Imagination is Everything

Henry Miller was the man who showed me how wonderful an artist`s life would be and how to be a true artist. And also, he taught me that one must leave everything behind if he wants to be a writer. When I read SEXUS the first time, the ordinary everyday life was finished in me. It had no struggle; I just knew what I had to do. I calmly burned the bridge behind me and jubilantly started living my life in my own way – I was emancipated. Since then, I have never looked back to the past. Here is the passage fromSEXUS, which still makes me fire every time I read:

Lie down then, on the soft couch which the analyst provides, and try to think up something different. The analyst has endless time and patience; every minute you detain him means money in his pocket. He is like God, in a sense – the God of your own creation. Whether you whine, howl, beg, weep, implore, cajole, pray or curse – he listens. He is just a big ear minus a sympathetic nervous system. He is impervious to everything but truth. If you think it pays to fool him then fool him. Who will be the loser? If you think he can help you, and not yourself, then stick to him until you rot. He has nothing to lose. But if you realize that he is not a god but a human being like yourself, with worries, defects, ambitions, frailties, that he is not the repository of an all-encompassing wisdom but a wanderer, like yourself, along the path, perhaps you will cease pouring it out like a swer, however melodious it may sound to your ears, and rise up on your own two legs and sing with your own God-given voice. To confess, to whine, to complain, to commiserate, always demands a toll. To sing it doesn`t cost you a penny. Not only does it cost nothing – you actually enrich others. Sing the praises of the Lord, it is enjoined. Aye, sing out! Sing out, O Master-builder! Sing out, glad warrior! But, you quibble, how can I sing when the world is crumbling, when all about me is bathed in blood and tears? Do you realize that the martyrs sang when they were being burned at the stake? They saw nothing crumbling, they heard no shrieks of pain. They sang because they were full of faith. Who can demolish faith? Who can wipe out joy? Men have tried, in every age. But they have not succeeded. Joy and faith are inherent in the universe. In growth there is pain and struggle; in accomplishment there is joy and exuberance; in fulfillment there is peace and serenity. Between the planes and spheres of existence, terrestrial and super terrestrial, there are ladders and lattices. The one who mounts sings. He is made drunk and exalted by unfolding vistas. He ascends sure-footedly, thinking not of what lies below, should he slip and lose his grasp, but of what lies ahead. Everything lies ahead. The way is endless, and the farther one reaches the more the road opens up. The bogs and quagmires, the marshes and sinkholes, the pits and snares, are all in the mind. They lurk in waiting, ready to swallow one up the moment one ceases to advance. The phantasmal world is the world which has not been fully conquered over. It is the world of the past, never of the future. To move forward clinging to the past is like dragging a ball and chain. The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. We are all guilty of crime, the great crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking of what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What these powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything God-like about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

I Just Do Not Want to Pretend!

I just do not want to pretend to be someone else; I just want to be who I truly am every single day. However, it is so difficult for me to be true to myself because of the Japanese society system. If I decide to be true myself, I am perfectly sure that I will be fired immediately, and I cannot find a job anywhere. To get a job in Japan, I have to pretend to be someone else during a job interview and tell what they want to hear, but I do not believe any single word I utter, which is torture to me. It makes me unbearably nauseated to say what I do not believe whenever I get a job interview; however, I have to if I want to get a job.

Working for a company exactly the same pretenses are required. I should: pretend to obey every single nonsense that my supervisor says; pretend to do what I am sick of; pretend to talk with my colleagues about how to improve job environments; pretend to make a smile when I want to cry with humiliation; pretend to be doing something when in fact, I am doing nothing, because in Japan even if you have nothing to do at an office, you have to pretend to keep occupied with something, otherwise, your boss is going to scowl at you for doing nothing; etc. I just do not want to pretend to be someone else anymore, but it is impossible for me as long as I stay in Japan.

