I Am Working for Myself

Available on: Amazon.com

When I passed a drug store, an old friend was smoking a cigarette and waving his hand to me by calling my name, “Hey Shogo!

What are you doing here? Come here to talk to me.”

I was so surprised to see him, because he was often on my mind, and I was wondering what he was doing, because I had been away from Japan for several years, and indeed, I had not seen him over eleven years: “Hey Yoshi, long time no see! What a surprise! I’m on my way to go home. What are you doing here?”

“I got a cavity, which makes me perturbed, and I want to get rid of it now. I’m waiting my turn to be seen. Moreover, I am exhausted, because today was a hectic day, and my boss rebuked me from nothing. He was just frustrated, I guess. Anyway, where did you come from just now?”

“I went to the park to ponder over something important. Walking streets aimlessly and strolling around the park are sort of my job, so to speak.”

“Shogo, you haven’t changed anything at all and look exactly the same as when we met the last time. And I don’t understand what you are talking about ‘as usual’. Why don’t you cut off bullshit such as strolling around the park, etc.? Just talk to me straightforward! What do you do for living?”

“Yoshi, let me explain in more plain words. I’ve been writing a book.”

He was perplexed and said, “I really don’t comprehend what you’re talking about. Are you writing in Japanese or what kind of language? Who are you writing for? What kind of racket are you in? Are you writing for a company? I know you’ve been abroad for a long time. America, perhaps? I forget. Shogo, please make me understand. Just let me know which company you are working for?”

Here I laughed at his perplexity and asked for a cigarette: “Give me a cigarette, Yoshi? Thanks.”

“I have a job and am working for a company, but it’s not important and nothing to talk about – for the sake of earning money, I’m just doing it. The main thing is writing. I’m writing in English, so that I’ll have a lot of opportunities to find publishers around the world. Also, I think Japanese can’t understand my book, like you don’t comprehend what I’m talking about right now.”

“I still don’t understand what you mean, Shogo. Who asked you to write the book? Do you have somebody to check your English? Who are you working for?”

“No, I am not working for anybody, and nobody asked me to write either. I am working for myself. I want to be an artist. I’m pretty sure that you don’t understand it either because, being Japanese, you can only comprehend how to go to work every day. I know art is like a trash to you. No, nobody checks my English because I’m an autodidact. I’m pretty sure too, being Japanese, that you don’t understand the way of one educating himself.”

He started getting irritated and threw the cigarette on the side work, “Shogo, you’re talking to me condescendingly. What’s wrong with being Japanese? I like Japan and like the Japanese way of life so much. I think you are screwy because you think you can educate yourself without anyone’s instruction. You simply can’t do that if you really want to write books. First of all, you have to learn how to write, edit, and organize from some experts. That’s why we have teachers. I really don’t comprehend what you have in your mind. Furthermore, I like my job and am satisfied with my life. I have a good job and work five days a week, because now Japanese economic situation is bad, so some of my friends can’t work five days a week. Therefore, I am lucky to have the steady job. Besides, I’m interested in politics and am studying Japanese politics now. Maybe, you cannot understand that way.”

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