You Will Become a Great Writer Someday

“Yes, you are always right and enlighten me. I think you are very intelligent and are a very strong person. I mean your inside. You are completely different from other Japanese who I’ve met in my life so far. I’m sorry for reaching the conclusion by myself so soon, but I can’t refrain myself from saying that it’s a torture for you to stay in Japan, since no Japanese are intelligent enough to understand you. I wish someday I can have a strong faith in myself as you. Where do you get such wonderful ideas? From books, perhaps? By the way, I’ve been reading Brothers Karamazov, which you recommended to me, but it’s very difficult for me to understand because of numerous characters. It’s very interesting though…. I know you always feel at home with difficult books. You’re a truly extraordinary person, Mr. Onoe. With your high intelligence and incredible experiences, I have no doubt in my mind that you will become a great writer someday, and it will be real pleasure for me to read your books in the future.”

I am little embarrassed by hearing such passionate praises from my fellow countryman and say, “I’m not as good as you think of me. I myself, too, am still seeking the answer. By the way, have you ever heard of the name Hermann Hesse? You should try to read Demian, which will help you to understand the importance of having individuality in one’s life. I should go because I have to catch a train.”

The Wide World Is Waiting for You

I am astonished at his tirade toward Japan and am feeling that it is my duty to give hope to my fellow sufferer, like Moses preaching multitude: “Mr. Yano, I’ve never seen such mean people around the world except in Japan. Japanese are disgustedly mean and hopelessly ignorant. They think Japan is the best country without actually seeing the world. They think Japanese culture, Japanese society system, Japanese education system, Japanese government, and Japanese way of life are better than other countries. But all of them are ignorant. They’ve never seen the world and have only Japanese friends. Thus, unfortunately, it’s impossible for them to grasp that there are other way of lives around the world and even better ways, since they’ve only known of Japanese way of life. They think about everything from the point of the Japanese way of understanding, which they simply can’t help.”

I light a cigarette and continue, “The worst part is that they refuse acknowledge that there actually exist better cultures around the world than Japanese culture. Small guys’ pride, I guess. It’s wasting time for you to argue with Japanese dolts, because as soon as you mention Mexico, Canada, Europe, they’ll start ignoring you, push you away, and bash: ‘Here is Japan. Why are you talking about other countries? We don’t care about other countries, since Japan is the best. If you despise Japan, why don’t you leave here immediately? What are you doing here, man? Here is no place for you.’ See, it’s perfectly a waste of time for you to argue with them. You just try to explain them that there are other ways of life around the world, but as soon as they hear you mention the name of other countries, they’ll get angry and make you stop talking by shaking their heads contemptuously, for they don’t want to admit their ignorance. My advice is, Mr. Yano: ignore Japanese bastards as much as you can and concentrate on what you desire in your heart to achieve in your life. Of course, you can have your own dream which nobody has a right to take away from you. For that reason, why don’t you just save money and go see the world? The wide world is waiting for you! If you really want to see the world, you can do it, because nobody can make you to stop following your own destiny if you have a strong determination and a little faith in yourself.”

She Was Just Screaming

“The clients always get angry when they can’t receive services they expect. My client was complaining about our services with angry words, and I simply couldn’t endure being insulted so much. Therefore, I was starting to pretend not to hear clearly what he was saying and said to him that it was impossible for me to hear what he was saying due to disturbed noise on the phone, so he had to call us back, and I hung up. Of course, I heard every single word he uttered as clearly as a church bell, but I just couldn’t be insulted and agitated over the phone anymore. But the worst part came later. Ms. Yamada happened to listen to my conversation with my client over her telephone at her desk. As soon as I hung up, she came to my desk, scowled at me in a hysterical fashion, and made me write an apology letter to her boss. I tried to explain why I hung up the phone, but she didn’t listen to anything and even didn’t give me a chance to open my mouth. She was just screaming, screaming at me with hysterical threats. You know, every company in Japan has the same ludicrous working conditions. Your bosses don’t listen to what you think and don’t care about your feelings, because they only comprehend the things that are written on a company’s manual. If I say something that is not written in the manual, they will be angry and threaten me to be mum. When the situation is required to control employees, they will just become angry and threaten employees to do this or that. They will never have a human talk. Their behaviors are so silly to me. They are like a five-years-old child who always screams and cries whenever he wants something. I sometimes wonder if I can find a workplace with decent people in Japan who have an ability to talk about any sort of circumstances, without losing temper. But it’s a sheer dream to me now. Mr. Onoe, tell me, in the world, can I find a job with decent people and a friendly ambiance? I really want to try to find a job in Canada or another country.”

It’s Not the Life I Want

He suddenly stops talking, looks at me apologetically, and says, “Sorry, Mr. Onoe, I’m talking too much, and it seems to me that I myself have only been talking so far. I’m worried whether I’m boring or tiring you, perhaps?”

I smile at his innocence and say, “Don’t worry, Mr. Yano, I’m enjoying it. My ears are all yours. Go on!”

“Ms. Yamada’s attitude toward me and my colleagues makes me mad beyond my control,” he is fuming, “she thinks we are not human beings, just a cog of a gigantic machine. I’ve tried to be patient and tried to ignore her, but it’s beyond my limit. Only heaven knows how she is able to sleep at night after sharing her malevolence with telephone operators, so atrociously. Everyone hates her and can’t stand her, which is the universal truth. Do you know, Mr. Onoe, why I’ve asked to transfer to another position? I just don’t want to see her anymore and can no longer endure hearing her hysterical voice. She always comes to me and yells at me because of my slowness. I always try to do my best and want to work my own rhythm, but she constantly pressures me. She always tells me that average telephone operators pick up twenty-five phone calls per day, but I always pick up ten to fifteen phone calls a day. Therefore, I’d better work harder; otherwise, she can’t let me stay here. It’s impossible for me to enjoy working under her constant threats. Every morning, I feel so depressed going to work. It’s not the life I want. Five days ago, a terrible incident happened. Of course, you know, sometimes clients demand too much from us and complain about our services with a shower of insulting words. That happened to me five days ago.”

Do They Think We Are Immortal?

He wipes his glasses because the steam from the food clouds them. He puts them on again and says excitedly, “Mr. Onoe, you are amazing. You know, most people tell me that I have to get a good job and have a career first. And after that, I can go see the world, or I can do whatever I want to do, but it’s absolutely nonsense, I know. Do they think we are immortal? I am a mortal, Mr. Onoe. Time is passing by me, day by day. I can’t wait to see the world when I am decrepitude by a stressed job. I really think you always tell the truth and the right thing. I feel that you know exactly what you want from your life and what you want to do for the rest of your life. Japanese people don’t know what they want to do in their lives, they have no desire except making money to buy expensive things, and they just fritter their time away making money: They only care about outside appearances. I think you have a special quality that differentiates you from other Japanese. You’re carrying a bright torch inside you, Mr. Onoe. That’s why your eyes always shine like distant stars. And you are right again here; life is only one time, so why do I have to stay only in Japan? Yes, Mr. Onoe, why don’t I see the world? Whenever I talk to you, everything seems so simple. Allow me to tell you why I decided to take this job. Because I want to save money to go to Canada or other countries to see different sorts of life from Japan, but my resolution is crumbling away right now. I have to tell you about my secret: I hate Ms. Yamada so much. I can’t stand her temper and can’t endure her shower of insults anymore!”