My Obsession

I had always thought that if I could manage to escape from monotonous Japanese life, I would be definitely happy, and I always dreamt about my future friends who would accept me as I truly am and who would be willingly to welcome me with open arms all over the world. Escaping from Japan became my obsession. Finally, the day came for me to escape from my inferno when I was twenty-five years old. As soon as I stretched my legs to the wide world, I met a lot of interesting people who welcomed me with open arms as exactly as I dreamt about in my lonely nights in Japan. I was utterly overwhelmed with the suddenly changed circumstances, because so many people started congregating around me to participate in the joy of life like shining stars in heaven. At last, I have realized that I have the great gift from heaven for making wonderful friends in the world. Hamsun said, “Life is fun to live, and God always works for us in mysterious ways.” I believe in this from the bottom of my heart due to my extraordinary experiences. I could not find any single friend in Japan, but when I started knocking about the world, making friends became the easiest thing for me. In Japan I am hopelessly an outsider, decidedly a weird person, constantly humiliated and insulted, while in the broad world I am praised to the God’s blue sky, decidedly respected, and ardently accepted as a brother.

Injustice

Jorge and I were having a brunch at Hurricane Grill. Jorge suddenly stopped eating and stared at the distance pensively for a few minutes. And then he came out with conviction, “You know, amigo, what I’ve been considering about? As you know, everything is wrong in this world, and there are a lot of injustices all over the world, because of society system, education, government, laws, stupid jobs, money, etc. And so far, many people have tried to remedy the situation, but nobody ever says forthrightly, ‘Stop! This is wrong. We must change it!’ Shogo, you might say that single voice is not enough, but I believe that sometimes only single voice has the power to alter the cause. And a good thing is that I have you, amigo. We must start yelling at the top of our lungs, ‘Stop nonsense and wake up, you people!’ – we must change the wrong society system. Shogo, I suggest you should begin to write a new book with this theme. And you should be screaming, ‘Stop! This is wrong. We must change it!’ in your new book.”

He took a bottle of beer from the table and drank it to quench his thirst.

“Amigo, the world is utterly wrong, as I said. What bothering my heart the most is that nowadays people only think of their own wellbeing; they are not concerned about other people. They are madly obsessed with money and power. In order to obtain them, they’ve operated unforgivable things, namely, drugs, wars, and human trafficking. And what’s more, they murder fellow men, ravage forests and jungles, contaminate rivers and oceans, and so on and so forth. For what? – accumulating wealth and power! What a bunch of sick bastards! I’m so angry, trust me, amigo, we’ve lived in the worst injustice world, that the history have unheard of hitherto. That’s why we must stand up and fight for what we believe in. Shogo, we have a very important mission; we must change the hearts of men, since we do not want to see our fellow men suffering from injustices anymore. We do not allow human beings to practice evildoings – no more injustice, no more murders, no more manipulated education, no more corrupt governments, no more human trafficking, and no more destruction of nature. And, amigo, you have a gift of writing; you have the talent to express what you feel. You can show the world how hopelessly wrong the current society is by your writing, amigo – this is a big responsibility. I’ll support you in every possible way I can and help you whatever you need. So, Shogo, please take the advantage of your writing ability, exhort that people must stop practicing injustices, and shower the seed of change all over the world! We will be sailing on this ship until we plant the seeds of change into the world!”

 

Nightmare

I have met all my friends in Canada, Australia, and Mexico. And I miss them so much. I was supposed to finish writing my first book in Vancouver. However, I could not write a single line of my book. Only God knows what was wrong with me at that time. I had buried myself in books almost for ten hours every day to find out a clue how to begin and had tried to imitate my heroes’ writing styles, but everything came to nothing. I was constantly afraid of one thing: going back to Japan to take a job again. The idea of taking a job in Japan terrorized me like an incessant nightmare. Finally, the worst situation happened: financial crisis came upon me, and my visa expired. I had no choice, but with shame, I had to go back to Japan to ask my parents to let me stay at their house for a while.

My initial plan was to take a job for a year to earn some money to go back to Vancouver, so I could make a fresh start on writing a book. I felt that I could sacrifice my precious time for the sake of my mission in life as a writer and could endure Japanese atmosphere for just a year. But alas, contrary to my strong determination to escape from Japan as quickly as possible, I have been trapped in Japan for over three years. It is beyond my patience, because the frivolity of Japanese life and Japanese people’s absurd behavior constantly offend me, and the Japanese society system and etiquette suffocate me. I simply cannot stay in Japan more than six months, which I have discovered. As soon as I earn some money to be able to take a vacation, I quit my job and visit Mexico to see my friends so that I can become a human being again. It has become my habit to quit a job every six months to take a breath outside of Japan. It has already happened four times in succession these past three years, and every time my vacation is over, my depression has gotten deeper and deeper. I am helplessly beaten by Japan and can only see total darkness in my future.