All reporters get their start from some where sometimes it's as simple as picking up a camera and taking pictures, and other times it's a long dynasty of them. However it all starts with something as simple as a question and that desire to seek the truth, in even the most complex and ambiguous ways. There are all different kinds of stories out there and each one of them has a right to be told, the most difficult part is fitting them into a column and getting it in on time for the late edition. Some stories give you a sense of pride, while others please you through out the day, some infuriate you and others make you tingle all over with delight. Each journalist is different and every paper has a soul of it's own, a reputation which it strives to maintain so that when you read the name of the paper you know it can be trusted. A sense of assurance that what you are reading is being delivered to you by people who know what they are doing, and are paid to chase the truth no matter how complicated it may be. When you see the name the New York Times plaster across the page you know you're reading one of the most trusted papers in the world. A heavy title which is displayed with pride on news stands all over the United States.
However there are times, in which reporters fall off this road. When they become lost in the rush of chasing the big story which makes their career, they often forget about the people which make them. The simple delight in a smile, the importance of saying thank you, wishing others well and even falling in love with something which is beyond your comprehension, are forgotten. For one journalist this drive to always catch the next big story has been a way of life for so long that she knows nothing else. Nestled in a dimly lit room filled with the thick fog of cigarette smoke is a woman who can't seem to start her next article. The page on the computer screen is filled with black letters and the black cursor is blinking at the top of the page, signifying the end of a piece. Pages of notes from her pad sprawl the top of the desk, pieces of crumpled paper are every where and the once steaming mug of coffee has gone cold. The light of the screen bounces off of her reading glasses as her tired grey eyes look through them. Her brown hair is a mess and she releases a heavy sigh which lifts her shoulders before turning her attention to the clock. "Four am," she moaned and looked back at the screen, "and I'm finally finished," she muttered. She slipped her readers off her nose and stretched before picking up her mug, the coffee was ice cold and she sighed, "Nothing worse than cold coffee."
The chair creaked as she rose and began to stagger through the mess of her apartment; there were books and copies of the paper everywhere. It was obvious that it had only been her living in the apartment for a great deal of time. She placed the mug in the sink and looked over at the stove and jumped, "Shit! It's six am!" she shouted. She dashed through the rooms and nearly tripped over the glass coffee table, "He's going to kill me!" she yelled as she skidded across the wooden floor of the hallway in her apartment with her socks. It was as though a hurricane struck as she attempted to grab clean clothing and get going, "Damn it!" she shouted as she slipped into a dress shirt and pair of slacks. She couldn't afford to be late, not after that late-nighter. The obnoxious ring of a cell phone filled the air as she hopped down the hallway with one hell on, she was simultaneously putting the other one on. In an instant the phone was in her hand and the familiar voice of her uncle cracked through, "Where are you?" he asked harshly. She managed to get her foot in the other heel and said, "I'm leaving the apartment." There was a pause as she ran to the printer and grabbed a copy of the finished article and then her laptop. "You're still at home!" he roared. She laughed nervously as she ran out the apartment door and turned to lock it. "Why on earth are you always late?" he asked irritation was beginning to show in his voice. She could hear people rushing about; it was a Monday morning at the New York Times, which meant all hands on deck. It didn't matter what story you wrote, "Why is it always my niece who is late on a Monday morning? You know how important it is to get here on time," he ranted, "Samantha Ono, hurry up!" Sam sighed, she hated it when he used her full name, it irritated her a great deal to hear English and Japanese all in the same sentence.
Her uncle had been the editor and chief of the New York Times for two decades and was perhaps one of the greatest editors of all time. He was quick and decisive and always had the facts when it came to his articles. With his head held high Takahiro Asami was the face of the New York Times and perhaps one of the most recognizable men in the field. He had started off in a small paper in Tokyo and later became one of the worlds greatest journalists turn editor. Sam sighed as she sprinted down the stairs and through the gates to the subway platform. She groaned, he clearly was displeased and if he saw her article coming out he would be ecstatic however recently she wasn't hitting the right notes in his eyes. The train roared as it charged through the dark to the next platform. A pair of men looked at her and was whispering, unlike her uncle who was pure Japanese she was only half which was very apparent when you looked at her. She had golden brown hair like her father and gray eyes like her mother. She was aware that she looked nothing like a traditional Japanese woman however she wasn't fazed by it.
