As If I Were a Native Mexican Brother

Today it is a Fifth of April, and I am walking on streets of Condesa in full sunshine. Today walking on my way to Starbucks in the sun, tremendous joy is shooting through my whole being, for I am aware that I am going to complete writing my first book soon. “No more job! I’ll never work with mean Japanese bastards! That kind of meaningless life is finished in me!” I am exuberantly shouting at the top of my lungs.

As I enter Starbucks, everyone is greeting me and offering handshakes, as if I were a native Mexican brother. I am grabbing my coffee and about to look for a table; someone calls to me to join his table – it is Majid.

Majid is Malaysian and a yoga instructor. I met him two months ago at the same Starbucks. He asked me what I was doing in Mexico and told him that I have been writing a book. And to my great surprise, he told me that he is a writer and has been writing books, too. He quit his job as a pilot two years ago and decided to start doing what he truly wants to do for the rest of his life. He has been in Mexico for eleven months already. He has been writing three books at the same time, but none of them are completed. Now instead of writing his books, he always posts articles on his blog.

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I Am Just Happy Being Alive

Time had elapsed quickly, and it was passing around 4:00 a.m. I was getting a little tired, so I went to my table to sit down to rest for a while. While I was relaxing blissfully, looking at people who were still dancing around and chattering away energetically, Rodrigo came to sit down beside me. He suddenly asked me, “What is your magic, Shogo? You know, actually, I’ve been drinking a lot tonight, but I can’t enjoy it fully like you. I don’t understand. You don’t drink any alcohol, but it seems to me that you are the happiest person in this evening. You look so bright and energetic. Also, you have spent a great time talking with beautiful women. You know, Shogo, I’m not drunk although I’ve drunk a lot. Please teach me how to be happy unrestrictedly like you.”

I was confused by his sudden remark and prattled, “I don’t know, Rodrigo. I can enjoy anything without alcohol. As you know, I don’t drink and don’t like alcohol. To be honest with you, I don’t like the taste of alcohol either. You want to know why I am so happy tonight, but I am sorry, I don’t know how to explain it, because I am just happy to be here, I am just happy with being alive, and I am just happy to see my friends again – that’s all, my friend. I don’t know.”

“You know, Shogo, you’ve had a serious illness. Remember, you came to Cancun about a year ago; you always went to a bathroom because of your stomach. But you enjoyed more than anybody that time as well. If I had your illness, I would be dejected, dispirited, and depressed. I couldn’t enjoy my life. But, Shogo, you seem not to care about your illness whatsoever – you enjoy life more than normal people, I mean healthy people. Sorry to say that, but I can’t stop wondering how you do it all the time.”

Pause.

“I don’t know exactly what to say, but what I only know is I am just happy being alive. Moreover, I always try to enjoy life. I assume it’s because I am in Mexico and far away from Japan, which make my spirit free as a bird tonight.”

“I’d better try to be happy just being alive, as you said. Maybe, I should follow your example.”

Here Ramon came to my table to inform me that we had to go to the hotel. While Ramon was saying good-bye to everyone, delightful Henri skipped toward me and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Hey, my Shogo! Are you going with Ramon right now?”

“Hey Henri, you look so happy tonight. Yes, I have to go right now because I’m going to stay with Patricia’s parents.”

“Oh, it’s very sad news indeed because I want to talk to you anyway. Are you coming to the cruise party tomorrow?”

“Henri, I can’t because I have to go back to Mexico City tomorrow.”

“It’s heartbreaking, Shogo. Anyway, I want you to know I like you very much as a friend. Before meeting you, I already knew a lot about you as if you had been my friend in all my life, because Ramon always talks about you. You are Ramon’s best friend, which means that you are my friend, too. You are an exceptionally good person, as Ramon told me. Hope to see you again very soon. Please don’t change who you are, okay? Shogo, you are very good person, so please don’t change, my Shogo.”

Do Not Want to Continue My Empty and Barren Life Again

In five days, I would have to go back to Japan to continue my empty and barren life again. I have to wake up 7:00 a.m. with a hysterical alarm clock every morning, take an oppressively crowded train to go to Sibuya Station, do what I do not want to do, pretend to obey my supervisor, and so on, such lifeless activities. My supervisor and my colleagues accused me of indiscretion because I told them that I would take a three-week vacation to go to Mexico. They said to me with a confounded expression on their faces, “Mr. Onoe, I just can’t believe you. I think apparently you don’t have any decency and responsibilities as mature people do because while everyone is working, you’re taking a vacation. Everyone has been working here longer than you, and on top of it all, you are new and have been working with us for only five months. I cannot believe how you dare to ask for taking such a long vacation.”

