(Lackadaisically In Progress)

In the interval of two years up until the fresh spring of my third year of university, I could assert this: of anything of value, I had not a single one. Wholesome relations with the opposite sex, diligence in the academia, or the tempering of muscle, and such of the like, those components of which outstanding members of society are expected to strive forewith to position themselves for, instead, paved within me: taking an isolated stance, discarding my studies, and witnessing the shrivelling of my musculature – were the realities I had attained. And of those once lofty goals, aimed and struck upon ceaselessly, had I to question this: “Where exactly did you go?”.

I had to find a culprit. Where could one be found?

For even from my birth, this wasn’t my lot at all.

My immediate conception was an immaculate one, without a spot of grime, bright with cherish and in likeness of Shining Prince Genji of Murasaki’s tale. And without a single wicked notion, my laughing face pealed through the mountains and fields of my hometown, brimmed with love, so you could say. But what shall we speak of now? The sight of a mirror made my blood boil. From whence did this dark spot come, and could this all be the worth of my present account?

There are those who say “one is still young”, or “people can always change”.

But can such a idiocy really be considered?

“Give me a child until he is three and I shall show you all he can be” so went the rhyme, and with myself, of this year twenty plus one, a quarter of my eventual record, approaching the splendid crux of youth – to twist my face into that of a different character would be something of a coarse and burdensome effort. Unnecessarily fiddling around with this stiff and soaring mountain of a personality, towering in the empty sky, would do nothing but create the high hill of a chance for it to split apart.

Thus, the self I had molded myself into, simply had to be completed. To shy away from that matter was no option.

Steeling my will, I intended to stare at it in the face.

But, even so, it was still a sore sight for eyes.

“The meddling imp that crosses love’s star, shall under the hooves of horses go”, or so someone said, and for this reason I have the tendency to avoid those few stables belonging to the Equestrian Club in the north end of the campus. If I were to approach, the mares would madden their gallop and ford the fence to bring my body under assault, and by the end of the stomping ordeal, I would not even be meat fit for the frying pan. It is for this reason too that I find myself quivering in fear on the approach of the mounted police force in Kyoto.

As for why I fear horses so, it all comes from the black name I made for myself among both the acquaintances and acquaint-nots, as the meddling Love Obstructionist. Donned in a reaper’s cowl as a veritable black cupiditas, I bore a battle axe rather than arrow & bow, and with a keen infra-red sensivity, sought out those fate-spun scarlet threads, and sliced, and diced, and demolished to no end. For the sake of my enterprise, six basins worth of tears were shed by the love-lost of both genders.

I was truly walking the bleakest path. That much I was aware of.

But even I myself had the notion, upon entering the campus, that there was that possibility of a rose-colored relationship with the opposite sex, and I quivered with excitement about the prospect of making a warrior’s go at it. After a few months, I surmised that that much resolve was unnecessary, and decided instead the following credo:

“Never to descend to the level of a cur,

Uphold a gentleman’s gait,

And tie the knot nicely with a lovely maid.”

In any case, even those who relinquished reason and blindly hooked up like roving clouds had the magnanimity of being granted a decent looker.

Yet, along the way, my heart had lost its composure, and I had fallen to the status of a malicious demon whose heart swelled in indescribable pleasure to the music of those severed threads. The red-slicing hate-crying back-alley Demon of Heartbreak Hell. And on that despair-ridden path, there was a single man, sworn friend and blackest foe, but overall contemptuous entity of the highest order, that led me by the arm.

Ozu was in my same year. A student of the engineering department, specializing in Triple-E, but liking neither of both Es nor the E that came thereafter. By the end of the first year, his grades were at such a low altitude, just shy of a crash, that it made you wonder whether there was any point in his enrolment in the first place. But the man himself remained carefree about it.

A hatred of vegetables and a diet of nothing but instant food gave him the pallor of a ghastly being from the dark side of the moon. At night, 8 out of 10 witnesses would mistake him for a nocturne spirit. The other two were probably the spirits themselves. He stomped on the weak, flattered the powerful, spared no thought for others, basked in haughty narcissism, curated laziness, blasphemed contrariously, shunned study, did nothing to make his mother proud, and plied his bread & butter from the misery of others. Not a single praise can be said of him. Were it so that I did not cross his path, would I have led a cleaner existence.

With that in view, taking my first step into the movie circle “Misogi” was mostly certainly the biggest mistake of my first year.

At that time you could have called me a pup. The blooming cherry blossom trees had fresh greens on their boughs.