There Is Another Way

“Of course, man! He was right to be angry with you, because he has tried to support you in every possible way, so that you can achieve your goal. Moreover, he simply wants to see you be recognized as a writer and wants to help liberate you from where you don’t want to belong. You have to understand why he is angry with you. To be candid with you, I am angry with you right now. Why, Shogo? Tell me only one plausible explanation for going back to Japan? Please make me understand your hasty decision. Do you miss Japan? Tell me the truth, man!”

I was looking down for several seconds with my hands in my pockets and replied, “Gerardo, of course, I don’t want to go back to Japan, believe me, but the truth is that I’ve been frittering my time away for the past several days because of this fucking problem. I couldn’t progress my work because I simply can’t concentrate on writing. This fucking problem has constantly been bothering my mind like a pest. As you see, I’ve been perpetually agitated for past several days. The worst part is that I’m losing my equilibrium. Moreover, I know Jorgito and you want to help me, but it isn’t a pleasant feeling for me to ask you for money all the time even if you are my best friend, trust me. Wait, Gerardo, I know what you want to say, but just listen. I know you are a very good person and good friend – you’ll sacrifice your needs for me when the thing becomes unsolvable. And I don’t want to let it happen. Besides, I know you don’t have money, son of bitch! I don’t want to make you sacrifice for me. The main point is that I want to compose myself again. Maybe, in two weeks, I’ll come back here, I promise.”

“I know what you’re feeling, and I know you haven’t been yourself for past several days. Of course, I don’t have money, but I want to help you. Do you really think you don’t have another option? Think harder, my friend.”

Pause.

“Maybe, there is another way.”

“What?”
            “I said I know another way to solve out the problem; however, it is only temporary. I guess I should go to Los Angeles.”

“Why? Tell me everything.”

“They told me that I can’t fix my problem in Los Angeles, but there is a Japanese agency which will lend me an emergency card. If I get the card, my parents can deposit money into the account, and I can withdraw it here.”

His face was brightened by the prospect of hope, “It is good news, man! Why didn’t you tell me this before? Who cares if the card is temporary or not? The important thing is that you can withdraw money here. Shogo, get the emergency card, ask your parents to deposit all money you have into the account, withdraw all the money, and keep it into a safe place. That’s it, my friend! You don’t need to fix your card problem; just let it be invalid like a used condom, ha-ha-ha.”

I smiled at his spontaneous mirth and said, “You are right, my friend. Tomorrow I’ll call Los Angeles to get more information about the emergency card. I guess it’s cheaper flying to Los Angeles than flying to Japan, isn’t it?”

“Of course, it’s much cheaper, man!” he piped up, “it is between four hundred and five hundred American dollars. Anyway, you can go there with less than five hundred American dollars. And good thing is that now Voralis has international flight, so you can go to Los Angeles from Toluca Airport. I’ll buy the flight ticket for you. Call me tomorrow after you get the information and let me know how many days you want to stay there, okay?”

I will Help You

Several days had elapsed in this fashion, and I could not concentrate on writing, so naturally, the writing was neglected. One day I was so stressed out by the abortive circumstances and said to Gerardo, “I guess I have to go back to Japan to fix the problem.”

He was visibly confounded and inquired, “Why? You don’t need to go back there. Just ask them to transfer the money into my bank account.”

“I asked them, but they said ‘NO’ because of Japanese law.”

“What? Fucking Japanese! I can’t believe it!” he exclaimed resentfully. “Why? I am your friend, and my bank account is valid. Besides, why can’t they tell you about the pin number over the phone at the first place? You are in Mexico, so they must tell you about it because you have no money. Above all, the money is yours; not theirs. I can’t believe such heartless creatures exist on this earth. I’m beginning to understand why you hate Japan so much. They’re fucking inflexible people. I remember vividly that when I was in Kyoto, they couldn’t let me use the internet unless I took a membership card, shit! Anyway, Shogo, you must avoid going back to Japan. We have to start considering another way to solve the problem. Going back to Japan isn’t an option for you. Understood? You’ve started writing, and you are on the way to realize your dream right now. Jorge and I will help you and lend you money till you solve out the problem. Besides, Jorge won’t let you go back to Japan.”

