Living in Total Despair

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I have no idea how long I have been depressed and dispirited. I have no idea how long I have been living in total despair. I am sad all the time and have no energy for anything. Even I do not care about anything, I mean that I really do not care about anything – I even don’t give any shit to women. Even I have no idea when this awful depression has started, but one thing is crystal clear to me: I have an infinite void in my heart. The funny part is that, you know, my dear readers (If I have any), nobody notices my state of depression, except my Mexican and Columbian friends. People always say to me, “You look so happy and energetic! Why do you always look so happy?” Can you beat it? No Japanese people notice my depression and say to me, “Are you okay? Why are you so depressed? No sir! No single individual offers me any sympathetic words! The truth is that people are able to see only other people’s appearances; people are not able to see other people’s heart.

Life has been so hard for me for years, since I have lost any hope for my future and enthusiasm for life itself. When I was young, I had a dream, you know, I wanted to be an artist. I had undying passion and respect for writing. I was so happy every day, since my whole energy went to writing. I loved reading books and could not pass the day without reading them. But not anymore. I have completely lost my faith in writing and passion for it. I have been no purpose in my life for years. My life has become just a humdrum existence and I have kept frittering my time away every single day….

There Is Another Way

“Of course, man! He was right to be angry with you, because he has tried to support you in every possible way, so that you can achieve your goal. Moreover, he simply wants to see you be recognized as a writer and wants to help liberate you from where you don’t want to belong. You have to understand why he is angry with you. To be candid with you, I am angry with you right now. Why, Shogo? Tell me only one plausible explanation for going back to Japan? Please make me understand your hasty decision. Do you miss Japan? Tell me the truth, man!”

I was looking down for several seconds with my hands in my pockets and replied, “Gerardo, of course, I don’t want to go back to Japan, believe me, but the truth is that I’ve been frittering my time away for the past several days because of this fucking problem. I couldn’t progress my work because I simply can’t concentrate on writing. This fucking problem has constantly been bothering my mind like a pest. As you see, I’ve been perpetually agitated for past several days. The worst part is that I’m losing my equilibrium. Moreover, I know Jorgito and you want to help me, but it isn’t a pleasant feeling for me to ask you for money all the time even if you are my best friend, trust me. Wait, Gerardo, I know what you want to say, but just listen. I know you are a very good person and good friend – you’ll sacrifice your needs for me when the thing becomes unsolvable. And I don’t want to let it happen. Besides, I know you don’t have money, son of bitch! I don’t want to make you sacrifice for me. The main point is that I want to compose myself again. Maybe, in two weeks, I’ll come back here, I promise.”

“I know what you’re feeling, and I know you haven’t been yourself for past several days. Of course, I don’t have money, but I want to help you. Do you really think you don’t have another option? Think harder, my friend.”

Pause.

“Maybe, there is another way.”

“What?”
            “I said I know another way to solve out the problem; however, it is only temporary. I guess I should go to Los Angeles.”

“Why? Tell me everything.”

“They told me that I can’t fix my problem in Los Angeles, but there is a Japanese agency which will lend me an emergency card. If I get the card, my parents can deposit money into the account, and I can withdraw it here.”

His face was brightened by the prospect of hope, “It is good news, man! Why didn’t you tell me this before? Who cares if the card is temporary or not? The important thing is that you can withdraw money here. Shogo, get the emergency card, ask your parents to deposit all money you have into the account, withdraw all the money, and keep it into a safe place. That’s it, my friend! You don’t need to fix your card problem; just let it be invalid like a used condom, ha-ha-ha.”

I smiled at his spontaneous mirth and said, “You are right, my friend. Tomorrow I’ll call Los Angeles to get more information about the emergency card. I guess it’s cheaper flying to Los Angeles than flying to Japan, isn’t it?”

“Of course, it’s much cheaper, man!” he piped up, “it is between four hundred and five hundred American dollars. Anyway, you can go there with less than five hundred American dollars. And good thing is that now Voralis has international flight, so you can go to Los Angeles from Toluca Airport. I’ll buy the flight ticket for you. Call me tomorrow after you get the information and let me know how many days you want to stay there, okay?”

I will Help You

Several days had elapsed in this fashion, and I could not concentrate on writing, so naturally, the writing was neglected. One day I was so stressed out by the abortive circumstances and said to Gerardo, “I guess I have to go back to Japan to fix the problem.”

He was visibly confounded and inquired, “Why? You don’t need to go back there. Just ask them to transfer the money into my bank account.”

“I asked them, but they said ‘NO’ because of Japanese law.”

