I am walking on streets aimlessly under autumn stars and musing on my hopeless situations because I am feeling that I can no longer endure my sufferings. Whenever any serious doubt about my ability to be a writer assails me, I encourage myself with positive examples to palliate myself, such as, “Think about Miller, who published his first book when he was forty-three years old. Think about Hamsun whose first book Hunger appeared after his twelve years of striving to write. Compared with them, you are not mature enough to write a book yet, mister! You are too young; therefore, you need more sufferings. Get more experiences first, since you are still like one of God’s innocent lambs that is just about to start walking. Your legs are still wobbling! You haven’t been punished enough yet! Why don’t you lift up your heavy ass, sir?” However, today my faith is completely shaking, and I cannot see any future for myself. Suddenly, panicking rage is beginning to overwhelm me, and I ask myself involuntary, “What are you doing in Japan, man? When are you really going to write your book in earnest? Have you ever thought about your everlasting abortive state seriously? Do you really let precious time continue elapsing without doing any serious writing?” “It’s high time for you to contemplate your future as a writer frankly and introspect yourself candidly, you idiot!” I say aloud while clenching my fist.
Summer has been passed quietly without great events except one thing. Finally, I quit my job to try to live my own way as well as Jorgito does. He sent me a triumphant message that said, “I did it, my brother! I just went to the office and said, ‘I’m quitting the job. Thank you very much for everything.’ Just like that! No more words! And then I simply left the office! I am feeling so free now. The good thing is that my health is getting better. Now I do not need to worry about my stomach anymore. I am trying to build houses in Toluca. It is not easy, however, I feel so alive, that is the main thing. Shogo, how about your illness? You have to do the same thing as me. When are you going to execute it? I sincerely wish that you will do it tomorrow!”
Autumn is coming. Trees are becoming bare, and so is my heart. Nothing has changed dramatically, except that I have a whole lot of time. In spite of that, money is running out day by day. Either I cannot write anything or cannot concentrate on my study. Something must be bothering my conscience. I should escape from Japan before I am out of my mind, that is crystal clear to me. It has been for two months without a job, but I have not done anything tangible yet; I have been only moping around and feeling sorry for my lot. Three years ago, a year ago, I believed that I was born to be a writer and was so sure of that I would start writing a book when the time was right. But when? I am not sure about it anymore. I have been approaching the end of thirty-three years old, and in two months, I will be thirty- four years old! When I think that I have struggled in vain to write for over eight years and have not produced anything, I become furious. However, when depression assails me, I always make excuses to myself to avoid brooding about my abortive striving, because if I do not, I am certain that I will jump out from a skyscraper with no hesitation.
Probably, he does not know even now that he was the guy who made me decide to see the world and who opened the door of the new world for me. I had never respected any Japanese guys, but him I had respected so much and felt overwhelmed with his enthusiasm for life. Now he has been defeated shamelessly by the Japanese society system, that he hated so much and that has even made him a shameless loser, saying that Japan is the best, and he is so contended to work five days a week. Hot tears are coming to my eyes, because I do not want to admit that he has become a beaten dog. Where are you, Yoshi? Twelve years ago, you were the champion of life! Where is your pride? I miss the old Yoshi, who had a lot of hope for his life. I miss the old Yoshi, who passionately talked about his Korean girlfriend, who was the one he would marry someday. Where is your unquenchable enthusiasm for life? Where is your eternal passion for America? I cannot see them anymore. I can only see the perfect loser, who utterly admits his defeat and thinks that his enthusiasm for life was just sheer youthful dreams. I do not even recognize who you are anymore, Yoshi, and do not want to see you again anymore. I am glad that I have not been completely beaten by Japan yet and still have life inside me. I make a vow to myself that I will never allow myself to be like him. I know where I do not want to belong. I do not care how long it will take me to escape from my tribulations, but I will fight for my dear life with all my might. I must be more patient and must be stronger. Once again, he is the one, who taught me unintentionally what I do not want to become and where I do not want to belong.
Also, I remember vividly that it took him a long time to adjust to Japanese society again; he always hid at his home from people, because he could not express himself, like when he was in America, and people constantly complained about his behavior wherever he went. He had not gotten a permanent job for a long time, just a part-time job, because he could not finish his job interviews; he was fired even before being hired. Every time he left a job interview, he said to me, “Shogo, I can’t understand narrow-minded Japanese assholes. While I was waiting for my job interview at an office, nobody said hello to me, and they were so serious. Therefore, I said to an interviewer, ‘I don’t like the atmosphere in this office, because nobody’s smiled at me, and nobody’s said anything to me since I entered the office. You should change the serious atmosphere of the office into more congenial atmosphere, so that you can make a good impression to candidates, and also every employee can enjoy working here more. This is my advice to you.’” He uttered these words so emotionally and then continued, “As soon as I started expressing my true feelings and opinions, he stopped my job interview and said to me, ‘We don’t need any suggestion from you.’ And the worst part was that he asked me to kindly leave the office immediately. I just don’t get it. I just want to help them to improve their working conditions, but nobody listens to me. I can’t endure Japanese age-societal structure, either. It is perfectly ridiculous. In America nobody cares how old I am, but fucking retarded Japanese, shit! I really want to go back to America, but I need some money to continue studying there. I have to take a job to earn some money because I can’t ask my parents to help me anymore. I have to save money myself, but I can’t allow myself to be reduced to Japanese idiots’ level and don’t want to accept their working systems either. Fuck, what a perfect mess I am in!”
I am enormously disappointed in him beyond words because he is the guy who suggested that I should go to America eleven year ago when he was full of life. He told me that Americans would love me, and that my character would be appreciated there. He is right about them even though instead of going to America, I went to Canada, where I have made a number of interesting friends. I feel sorry for him because he is cruelly beaten by life. I cannot believe how Japan has changed him so thoroughly, how he has lost his hope for life, and how he pretends to be satisfied with Japanese society. He went to America when he was sixteen years old and came back to Japan when he was twenty years old. When he came back to Japan, I was so astonished because of his aura. I thought that I had never seen such an individual who was full of life and had so much enthusiasm for life. He always told me, “Shogo, you have to go to America, where people are friendly and express themselves more freely than Japan. I really think you don’t belong here and will always remain a wired person in Japanese peoples’ eyes. You simply have an extraordinary personality, and I don’t know if that is good or bad for you. The truth be told, you are a misfit in Japan, Shogo. Yes, just a misfit, unfortunately. But in America everyone will love you, and it’ll be too easy for you to make friends there.”