I’ll Be a Writer

Seeking the Meaning of Life

As soon as I come back to the table, Gerardo asks, “Shogo, what just happened over there? What did he tell you?”

I am still perplexed and say reflectively, “He just gave me five hundred pesos.”

“I know. I saw it, but why?”

Pause.

“He wants me to remember I have a friend in Mexico whenever I see it.”

“Really? I don’t believe it, because nobody hands five hundred pesos out to a stranger or helps a stranger without any ulterior motives just like that.”

Apparently, Gerardo does not believe what just happened and has a suspicion of the gentleman. Hence, I decide to tell him exactly what has just happened without omitting anything to him.

After a pensive silence, he says passionately, “Shogo, you know, as I told you, nobody gives you money without any ulterior motives, but in this exceptional case I believe you. Of course, I saw with my own eyes when he hand the money out to you. I think somehow in your past or your whole life, you’ve always helped people or been generous to people. I don’t know what way you help people, but you’ve been always good to people in some way – that’s why such an incredible thing happen to you. Don’t flatter yourself, idiot, I know what you’re thinking in your mind, but wait and just listen to me. I really believe that if one wants to do something with all his heart, the universe will help him – that’s why people always help you now.”

I reply jubilantly, “Yeah, you are completely right. I am always kind to my fellow men except Japanese, ha-ha-ha. But I don’t believe it’s just a pure fluke. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen to everyone. I think it’s the sign of God from the heaven – I’ll be a writer. It’s the sign of fulfillment, my friend! If not, why have unexplainable things kept on happening to me in all my life? This is not the first time such an extraordinary thing has happened to me; there are legions, ha-ha-ha! If you want, I’ll tell you other wonderful incidents.”

“Calm down, Shogo, I believe you. I think so, too, this kind of thing simply doesn’t happen randomly. I totally agree with you, but please don’t be too excited, idiot,” he laughs.

“But I’m still thinking about it. As you know, I love Starbucks, but today suddenly, I changed my mind to go to Burger King. Why, my friend? Why on earth did I change my mind suddenly? And why did I exactly choose Burger King because I always prefer McDonalds? I think God changed my mind with his index finger, so that I could meet the gentleman there. It was fate. Otherwise, I can’t explain the whole thing.”

“Ha-ha-ha, idiot, are you still exuberant? Yeah, probably, you are right, this is the sign from heaven, as you said. Who knows? What I understand is that this kind of thing usually doesn’t happen, and only a few people are born under lucky stars to have a privilege to experience such an extraordinary event in one’s life. I hate to admit, but you are one of them. In fact, I’ve always suspected it though. The incident confirms it. If you simply told me this incredible story, I wouldn’t believe any single word that came from your mouth; however, I saw the whole thing with my own eyes, you lucky bastard! I was unlucky to be a witness, because I know, you’re going to tell everyone about the incident, and every time you need a proof, I’ll be summoned to confirm it. I’ll be a fucking living proof, man, ha-ha-ha.”

Please Don’t Say Anything

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He suddenly fishes out five hundred pesos from his wallet and asks, “Could you accept a small favor? Here is five hundred pesos. Please don’t feel insulted. I know you have money, and it’s not too much but just listen. Just imagine these kinds of situations – maybe, you are not worried about money now, but one day you might face a situation you want to take a bus, but you don’t have any money on you or you might face a situation you want to eat something, but you don’t have enough money to buy food or something like that. When you face these kinds of situations, and you open your wallet and find the five hundred pesos, I want you to remember you have a friend in Mexico. I want you to remember I will remain your friend, and if you need any help, my door will be always open for you.”

He shows me his identification, “See here is my name, here is my address, and here is my occupation. I am living in Golf de club, too, like your friends. Now you know where to find me.”

I am flabbergasted and do not know what to say. I simply accept it and say, “Thank you very much.”

