Tama Chan

Episode one of a comic diary of life in Japan

About ten years ago I had this idea that I would do short comics based on real life incidents that either happened to me or that I heard about from friends. The intention was to do slice-of-life, amusing moments, not exaggerated or punched up comedy. The scene showed here, for example, actually happened, though the conversation was in Japanese, not English.

Panel 1 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 2 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 3 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 4 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 5 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 6 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 7 of a comic about Tama Chan.
Panel 8 of a comic about Tama Chan.

The idea of making comics like these fell apart for me after I made about a half dozen of them because it seemed to me at the time that the audience for this was probably too limited to be worth the effort involved. I'm less sure about that now, but, that was the call I made.

With this particular comic, at the time I wrote it, there was this nebulous but vaguely controversial issue of whether or not foreigners could get a kind of identification document called a "juminhyou", which is a home address registry system thing. Intersect that with a very momentary fascination in Japan with a sea lion that was on the news because it was being sighted on a river goes through Tokyo and Yokohama, where sea lions almost never go.

People who are likely to know what Tama Chan is (Japanese people) are not likely to be the people who know about any issues foreigners have with juminhyou (foreigners), and vice versa, making this comic very niche. On top of that, this comic is a little too much of its time. Tt wasn't long after I made this comic that Tama Chan faded from collective memory, and the juminhyou system was completely revised as of 2012 in such a way that the issue of foreigner representation was wiped away.

Other comics in this series

The first panel in here I coloured myself, but the rest of the panels were coloured by Eddie Jensen, who also makes a comic called Grappleseed. Jensen coloured the other comics that I'll be uploading, and he did a great job. Check his stuff out if you get a chance.