Spring is coming. I am supposed to be happy, but on the contrary, I am more depressed day by day. Now it is April, ladies and gentleman; smells of flowers are everywhere, and people even let themselves indulge in the magic of spring and practice their passion of love. I am walking on my way to my office and feeling that I have never spent a disgusting spring like this before. People are chatting everlasting nonsense everywhere, and I am being bored to death. I spit at the street three times in order to show my disgust toward Japanese and nod as if I accomplished the important task. Oh my God, I really do not want to go to a job today to waste my time, but I must earn money for my mission. I am so distressed, help me God!
I have been working for Benefit One for seven months, which is my record so far. My company is a travel agency. I am assigned to work at a customer center as a Japanese-English telephone operator. My duty is to make reservations of hotels over a phone and organize travel itineraries. I usually handle twenty-five calls per day where I talk with idiots. Needless to say, I am sick of my job. I am frazzled answering stupid phones over and over and from talking to clients while using exceptionally polite words that only fatuous Japanese can invent. As always, the bitch is listening to my every conversation with clients to check if I am rude to them, because she simply cannot trust me. She is very short, fat, and ugly as sin. No more description is needed. She is human trash, such is my supervisor! Today I hope to Christ that the bitch will be quiet all day and will not disturb me, because I do not want to talk about nonsense and am sick of being insulted. Ms. Yamada is my supervisor’s name, by the way.
The bitch is always telling me, “Mr. Onoe, here in Japan, you shouldn’t talk to clients as you talk with your friends. Remember, clients are not your friends but important customers. You must use polite words in order to give the impression that we have highly trained employees and good services. If you talk to your clients friendly, some of them will feel that you are rude and impolite. I suggest you… you’d better study how to apply polite Japanese language in any sorts of circumstances; otherwise, I can’t let you to pick up phone calls in the future, because I have huge responsibilities for controlling every telephone operator. They must use exactly the same words to clients and follow the manual, so that every single tiny detail works smoothly. Do I make myself clear, Mr. Onoe?” “A fresh insult again!” I think. But whenever she starts her tirade, I just nod to show her that I completely understand what she means and start pretending to speak politely to clients over the phone, since I am used to enduring such humiliations.
My initial plan was to take a job for a year to earn some money to go back to Vancouver, so I could make a fresh start on writing a book. I felt that I could sacrifice my precious time for the sake of my mission in life as a writer and could endure Japanese atmosphere for just a year. But alas, contrary to my strong determination to escape from Japan as quickly as possible, I have been trapped in Japan for over three years. It is beyond my patience, because the frivolity of Japanese life and Japanese people’s absurd behavior constantly offend me, and the Japanese society system and etiquette suffocate me. I simply cannot stay in Japan more than six months, which I have discovered. As soon as I earn some money to be able to take a vacation, I quit my job and visit Mexico to see my friends so that I can become a human being again. It has become my habit to quit a job every six months to take a breath outside of Japan. It has already happened four times in succession these past three years, and every time my vacation is over, my depression has gotten deeper and deeper. I am helplessly beaten by Japan and can only see total darkness in my future.
Five months has elapsed since I turned thirty-three years old. It is supposed to be the grandest year in my life, but I do not feel that way anymore. This is the age when my idol Henry Miller decided to quit his job, leave everything behind, and made a vow to dedicate all his time to writing for the rest of his life. Once I thought that when I reached thirty-three years old, I would leave everything behind and start dedicating all my time to writing like him, but it seems like a fairy tale to me now. I have no money and still do not know how to begin writing a book. It has become a gigantic task for me to write a book, like Mt. Fuji, where the top of mountain is extremely beautiful from the bottom, but it seems impossible to climb. Let me confess that I have not been able to start climbing yet: I am thoroughly paralyzed.
It has been three years since my golden age was over. Irrevocable fate has decided to send me back to the place I have avoided seeing ever since I succeeded in escaping: Japan. I am perpetually melancholy and incurably depressed. Nothing can cheer me up, nothing can make me happy and excited, and nothing can give me any joy and enthusiasm. Even literature had slipped away from me. I have tried to read my favorite authors to cure my emotional devastation and get my life back to where it is supposed to be, but nothing can work on me. I cannot see any hope in the future; I have become an utter failure. I am at the bottom now where I have never fallen down so deeply. I even do not care of what will happen in the future anymore and am totally indifferent to everything.
I always recall my wonderful adventures in the world, especially Canada, where I spent the best years in my life. The truth is that it has become impossible for me to adjust to Japanese society anymore.
I have met all my friends in Canada, Australia, and Mexico. And I miss them so much. I was supposed to finish writing my first book in Vancouver. However, I could not write a single line of my book. Only God knows what was wrong with me at that time. I had buried myself in books almost for ten hours every day to find out a clue how to begin and had tried to imitate my heroes’ writing styles, but everything came to nullity. I was constantly afraid of one thing: going back to Japan to take a job again. The idea of taking a job in Japan terrorized me like an incessant nightmare. Finally, the worst situation happened: financial crisis came upon me, and my visa expired. I had no choice, but with shame, I had to go back to Japan to ask my parents to let me stay at their house for a while.
The New Year has been coming. I am celebrating on the Happy New Year 2010 with my friends in Playa Del Carmen. Fifth Avenue is so crowded with excited people from all over the world. Ramon is shouting, “Hey, man, have you ever seen so many beautiful women to gather on one street? Welcome to Paradise!” The loud music is everywhere, and fireworks are being shot under the winter stars. People are shouting, “Happy New Year!” to each other, kissing each other, hugging each other, and dancing with joy. With tears on my eyes, I think that I have never seen people who are so full of life with sheer happiness in Japan, where I have only seen spiritually dead people. I ask myself, “Is it real? Can life change so dramatically by just changing a climate?”
I am trying to reach my friends, but I am not able to move freely because of excited mobs. People are constantly hitting my shoulders against their shoulders. However, it does not make me irritated a wee bit, since I am so happy and so excited about having been given the wonderful opportunity to start a new life in Mexico. I am surreptitiously whispering, “Thanks” to God for not abandoning one of his innocent lambs, and I am bowing down with my head almost touching on my knees. Whispering to God makes me delirious, so I start yelling at the top of my lungs, “Thanks Jesus in heaven, I am not in Japan anymore, and my tribulation is finally over!” Ramon is looking at me with a huge grin and says, “You’re too happy to be out of your mind, eh? Forget about your miserable Japan, you’re being in the safe continent now, ha-ha-ha. You know, I’m so happy right now, too, because you’re here to be spending the beginning of New Year with us. Thanks for staying with us for a while. It’s a real privilege for us to be having you stay at my apartment.” I think to myself that I have never heard of such benevolent words from Japanese bastards from whom I have only received false affections.
I am still flabbergasted to this day that how Lord Almighty decided to send the faithful brown angels at the precious time when I could no longer endure my sufferings anymore in order to rescue me from my everlasting nightmare.