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Turn off the lights!!!!!!

Shogo was a construction worker and kind of a comical Japanese redneck. He was also a very loyal and generous friend. That's why I was happy to have known him for as long as I did. He didn't know anything about me, but he allowed me to stay in his apartment when I had no place to go just because his friend Osamu asked him to. Although he had a rough side, this was the kind of person he was.

Calling Shogo's personality rough is an understatement. He was the type of person who said whatever came to his mind, no matter how shocking or rude. If he were a character in the Lord of the Rings, he would be Gimli. Just like the hearty dwarves of Middle Earth, Shogo was a short and stocky fellow who loved drinking and laughing loudly. He was also deeply in love with my ex-girlfriend, Yuko. He spent most of his days thinking of ways to win her heart. Much of our talk an interview in which he would ask me questions about how I got Yuko to love me. There was nothing I say that would help him. As I wrote in a previous post, every relationship I have had came about naturally. Yuko and I were friends first. One day she came to my dorm room and we talked for hours. I could feel some vibes coming from her as I noticed the space between us getting smaller until we were until there was only a few inches of air between our noses. Because I was shy, it almost took too long for me to make a move. Yuko was about to give up and go, when I gently grabbed her arm and said, "Do you have to go now ?" She looked me in the eyes and we kissed. That's how out 6 month whirlwind started. Shogo wanted insider information so he could make his grand plan. I didn't have any. I simply followed the moment.

Unfortunately for Shogo, even if I had some information on how he could get Yuko to love him it would have been useless. She has absolutely no interest in him. There was nothing in all of the cosmos I could do to help him. I almost thought the poor guy was cursed. He didn't have much luck with women. He wasn't the type many would find handsome. What a man lacks in looks can usually be made up for in charm. Shogo might have been ok if he wasn't so crass. I do admire the fact that he never gave up trying. Regardless of the hopelessness of the situation he seemed to have an undying optimism.

What I didn't admire about Shogo was the asshole he became when he got drunk. I think it stemmed from his own insecurity about himself. One day, Shogo, Ryosuke, and I went to a club together. Ryosuke was tall and charismatic. A great many Japanese women found him extremely attractive. Even my mom said, "that Japanese friend of yours sure is handsome." He was from a well-to-do family and overflowing with confidence. He also had very little patience for bullshit. At the club, Shogo got drunk and started acting weird and aggressively towards Ryosuke. Out of respect for me, Ryosuke restrained himself and pulled me aside to say, "You better get your boy before I kick his ass." I tried to calm Shogo down, but liquid spirits had taken over his roughneck brain. He started doing a series of martial arts poses. We thought they were comical but he was very serious. He screamed at the top of his lungs, in English, "I am Shogo!!!!!" then landed a Kung Fu kick next to Ryosuke's head. Ryosuke lost it of course. I had to put myself between the two to prevent him from beating Shogo to death. Ryosuke looked at me and said, "Don't ever bring that fucker out with us again. If you do, I promise I'll beat his ass." That was the last time they were ever in the same room together. Shogo and I went back to the tiny apartment we shared. He fell asleep immediately and didn't remember anything the next day.

Although Shogo was a daytime construction worker, he began doing jobs at night. I assumed he was working on some sort of after-hours project to build roads when there was no traffic. Every midnight, a man came to the apartment to pick Shogo up for work. He sat at the table, and waited for him to get ready. He never said a word during any of his visits. Something in him scared me. He had a strong air of evil. It was like he was a demon walking the earth. He was tall and slim with eyes full of shadows and a maniacal facial expression that made him looks like and anime villain.

One night, when I came back to the apartment, I opened the door and turned on the light. Shogo whisper shouted from a corner of the room, "Turn off the light! Turn off the light!" Quickly darkened the room and asked Shogo what was going on. Shogo confessed that he was not doing midnight construction work for the past few week. He was actually working as an errand boy for the Yakuza. The evil character who came to the apartment night after night was his handler. Shogo had taken the job to earn some quick cash. He wanted to win Yuko's heart by offering her a free trip to the United States. Of course, he was planning to go with her. Everyone knows that the Yakuza don't allow their employees to resign so easily. Shogo hadn't thought the plan through nor did he think about how it would effect me. The lanky demon handler knew my face too. I was terrified to go back to that apartment. I didn't want to be there when the hell spawn and his crew came looking for Shogo. Luckily, my guardian angel came to the rescue. Let me pause here and give praise and thanks to her for looked after me my entire life. Just days after that I found Shogo hiding in the dark, I found a new job, which came with an apartment in Sagamihara. I was able to escape possibly becoming collateral damage.

Shogo went into hiding for more than a year. He waited until the Yakuza were no longer interested in him. During that time we lost contact with eachother. It's been years since I've talked to him, but I know he's alive somewhere.


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