The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a man in my 60s. I got divorced and left my house in spring last year when I retired from work and my daughter graduated from university. I have no hope or dreams for the future. My life is dreary now.
Since I never got along with my wife, or with her mother who lived with us, I didn’t speak to them for more than a decade. I always ate alone and stayed in my room except when I had to go to the bathroom or take a bath.
They never sought my opinion on household affairs, such as renovating the house, purchasing electric appliances or my daughter’s education and career path. My daughter always told me what had happened, and handed me a bill when necessary.
I now live alone in a provincial area, renting an old house. I live on my pension and the small amount I earn from a part-time job.
I have no savings since I’m still repaying the school loan for my daughter, who sides with my wife. I cannot contact her because she changed her cell phone six months ago.
I used to love playing pachinko, but I gave it up a decade ago. I don’t have any hobbies, nor do I drink or smoke. I have no friends. There is nothing for me to do but watch TV on my days off or after returning from work. I’m so lonely and bored I end up watching erotic sites on the internet late at night. It’s the only amusement I have now. I’m worried that this kind of life will continue until the day I die.
B, Shizuoka Prefecture
Dear Mr. B:
I think you need to reflect on why all this transpired. Open a notebook and turn off the TV. Then, start recalling everything since your childhood up until today. I want you to specifically think of the people who have supported you. Write down “People who supported me” at the top of the page on the left, and list their names. Then, describe how these people helped you. Put down as much detail as possible.
I recommend you to do this every day, after you return home, because it won’t be easy. I would say the project would be half accomplished when you begin to enjoy recalling your past.
Once you get used to doing this, start writing down the names and details of the people you supported on the right side of the notebook. When both sides are filled to some extent, read them and compare which side has been described more. You should be able to comprehend who you are and what you are like through this task. It will then be your turn to think about what you should be doing with yourself from now on.
Tatsuro Dekune, writer