Chapter 2- Is this validation?
“My inbox has exploded!” I stared at the number of unread emails.
“Yes, well, that does tend to happen when you go viral,” Demetri explained in a voice devoid of interest.
I glared at the cat beside me. “You could pretend to be excited for me since you are freeloading in my house and eating my tuna.”
“Will you give me more tuna if I pretend to care?”
“No,” I said flatly.
“Then there is nothing for me to gain by pretending that your web scribbles’ success holds any value to me. It is merely a means to an end.” Demetri turned away from me and curled into a ball before closing his eyes.
“What do you mean, a means to an end?”
“Your talent was confirmed by Shinto Shrine Publishing. I just pointed them in your direction,” he said lazily.
I scooped Demetri up so that my nose practically rested against his forehead. “You did what?”
Demetri rolled his eyes. “Cats in the office are all the rage in Japan right now. I needed to find a way to ensure your passage overseas. I merely sat on a keyboard to assure that a lead editor would see your site. From there the entire staff read your work and tweeted about it. I would assume one or more of those emails are from the publishing house.”
“I owe my webcomic’s success to your furry butt?”
“Yes, now keep that in mind and go get me some tuna.”
I sat Demetri down on the corner of my desk and went to rummage through my cabinets until I located another can of tuna. When I popped it open, he leapt from my desk and rushed at my feet. “Foooooood!” he exclaimed as he mashed his fuzzy face into the bowl. With the talking cat distracted, I returned to my email and began weeding through the thousands of messages.
The moment I found a company email from a Sato Daichi I stopped scrolling to open it. I blinked in confusion a few times, trying to process it. “It’s in Japanese,” I mumbled. I scrolled further down and breathed a sigh of relief. There was what I assumed was a translation.
I represent Shinto Shrine Publishing, a publishing company located in Japan. While we publish multiple forms of art, we specialize in manga and magazine release. We recently came across your webcomic Girl Without a Name and would like to discuss the possibility of translation and release in one of our monthly subscriptions. We would like to arrange a call as soon as possible if you are interested.
I re-read the email and couldn’t help but smile. My inner nerd rejoiced. My fans had always motivated me, but while I never thought I needed validation from within the industry, it sure felt nice to receive it. Knowing that my characters may get to live their lives in front of a larger audience nearly drove me to tears.
Without a second to lose I picked up the phone and called Nate. He answered on the second ring. “Yup.”
“Hey Nate, I know what happened,” I told him.
“You found out that the editorial team at Shinto Shrine Publishing stumbled across your comic and tweeted about it?” I could hear the grin in his voice.
“And one of their bigwigs has reached out to you about translating your comic for distribution?” he continued.
“Yeah, I already know. Wow, it took you that long to figure it all out? Old age has slowed you down considerably.”
“Hey! Listen you brat, a lot is going on. I don’t have time to sit around and read tweets all day,” I retorted.
“No! I don’t! I have a job!” I balled my fist as if to shake it at him.
“Haha, okay, but I thought you were a coder? Don’t you set your own hours? Or has your boss finally given you a permanent full-time position?” I hated that he was right. Why did he have to actually pay attention to the things I said? He never listened this well when I would lecture him as a kid. He cleared his throat and it snapped me back to reality. “Anyway, I have a regular job so I need to get back to work. Get the details and I will plan to come over after work.”
“Do you want me to order pizza? Are you going to bring Eva with you?” I asked, remembering that he had been neglecting his girlfriend while we worked on this project.
“Yeah, your girlfriend?”
“Ooooooooh, no. No, she won’t be available. Just plan for me. I’ll grab drinks.”
I chose not to comment but instead agreed and hung up. I looked back at Demetri, who was sound asleep by my feet. With a deep breath to cool my nerves, I hit reply on the email. I started to type.
Dear Mr. Sato…
“Wait, is Daichi a male or female name?” I asked myself. “I’m pretty sure it’s male.” I sat silent for a moment, having an inner debate if I should just call my father and ask. I glanced at the clock. “Eleven… that would mean it is two in the afternoon out east. I wonder if I could catch him?”
I picked up the phone and dialed my father. A sickeningly sweet female voice answered. “Hello, Capalo Hotel Manhattan, how may I direct your call?”
“Yes, Chef Nakamura please,” I said clearly.
“May I say who’s calling?” the woman asked politely.
“Please let him know it is Jordan… his daughter,” I quickly added, realizing that for a busy executive chef, Jordan may not be enough information. The phone was suddenly filled with the sounds of smooth jazz. There was a click followed by silence. Worried that the call had been cut off, I spoke up. ”Hello?”
“Yes, sorry Jordan. Just a moment,” answered my father’s strong voice. I heard a muffled conversation and then he was back. “Sorry about that. We are prepping for dinner. Is something wrong? Are you okay? Is Nate all right?” The normally stern tone of my father’s voice had an edge of worry.
“Dad, don’t worry. We’re both fine. I just have a quick question. Is Daichi a guy’s name?”
“You interrupted prep to ask about a name?” he questioned. “What is this about? Are you online dating?”
I rolled my eyes. “No, I’m not dating. I was contacted by a publishing house in Japan. They are interested in publishing me.”
“I wasn’t aware you were writing in Japanese,” he stated. “Are you still coding and working with computers? Keep doing that. Writing is a hobby, not a career.”
I sighed. “I am still coding, Dad. Nate and I have a webcomic. The company is interested in translating my comic into Japanese for publishing overseas.”
“And someone at the publisher is interested in dating you?”
“No, Dad. Nothing like that. I’m not dating anyone,” I answered in exasperation.
“Why aren’t you dating? You’re beautiful and smart. You have a good job,” he insisted. “What is wrong with this publisher that he doesn’t want to date you?”
“Dad, he’s not… I mean…ugh…”
“This is why he doesn’t want to date you. You don’t use real words to express what you are feeling or thinking. Don’t worry, Daddy will help. Give me his number, I’ll tell him he should date you.”
I took three deep breaths and reminded myself that he was torturing me out of love. “Dad, is the name Daichi a male name in Japan?”
He was silent a long moment. “Typically, yes.”
“Thank you!” I said before lapsing into my normal goodbye speech that would get me off the phone.
Finally hanging up, I turned back to my computer.
Dear Mr. Sato,
Thank you for your inquiry about my webcomic. I am both flattered and humbled that you would take time out of your busy schedule to reach out to me. I would very much like to discuss the opportunity at your earliest convenience. I have attached my private contact information so you may more easily reach me.
I hit send and leaned back in my chair, highly satisfied with myself. I started working my way through the pile of fan mail in my inbox before I gave up and logged into the company servers to begin work. I was exhausted, but if I didn’t get my work done, I would have all the time I needed to sleep – without a job.