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Sometimes a dream is just a dream
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EXT. YOKOHAMA-SAME MORNING
We see Loco walk away from a fairly modern apartment complex. Still high from his dream, he has a bounce in his step, pride in his stride. He walks upright, confident and poised, basking in the morning air and sunshine. Around him, the Sakura trees lining the streets announce Spring’s pending arrival with cherry blossom buds. The streets are quiet, traffic-free, even people-free.
(resumes from previous scene)
(Yumi’s typing )
But, this movie business troubles me.
I don’t know why he thinks his life here is
interesting enough that it would make a good movie.
He has such delusions of grandeur, I swear.
Our lives are so normal, I think.
Until Loco reaches the corner he encounters no one. The light signal is red and though there are no cars coming from either direction he awaits the change. Suddenly people start to converge on the corner from various directions. All Japanese. He notices them, and we can see a transformation come over him, like he’s trying to shrink or hide in plain sight, disappear inside his clothes. With his back humped and hs head slumped he whips out his cellphone and starts playing Tetris. He makes eye contact with no one.
We live in a normal neighborhood, in Yokohama.
Lovely, expensive, but normal. And the people here? Very normal.
We see most people angling away from him once they notice him, conspicuously so. No one stands too close to him. ONE MAN waiting for the light’s change notices him standing near and suddenly darts across the street though the red light. A car has to hit the brakes and swerve to avoid hitting him, and the driver blows his horn at him. The man stops and bows to the car, then walks on his way, glancing back in Loco’s direction.
Loco doesn’t see any of this. We get the sense he doesn’t need to.
I can’t say his experience on the train are normal.
He used to talk about it all the time.
Nowadays he doesn’t say much.
Loco is on the train, still with his head down, by all appearances oblivious to the activity: Here we insert a 30-second IWAKAN MONTAGE, a collection of images illustrating the bizarre behavior of his fellow straphangers and the clear effort to avoid being in his vicinity: the staring (directly and through reflective surfaces), the fleeing, the back turning, the handbag clutching, the infamous Gaijin Perimeter, etc…
But for a foreigner living in Japan, I’m sure it’s pretty normal.
I told him that Japanese people are shy of foreigners.
And especially shy of black people I’ve learned being with him.
He tells me “shy” has a different meaning here.
He asked, “are deer shy of panthers?”
I told him it depends on if they’re Japanese deer are not.
He didn’t like that answer. I thought it was pretty clever, though.
INT. YOKOHAMA JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL – SAME MORNING
We see two boys, MATSUI and SATOU, laying in ambush on either side of the entrance, and as Loco enters the school, they pounce on him, one high, the other low, catching him totally off-guard. They aggressively try to get at his groin. Loco grabs a fistful of Matsui’s uniform shirt and jacket, lifts him and pens him against the wall, while with his free hand he swats viciously at Satou. We can see that if one of these blows should land, Satou would remember it for the rest of his life. He keeps his distance while Matsui flails and kicks at Loco. Another teacher, MORITA, thirty-something, tall, slim, and as effete as a J-Pop idol, exquisitely coiffed hair and all, enters the school, witnesses this scene and is mortified. He stealthily slides by without being noticed, clearly not wanting to get involved. Loco catches a glimpse of him stepping lively as he turns the corner.
He goes to work at his normal job.
He’s a foreigner teaching English in Japan, of all things.
Can you be any more un-special? I don’t think so.
But, don’t tell my Old Fart that!
Not to suggest I don’t think he’s special. In fact, I know he is.
That’s why I’m still with him. But, maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe his life isn’t as normal as I think it is.
Or maybe there’s something rich and meaningful in its normality.
Maybe it would be an interesting movie.
Loco enters the teacher’s office, and all eyes turn his way. His clothes are a little disarranged. The tail of his shirt has come un-tucked from his pants, he’s lost a button in the brawl, and he has a footprint on the thigh of his black jeans from when Matsui had kicked him. But, we get the feeling this is not uncommon for no one in the office registers surprise at his appearance. He goes to his desk, exchanges greetings with his neighbors, and takes his seat. He sees Morita, trying desperately not to make eye contact with him. Loco looks around the expanse of the teacher’s office. And at the various faces of the people he spends every day with. Their expressions are predomonantly joyless, but attentive. His expression is both joyless and listless. He checks his desk for the day’s CLASS SCHEDULE, finds it and it informs him he has no classes scheduled until after lunch. His eyes move from the schedule directly to the two unoccupied computer terminals in the corner of the office, and they brighten.
INT. TEACHER’S OFFICE – MORNING
Loco is seated at a computer terminal in the teacher’s office. On the screen we see he has just opened a new post on his blog.
What do I know, anyway?
I certainly don’t think my life is anything special.
But, I blog about it every day, anyway.
And, for some reason, it gets over 2,000 hits a day!
Thank you all very much, by the way! But, still, I must
say (though I’d never say it to my metabolic Old Fart’s
chubby face): Sometimes a dream is just a dream.
Loco types the words: Just a dream. He smiles at the words, then whips out a pad we recognize as the same pad he keeps on his nightstand. He takes a quick look around at the mostly emptied office, takes a peak at the clock (8:55 am) and begins typing.
BEGIN MUSIC (Brian Kelly’s “She is dancing”)
A SHORT MONTAGE begins: Loco typing, bopping his head in time to the music like it’s playing in his head, laughing, editing, and revising. Time marches on…Teachers come and go, but Loco remains fixed at the computer terminal. The clock now reads: (12:30pm) and Loco drags the mouse cursor over the word: PUBLISH.
Then suddenly he makes one last change. He renames the post: Can you be more Japanese? That’s it! He’s done. He sits back in the chair and admires it, a big grin on his face. Then bell rings and he left-clicks the mouse.