Here he stands up and offers his right hand to shake my hand, “I have something to take care of. I hope every Mexican will help you and will be kind to you. You seem a bright young man, so I am not worried about you. I wish you will spend a great time in Mexico. Please don’t say anything. It’s nothing, my friend. It’s just a small token for your incredible story. Once more, allow me to be giving you the last advice. I can detect anger from your voice when you talk about Japan. I can easily understand how you had suffered and how lonely you had been in Japan. However, listen to me, young man, when you let your anger overcome you, you can’t write a good book; anger makes you stray from your true intention. Let it go, however difficult it is, okay? Moreover, I still can’t fully recover from the shock of such a brilliant young man like you who is destined to overcome a great deal of tribulations. Anyway, I have a hunch that you will be starting to write your book very soon. Don’t forget what I’ve told you – just tell the truth faithfully that you’ve experienced. It is a real pleasure to meet the young man, who has his own vision. You just believe in your own power come hell or high water, and everything will be jake with you. Have a good time in Mexico.”

With that, he walks out.

My Life Story

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He looks at the outside poignantly for a while. And then he continues, “To my great sadness, my two brothers emigrated to America six years ago. They’ve been telling me that I have to go there because I can have a better life over there with a lot of money. What does it mean by that? They are talking constantly as if making money were everything for life. I am so ashamed of them, and I’ve decided to stop contacting with them for years now. I like Mexico, you know. People are very generous here and are down to on earth. I can still feel humanness in them, and they apparently have compassion toward humanity. I might not have a lot of money, but I have enough money to support myself and am proud of myself for remaining as a human being with consideration. Young man, remember that, money is just a paper and nothing more and nothing less. If you let yourself lose over money, not only lose your dignity, but your life on this earth as well. Life is more than making money, I assure you, young man. I am over fifty years old. My experiences have taught me these imperative integrities. I’m telling you all of these things, because my instinct keeps on telling me that you are different from contemporary and aimless young men. Tell me, why are you coming to Mexico, and what is your intention for your life?”

I am stunned at his vehemence of America, and at the same time, I cannot help admiring his intelligence. He told me all of them with a complete calmness. His way of talking somehow impresses me, and I involuntarily start to tell him about my life story, acknowledging that I came to Mexico in order to start writing a book; conceding how I have been struggling in vain to write for years despite of my fervid efforts; confessing how I had suffered, and how I had felt useless and a total failure in Japan.

He listens to what I uttered with fully attentive eyes and nods many times during my speech as if all my sufferings were familiar with him. After a brief silence, he says, “What expressive eyes you have, young man! Do you always look at people’s eyes directly when you talk? Do you know your eyes brighten ardently like incandescent stars in heaven? Most people are not able to talk to people while looking at their eyes directly, because it makes them embarrassed.”

I am abashed by his compliment and blurt, “I don’t know it’s good for me or not, but I always do because I want people to know what I’m talking about. I suppose it is the way everyone ought to talk anyway. Many people say I have impressive eyes, but I don’t know why people always praise my eyes.”

“Don’t underestimate your own power, young man!” he admonishes me, “don’t you realize what a great story you’ve just told me? You said you don’t know how to start. Why don’t you start writing about your life? Your life is a full of adventures – I’ve never met anyone who’s been living through such an extraordinary life like yours, including your helpless tribulations in Japan. You don’t need to try to be anybody else; just be yourself – just tell the truth, what you’ve experienced. That’s enough for you to get started, and the whole world will be spellbound by your story. Like me, I am still overwhelmed with your fabulous story. I still can’t believe a man is able to accumulate such prodigious experiences in his lifetime. What a sorrowful cross you had borne on your back in Japan, young man!”

What a Repugnant Attitude!

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He looks at me solemnly, “Anyway, it is very pleasurable to meet the Japanese young man in Mexico, who obviously has his own vision and opinions. You have a rare quality, young man. You talk passionately about what you perceive and what you are interested in, and you are ready to admit your ignorance openly when things are beyond your knowledge and understanding. I like you, young man, welcome to Mexico! I hate Americans, but I love Japanese very much. I really hope you will have a good time here,” he walks on to a table with his food.

