Are You Smug?

He glances his wrist watch and apologizes, “I’m so sorry for talking too much and didn’t realize it’s been past 11:00 p.m. already. Thank you so much for giving me advice and encouraging me to make a decision. I’ll do my best to achieve my goal. And of course, I’ll try to read Demian. Are you coming to the office tomorrow? See you tomorrow, Mr. Onoe.”

“Have a good night and take care, Mr. Yano!”

Instead of going to Sibuya Station, I run on the streets aimlessly as fast as I can carry my legs in order to punish myself, for I am angry with myself beyond rage. Uncontrolled tears are coming down my face, because I am so humiliated and ashamed with my attitude toward Mr. Yano. I start talking aloud to myself angrily, “Do you have a right to encourage and give advice to him when you are incurably dispirited and constantly feel ennui? Are you smug? Have you completely lost your dignity? Have you let yourself be degraded so shamelessly? Don’t you have any pride in yourself anymore? Shame on you, you fatuous!” I am rushing through people violently, and I do not care what people think of my strange behavior. As soon as I find a bench on Dougenzaka Street, I collapse down on it. I am so ashamed, because everything I said to him was actually for me. I desperately needed to encourage myself tonight, but it obviously was not for him. I have been helplessly trapped in Japan myself, and it has become impossible for me to escape from here. Therefore, I need to encourage myself to stand up and give myself a gentle push to follow my destiny. I did not encourage him tonight; he encouraged me tonight with his shower of admiration for me, which I do not deserve. What he has seen in me is beyond my comprehension, but the important discovery is that even though I was downhearted, my words had the power to inspire him. I am so glad that I had the dinner with him tonight and am glad to know that even in Japan I can find a fellow who is so innocent and has a lot of curiosity about life. Thank you very much, Mr. Yano, I will do my best to improve myself to write this anecdote in my book, so that someday you will know that it is you who unconsciously encouraged me and saved my life when I was in the bottomless pit. I hope that in the near future, you can go to Vancouver to find a satisfying job and escape from Japanese working conditions that you hate from the bottom of your heart. Good luck to you, Mr. Yano, I know that you will see the world someday! I want to show you that you are right about me, but I still do not know how.

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