About Shogo Onoe

I am an artist, a seeker and a confessor, obligated to truth and sincerity.

I Was in the Cheerful Mood

However, I soon realized that I preconceived the prejudice toward Americans. I had thought that Americans were conceited, cynical, arrogant, and contemptuous creatures, but a number of incidents changed my mind. When I asked the stranger where Little Tokyo was, he did not know exactly where it was; however, he bided his time for me, took his iPhone, searched on it, and showed me the map to instruct me how to get there. When I reached the vicinity of Little Tokyo, I asked an American fellow how to reach Miyako Hotel. He happened to live in Little Tokyo, he was willingly to show me the way, and he insisted on accompanying me to the entrance of hotel.

The same cordial gestures I received the next day as well. When I was on my way to a subway station in order to see Hollywood, I became quite lost. Hence, I asked a woman just passing by; she happened to be going to Hollywood as well and informed me that I had to get off Hollywood/Highland Station. And she suggested me that we should go together, since we were heading the same destination. When we arrived at Hollywood/Highland Station, she said that she had a little time to spare, so we should eat breakfast together to get to know each other. Over breakfast, she explained to me what I should visit and what I should see and, finally, wished me good luck for my sojourn. 

In Japan when I ask a direction to a stranger on the street, he ignores me and doesn’t even glance at me, but just waves his hand to shake me off as if I were not a human being, as if I were an insignificant fly. What a cruel way to treat a fellow countryman!

My mood was getting better, and the soaring sense of happiness almost reached the peak. At first, I did not recognize the reason for my sudden high spirit, but I gradually realized why I was in the cheerful mood: language. I really enjoyed staying in Mexico City and loved it there; however, one thing always bothered me, and I was occasionally frustrated by it: communication. The problem was that I could not speak Spanish very well, so naturally it was difficult for me to communicate with Mexicans, except my friends who speak fairly well in English. I had been often vexed because I could not express myself wholly in the daily life. But here I was as a recluse, who had not talked to anyone and had just mediated on his own thoughts for a long time, and who suddenly became talkative. I let myself talk unrestrictedly to strangers whom I fancied about anything under the sun.

I Barked Good-Bye to Her

As soon as I went out, I talked to myself excitedly, “What a beautiful face she has! I have heard the countless praises of American women’s beauty. But it is beyond my expectation! I was almost asked her to marry me, notwithstanding I know nothing about her! What an attraction! Anyway, the problem is that I cannot go back to the hotel because it is too expensive for me, shit! I have to check another hotel, and then I will decide. But I have never seen such an enthralling woman in my life.

It turned out that there were no cheap hotels in the vicinity of downtown. I recalled that the Japanese agency mentioned to me that I might find a reasonable hotel in Little Tokyo, so I reluctantly decided to go there to find one. Before going there, I went to Westin Bonaventure Hotel again in order to bid farewell to her. I barked good-bye to her with watered eyes, like a beaten dog in spite of fact that I was outside of the hotel. “She heard me. She definitely heard my impassioned farewell,” I nodded satisfyingly and went away.

It was raining quite strongly, so I decided to hail a taxi. The driver asked me, “Where are you heading, sir?”

“Do you know where Little Tokyo is?”

“It’s four or five blocks away from here, sir.”

“Could you take me to there?”

“Right away. It’ll be twenty bucks, sir?”

“Are you kidding? It’s too expensive! Are you really sure that you want to charge me twenty bucks only for five blocks?”

“That’s exactly what you are asking for, sir.”

“Forget it. I’ll walk.”

“But it’s raining, sir.”

“I don’t care if the rain soaks through my underwear, I’ll walk! I am as strong as a giant, so go away!” I spit at the sidewalk challengingly.

“All right. As you wish, sir,” he drove away.

“So that’s it! This is the American way of welcoming me, namely, asking me twenty bucks for five blocks’ ride!” I shouted at the taxi wheeling away at the top of my lungs.

You Are Very Beautiful

It was raining with a chilly draft, and the ghastly gray sky was above me when I arrived at LAX Airport. The dreadful weather discouraged me and gave me a vague premonition for hot potato. “It’s not a good beginning. Try to get done the chief errand first and brood later,” I thought and nodded. The main purpose of my sojourn in Los Angeles was to regain my equilibrium. The Japanese agency was established at Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown; therefore, I decided to go straight to the downtown to get it done immediately. I hopped on a shuttle bus.

Everything went smoothly despite my foreboding. The shuttle bus took me to the entrance of the hotel directly, and it took me just for forty-five minutes to get the emergency card. Now what I had to do was – find a place to stay for three nights. I was ready to enjoy the excursion with full equipment. However, I was not a dumdum enough for daring to have an idea to stay at Westin Bonaventure Hotel, since I knew that I could not afford such extravagance. When I came down to the lobby, something got my full attention. Despite my resolution to find a cheap hotel, I was striding to the reception as if I was magnetized by an irresistible power – my eyes happened upon a ravishing receptionist. She said with a charming smile, “How may I help you, sir?”

“What a beautiful smile you have, woman!” I cried out.

Pause.

“You have a seraphic smile on your face. Would you like to have a dinner with me tonight?”

She was abashed and replied coquettishly, “Yes, I would love to, but you know, I have a night shift tonight. Besides, I have a boyfriend.”

“Pardon me for asking you out impetuously. In the first place, I am a total stranger to you, so I admit my impromptu action caused you embarrassment. I beg your pardon for my peculiar behavior. Please let me explain you what made me conduct myself in this impromptu fashion. Miss, when I saw your beautiful face, I simply couldn’t control myself from breezing into asking you out. Just because your angelic face bewitched me. Besides, I thought I’m staying in Los Angeles only for three nights, so I thought I had nothing to lose if I let my heart open up to you frankly. And then I thought – why don’t I let you know I think you’re very beautiful?”

