A shit day at work. Political, Big Brother-type bullshit of the sort that reminds you how big companies have a way of turning adults into blighted, idiot children.
Ikebukuro Station. Chuhai in hand, my third I think. Hacking away at a sobriety that refuses to know when it’s not wanted. My other hand holds a printout of a work-related materials; I can’t believe I voluntarily read this shit off the clock.
Headbanging slightly as I blare Arch Enemy on my iPod. I turn a corner, head toward my second train.
There’s a tap on my shoulder. Not an “Excuse me” sort of tap, but a tap that says, “Hey there, I know you.” Which adds to the surprise of turning around and realizing I have no idea who the tapper is.
“Excuse me,” the man asks in English, “can I help you find your way?”
Do I look lost? I imagine I look a bit pissed off, but lost? I doubt it.
“I know exactly where I’m going, man,” I reply, gesturing toward the turnstile.
“I am poor,” the man suddenly says. “Can I have 300 yen?”
I look at him a while, take in his crazy haircut and cheap canvas belt. It’s hardly the first time I’ve been hit up for cash; back in the States, I’d been asked for amounts several times in excess of what this guy is after, been given excuses of abusive husbands and stretches of bad luck. Quite possibly utter bullshit, but while I’ve never had to ask complete strangers for money, I can only hope that if it came down to it, somebody out there would help me out. Which makes it hard for me to refuse when I’m the one being asked.
I don’t think I sighed as I put down my drink, fished out my wallet, but I may have. Crazy haircut man bows deeply. He lapses into Japanese and thanks me profusely as I give him three 100 yen coins.
“Where are you from?” he suddenly asks in English.
I tell him. And I tell him which state when he wants to know that as well.
“Oh, so hot!” he replies excitedly. “And your heart is hot, too!”
He’s translating directly from Japanese. I know what he means. I put my headphones back on and begin walking away.
I don’t know what Ｔhe 300-yen Man needed money for. But at least for the moment, I have a job and I don’t have to hang out at the train station asking strangers for money.
I have my chuhai and my iPod.
A shit day, but it could be worse.
Filed under: Living Here |