Today Is an Astonishing Day

“Why did he write me that yellow means Shogo? He thinks my skin color is fucking yellow?” I was laughing at his stupid joke. I could forgive everything today even such an insignificant insult, because tomorrow would be different day for me dramatically. I decided to take a last walk on Japanese streets that have given me only sorrow and humiliation. As soon as I sailed out of my house, singing my favorite song, “la-la-la-la-la,” I remembered something important. I have to buy a bunch of medicines for my illness because tomorrow I would be in a different climate. It is very important, but I can buy them in Mexico because they can sell to me without any prescription! What a wonderful country! Of course, human beings need medicines when we have serious illness. In Japan they never sell to me without prescription even if I have serious illness. They do not care whether I am bleeding to death; they care only whether I have a prescription to have the right to buy these specific medicines. What inhuman bastards! Anyway, I have to buy my medicines here because I have a national health insurance, so it will be cheaper for me to buy them here than in Mexico, heh-heh-heh-heh!

After seeing my doctor to get the prescription, I went to a pharmacy to buy medicines with the same happy spirit. I said, waving the prescription, “I need my medicines for six months this time, and the doctor had given me permission.”

“Why do you need them for such long spans? You usually buy them for a month, Mr. Onoe,” a pharmacist asked.

“Because I’m going to Mexico tomorrow. Have you ever been there? Very nice country indeed! I’m going to live there for a while and might not come back to Japan anymore.”

“Mr. Onoe, it’s wonderful news. But I’m a wee bit worried about your health. Please don’t eat junk food too much and try to eat healthy food as much as you can over there. I’ve never been there, but it must be nice to go there someday because I’ve never seen you are in so happy state. Today your face is radiating, and your eyes are shining more than ever. Let me get your medicines. Please give me a minute.”

She returned with some presents, “Mr. Onoe, these are your medicines, and I am sorry, I couldn’t find anything worthwhile, but these are gifts for you. Maybe, you can use them in Mexico. Have a good trip and take good care of your health.”

“I will. Thanks for your concerns,” I said and left.

“Today is an astonishing day,” I thought. “It seems to me that even Japanese are celebrating my new adventure. They are relieved, for they can get rid of me from Japan at last, perhaps?” I was flabbergasted. I decided to take the last ramble around the park, where I was used to strolling around with sorrows in my heart. I reached the pond and found a bench and sat down.

I Was Feeling So Strange

I woke up as fresh as baby Jesus because today was the last day of Japan. I was feeling so strange that I was actually going to Mexico tomorrow. I opened the little window to look up the clear sky and gave silent payer to God, “Thank you so much for giving me the miraculous opportunity to escape from Japan and giving me the incredibly clear sky as a gift for my new life, amen!” With this high spirited mood, I checked my e-mail inbox with my laptop, and here it was; I had received a message from my good friend Jorgito. It said:

Hello, my yellow friend! I like your vision of next six months so much except one. I do not agree with you about a Spanish school. You should not attend a Spanish school, idiot. It will be completely wasting your money! I think that you practice your Spanish with Gerardo and me every day, which is enough for you to learn it quickly. I hope that you are not going to spend your money on a stupid Spanish school. Here are some important Spanish words, try to remember it:

Como estas? ……. How are you?

Como te llamas? ……. What is your name?

Gracias ……. Thanks

Por favor ……. Please

Yellow ……. Shogo

Aprender ……. Learn

Jugar ……. Play

Puta ……. Bitch

Mujer ……. Woman

Hombre ……. Man

Libro ……. Book

Feliz ……. Happy

Libre ……. Freedom

Amigo, you have to learn these words before you land your ass on Mexican soil, OK?

You Have a Choice

“Yes, Shogo, I’m not completely regretting my past life because of my family,” he replied with a bright smile, “you know, it’s sometimes good for me to go home and be surrounded by my wife and children. I don’t like going to an empty home. As you know, I tend to feel lonely easily and can’t stand loneliness. Whenever I go home after my work with an exhausted soul and see my children’s bright faces, I feel very happy as though my wearily toil were rewarded. I’ve had only one good thing in my life, having my own family. It’s so hard to feed one’s own family though. I shouldn’t let myself think all the time that I want to live your life and want to be like you. I should start thinking my life is as good as yours. But, Shogo, only you, among our mutual friends, still look so young. I really think you are the living proof that if one lives freely and does what his heart’s desire in all his life, he can stay young. Also, I think you’ll achieve your goal someday, because remember, Shogo, you’ve always accomplished everything that you’ve decided to do. This time, too, you’ll be a writer, but not an ordinary one, a great one. Don’t you think so, Shogo?”

“Yes, you are right about me, Hiro,” I replied gratefully, “I guess I will be a writer. To be frank with you, maybe, I’ve accomplished many difficult tasks in my life, but this is the most difficult one and will take time. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me for becoming a writer, but I’m pretty sure that someday I’ll become one. Thanks, Hiro, for giving me encouragement. I need it.”

