I love strolling around Parque Mexico in the afternoon. There are always a lot of people ambling through organic paths with dogs that is natural to me. And yet it often makes me wonder why there are always a bunch of dogs there. For example, a person leans his back on a Palm tree and puffs a cigarette contentedly. And before him, over a dozen of dogs lay down on the ground in order, waging their tails restfully. People pay him for looking after their dogs while working, perhaps? He must be a Mexican dog keeper, I guess.
By the time I arrive at the park, there has been already many people enjoying the warm afternoon in a luminous sun-ray and serenely listening to the breeze soughing in Lebanese cypresses. I sit on a bench alongside a small lake which is inhabited by ducks and swans. And then I hypnotically contemplate a dug that is floating tranquilly on the undulated water in the current. “Buda could be floating on a river as sedately as it,” I think to myself entrancingly. And all of a sudden, sitting there alone in the dazzling sunlight, my boyhood chum’s image is cropping up in my mind apropos of nothing. We had created a number of adventures and pranks. We had a great time together and were inseparable once. Our brotherhood ended abruptly when we were in the third grade. I am wondering what he has become now.
I always have a heart to heart talk with Gerardo. He is a rare person, who is genuinely open-minded and has an extraordinary ability to listen to people with enormous patience even if he does not agree with their opinions. Furthermore, he can handle any kinds of situations with ready calmness, and also he can judge anyone without any biases. From the beginning of our friendship, he accepts me as I am. He always says, “I don’t think you’re crazy, for you don’t want to take a job; you just want to be writing books. We just walk on the different paths and have the different ways of looking at life: I’m a business man; you’re an artist. Shogo, you always say that we have totally different views and diametrically opposite tendencies, but I believe that we have some similarities and think of life in the same way at some points; that’s why we’re good friends to each other. Furthermore, it’s our purpose to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and respect him for what he is: each the other’s contrary and homage.” He is turning into twenty-seven years old in several months and doing very well. HP has promoted him recently. Besides, he is planning to expand Innovati (his model agency) and open franchise in Monterey and Cancun in several months. Hence, he has been extremely busy lately. Even though he has a lot of things to take care of, he is worried about my career and has voluntarily researched how to register the manuscript for me. He has an unsullied heart. As I say, I am an emotional person, so naturally, I have occasionally disputed with him about any subjects under the sun. Every time I become fervid, he offers me a cigarette to make me calm down and remind me, “Shogo, you have to remember, I’m always open to you and nothing to hide from you.” It is a marvelous feeling to talk with each other about everything under the vast heaven sincerely without any reservations. Whenever I take a decisive step, I ask Gerardo’s advice. He is not an artist, but I always ask what he thinks about my writing and regard his opinions seriously. Even if he opposes my opinions, I heed him in all respects more than anybody else. By the same token, I esteem his ability of evaluation whenever I make an important decision.
I have been crucified and persecuted by Japanese, because I just happened to be born different: I am simply another breed. What makes Japanese indignant the most is that I am not only being different, but I am entirely unique and original. I love my life too much and worship life itself passionately, that makes Japanese furious. One cannot show his love toward life literally in Japan, for it will hurts Japanese feelings to the hell. What Japanese cannot allow the most is that a person enjoys his life indefinitely. Everything what I did was simply malapropos for Japanese, no matter what. For instance, when I started singing from the moment of sparkling passion, they deplored that I sang provokingly high pitch; when I created a funny joke, they deplored that I abused the same joke endlessly; when I teased my friends in a cordial fashion, they deplored that I ridiculed them superfluously; when I argued with Japanese, they deplored that I expressed myself egotistically; when I was in good spirits, they deplored that I showed off my happiness immoderately; when I embrace my life from tremendous joy with tears in my eyes, they deplored that my emotion was magniloquent; when I loved women, they deplored that my love was out of proportion; when I found out my girlfriends’ lack of characters and started acting impersonally, they deplored that my dispassionateness was so inhuman; when I realized that I was not in love with my girlfriends anymore, they deplored that I disdained them pitilessly; and so on and so forth. I was forced to pretend to be someone else, forced to be shrunken, and forced to hide my true personality from public places in Japan. What is wrong with me? I am more human than any Japanese and embraced life itself with all my passion more than any of them. I am forever ready to show my happiness from the moment of sparkling emotion, and I am capable of singing jubilantly from sheer appreciation of just being alive. Why do I have to pretend to be dull and gloomy when I am actually elated and cannot control my happiness with a heart full of zeal? If you want to be a living dead person, it is OK with me. As a matter of fact, I unanimously agree with you and say indifferently, shrugging my shoulders, “Go ahead to be a spiritually dead person without tasting real life, as you wish.” However, you must stop forcing me to be like you, for I am fully alive with a heart full of love and want to enjoy my life to the fullest. I am an emotional person. When I am sad, I weep like a woebegone widow; when I am happy, I sing like Luis Armstrong, dance like a pleased darky, and shout at the top of my lungs from a sheer joy. Do I make myself clear? You poor Japanese bastards!
Heading to Parque Mexico in the afternoon sun, I am thinking that I have never had an honest dispute with Japanese since I stepped out from my mother’s womb. They never accept a person who has his unique opinions and who is different from them. Being Japanese means that one must have the same opinions and interests with everybody else. Above all, one must be exactly like everyone else; otherwise, one is not considered as good Japanese. It is a tragedy for a person who happens to be born different in Japan; they never let him continue being different. They insult him, say bad things for him on the sly, castrate him, and crucify him. On top of it all, they try to make him feel small with all their possible meanness. And why? Because they always feel insecure and envy a person who dares to show his individuality openly. Japanese just cannot allow others become someone else, while they are nonentities. They are constantly jealous of a person who has courage to be different and has courage to go on being in his own way. They feel insulted every time they see a person who lives on his life in his own sweet way, since they know from the innermost hearts: he is superior to them and has more energy in life than them. They become disgruntled every time they see a person who has a full of life, since they have no life; they work five days a week automatically. As soon as one manifests his uniqueness in Japan, he is labeled guilty, madman, and maladjustment; he is isolated and cut off from Japanese society.
I convey my thoughts frankly, “Gerardo, I have to tell you even if you don’t understand what I’m talking about right now. If I invest in his business and earn easy money, I can’t write real books, because I would miss precious things, experiences. I need to suffer and undertake horrible ordeals, so that I can understand how I feel at the bottom. Experiences are everything, my friend. I need to live on my own life in order to accumulate significant experiences; one cannot write a real book only from vicarious obstacles. Moreover, I know that I have to earn some money to support myself, but investing in something to receive easy money is not my way of earning money. And also taking a job to earn money is not my way either. Earning money through writing is my way. If I can’t earn money through writing, I would rather be perished. I need to cast myself into a leap of faith entirely even if this means that I’ll be terribly suffered from poverty. Even if I don’t earn enough money to support myself, I’m feeling vividly alive each day. That is the whole point to me.”
He stands up and says briskly, “Shogo, I must go right now, for the meeting is starting in five minutes. And I really don’t understand anything what you’re talking about.”
With that, he is offering me a brief handshake and running back to the office agitatedly.