Thank You Tonegawa

Readers of the blog, you might be wondering: who is this “Tonegawa” and why must he be thanked? My friend and her post are partly responsible. A conversation we had led us to this scene from the anime, Kaiji.

Tonegawa is one of the antagonists who, after laying out a life-or-death game, delivers a monologue that criticizes the way of life led by many of its participants. These participants frivolously spend their time gambling, complaining, and lamenting that their real lives have yet to start, and that they will eventually awaken – a fantasy that they continue deluding themselves with until their dying days. In short, they live in a perpetual state of stagnation, waiting for an ideal future to be spoon-fed to them.

The Waiting Place … for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss

The biggest takeaway from his monologue is that no moments in one’s life are provisional. The time that these characters spend waiting for a life that’s more fulfilling is spent wasted. Although Tonegawa’s supposed to be the bad guy here, he extends an lifeline to these people by forcing them into an unreasonable situation: acknowledge your own weaknesses and break out of this fantasy world you’ve constructed, or die.

Fortunately, those of us chilling in bed don’t have to heed his advice under such extreme conditions. Rather than thinking about how shitty things are, or how much better life with be if you could do this, or have that, Tonegawa’s advice is that thinking this way is meaningless and we should instead focus on living meaningfully. For me, I started blogging after a lifetime of wishing that I had a chance to write more (more motivations here). While I know I’ve wasted a lot of my life in a meaningless way, it’s comforting to know that I have yet the time between now and the day I die to spend.






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