Gerardo listened to our conversation keenly. As soon as the gentleman walks away, he says, “Very strange guy, eh? I don’t think America is the whole reason for our sorry economic circumstances right now. I think every country is suffering from economic disasters right now, including Japan. It’s wrong for him to blame America for our economic situations, but it’s only my opinion, so I don’t know exactly what is right or wrong, man.”

While we are eating, suddenly the gentleman calls to me, “Hey Japanese! Come to my table.”

Gerardo says curiously, “He is obviously interested in you. Go to talk with him, Shogo. And tell me what he wants from you. I will be waiting for you here.”

As soon as I approach the gentleman’s table, he bids me to sit down with him for a while by saying, “Could you kindly accept a small favor?”

“Depend on what kind of a favor, I guess.”

He looks at my eyes squarely and begins his monologue, “I was born in Mexico and my brothers as well. But my parents are Irish. They came to Mexico when they were around thirty. That is why I can speak English fluently. As I told you, I hate America, but not only the political point of view; I hate American way of lifestyle also. They think that money is everything. They think if they have money, they can do whatever they desire. That is completely wrong. Understand, young man? They have fine technology, they have superb industrial systems, they have the big continent, and they have monstrous skyscrapers everywhere, and so on and so forth. It seems they are better than Mexicans. But don’t make yourself foolish enough to be rushing to judge everything from the appearance, since it can mislead you easily. Americans are lacking of the essential thing: Human sympathy. They’ve apparently forgotten how to respect people as bothers. They are thoroughly falling for money. They will do anything in order to make money. What a repugnant attitude! Because of the obsession with money, they are degenerates and depraved, especially in the moral way of life.”

I Will Be Out of My Mind

Seeking the Meaning of Life

The gentleman is visibly astonished at my remarks, “Oh well, maybe, I’ve never been to Japan, so naturally, I don’t know exactly what Japan is like. I don’t know whether Japanese have been corrupted by advanced technology, as you explicated, but my image of Japan is pretty good though. Also I don’t know whether advance technology is a bad thing for Japanese either. In my opinion, great technology makes the world better place, don’t you agree with me?”

“Maybe, it makes it convenient to live though,” I reply contemplatively, “what I’m trying to say here is too much technology has the power to dwindle people’s mental state. Just look at how your praised technology has made people lunatic nowadays. If the purpose of advanced technology was improvement solely for human living conditions, I would say you are absolutely right to praise it. However, mad people have been using the advanced technology to make nuclear weapons to kill fellow men all over the world for decades. You can’t deny this transparent fact, can you? Moreover, because of advanced technology, a number of advanced crimes have occurred all over the world also. When people invent more advanced technology, more advanced crimes will occur all over the world simultaneously. It is inevitable, so to speak. And then more policemen will be busy chasing criminals and racking their brains to solve out intricate problems. I suppose advanced technology only makes life more complicated. We have been living in the insane world – if I think about the world conditions seriously, I will be out of my mind.”

He is awed with my intense speech and replies, “I am very impressed, but it’s very difficult for me to swallow everything you’ve said. Despite everything, I can smell the truth in your ardent discourse. However, I don’t know why you’re talking about your own country in such a defiant fashion, but I suppose you have your own reasons to be aggressive because you are obviously an intelligent young man. By the way, I don’t like America. They’ve been ruining us. Because of them, we’re suffering from destitution. Look at Obama, who has been playing with economy. He has been using the budgets to experiment with economics as if it were his own personal game. In my opinion, he is worse than Bush. He evidently doesn’t care whether we, Mexicans, have been suffering from his experiments.”

I do not quite understand what he is raving about due to my ignorance of politics. I have never been interested in politics in all my life and believe that the world would be a better place without the government. I thought that he must have his own reasons for being resentful, as I do for Japan. Consequently, I decide not to contradict him and not to ask the reason for his resentment. I simply say, “I don’t know if America has caused bad influences over Mexicans’ lives, since I don’t know about politics very well.”