What a Cruel Way to Treat a Fellow Countryman!

liberation.jpgHowever, I soon realized that I preconceived the prejudice toward Americans. I had thought that Americans were conceited, cynical, arrogant, and contemptuous creatures, but a number of incidents changed my mind. When I asked the stranger where Little Tokyo was, he did not know exactly where it was; however, he bided his time for me, took his iPhone, searched on it, and showed me the map to instruct me how to get there. When I reached the vicinity of Little Tokyo, I asked an American fellow how to reach Miyako Hotel. He happened to live in Little Tokyo, he was willingly to show me the way, and he insisted on accompanying me to the entrance of hotel.

The same cordial gestures I received the next day as well. When I was on my way to a subway station in order to see Hollywood, I became quite lost. Hence, I asked a woman just passing by; she happened to be going to Hollywood as well and informed me that I had to get off Hollywood/Highland Station. And she suggested me that we should go together, since we were heading the same destination. When we arrived at Hollywood/Highland Station, she said that she had a little time to spare, so we should eat breakfast together to get to know each other. Over breakfast, she explained to me what I should visit and what I should see and, finally, wished me good luck for my sojourn.

In Japan when I ask a direction to a stranger on the street, he ignores me and doesn’t even glance at me, but just waves his hand to shake me off as if I were not a human being, as if I were an insignificant fly. What a cruel way to treat a fellow countryman!

I’ll Walk!

liberation.jpgIt was raining quite strongly, so I decided to hail a taxi. The driver asked me, “Where are you heading, sir?”

“Do you know where Little Tokyo is?”

“It’s four or five blocks away from here, sir.”

“Could you take me to there?”

“Right away. It’ll be twenty bucks, sir?”

“Are you kidding? It’s too expensive! Are you really sure that you want to charge me twenty bucks only for five blocks?”

“That’s exactly what you are asking for, sir.”

“Forget it. I’ll walk.”

“But it’s raining, sir.”

“I don’t care if the rain soaks through my underwear, I’ll walk! I am as strong as a giant, so go away!” I spit at the sidewalk challengingly.

“All right. As you wish, sir,” he drove away.

“So that’s it! This is the American way of welcoming me, namely, asking me twenty bucks for five blocks’ ride!” I shouted at the taxi wheeling away at the top of my lungs.

Bid Farewell to Her

liberation.jpgAs soon as I went out, I talked to myself excitedly, “What a beautiful face she has! I have heard the countless praises of American women’s beauty. But it is beyond my expectation! I was almost asked her to marry me, notwithstanding I know nothing about her! What an attraction! Anyway, the problem is that I cannot go back to the hotel because it is too expensive for me, shit! I have to check another hotel, and then I will decide. But I have never seen such an enthralling woman in my life.

It turned out that there were no cheap hotels in the vicinity of downtown. I recalled that the Japanese agency mentioned to me that I might find a reasonable hotel in Little Tokyo, so I reluctantly decided to go there to find one. Before going there, I went to Westin Bonaventure Hotel again in order to bid farewell to her. I barked good-bye to her with watered eyes, like a beaten dog in spite of fact that I was outside of the hotel. “She heard me. She definitely heard my impassioned farewell,” I nodded satisfyingly and went away.

I Am a Total Stranger to You

liberation.jpg“What a beautiful smile you have, woman!” I cried out.

Pause.

“You have a seraphic smile on your face. Would you like to have a dinner with me tonight?”

She was abashed and replied coquettishly, “Yes, I would love to, but you know, I have a night shift tonight. Besides, I have a boyfriend.”

“Pardon me for asking you out impetuously. In the first place, I am a total stranger to you, so I admit my impromptu action caused you embarrassment. I beg your pardon for my peculiar behavior. Please let me explain you what made me conduct myself in this impromptu fashion. Miss, when I saw your beautiful face, I simply couldn’t control myself from breezing into asking you out. Just because your angelic face bewitched me. Besides, I thought I’m staying in Los Angeles only for three nights, so I thought I had nothing to lose if I let my heart open up to you frankly. And then I thought – why don’t I let you know I think you’re very beautiful?”

Pause.

She was laughing amusingly and beaming, “It’s so sweet of you to say that. It is shame that you’re able to stay here only three days, because if you could stay more, maybe, I would probably show you around downtown, and we might become a good acquaintances. What’s your name?”

“Shogo,” I offered my hand to shake hands.

“I’m Jennifer. It’s always pleasant to meet a handsome man.”

“Likewise, it’s a wonderful feeling to have a chat with such a beautiful woman like you. I am still dazzled by your unearthly beauty though. How much is the cost for one night?”

“Let’ me see. It’ll be one hundred ninety-five dollars plus tax, my friend.”

“What? Why is it so expensive?”

“Yesterday’s price was one hundred twenty dollars plus tax.”

“Why is the huge difference?” “Because the price is changed by the occupancy rate.”

“Anyway, thank you very much, my beautiful Jennifer. Hm… it’s not so bad. Okay, I’ll buy something first, and then come back. See you very soon!”

“Bye, Shogo. I’ll be waiting for you.”

Something Got My Full Attention

liberation.jpgIt was raining with a chilly draft, and the ghastly gray sky was above me when I arrived at LAX Airport. The dreadful weather discouraged me and gave me a vague premonition for hot potato. “It’s not a good beginning. Try to get done the chief errand first and brood later,” I thought and nodded. The main purpose of my sojourn in Los Angeles was to regain my equilibrium. The Japanese agency was established at Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown; therefore, I decided to go straight to the downtown to get it done immediately. I hopped on a shuttle bus.

Everything went smoothly despite my foreboding. The shuttle bus took me to the entrance of the hotel directly, and it took me just for forty-five minutes to get the emergency card. Now what I had to do was – find a place to stay for three nights. I was ready to enjoy the excursion with full equipment. However, I was not a dumdum enough for daring to have an idea to stay at Westin Bonaventure Hotel, since I knew that I could not afford such extravagance. When I came down to the lobby, something got my full attention. Despite my resolution to find a cheap hotel, I was striding to the reception as if I was magnetized by an irresistible power – my eyes happened upon a ravishing receptionist. She said with a charming smile, “How may I help you, sir?”