exactly divebomb you. But they have a way of looking at you that says you rate about the same as bird crap. A thrill leaps through me as we lift off. We rise into the clouds, and Vancouver disappears. I’m glad to see it go. Outside there is nothing but whiteness. It feels like I’m in a magic passageway between worlds. At the other end of all this whiteness is a different place. I t u r n away f rom t he w i ndow a nd glance around the inside of the plane. I don’t know the girl beside me other than her name, Maya Contina. She’s talking across the aisle to a friend. Ignoring me. A couple of rows back, Melissa is sitting beside her boyfriend, Zach Bellows. Their heads are bent together. Someone throws a scrunchedup piece of paper at them. Zach laughs and throws the paper back. Melissa pretends to be annoyed, but it’s obvious she likes the attention. She is wearing even more makeup than usual. I am wearing 2
M a n g a To u c h
a lot of black eyeliner myself but only because I want to look different. Melissa looks like she’s trying to be some kind of phony fashion model. All her clothes are name brand, and she keeps flipping her long blond hair off her shoulders. Melissa’s eyes snap onto mine as if she’s sensed me. I give her a bored look. She looks away. For a second, I’d swear she almost squirmed. A bit of the old Mel showing through? I turn forward again. Nah. There is nothing left of the Mel that used to be my best friend. The seat belt sign is off now, and I pull my backpack out from under the seat. I take out my MP3 player and my sketchbook, flip open the book and begin to draw. With light pencil strokes, I sketch the shape of a body and face. I draw over the lines more heavily as I get them the way I want. I draw mangastyle eyes—but not too large. I add two sections of hair that sweep off the girl’s face like raven wings. As I lean over the sketchbook, my own hair falls like a red curtain around my 3
J a c q u e l i n e P e a r c e
face. I am in my own world. But I can feel the others noticing me and pretending they don’t. Maybe I’ll fit in better in Japan. At least I know about manga and anime—Japanese graphic novels and animation. I’ve been a fan since the first episodeofSailor Moonthat I saw as a kid. I quickly discovered other stuff after that and went fromT Vshows to manga books. The character I’m drawing now is influenced by the darker manga I’ve been into lately. Woosh! The sketchbook flies out of my hand. “Let’s see what you’re working on,Red,” a boy’s voice says. “Hey!” I twist around, yanking my ear buds loose. I come face to face with DJ, the most annoying guy in our school. Just my luck to be seated right in front of him. “Mynameis Dana,” I tell him with a knifeedge glare. I grab for the book, and DJ holds it out of my reach, laughing. I want to slap the taunting grin off his face. 4
M a n g a To u c h
“It spea ks! It spea ks!” he says. He’s lucky my hands can’t reach his throat. “Give me t he book ,” I order u nder my breath. By now everyone is watching. Ever yone except for Mr. Crawford and Ms. Delucci, our teachers. They are busy ignoring the morons they are supposed to be watching. I make another lunge for the book, and DJ jerks it away again. Unfortunately for him, there’s not much space in an airplane seat. I grab a handful of his hair. He g ives a sort of squea l. It is pa rt surprised pain and part laughter. Then he tosses the book. The next thing I know, my sketchbook is in the hands of Zach Bellows. He starts flipping through the pages. I force myself not to scream, though I am bursting with anger. For a second, I catch Melissa’s eye and glare. If she has any memory of our friendship at all, she knows how much I hate people looking at my private drawings. Mustering extreme willpower, I turn away and sit down. If I pretend I don’t 5