I lived with my uncle until I was eight years old. He had drifted from one job to another since the time long before I was born. He once started the soft drink business with our relative and his friend, which failed. Then he started the bathroom floor pads business with my other uncle, which also failed. As my grandfather couldn’t stand to see his financial aid wasted anymore, he had my uncle hired at a Honda used car dealership by a family connection.
Now that my uncle got a steady job with a fixed income, my grandfather was so happy that he placed a large order for my uncle’s business cards at the print shop, which by the way was run by his brother-in-law at the back of our house. Sadly though, my uncle quit the job after several years without any consultation. He found a new job at a gas station, got married and left our house.
One day I was playing alone in the living room and doodling. I ran out of paper and began to rummage the drawers. I found a box filled with my uncle’s unused business cards. Even as a little kid, I knew he had changed his job and therefore, those cards were completely useless. I was doodling on the back of the cards when my grandfather caught me. He got furious and told me never use them as pieces of paper. It sounded pointless to me and I asked him what use they had. He replied, “That’s not the point. These are expensive and you can’t use them.” He tucked the box back into the drawer carefully while I was wondering who would use them then.
A few months later, my father and I went for a drive to fill up the car at the gas station where my uncle worked. My father looked into the office to say hello to him but he wasn’t there. The manager told my father that my uncle had quit. He was smiling to me back in the car although apparently he seemed dismayed. We drove back home silently…
Episode From An Old Tree in Kyoto /Hodemi Woods