“In fact, I saw Jorgito today and told him everything. I told him I’ve been so frustrated because I couldn’t concentrate on writing. This silly problem has kept on bothering me constantly and made me lose my equilibrium. It’s been torture for me not to be able to focus on writing. Japanese bastards obviously don’t care about anything, but only the bank’s regulation. In conclusion, I have no choice, but go back there, fix the problem, and come back here to resume my mission.”

“What did he say?”

“He listened to me very attentively with sympathetic ambience and said solemnly that he doesn’t want me to go back to Japan and wants me to find another way to solve it out, but if I can’t compose myself and can’t have peace of mind due to this fucking problem, he’ll respect my decision. But I know he was so angry at my decision because I can see it on his face.”

He Is Not a Stranger

As I predicted, the thing had become elaborate. I called Mizuho bank in Japan in order to try to solve the problem and even offered a number of different options, but they did not listen to anything and answered me in a matter-of-fact tone: “We can’t help you, Mr. Onoe. Besides, we can’t tell you about your pin number over the phone because of our bank’s regulation. We don’t care whether you are in Mexico or Japan, because regulations prohibit us letting our customers know about their pin number over the phone. Believe me, Mr. Onoe, it’s all for protecting our customer’s security. You’re required to show your presence to change your pin number. Your card is invalid, since you pushed the wrong number over five times. I kindly suggest you should come back to Japan to start the proper proceedings.”

I asked them to send my money to Gerardo’s bank account, but they said that they cannot do it either because they do not know who he is. I told them that he is my friend, so they do not need to worry about it. But their reply was that Japan has changed the law. We are prohibited from sending your money to a stranger’s bank account. Are they really listening to what I said? HE IS MY FRIEND; HE IS NOT A STRANGER. It was getting impossible for me to talk with the Japanese bastards, because they are just a bunch of trained monkeys who merely perform what they are taught. Every single option I offered, they turned down with a cold blood attitude.

The Simplest Thing Becomes Complicated in Japan

“Shogo, pay attention and just listen to me. Don’t worry about it and just calm down. I called Jorge, and we discussed your situation. Of course, we’ll help you. Meanwhile you try to fix your problem, we’ll lend you money. Just try to call Japan tomorrow, okay?”

“Thanks, my friend. I’ve already called Jorgito to ask for his help as well.”

“Shogo, you still look anxious. Don’t worry, you’ll soon solve out the problem. Sit down here, please. Why don’t you smoke with me and relax?”

I let him light a cigarette for me. And then I said agitatedly, “But, my friend, you don’t know about fucking Japan. Japanese bastards won’t let me know about my pin number over the phone. The simplest thing becomes complicated in Japan. The thing isn’t as easy as you think, my friend. You’ll see.”

He was perplexed with my apprehension, “Why? You are in Mexico, so they have to tell your pin number over the phone. Do you really think that they won’t let you know about your pin number over the phone and will make you to come back to Japan because of the stupid pin number? I don’t think so, my friend.”

Pause.

“I really want to believe that you are right about it for my sake. But Japan is not like Mexico; Japanese are not Mexicans, which mean that Japanese are not human beings; they are a bunch of robots. Unfortunately, they don’t have any compassion left. They don’t do their job with feelings; they do their job according to what a company manual tells them. If it says: ‘Do not tell pin number to customers over the phone in any sorts of circumstances.’ They won’t tell me anything. They’ll simply obey it like a blind soldier. On top of it all, they are incurably inflexible people. They don’t care about if I have to come back to Japan because of the fucking pin number; they only care about what a company manual says. The worst part is that they’ll justify their cold-blooded action and blame it on the security system.” 

