I’ll Never Give Up

He called a waitress to order another beer and lit another cigarette again.

I was a little nervous since he asked about my book. However, I thought that I do not need to conceal anything from him, since he just confessed his true feelings to me. Therefore, I decided to tell him about my past aborted efforts candidly.

“Hiro, it’s good for you that you’ve started something you like for yourself, and I am glad to hear that. About my writing business, I’ve struggled in vain to write for over eight years and haven’t produced any tangible things yet. The worst thing is that I haven’t been able to write any single line with my past efforts. But it doesn’t discourage me, for I know from the bottom of my heart that I want to be a writer and express myself. I don’t make myself hurry up right now; I am trying to be patient to wait to know about myself better. Without knowing about myself thoroughly, I can’t get started. Frankly, I don’t know how long it’ll take me to understand my heart, but I’m willing to embark upon the journey of self-realization. When I become forty-years old, perhaps? Ha-ha-ha…. It doesn’t matter to me anymore, but the important thing is that I’ll never give up. Maybe, I can get started writing my book in Mexico, who knows? Let’s see what’ll happen. By the way, you said before that you are very sad and regret your past life, but I see sadness and regret haven’t entered your heart.”

 

I Am on Your Side

He drained the glass of beer and started his monologue, “By the way, you know, Shogo, why I married at such a young age. I married when I was twenty-three years old if you remember. I was so terrified of my father when I was child. He always beat me and rebuked me apropos of nothing. I thought that if I have my own family and my own house, I would be free; however, now I am restricted more than ever. Shogo, you shouldn’t marry before you experience everything you desire, because if you marry, you can’t do anything, but just go to work and go home. My past ten years were prosaic routines with no enthusiasms of life, but only an occasional quarrel with my wife. Indeed, I haven’t done anything in my past ten years. I have just gone to work and have stayed at home. If I go out with my old friends and come back home late, my wife will be so angry and complain to me about things. I enjoyed drinking with my friends while she was taking care of our children, and she just stayed at home to watch TV. Or she hasn’t done anything in her life, because she always has to clean the house, take care of the children, and wait for me to come back from the work.”

He lit a cigarette and continued, “I’ve thought I’m wasting my time, and I’m getting old without doing anything in my life; therefore, I’ve decided to start doing what I want to do, and I didn’t care even if I had to be divorced from my wife. Two years ago, we actually talked about the divorce, but after talking with my wife about what I felt toward everything, we became good friends again. The result is the new child. Now I have three daughters. It’s very difficult for me to support them, and money is flying away. For example, I have to buy their clothes, and of course, my wife wants to buy expensive ones. I have to pay for the rent, my children’s education fees, and other such daily stuff. If one daughter wants to learn dance, I have to pay twenty-five thousand yen per month, and of course, the other daughters want to do the same thing, and so on and so forth. There is no end, Shogo. However, I’m trying to do something right now – I feel doleful, and incredible regret assails me when I think about my wasted past life. I’ve started playing golf five months ago, and it has become my hobby. Even though I can go to play golf only on Thursdays, it makes me feel alive and good, for I at least have one day for myself. I have to confess I always envy you and am jealous of your free life. You always do according to your heart’s prompting and do not worry about anything. In fact, you have accumulated more superb experiences than any ordinary Japanese. Everyone always says you are mad, you are irresponsible person, you are impolite, you are selfish, etc. They say only bad things for you; they are so blind to see your good side. Shogo, I am on your side, and I want to live on my life like you, but I can’t – that is the truth. You don’t care about what other people think of you, and you always go your own way, that is your greatest strength, I guess. Tell me Shogo, how is your writing business? When can I expect to see your book printed?”

Every Day I Make New Friends

He ordered another beer and said, “You are lucky, Shogo, having such good friends. I think Mexicans are very friendly and generous people because no Japanese would possibly offer something like that. Japanese are too polite and have small hearts. You know, I’ve never been abroad, but I heard foreigners are friendlier than Japanese. I can’t talk to a stranger in public place in Japan. I can’t even ask a direction when I am lost. Japanese are lifeless and cold people. I sometimes feel they are inhuman. Maybe, it’s our culture, but I don’t understand why they behave coldly and unfriendly toward their own fellow countrymen. Tell me, Shogo, how about Mexico?”