Pause.

She was laughing amusingly and beaming, “It’s so sweet of you to say that. It is shame that you’re able to stay here only three days, because if you could stay more, maybe, I would probably show you around downtown, and we might become a good acquaintances. What’s your name?”

“Shogo,” I offered my hand to shake hands.

“I’m Jennifer. It’s always pleasant to meet a handsome man.”

“Likewise, it’s a wonderful feeling to have a chat with such a beautiful woman like you. I am still dazzled by your unearthly beauty though. How much is the cost for one night?”

“Let’ me see. It’ll be one hundred ninety-five dollars plus tax, my friend.”

“What? Why is it so expensive?”

“Yesterday’s price was one hundred twenty dollars plus tax.”

“Why is the huge difference?”
“Because the price is changed by the occupancy rate.”

“Anyway, thank you very much, my beautiful Jennifer. Hm… it’s not so bad. Okay, I’ll buy something first, and then come back. See you very soon!”

“Bye, Shogo. I’ll be waiting for you.”

Bon Voyage!

I was stirred deeply by his affectionate words and tried to prevent tears from gushing down. And a brief silence, I stammered, “Yes, yes. You’re right about… everything, my friend. Despite everything, I want to go back to Vancouver…which I can’t explain to you correctly. But I’ll consider your suggestion with pleasure.”

He opened the drawer in his desk, fished out some cash, and said, “I almost forgot the main reason for making you to come to the office. I always enjoy talking with you enormously, so I’m inclined to forget everything and become engrossed in talking with you. Shogo, here I have three hundred Canadian dollars. Do you know why I didn’t reply to your message last night? – Because I promised to lend some money for your trip, but I actually didn’t have enough money in my bank account. I asked my mam and Javier, but they didn’t have enough money to spare either because they need some money for their own business. I was so worried about it till this morning. However, I suddenly remembered I have Heather’s money, since she left her Canadian dollars at my house the last time she came. I found only three hundred Canadian dollars, and I am little worried if it is enough for your entire trip. I am really sorry for not helping you abundantly this time; however, this is all I can do for you right now. I hope it’ll help you a bit.”

I was again profoundly touched by his goodness and replied with moistened eyes, “Thank you very much, Jorgito. I don’t know what to say because I am quite speechless right now. I just want you to know it’s more than I need, because as soon as I get the emergency card, I’ll ask my parents to deposit the money into its account. Thus, I’ll have money with me in few days. Thanks for everything again, Jorgito. I’ll enjoy this unexpected adventure to the fullest for you, ha-ha-ha.”

“I’m so delighted to be able to help you this time, my friend. You are so excited, I see. I don’t like Los Angeles, but maybe, you’ll like it there. Who knows? At last, I am mollified thoroughly, for I can help you, and you’ve become yourself again. I have to finish some work here, so it’s always ambrosia to talk with you. By the same token, you have to promise me – after the trip, you must write every day and complete your book as soon as possible because I am dying to read your book. I am pretty sure that you’re writing a magnum opus, and it’ll be a best seller, ha-ha-ha. Have a good trip, Shogo. Bon voyage!”

You Have Everything Here

I was laughing from ecstasy, “Yes, I can’t believe what a wonderful life God has prepared for me. I’m looking forward to having a new adventure in Los Angeles.”

“I’m very sure that you’ll have extraordinary experiences there, because unbelievable things always happen around you. You have something to attract them, or maybe, you were born to be a writer – that’s why so many extraordinary events have frequently happened in your life. Anyway, how is your book? Should I start finding a publisher in Mexico?”

I smiled at his keenness and replied, “Please calm down, Jorgito. You’re too fast thinking about finding a publisher, because I’ve just written only half of the book and have no idea how long I’m going to take more to finish writing the rest of chapters. Anyway, thank you very much. When the time comes, I’ll happily ask you to do me a huge favor and find a publisher. Also, as you know, I trust you with all my heart.”

“Of course, I’ll do everything for you to find a publisher. I have a strong hunch that you’ll be a very successful writer. It’s actually become stronger and stronger, day by day. Anyway, it’s not so bad idea for me to check some publishers early, so that we can prepare for the critical day, eh?”

“Ha-ha-ha…. Hope the day will be coming soon.”

Pause.

“Are you still planning to go back to Vancouver? Do you still want to live there, Shogo?”

I was surprised at his sudden question and blathered, “Why in the heaven’s name are you asking me about it? Of course, I want to go back to Vancouver someday. It’s one of my dreams, you know.”

“I’m just thinking why you want to go back to Vancouver because you have everything here. I’ve been wondering if you have good friends there who always help you when you are in troubles.”

“I have some friends there, but of course, not like you, Gerardo, and Ramon. They are more like acquaintances.”

“I thought so, I thought so,” he nodded thoughtfully. “Shogo, just consider what I’m going to say, okay?”

I nodded and said, “Fire it away!”

“You know, Shogo, as I told you, you have everything here in Mexico. You have good friends to spend wonderful times with, you have the office to write, have the apartment to sleep, have the nice climate to enjoy the sun, and have a number of cafés near your apartment to read books, etc. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING HERE, Shogo! Why do you want to go back to Vancouver? Do you have good friends there who help you when you’re in a dire predicament? Here you have Ramon, Gerardo, and me. We always help you when you are in trouble, every possible way we can. Also, I really think Andrea, Luis, Eric, Gabriel, and Daniel will help you when you have problems. Even stupid Leticia will help you.”