“I think you’re exaggerating Japanese attitudes, since you’re clearly disturbed right now. Believe me, Shogo, if you call your bank in Japan to tell your situation candidly, everything will be okay. I don’t know about Japan, but if I am in the same situation in a foreign country as you are, a Mexican bank will let me know about my pin number over the phone. They’ll understand it is impossible for me to stop everything suddenly to go back to Mexico, and also they’ll be really concerned about my situation, namely, without money in a foreign land – they’ll soon realize it’s urgent. Anyway, if you need more money, just let me know, okay?”

I Forgot Everything

A week has elapsed quickly like a flash since I came back to Mexico City. Everything has been proceeding in a satisfied fashion. I have continued writing with peace of mind. Gerardo and Jorgito are so excited about the progress of my book each day and enthusiastically say to me, “I really looking forward to reading your book. Shogo, don’t be lazy! You don’t need repose; you ought to write every single minute you have and ought to finish it as soon as possible, okay?”

The weather has been getting mild, and the mighty sun has started appearing on the sky every day as if God smiled upon my life. I have been nourished good and proper and have sauntered around the park with calmness at my heart. In my night perambulation, twinkling stars are above me with serene music as though angels were singing for me. My life is just getting perfect.

While I was in the blissful spell and in the fecund period, the unforeseen catastrophe set foot in my immaculate life. One day I realized I had a little cash left in my suitcase; therefore, I decided to go to the bank to withdraw some cash for the next several weeks. But alas, when I faced ATM machine, I completely had no idea what my pin number was. I pushed wrong numbers three times in a row. I racked my brain to try to remember what my pin number was, but it was beyond my memory. I went outside to smoke in order to calm myself down. Suddenly, the four digit numbers popped up into my mind from out of the blue. They seemed plausible to me. I had been pondering the number over and over and come to the conclusion: this was the one. I was enraptured because I had miraculously redeemed my pin number from a void. I thought that it was God who sent one of His angels to whisper my pin number to my right ear; otherwise, I couldn’t explain a thing. “It is undoubtedly God’s work,” I nodded triumphantly.

I entered the bank again with eternal benediction on my lips in order to try to withdraw some cash. When I pushed the divine four digit numbers, the ATM display showed me that the number was wrong. I tried to push the same numbers again with trust, but the same result. My faith started shaking a wee bit, but I insisted on pushing the same numbers again, since it was God who revealed to me the pin number. I looked toward the heaven with beseeching eyes and said under my breath, “Father, I believe unto thee.” And then I pushed the pin number with all my willpower. The display showed me that the card number does not exist. It is invalid.

I did not comprehend the whole thing and bolted out of the bank in a panic-stricken predicament. An ominous concept suddenly assailed into my head. It was Satan. In my blissful mood, I could not distinguish God from Satan because I was so blind and deaf by happiness. It was not God, but it was Satan who sent one of his imps to whisper the wrong pin number to my left ear! While I was on my way to the apartment, I was talking to myself aloud, “Fucking Satan! Have you tricked on me with your cunnings? It’s not a decent thing to do, is it? You apparently don’t know what you’re doing! I’ll break your neck atrociously! Do you hear me, fucking Satan! Just wait for me around the corner, I’ll teach you!” With that, I frenziedly brandished my fist above my head and smashed the air with brute force as if I saw Satan before my eyes. And then I walked to the apartment with dismay. I had pretty well lost my equilibrium. 

In this panic-stricken condition, I went to the office to ask Gerardo’s help. He was expecting me when I entered the office because I had sent the message to him. He exclaimed, “Tell me for God’s sake, how come you forgot your pin number?”

“Because I hadn’t used the bank card for a long time. As I told you, I had been treated over abundantly in Playa Del Carmen, so I naturally didn’t need to withdraw cash. Besides, I’ve been so absorbed in writing heart and soul; therefore, I forgot everything, including my fucking pin number!”

“Ha-ha-ha, idiot! I can’t believe such an asshole! You forgot your pin number? Are you sure? It’s simply unbelievable,” he was laughing.