The subway came to a screaming halt and the doors slid open. People flowed out of the cars and onto the platform; the entire area was crammed with people as they moved to get from place to place. She sighed and fought her way up the stairs, it was as if she was a fish swimming upstream. Her heels clicked against the pavement as she sprinted to get to the massive glass building with the letters The New York Times across the front in Old English Font. She smiled and pushed open glass door and walked across the lobby, reporters were running around with badges around their necks and she sighed and she got in the lift. She held her camera bag in her hand and pressed the button for her floor. "Hold the lift!" called a young man and a number of people scurried into the small box behind him. It was as though the flood gates had been opened and now the mice were trying to squeeze in the box. She closed her eyes and exhaled slowly as the elevator doors closed and began to make its trip up the building. Every few minutes it came to a halt and the doors slid open, a ding pierced the air as it stopped at the floor. A moment passed and finally the lift stopped at her floor she got out to see people walking briskly through the halls, she smiled as she heard pages rustle and the keys of keyboards fill the air. The smell of coffee filled the air as well as white out.
"Neil is that column done yet?" shouted Max, one of her uncle's assistants. Neil poked his head over the cubical wall and replied, "No I'm over by five lines!" Max glared and replied, "How many times have I told you to trim that thing so it fits!" his hazel eyes seemed more intimidating than usual. Neil groaned and pushed his brown hair out of his brown eyes, "Look I'm trying but you didn't give me a ton of room to execute this, honestly such a small column is a pain when you're covering something this important!" he replied. Max replied angrily, "Talk to the editor and chief then!" Neil fell silent and grumbled, "Not even his niece is on his good side." Suddenly a manila folder came in contact with the top of his head and he looked up, "Ouch!" he shouted. His brown eyes floated up to see Sam looking down at him. "Oh Good Morning Sam!" he exclaimed. Sam attempted to cover his mouth only for a booming voice to emanate from the Editor and Chief's office. "Miss. Ono, please come to my office!" it called and she winced. Neil smiled with triumph and Sam said, "Coming," her voice was sweet as always, and she rushed into the Editor and Chief's office. "Well now good morning, I take it you slept in nicely," he said callously. Sam smiled and placed a manila envelope on his desk; he looked at it and asked, "What's this?" Sam grinned and asked, "What would you say if I cracked one of the biggest budgeting scandals in the city?"
Her uncle looked up at her and was quick to tear into the envelope. His gray eyes scanned the page, they evaluated each sentence and seemed to pear into the truth of the paper. His hair was salt and peppered from age and she could see the wrinkles of time on his face. He looked back up at her over his rimless glasses, "So this is why you caked on makeup this morning huh?" he asked. She nodded and he tapped the paper with his hand, "It seems we have an issue," he said. Sam stared at him in confusion as he opened the digital template for the next day's paper. "Just enough room, you got lucky," he said as he opened a digital copy and laid it into the empty space. Sam was about to leave when he said, "Wait, we're not finished." She stared at him in confusion and he nodded, "What is it?" she asked and he smiled. "What would you say if I told you our office in Japan had an open position?" he asked coyly. She stared at him in shock, the New York office was every reporter's dream, she was at the top of her game and yet he was shipping her off to Japan.
"You're going to be transferred to the Tokyo office in Japan," he said, at first she thought it was a joke only to realize he wasn't joking. Her eyes widened, being a forging correspondent for a paper was like being sent to no man's land, they occasionally write articles which are posted online but none of it is a major feature. They usually cover humanitarian works for fellow papers and the big stories which only occur once in a blue moon for their home paper. "You're not joking are you?" she asked after a moment. It was as though she could see her entire career flicker before her eyes, and all the hopes of winning a Pulitzer Prize just flew out the window. "No I'm not, listen the tsunami caused a great deal of damage last year and Japan is still trying to get back on it's feet. They need more reporters to cover humanitarian pieces," he said. Sam stared and asked, "You do realize you're signing my death certificate as a reporter right?" Asami stared at her and glared, "This is a learning experience, you're the best here and we all know it, however it's as if you have lost something," he said. She sighed and looked at him in confusion, "Something fundamental to a reporter, I suggest you use these next six months to find it," he said as he straitened the pages on his desk. "But Japan?" she asked and he smirked, he was clearly enjoying this. "It's never too late to reconnect with your heritage," he said happily. She wrinkled her nose and commented, "Slight problem, I don't speak Japanese." Asami placed the pages on his desk and walked over to the book shelf. The next thing she knew there was a blue and black book labeled English to Japanese dictionary on the spine. "Use that," he said as he pointed at the book in her hands. She was about to object when he continued, "I already called human resources to confirm the transfer, you're being flown out today," he said with a note of triumph as he walked out the door and then swiftly turned to Lewis who looked like he was about to pass out due to lack of oxygen. "You have to be there by the 19th," he said. She was confused for a moment and asked, "Then why am I flying out today?" He looked at her in disbelief and replied, "Because it's already the 17th and you loose 2 days as you fly." She stared and looked at the clock on the wall and then at the plane tickets which Max had just stuffed in her hand. She had three hours to pack and get ready for the relocation to Japan. "No way," she said in shock, the editor simply grinned and waved her off before turning to Lewis' comma nightmare.