My Life Story

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He looks at the outside poignantly for a while. And then he continues, “To my great sadness, my two brothers emigrated to America six years ago. They’ve been telling me that I have to go there because I can have a better life over there with a lot of money. What does it mean by that? They are talking constantly as if making money were everything for life. I am so ashamed of them, and I’ve decided to stop contacting with them for years now. I like Mexico, you know. People are very generous here and are down to on earth. I can still feel humanness in them, and they apparently have compassion toward humanity. I might not have a lot of money, but I have enough money to support myself and am proud of myself for remaining as a human being with consideration. Young man, remember that, money is just a paper and nothing more and nothing less. If you let yourself lose over money, not only lose your dignity, but your life on this earth as well. Life is more than making money, I assure you, young man. I am over fifty years old. My experiences have taught me these imperative integrities. I’m telling you all of these things, because my instinct keeps on telling me that you are different from contemporary and aimless young men. Tell me, why are you coming to Mexico, and what is your intention for your life?”

I am stunned at his vehemence of America, and at the same time, I cannot help admiring his intelligence. He told me all of them with a complete calmness. His way of talking somehow impresses me, and I involuntarily start to tell him about my life story, acknowledging that I came to Mexico in order to start writing a book; conceding how I have been struggling in vain to write for years despite of my fervid efforts; confessing how I had suffered, and how I had felt useless and a total failure in Japan.

He listens to what I uttered with fully attentive eyes and nods many times during my speech as if all my sufferings were familiar with him. After a brief silence, he says, “What expressive eyes you have, young man! Do you always look at people’s eyes directly when you talk? Do you know your eyes brighten ardently like incandescent stars in heaven? Most people are not able to talk to people while looking at their eyes directly, because it makes them embarrassed.”

I am abashed by his compliment and blurt, “I don’t know it’s good for me or not, but I always do because I want people to know what I’m talking about. I suppose it is the way everyone ought to talk anyway. Many people say I have impressive eyes, but I don’t know why people always praise my eyes.”

“Don’t underestimate your own power, young man!” he admonishes me, “don’t you realize what a great story you’ve just told me? You said you don’t know how to start. Why don’t you start writing about your life? Your life is a full of adventures – I’ve never met anyone who’s been living through such an extraordinary life like yours, including your helpless tribulations in Japan. You don’t need to try to be anybody else; just be yourself – just tell the truth, what you’ve experienced. That’s enough for you to get started, and the whole world will be spellbound by your story. Like me, I am still overwhelmed with your fabulous story. I still can’t believe a man is able to accumulate such prodigious experiences in his lifetime. What a sorrowful cross you had borne on your back in Japan, young man!”

What a Repugnant Attitude!

Seeking the Meaning of Life

He looks at me solemnly, “Anyway, it is very pleasurable to meet the Japanese young man in Mexico, who obviously has his own vision and opinions. You have a rare quality, young man. You talk passionately about what you perceive and what you are interested in, and you are ready to admit your ignorance openly when things are beyond your knowledge and understanding. I like you, young man, welcome to Mexico! I hate Americans, but I love Japanese very much. I really hope you will have a good time here,” he walks on to a table with his food.

Gerardo listened to our conversation keenly. As soon as the gentleman walks away, he says, “Very strange guy, eh? I don’t think America is the whole reason for our sorry economic circumstances right now. I think every country is suffering from economic disasters right now, including Japan. It’s wrong for him to blame America for our economic situations, but it’s only my opinion, so I don’t know exactly what is right or wrong, man.”

While we are eating, suddenly the gentleman calls to me, “Hey Japanese! Come to my table.”

Gerardo says curiously, “He is obviously interested in you. Go to talk with him, Shogo. And tell me what he wants from you. I will be waiting for you here.”

As soon as I approach the gentleman’s table, he bids me to sit down with him for a while by saying, “Could you kindly accept a small favor?”

“Depend on what kind of a favor, I guess.”

He looks at my eyes squarely and begins his monologue, “I was born in Mexico and my brothers as well. But my parents are Irish. They came to Mexico when they were around thirty. That is why I can speak English fluently. As I told you, I hate America, but not only the political point of view; I hate American way of lifestyle also. They think that money is everything. They think if they have money, they can do whatever they desire. That is completely wrong. Understand, young man? They have fine technology, they have superb industrial systems, they have the big continent, and they have monstrous skyscrapers everywhere, and so on and so forth. It seems they are better than Mexicans. But don’t make yourself foolish enough to be rushing to judge everything from the appearance, since it can mislead you easily. Americans are lacking of the essential thing: Human sympathy. They’ve apparently forgotten how to respect people as bothers. They are thoroughly falling for money. They will do anything in order to make money. What a repugnant attitude! Because of the obsession with money, they are degenerates and depraved, especially in the moral way of life.”

I Will Be Out of My Mind

Seeking the Meaning of Life

The gentleman is visibly astonished at my remarks, “Oh well, maybe, I’ve never been to Japan, so naturally, I don’t know exactly what Japan is like. I don’t know whether Japanese have been corrupted by advanced technology, as you explicated, but my image of Japan is pretty good though. Also I don’t know whether advance technology is a bad thing for Japanese either. In my opinion, great technology makes the world better place, don’t you agree with me?”

