The Unhappy at the Happiest Place hr671

Hidemi Woods
4 min readOct 21, 2023

Looking back, the bottom of my life was several years in the mid-80’s when I left my hometown and came to live in Tokyo where I was struggling for success as a musician. While I was working part-time for a living, I was making songs, looking for band members, doing gigs and selling our demos to the record companies. Those days were so energy-consuming without any luck that my mind and body had been both tuckered out. I began to drink and smoke.

It happened at the theme park in the Tokyo area which host was the mouse. I had been working part-time as an attraction cast member at the park that was newly opened only a few years back. Because it was in the midst of the Japanese holiday week, the park was quite crowded. The attraction where I worked had a full house all day and a long waiting line continued. When I was introducing the attraction over the PA system at the holding area inside, I saw a group of three peevishly-looking men in their late twenties eating popcorn. After I put down the microphone, I approached them and gently with a smile asked not to eat inside, which was strictly instructed as a working procedure. Then I noticed they were sitting on a swung chain in front of the mural painting. I went to them and again asked not to because the chain was easily detached from the poles thus dangerous, which was also what the cast member was strictly told to do. The whole thing originated with these two trivial incidents.

Next to the holding area was the preshow area where the short movie was shown. In the middle of the movie, I saw some people open the door and enter the next theater, which was prohibited. I followed them into the theater where the main attraction was. They were the same men who had infringed the attraction rules at the holding area. I politely asked them to return to the preshow or go out as they weren’t allowed to skip the process. One of them said to me angrily, “You have kept telling me not to do this and that all the way! Stop that already!” They refused what I asked and tried to stay in the main theater. I explained the preshow would end merely in about a few minutes and asked them to go back. Then he yelled at me, “Shut up, ugly!”

The word ‘ugly’ had been a cue for me since I was a child. I battered a boy who uttered the word to me at elementary school. Even in my adult life, I once tried to strangle a middle-aged hoodlum and push him over the bridge-rail down to the river. In that case, I was carrying all the musical instruments and walking slowly when the man yelled at me from behind, “Walk fast!” I turned around and explained why I couldn’t do so with a heavy burden, and he said, “Don’t bar the way, ugly!” Probably because of my complex, I easily lost control whenever somebody told me ‘ugly’.

The man’s cue at the theme park made me thrust him with my both hands. He fired up as well and shouted, “Violence! Violence here!” Next moment, I found myself punching him. He looked surprised and terrified, then repeated like a child, “Violence! I was hit by an employee!” Other cast members came running toward us. Without a word, I left the attraction for the break area where I smoked a Camel.

Nobody came to me and I returned to work after I pulled myself together half an hour or so later. Neither the supervisor nor my colleagues mentioned the incident. They acted perfectly as if nothing had happened. They behaved similarly the next day, too, except for a distant attitude. Since it was in those times when companies’ awareness of compliance was low and social media where people upload their video clips was yet to come, the incident didn’t raise a fuss. Even so, I didn’t feel relieved not to be fired. I just felt sorry for the mouse who was the host of the park, that I did violence at my favorite place. I noticed how low I had gotten as a person. The sense I needed to clean up my act and change led me to quit the job soon after the incident.

I am so ashamed of my past self. I couldn’t, and still can’t, forgive my behavior. Just because I was unhappy, I shouldn’t have taken it out to others. I realized I was a foolish punk myself, and bitterly hated myself for that. The decision to quit the job was the new cue to try to become a better person. What I didn’t see was that the cue consequently turned my life for the better. I thought I was completely cornered and resigned to live at the bottom, not knowing I had gotten out of the worst already.