Excerpt from Buying Truth: Compiled recollections of R. Koyanagi
I’d come to the Pacific States full of wonder and optimism, like a lot of Japanese kids straight out of university, hoping to find adventure and a new beginning (which mostly meant the chance to find a job without kowtowing to the family my father had slaved for every day since he came back from the War). I’d had promise, everyone had said, and I’d felt I had reason to believe that: I was a bright guy, never had a hard time fitting in. Hell, I’d even been published a handful of times, even if they were local circulations.
In 198█, though, I wasn’t going anywhere fast. I was working a dead-end job, living in a shitty apartment, and usually fitting in with the wrong sort of people. Nearly every second not working or desperately trying to sleep was spent typing away at my Zony Quiktype, but writing? For a living? Not even close to a pipedream, then. I wouldn’t recommend living that way, but like most people in the circles I frequented, I couldn’t exactly help it at the time. I guess if I could describe it positively, I’d say that it taught me to be a cheapskate quickly. That’s why I found myself in Stuff4You4Cheap one fateful day in June.
Stuff4You4Cheap liked to call them "company-sponsored swap-meets". Of course, anyone with half a brain who went would realize that their only vendor, apart from the occasional Bannermen-affiliated drug dealer, was the "sponsor's" owner and operator Rachel Huang. S4Y4C was sort of a “roving” secondhand shop, which mostly meant that Huang would find someplace with cheap rent and sell out of it until she found someplace “better”, or police pressure got to be too troublesome for business. Its current location was a mid-sized flea-market booth in south Anaheim occupied by a handful of customers, myself included, and Rachel Huang.
If you wanted something, there was a good chance that Stuff4You4Cheap could sell you an approximation of what you wanted for an approximation of the cost, which was why I was there and desperately hoping for something approaching cultural stimulation on a budget little better than paycheck-to-paycheck. They actually had a pretty good selection, even at that point, as long as you didn’t mind your choices usually being limited to low-quality cassettes by local artists or bootlegs of more popular music and movies. I was looking over the poorly-translated synopsis of a newer film from back home ("Shining Flutter, Lethal Weapon") when they walked in. If I hadn’t looked up as I prepared myself for haggling with Huang, I probably would have missed it:
Ganbare! Pacific Authenticity of American Dream!
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