“What? Fucking Japanese! I can’t believe it!” he exclaimed resentfully. “Why? I am your friend, and my bank account is valid. Besides, why can’t they tell you about the pin number over the phone at the first place? You are in Mexico, so they must tell you about it because you have no money. Above all, the money is yours; not theirs. I can’t believe such heartless creatures exist on this earth. I’m beginning to understand why you hate Japan so much. They’re fucking inflexible people. I remember vividly that when I was in Kyoto, they couldn’t let me use the internet unless I took a membership card, shit! Anyway, Shogo, you must avoid going back to Japan. We have to start considering another way to solve the problem. Going back to Japan isn’t an option for you. Understood? You’ve started writing, and you are on the way to realize your dream right now. Jorge and I will help you and lend you money till you solve out the problem. Besides, Jorge won’t let you go back to Japan.”

“In fact, I saw Jorgito today and told him everything. I told him I’ve been so frustrated because I couldn’t concentrate on writing. This silly problem has kept on bothering me constantly and made me lose my equilibrium. It’s been torture for me not to be able to focus on writing. Japanese bastards obviously don’t care about anything, but only the bank’s regulation. In conclusion, I have no choice, but go back there, fix the problem, and come back here to resume my mission.”

“What did he say?”

“He listened to me very attentively with sympathetic ambience and said solemnly that he doesn’t want me to go back to Japan and wants me to find another way to solve it out, but if I can’t compose myself and can’t have peace of mind due to this fucking problem, he’ll respect my decision. But I know he was so angry at my decision because I can see it on his face.”

He Is Not a Stranger

As I predicted, the thing had become elaborate. I called Mizuho bank in Japan in order to try to solve the problem and even offered a number of different options, but they did not listen to anything and answered me in a matter-of-fact tone: “We can’t help you, Mr. Onoe. Besides, we can’t tell you about your pin number over the phone because of our bank’s regulation. We don’t care whether you are in Mexico or Japan, because regulations prohibit us letting our customers know about their pin number over the phone. Believe me, Mr. Onoe, it’s all for protecting our customer’s security. You’re required to show your presence to change your pin number. Your card is invalid, since you pushed the wrong number over five times. I kindly suggest you should come back to Japan to start the proper proceedings.”

I asked them to send my money to Gerardo’s bank account, but they said that they cannot do it either because they do not know who he is. I told them that he is my friend, so they do not need to worry about it. But their reply was that Japan has changed the law. We are prohibited from sending your money to a stranger’s bank account. Are they really listening to what I said? HE IS MY FRIEND; HE IS NOT A STRANGER. It was getting impossible for me to talk with the Japanese bastards, because they are just a bunch of trained monkeys who merely perform what they are taught. Every single option I offered, they turned down with a cold blood attitude.

The Simplest Thing Becomes Complicated in Japan

“Shogo, pay attention and just listen to me. Don’t worry about it and just calm down. I called Jorge, and we discussed your situation. Of course, we’ll help you. Meanwhile you try to fix your problem, we’ll lend you money. Just try to call Japan tomorrow, okay?”

“Thanks, my friend. I’ve already called Jorgito to ask for his help as well.”

“Shogo, you still look anxious. Don’t worry, you’ll soon solve out the problem. Sit down here, please. Why don’t you smoke with me and relax?”

I let him light a cigarette for me. And then I said agitatedly, “But, my friend, you don’t know about fucking Japan. Japanese bastards won’t let me know about my pin number over the phone. The simplest thing becomes complicated in Japan. The thing isn’t as easy as you think, my friend. You’ll see.”

He was perplexed with my apprehension, “Why? You are in Mexico, so they have to tell your pin number over the phone. Do you really think that they won’t let you know about your pin number over the phone and will make you to come back to Japan because of the stupid pin number? I don’t think so, my friend.”

Pause.

“I really want to believe that you are right about it for my sake. But Japan is not like Mexico; Japanese are not Mexicans, which mean that Japanese are not human beings; they are a bunch of robots. Unfortunately, they don’t have any compassion left. They don’t do their job with feelings; they do their job according to what a company manual tells them. If it says: ‘Do not tell pin number to customers over the phone in any sorts of circumstances.’ They won’t tell me anything. They’ll simply obey it like a blind soldier. On top of it all, they are incurably inflexible people. They don’t care about if I have to come back to Japan because of the fucking pin number; they only care about what a company manual says. The worst part is that they’ll justify their cold-blooded action and blame it on the security system.” 

“I think you’re exaggerating Japanese attitudes, since you’re clearly disturbed right now. Believe me, Shogo, if you call your bank in Japan to tell your situation candidly, everything will be okay. I don’t know about Japan, but if I am in the same situation in a foreign country as you are, a Mexican bank will let me know about my pin number over the phone. They’ll understand it is impossible for me to stop everything suddenly to go back to Mexico, and also they’ll be really concerned about my situation, namely, without money in a foreign land – they’ll soon realize it’s urgent. Anyway, if you need more money, just let me know, okay?”