I soon enough realized that I had better pretend to respect the dwarf; otherwise, I would be constantly lectured how to behave toward my superior, and she would make my day miserable. She always lectured me what the first thing for me to do when I came to the office is greeting her with a slight bow. Of course, I never did that. I openly ignored her existence. Besides, I did not comprehend why I had to bow to someone whom I do not respect. If she advised me that I should have exchanged friendly greetings when I came to the office, I would willingly accept it. But not this humiliating performance, not on your life! Furthermore, I was eagerly waiting for a chance to let myself give a loud fart right beside her face, so that she would know that this was my answer to her eternal stupidity. In fact, every time I omitted my greeting, she became furious and told Nakao san with ostentatious loud voice, so that I could hear every single tiny detail she uttered, “Nakano san, I warned Ishida san many times that he shouldn’t have hired Shogo san. I told him that Shogo san would be rude to us, because he had been out of Japan for a long time. I don’t like people who have tasted foreign lands, since they don’t know how to behave at an office properly and don’t know how to respect their immediate superior. They don’t equip any Japanese etiquette, so to speak. For example, if we hire a normal Japanese person, he’ll come to me and greet me, bowing with a touch of polite words. And then he’ll listen to attentively what I say and take a note assiduously. But alas, look at Shogo san, he never greets me, never gives any attention what I say, never takes a note, and to cap it all, he never shows proper respect for me. It is Ishida san’s fault. He should’ve never hired him at the first place.”
Moreover, I have witnessed the other kinds of frivolous Japanese cockroaches: they think that they are very good at their jobs, and they are better than their colleagues. Such a type is more dangerous, more difficult to work with, and more pain for eyes. They are carrying a full of silly dignity about them all the time. All in all, their imperious manners are completely unacceptable and perfect disgrace. The dwarf was the epitome of this type – she was in fact the champion of silly pride.
Mr. Virgin always pretended to know everything under the sun despite of fact that he did not know anything. He did not know who Strindberg was or any great writers but knew of only a few Japanese writers. Unfortunately, he could not admit his ignorance due to a small guy’s pride. In all my life I have met a number of Japanese arrogant jackasses who behave exactly like him. Japanese people are extremely narrow-minded creatures and live in their small world without rhyme or reason. And on top of it all, they are . They always want to show off themselves better than they actually are; they never admit their ignorance. The biggest problem for them is that they are very insecure. As a result, they cannot admit their ignorance openly; they are ashamed for asking questions in order to learn something new. The most embarrassing thing for Japanese is to admit their ignorance in public. For me, I do not understand such ludicrous pride. I am willing to admit my ignorance, so that I am able to learn new things and improve myself in daily life. In fact, my friends, my friends’ parents, and even total strangers have become my teachers along the way. Because of silly pride, the majority of Japanese have lost opportunities to improve themselves and to expand their horizon. Every time I see vainglorious Japanese cockroaches that pretend to be aloof, I am blushed by shame. As a matter of fact, Mr. Virgin had never read any books except weekly video game magazines at the office. He was a thirty years old virgin – he played video games all day on his day offs. Dostoevsky once said, “He thinks that he knows everything; in truth, he does not know anything.” Mr. Virgin was the epitome of a Japanese vainglorious muttonhead, and I was very sorry for that.
At that juncture, Mr. Virgin was coming back to the office from a lunch break. As soon as he saw the dwarf’s bloodshot eyes, he inquired us what had happened. Nakao san was voluntarily explaining to him the whole thing. After Mr. Virgin understood the situation, he suddenly snatched the book from my raging hand, started leafing with it as if he were a connoisseur, and snuffed, “I know these kinds of books very well, since I’ve read numerous books in my life. Even I can analyze for you all kinds of gods’ names, all historical events, all human evolutions, including Darwin’s theory of evolution, Kant’s categorical imperative, Freud’s method of dream interpretation, and so on and so forth. However, I stopped reading these kinds of books a long time ago. They’re all sheer madness to me. Kaita san, please calm down and don’t be angry with Shogo san, because these particular sorts of books will teach us nothing; they are just a bunch of drivels, so to speak. In short, he is lost unfortunately; you shouldn’t listen to his idle talks.” With that, he rested himself on the chair proudly as if he revealed his vast knowledge and told me that I could have a lunch break right now, nodding arrogantly.
I could no longer refrain myself anymore and uttered sharply, “Kaita san, your ignorance makes me abashed. Why don’t you stop embarrassing yourself? Have you ever read any of Strindberg’s works? Do you know that he wrote a number of great plays in his lifetime? Do you have any ideas that a lot of great writers indeed have revered him and admitted he was a genius? Even Knut Hamsun was influenced by him. Have you ever read Hamsun’s work by chance?”
She was chagrined and became angry. When she attempted to defend her ignorance and started blathering, I halted her by yelling at the top of my lungs, “Damn it! Shout fuck your mouth up, woman! Of course, you don’t know of Hamsun and don’t know anything about literature! If you’d had seriously studied literature in your life, you would’ve had never ridiculed mighty Strindberg. You’ve spent your whole life in Japan with comic books, so naturally, nobody notices your shameful state of ignorance. But allow me to open your eyes – if you go to the wide world and start behaving in your usual frivolous fashion, people will ignore you; they will step on your distorted mug as if you were human debris on a side walk.”