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An ever smiling REI-kun

Friday 11, February 2011

It is the second day. The number of participants has increased
and the film festival market is getting more lively.
I am here on a mission, and that mission is
to have three important meetings.
One was on the first day, and the other two were today. Fortunately, all three meetings went smoothly, so the market was ideal for me.
I now have lots of free time.
Japanese films are hard to sell,
and in the later part of the festival lots of buyers
from small territories just collect information like
“raking up fallen leaves” in preparation for the next market.
However, I have learnt from experience,
and judge my provision well so my clients were satisfied.
I feel quite relieved now.
From today onwards I can watch various films without worrying.
My translator for this market was Rei (Rei-kun),
who lives in Berlin. He looks young, but is in fact over thirty.
His careful consideration and his smartness
have been a great asset to my market presence.
He is studying how human emotions and the body functions are
influenced by images via a post-graduate course here in Germany.
I do not know about his area of study, but I heard he is writing
a disitation on the subject “What comes first the tears or emotion
when we cry whilst watching a film?”. I can’t understand it all,
but he is a student at a philosophy department here.
I am convinced that his theme is a difficult one.
I hear, that after graduating from a Japanese university,
he started life in Germany with a two -mat room at the cost of 60 euro a month.
To help pay for this he took a part-time job at a Chinese restaurant in Berlin.
When he wanted a bath he had to steal coals from the railway sidings.
He bought these back to his room on a trolley,
and heated his shower with a small boiler using one coal chunk at a time.
But now, he is renting an apartment with two rooms and
he has a pet cat. He has his part-time job (13 hours) at
the Chinese restaurant, which pays 4 euros per hour.
“I have a cat. It is waiting for me at home.
I can have a cat now (giggles).
Pardon? Of course, my parents do not give me an allowance.
In Germany, school fees are 50 euro a month.
It’s cheap isn’t it?
I can manage to pay that myself.”
He is a person with guts and strong will.
He does not have that pathetic, foreboding future outlook that is
often found in young people in Japan today.
He is looking forward to the future cheerfully,
although he does not know what it holds for him.
He said
“The unemployment rate in the area where I am living is 50%”
“About unemployment? I am not sure what will happen.
Although I am 30 years old now,
I am a new graduate.” (laughs).
“Whether in Japan or Germany,
I’ll find a job, wherever one wants to chose me.
Do you think I can find a job?” (laughs)
He is always smiling, even when he said this.
“We will be able to get something when we have to”.
I can feel all the positive energy needed to tackle life.
I am sure he learnt about himself from his poor life in Germany.
I think we could all learn to live this life from his boldness and self belief.
I really want to tell this to people in Japan where the suicide ratio keep increasing
for over the decade now.  
“In the beginning I used to work in the kitchen,
 but when a waiter quit I moved up into their job.
 I am quite good as a waiter, so the manager said to me that
 he would employ me at any time. (laughs).
“I’ll treat you to Chinese food tomorrow”,
he said, and so he invited me to where he worked.
This increased my enjoyment even more.
An ever smiling Rei-kun is happily drinking
an Apple Cinnamon milk-shake in front of a table full of powerful women.
He ordered a kid’s drink complete with a teddy bear muddler.
“I’ll take a photo of you with that and put in on my blog”,
I teased him. He hid the muddler from view.
He talks very fast, and I can only half understand all he says.
It is the only defect in his character. That is Rei-kun.
Well, that is a report on the reality of live for Japanese students in Berlin.