Japanese never change. They are just jealous of my free spirit and envy my free life. I know that at the bottom of their hearts, they secretly want to see the world, but they simply can’t do that because of fear of losing their jobs. And the worst part is that they never admit it because of their pride. What a bunch of vainglorious creatures! They are lamentably unable to realize one of important tools to improve themselves, experience. Just working five days a week like a machine for all their lives without experiences is just killing time. Making money and protecting their security might be good; however, without any enjoyment in one’s life, without any real friends in one’s life, and without any great adventures in one’s life – everything crumbles away from your fingers eventually. I have a few times left, so I should enjoy the rest of my time here at the most. Forget the inevitability of my return to Japan soon, but enjoy tonight at the most and thank to God for giving me the great opportunity to have this awesome experience.

Making Good Friends Is More Important Than Just Earning Money!

Everyone started dancing. “I have never attended such an enchanting wedding in Japan,” I thought to myself. While everyone was dancing exuberantly, I rambled around the garden. The night was so calm, and it was a refreshing weather with a present breeze. The ardently incandescent stars were above me. I sauntered slowly with my hands in my pocket toward the end of garden in order to take a look at the beautiful night view over the town and the calm sea. The sound of gentle wave made me elated, and I lapsed into reverie for a while. I am definitely happy right now, and I am lucky to be Ramon’s friend to experience such an admirable wedding. In fact, this is my third time to come to Cancun because of him. He had a sumptuous apartment in Cancun two years ago, since his grandmother rented it for him for a year. Ramon had always invited me to come to Cancun to enjoy his apartment, and I had indeed gone to Cancun twice to enjoy staying there. I had always watched the beautiful sea from his apartment’s balcony; I had enjoyed swimming and sunbathing at the pool.

Japanese people think that if they want to go abroad to enjoy staying at a gorgeous hotel or have a grand time, they need money. Many Japanese have told me that they cannot go abroad so often like me because they do not have money. What ignorant people! They are apparently too busy making money and forget the most essential thing in one’s life: having good friends is everything. They know how to make money, but unfortunately, they do not know how to make good friends and how to build a good friendship. They have been totally blind not to realize the simple truth, making good friends is more important than just earning money. They never realize that I do not have money, but I have great friends – that is why I am able to go abroad often because my friends have always offered me to stay at their homes for gratis. I hope someday Japanese will realize that good friends can have the power to offer more great things than money can offer them.

 

 

What a lucky race, eh?”

I met Henri ten months ago here in Playa Del Carmen. I had been in Mexico due to the Ramon’s execution day, as he called it. Henri is one of Ramon’s best friends. Henri and Ramon had attended the University of ITESO in Guadalajara three years ago and became friends. Henry and I were staying at Ramon’s apartment together ten months ago. Ramon was busy preparing for his wedding, so I naturally spent time with Henri.

One day Henri, Isabelle, and I decided to go to Tulum to see the Mayan pyramids. When we got there, we decided to hire a tour guide in order to be informed of the history of Maya. Henri and Isabel preferred a Spanish tour guide, but I preferred an English one. Therefore, we eventually decided to hire a bilingual tour guide who told us that the entire tour, to see everything properly, should take us approximately forty minutes, so we thought that it should be over an hour because he had to explain the same things twice with Spanish and English.

The tour was getting started magnificently, and the tour guide seemed to be awesome, too. During the tour, he was comparing Mayan culture with modern teenagers’ fashion styles. He was explaining, “Young people want to show their individuality – that’s why many people have piercings on their body nowadays, and so did the Mayans. Think about Mayan’s half-naked clothes. They want to show their individuality and uniqueness as well. Now I guess you, guys, start to apprehend what I’m implying. Half-naked cloth for Mayans is the symbol of their individuality. Mayans thought their half-naked fashion style is cool, and they were proud of their individualism, as modern young people are proud of wearing piercings on their body nowadays.”

As we were approaching the main Mayan temple, he said to us, “Look at over there! Very beautiful ocean, eh? From this cliff, we can see amazing ocean view. The ocean’s color changes depending on which angle the sun shines at. Can you imagine that Mayans were praying at this temple with this alluring ocean view? What a lucky race, eh?”

Pause.

He suddenly broke unexpected news, “Here I have to say good-bye to you because this is the end of our tour. If you want, you, guys, stay here to enjoy the dazzling ocean view for a while. I hope you, guys, have enjoyed this tour. Have a good time, guys.” And he went away without looking back.

We were flabbergasted and speechless for a minute because he ended the tour abruptly.

Isabelle suddenly burst out laughing with tears in her eyes, “I can’t believe it. He told us that the tour would take over forty minutes, but he finished it in just fifteen minutes. He didn’t explain any of Mayan history whatsoever, but just compared modern young people’s fashion to Mayan fashion. I thought it would take more than seventy-five minutes because he had to explain both Spanish and English, so I calculated. I never expected it to end like this!” And we all of us burst out laughing.