“Maybe, it makes it convenient to live though,” I reply contemplatively, “what I’m trying to say here is too much technology has the power to dwindle people’s mental state. Just look at how your praised technology has made people lunatic nowadays. If the purpose of advanced technology was improvement solely for human living conditions, I would say you are absolutely right to praise it. However, mad people have been using the advanced technology to make nuclear weapons to kill fellow men all over the world for decades. You can’t deny this transparent fact, can you? Moreover, because of advanced technology, a number of advanced crimes have occurred all over the world also. When people invent more advanced technology, more advanced crimes will occur all over the world simultaneously. It is inevitable, so to speak. And then more policemen will be busy chasing criminals and racking their brains to solve out intricate problems. I suppose advanced technology only makes life more complicated. We have been living in the insane world – if I think about the world conditions seriously, I will be out of my mind.”

He is awed with my intense speech and replies, “I am very impressed, but it’s very difficult for me to swallow everything you’ve said. Despite everything, I can smell the truth in your ardent discourse. However, I don’t know why you’re talking about your own country in such a defiant fashion, but I suppose you have your own reasons to be aggressive because you are obviously an intelligent young man. By the way, I don’t like America. They’ve been ruining us. Because of them, we’re suffering from destitution. Look at Obama, who has been playing with economy. He has been using the budgets to experiment with economics as if it were his own personal game. In my opinion, he is worse than Bush. He evidently doesn’t care whether we, Mexicans, have been suffering from his experiments.”

I do not quite understand what he is raving about due to my ignorance of politics. I have never been interested in politics in all my life and believe that the world would be a better place without the government. I thought that he must have his own reasons for being resentful, as I do for Japan. Consequently, I decide not to contradict him and not to ask the reason for his resentment. I simply say, “I don’t know if America has caused bad influences over Mexicans’ lives, since I don’t know about politics very well.”

I Am Close to the Truth

Seeking the Meaning of Life

I tell you, my fellow Japanese, losing your dignity and life over money is the worst lame excuse to defend yourselves. I know what you are. If you contemplate your hysterical daily activities seriously, you will realize that you sweat for nothing except money. And then you will have no choice, but end up in a mental asylum or commit suicide. Consequently, you keep on continuing the same daily routine blindly, without questioning anything, so that you should not happen to stumble on the truth accidentally. Your cowardly attitudes toward life make me abashed. I tell you, having money without life is nothing. Life is just not earning money; life is more than that. Life is immense and consistently full of enjoyment and surprises.

I tell you, my fellow Japanese, the meaning of life is not working five days a week until you become decrepit, nor keeping on earning money till death, nor pretending to be someone else for the sake of earning money till the dying day. In my humble opinion, the meaning of life is realizing who you truly are, doing every day what your heart desires, and enjoying just being alive. Above all, making friends is the most essential one. Even though I have still been seeking for the meaning of life myself, I ought to force even you to comprehend that I am close to the truth. If you will not start enjoying your life and will not try to figure out who you truly are, you are dangerously wasting your limited time on this delightful earth.

If you still have ears, listen to me, my fellow Japanese, if you still have ounce of pride left, you ought to start examining whether your hectic daily activities produce any joy and whether your attitudes toward life produce any enthusiasms every day. If you do, you will understand what I am trying to say here. I give you a clue of how to start changing your life. Try to find what your inner voice tells you, try to find what you want to do for the rest of your life, and try to believe in your unique personality. Enjoying your life every day is the starting point for you. If you do not know how to enjoy life, just halt your meaningless daily activities and take a vacation to visit Mexico. Mighty sunshine will welcome you, and you will find a peace at your heart. Mexicans are experts at enjoying life since it is in their blood. In addition, they are willing to teach you how to enjoy life. Do not be shy, just come to Mexico to learn how to enjoy life from them, my fellow Japanese.

Is Money Everything for Human Life?

Seeking the Meaning of Life

Maybe, Japan is a rich country, and everything is organized perfectly more than in Mexico; however, it does not matter whether the trains always come on time; it does not matter whether streets are constructed smoothly and gracefully; it does not matter whether the skyscrapers proudly stand everywhere, etc. Those things are nugatory. These kinds of material successes only show us cold feelings without enthusiasm for life. Japanese work every day like machines without questioning anything for the sake of earning money. Maybe, they can earn enough money to support their family; maybe, Japan offers more job opportunities, and Japanese can find a job easily more than Mexicans in Mexico; maybe, Japanese way of life is more secure than Mexicans, but what a price they have to pay!

They have no pride to show their true emotions, but they always bow down to their boss, like a good trained dog offering its head to be patted, so that they can get monthly salary. They think that obeying their boss blindly without any questions is a virtue. Whenever they see a Japanese young man who listens to his boss obediently and bows to him with several polite words, they praise him to the heaven, “The young man knows how to behave correctly in Japanese society, he must know his own place, his future is bright, he’ll be a successful businessman,” and so on and so forth. What a sheer delusion! Don’t they have any shame for themselves? Don’t they realize what nonsense they are talking about? What a resigned attitude this seems to me. They had better contemplate their involuntary resignation way of life seriously before it is too late. Making money might be more important than anything else for them, but losing their dignity for the sake of earning money and calling it the correct behavior for a mature person are the worst crimes that human beings have invented under the sun. What is the meaning of money? Is money everything for human life? I do not think so.