Here he interrupted me with an anxious face and said, “Sorry, Shogo, I have to go. I didn’t know that it has been past 11:30 p.m. I’ve been enjoying talking with you so much, so I must’ve forgotten the time. My wife will be angry with me, but don’t worry; she knows you, and I told her that you are going to be away from Japan again. I’ll pay it, no problem, Shogo. Please wait for me outside. Don’t vanish yet, please.”

He marched out on the street and said, “I had a really good time, and I’ll miss you, Shogo. When are you coming back to Japan? I assume you have no intention to come back here, which I can see from your face. You don’t belong here, Shogo, you belong to the wide world. You’ll never learn how to adjust to Japanese society, ha-ha-ha. But it’s good for you to find out the places where make you happy. I’m not exactly happy to stay in Japan, but I have no choice, you have a choice. Enjoy Mexico, Shogo. If you ever come back to Japan, call me. I’ll call our mutual friends next time. So long!”

“I hope to see you again. Enjoy your life, too. So long, Hiro!”

I’ll Never Give Up

He called a waitress to order another beer and lit another cigarette again.

I was a little nervous since he asked about my book. However, I thought that I do not need to conceal anything from him, since he just confessed his true feelings to me. Therefore, I decided to tell him about my past aborted efforts candidly.

“Hiro, it’s good for you that you’ve started something you like for yourself, and I am glad to hear that. About my writing business, I’ve struggled in vain to write for over eight years and haven’t produced any tangible things yet. The worst thing is that I haven’t been able to write any single line with my past efforts. But it doesn’t discourage me, for I know from the bottom of my heart that I want to be a writer and express myself. I don’t make myself hurry up right now; I am trying to be patient to wait to know about myself better. Without knowing about myself thoroughly, I can’t get started. Frankly, I don’t know how long it’ll take me to understand my heart, but I’m willing to embark upon the journey of self-realization. When I become forty-years old, perhaps? Ha-ha-ha…. It doesn’t matter to me anymore, but the important thing is that I’ll never give up. Maybe, I can get started writing my book in Mexico, who knows? Let’s see what’ll happen. By the way, you said before that you are very sad and regret your past life, but I see sadness and regret haven’t entered your heart.”

 

I Am on Your Side

He drained the glass of beer and started his monologue, “By the way, you know, Shogo, why I married at such a young age. I married when I was twenty-three years old if you remember. I was so terrified of my father when I was child. He always beat me and rebuked me apropos of nothing. I thought that if I have my own family and my own house, I would be free; however, now I am restricted more than ever. Shogo, you shouldn’t marry before you experience everything you desire, because if you marry, you can’t do anything, but just go to work and go home. My past ten years were prosaic routines with no enthusiasms of life, but only an occasional quarrel with my wife. Indeed, I haven’t done anything in my past ten years. I have just gone to work and have stayed at home. If I go out with my old friends and come back home late, my wife will be so angry and complain to me about things. I enjoyed drinking with my friends while she was taking care of our children, and she just stayed at home to watch TV. Or she hasn’t done anything in her life, because she always has to clean the house, take care of the children, and wait for me to come back from the work.”

He lit a cigarette and continued, “I’ve thought I’m wasting my time, and I’m getting old without doing anything in my life; therefore, I’ve decided to start doing what I want to do, and I didn’t care even if I had to be divorced from my wife. Two years ago, we actually talked about the divorce, but after talking with my wife about what I felt toward everything, we became good friends again. The result is the new child. Now I have three daughters. It’s very difficult for me to support them, and money is flying away. For example, I have to buy their clothes, and of course, my wife wants to buy expensive ones. I have to pay for the rent, my children’s education fees, and other such daily stuff. If one daughter wants to learn dance, I have to pay twenty-five thousand yen per month, and of course, the other daughters want to do the same thing, and so on and so forth. There is no end, Shogo. However, I’m trying to do something right now – I feel doleful, and incredible regret assails me when I think about my wasted past life. I’ve started playing golf five months ago, and it has become my hobby. Even though I can go to play golf only on Thursdays, it makes me feel alive and good, for I at least have one day for myself. I have to confess I always envy you and am jealous of your free life. You always do according to your heart’s prompting and do not worry about anything. In fact, you have accumulated more superb experiences than any ordinary Japanese. Everyone always says you are mad, you are irresponsible person, you are impolite, you are selfish, etc. They say only bad things for you; they are so blind to see your good side. Shogo, I am on your side, and I want to live on my life like you, but I can’t – that is the truth. You don’t care about what other people think of you, and you always go your own way, that is your greatest strength, I guess. Tell me Shogo, how is your writing business? When can I expect to see your book printed?”