Why do I have to pretend? It is very easy, money. I have never comprehended the meaning of money because it seems just a piece of paper to me. If I do not have money, I cannot do anything, because people always ask for it when I ask them small favors. The society system is wrong from the beginning, because every single human being must depend on money if he wants to live. Because of money, I have to pretend so that I can get a job to earn it. Because of money, I have to pretend to agree with my supervisor all the time so that I get paid. Because of money, I am humiliated, nervous, depressed, frustrated, vexed, insulted, melancholic, dispirited, anxious, distressed, agitated, etc. Money makes people crazy. Because of money, people make wars; because of money people kill each other; because of money, women become prostitutes; because of money, people betray each other; because of money, people are suffering and hungry. Every negative thing that has happened to the world so far stems from money. Once I thought that I would have to help people and try to fight against the society system, but people are so ignorant. If I fight against evil, it will be something worthwhile, but if I fight against stupidity, it will be helpless. I have shifted my aim swiftly and have tried to rescue only myself from nonsense, but my helpless tribulations have still not let me go and been gripping my neck firmly.
I just do not want to pretend to be someone else; I just want to be who I truly am every single day. However, it is so difficult for me to be true to myself because of the Japanese society system. If I decide to be true myself, I am perfectly sure that I will be fired immediately, and I cannot find a job anywhere. To get a job in Japan, I have to pretend to be someone else during a job interview and tell what they want to hear, but I do not believe any single word I utter, which is torture to me. It makes me unbearably nauseated to say what I do not believe whenever I get a job interview; however, I have to if I want to get a job.
Working for a company exactly the same pretenses are required. I should: pretend to obey every single nonsense that my supervisor says; pretend to do what I am sick of; pretend to talk with my colleagues about how to improve job environments; pretend to make a smile when I want to cry with humiliation; pretend to be doing something when in fact, I am doing nothing, because in Japan even if you have nothing to do at an office, you have to pretend to keep occupied with something, otherwise, your boss is going to scowl at you for doing nothing; etc. I just do not want to pretend to be someone else anymore, but it is impossible for me as long as I stay in Japan.
Working five days a week is constantly a dilemma to me because I do not believe in what I am doing. I have only one ambition – being a writer. I just want to enjoy my life and want to write books every single day. It sounds simple enough for you, but it has been so difficult for me to achieve.
I absolutely believe that we have only one obligation to fulfill – we should realize who we truly are. Everyone has his own uniqueness, so one should discover his own unique being and respect his individuality. I have always thought that if everyone starts trying to perceive what he really wants to do for the rest of his life and starts living his life according to his individuality, the world will become a better place to live, and people will become happier. We cannot change a big thing immediately, but we can start changing a small thing. Therefore, when one begins acting who he truly is according to his heart’s desire, he will be definitely happier every day. His happy soul will influence his neighbors and so on and so forth. It will be contagious. Eventually, this single individual happy soul will become a bunch of collective happy souls around the world, and then the world will become a happy place. The individuality is the starting point. It might sound silly to you, but I still believe in it with all my heart.
As soon as I went back to the office and sat down on my chair, the bitch rushed toward me like a bull, as if she determined to crash me to pieces. She fired at me, “Mr. Onoe, what on earth are you thinking? Do you know what time is it now?”
“I guess around 2:30 p.m. now,” I replied calmly.
My calmness aggravated her, and she exploded, “Mr. Onoe, it’s unforgivable and beyond my patience. As you know, the company allows you to take a lunch break for only an hour, but you took over ninety minutes today. Are you totally insane or out of your mind? A normal person has a conscience and feels guilty when he is late coming back to the office from the break – immediately comes to me in order to make an apology, but you’re always behaving as if nothing happened and seem not to care if you come back here late. Let me explain, Mr. Onoe. The company is paying your salary by hours, so even in your thirty-minute absence, you are paid. Do you understand what I am talking about? Everyone comes back to the office from the break on time and even five minutes earlier, so that they can get ready for afternoon’s work, but you never come back to the office from the break on time and are constantly being late by ten or fifteen minutes. I can’t let this situation continue anymore because it’s unfair to everyone.”
But here I could no longer refrain myself from interrupting her tirade, and I said impulsively, “Excuse me, Ms. Yamada, in Mexico nobody cares how long employees take a break, but they care if they’re finished with their duties properly. Literally, today is not so busy. In my opinion I haven’t caused any damage during my absence. I’m wondering if you’ve ever been in the world. Have you ever been in Mexico, for instance?”
At this point, she could not control her rage anymore and yelled at me at the top of her lungs, “Enough, enough nonsense, Mr. Onoe! Who cares about Mexican culture? Wake up, man, here is Japan. You must obey Japanese rules. If I ask you to do something, you just do it because this is order. When I say you have to come back to the office on time from the break, you must obey. If you don’t obey what I order and still talk about Mexican nonsense, you will face a serious consequence, which I bet you won’t like it.”
As soon as she uttered her final threat, her face became red beyond rage and turning her back to me, she strode straight to her desk, shaking her flat ass.
A break time is coming! It is my best time of a day at the office. My colleagues always make groups to have lunch together, which makes me nauseated. They are not able to enjoy their break time by themselves, because they are constantly worried if they do not eat together, they might be missing precious information about the latest job news; they are constantly worried if they do not eat together, they might be outsiders. They constantly think about job conditions, poor Japanese! Of course, I am always alone and enjoy being free from my nauseating colleagues and appreciate having my own time. They occasionally ask me to join them to eat lunch together because they are very curious about me. They know that I have knocked about the world a wee bit and can speak English fluently as well as a touch of Spanish. They feel that I am completely different from ordinary Japanese. To tell the truth, I am hopelessly different from them and have nothing in common with them. I even do not know how to talk with them and what subjects I should talk about. I know that if I let myself have a lunch with them, they will only talk about a job, nothing more and nothing less, because they do not know how to enjoy their lives; they only know how to work five days a week like a robot. Their only link to each other at the office is the job, so they have no choice but to always talk about the job.
As soon as my lunch break comes, I dash out of the office to avoid being invited to have a lunch with them. I always have a single idea – go to Starbucks to read a book to improve myself. I have been reading the important book, The Growth of Soil. I am so immersed in Hamsun’s beautiful world and am aware that I am participating in the era of human degeneration. Naturally, I forgot about going back to the office. My usual break time is from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., but when I realized it, it was already past 2:30 p.m.