I lit a cigarette. “I didn’t know you were feeling this way, Hiro,” I replied amiably, “it is good for you to feel this way. Yes, Japanese are very cold and inhuman compared with Mexicans who are symbol of friendliness and hospitality. I always talk to strangers in Mexico, and every stranger talks friendly to me wherever I go. It is a nice feeling to talk to people so unrestrictedly. Every day I make new friends there. I guess they are saturated with friendliness and hospitality due to their cultures. Whenever I meet men, I shake hands and hug them; whenever I meet women, I kiss their cheeks and hug them. It’s quite a nice human gesture, and I feel warm and alive. But Japanese bastards never show me any kindly gestures. No handshake, no hug, no kiss, but only a cold greeting. I don’t need dry farts, you know. Even me, Hiro, I never dare to talk to a stranger in Japan because I don’t want to be humiliated by their cold glances.”

“Shogo, you have a great deal of wonderful experiences,” he exclaimed. “I’m enjoying talking to you because no Japanese can talk as enthusiastically as you do. I can’t speak English, I’ve talked with only Japanese people in all my life, but when I see movies or foreign TV shows, I can feel something different from Japan. Also, I can feel friendliness; they seem happier than Japanese, and they look more human than Japanese.”

I Want to Be a Writer

When I arrived at Gasto, Hiro had already been waiting for me. As soon as he saw me, he waved his right hand and approached me with a jovial smile, “Shogo! I didn’t know you were in Japan. I thought you were still in Canada. How have you been? It’s nice to see you again. You haven’t changed a bit since the childhood. You still look like a teenager as if you would never get old.”

“Yes, everyone says the same thing. I myself cannot believe I don’t have any winkles on my face, and my face is as fresh as a daisy, ha-ha-ha. Nice to see you again, Hiro. You’re getting old. Forgive me for saying that, but I can’t help myself noticing several winkles are appearing on your face. What’s going on?”

“You know, Shogo, I’ve married and have three daughters. It’s a hard business to have one’s own family. Anyway, let’s go inside to have a chat.”

We were escorted to a table and sat down. He asked, “Are you hungry, Shogo? I am not hungry because I’ve already eaten dinner at my house. But I am thirsty. I’m going to order a glass of beer. How about you? You can order anything you want. Let me pay it for you tonight as a farewell gift.”

“Thanks, Hiro. I appreciate. I am starving. I want to have a grilled steak, rice, and coke. Let’s order first.”

He asked a waitress to order food and drinks. And said, “Shogo, you should’ve called me before because everyone wants to see you again, but you no longer have time anymore. You said you’re going to Mexico in three days. You enjoy your life as always, and you always do whatever your fancies dictate. No Japanese can do that. I think only you, Shogo, enjoy life all the time and live freely. It’s a kind of gift, I suppose. Everyone has to work, and most people have their own family to support. You are single, that makes you feel free to travel around the world. You have no responsibilities, but only yourself. To tell the truth, I envy your life, Shogo. I love your style, but I can’t do that, you know. Anyway, what are you going to do in Mexico?”

“I’m going to look for a job there. And you know, I have Mexican friends who are my best friends. Life is funny because my all best friends are Mexicans. Anyway, I’ve known them for nine years, and we’ve had an incredible friendship through those years. The long story short, they offered for me to stay at their house for a while, so that I can start writing my book. I think I’ve already told you that I want to be a writer?”

Need to Share My Happiness with Someone

After reading the message, I began feeling that my new adventure is not a dream; it is the reality. “Son of bitch went to Excess again without me!” I thought and suddenly indescribable rage was attacking me, “calm down, you aggressive tiger; there is nothing to be angry at, and actually, it is OK with me unless he has crossed the line, namely, dancing with my sweetheart!” I almost forgot about her, but he reminded me. I love her very much as a friend and maybe more, who knows? I have known her over three years. Every time I see her, I become extremely happy as a baby god. The prospect of seeing her again soon cheered my spirit up to heaven, so I felt like I needed to share my happiness with someone.

I decided to call Hiro, who is my childhood chum. I have known of him since he was seven years old. We were good friends to each other until we become twenty-one years old. We were born in the same year by the way. We have taken different directions that made us separate. It was indeed a good idea to see him again and to say good-bye to him. Besides, I wondered what he has become. I did not know his cell phone number, so I decided to call his parents’ house whose telephone number is the same as my parents’ telephone number except the last digit. His mother was surprised when I called her, but she soon became friendly and begged me to see Hiro before going to Mexico, because he had no friends and would be very happy to see me again. After I got his house number, I called him. His daughter answered the phone and called Hiro on the line. As soon as he recognized my voice, he became enthusiastic and was eager to see me tonight at eight at Gasto. Settled.