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【POP CULTURE】Jamie on the Go

声優・ジェーニャさんと一緒にアフレコ・レッスン!

By Jamie Lano

 マンガ家デビューを目指しているジェイミーは今回、アニメ声優になろうと5年前にロシアからやってきた、ジェーニャさんのアフレコ・レッスンにお邪魔しました。二人は以前からの友達で、日本で夢を追う仲間です。ジェーニャさんの所属事務所「メディアフォース」の声優の卵たちに交じって、アニメに合わせて演技するレッスンに飛び入り参加したジェイミー。ジェーニャさんの頑張る姿に改めて励まされました。

 Ganbariya. I first heard that word a year ago, and I quickly looked it up in my trusty little electronic dictionary -- "someone who battles on in difficult circumstances." The definition made sense, but I wasn't sure what it meant until I sat down to talk with Jenya-chan, my Russian friend, on a rainy summer afternoon.

 I've known Jenya for almost as long as I've been in Japan. We first spoke to each other the summer after I moved to Tokyo. Since then, we have both worked hard on making our dreams come true, in our own ways.

 For Jenya, that means becoming a successful voice actress in Japan. As we talked, I realized that Jenya is the perfect example of a ganbariya. More than that, she is a really genuinely sweet girl.

 "I liked anime so much,I wondered what I could do to become a part of it ... I wanted to use my voice to give something back to the animation that I loved so much," Jenya explained.

 To get a feeling of what being a seiyuu is like, I attended one of Jenya's voice training lessons, and experienced what it was like to be a gaijin working in the voice business. It was scary!

 So many people want to become a seiyuu, and for someone who is not Japanese, it might seem impossible. I only got up the courage to read the English lines in the script. Jenya, who was quite experienced now, sounded like a native Japanese speaker.

 "At first, I wasn't used to reading scripts at all," Jenya told me, "and so I was really shocked. I was like, ‘What should I do? I can't read it.' There were so many phrases, and I had to read them without an accent. When I went back home, I just cried a lot thinking that I couldn't match the pace.

 "My teacher told me to set a goal for myself," Jenya continued, "and the first goal that I set was to just match the timing. I might have the wrong accent and not be very emotional, but finally I became good at that. Next, I thought that I should match the accent, and so on.

 "At first, I wrote on my blog, hoping to appeal to people with the fact that I could understand Japanese. ‘Seiyuu ni naritai, naritai!' It was hard, and in the beginning I worried that I wasn't suited for this, that I wasn't good enough. But I thought about all of the people who had supported me, and how far I had come. Eventually, I got some TV and production work, and worked in a maid cafe, and finally I was able to enter Media Force (talent agency). Now, I could never go back (to Russia) and just disappear. I wouldn't be able to respect myself. I can't go back."

 I could only nod along with her. I know how Jenya feels. Japan is her home now, and she is working hard to make her dreams come true every day, just like me.

 Jenya made her movie debut as a seiyuu last summer in the latest "Evangelion" anime movie. And so it seems she has already taken her first step. Jenya, ganbarimashou!!

  • battles on 奮闘する
  • genuinely 本当に、純粋に
  • got...to 〜する勇気を奮い立たせた
  • not...emotional あまり感情がこもっていない
  • wasn't...this これ(声優の仕事)には向いていない
  • nod...her 彼女の話にずっとうなずく

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