The Dragon Comes To America, Chapter 1: Family Business Mar 17, 2023 10:54:30 GMT -5
Post by thegoldendragon on Mar 17, 2023 10:54:30 GMT -5
I was never a big drinker, but as someone who was a stranger in a strange land, I needed to “take the edge off” as the Americans say. I was alone for the first time in my life. The first time I didn’t have family, friends, or fans around me. While it was a shock to the system, it also felt freeing. So, with all of those factors weighing upon my shoulders, I find myself in a small bar.
It was more of an upscale restaurant than a bar, really, but the bar is where I sat. That, coupled with the fact that not many people order swordfish or a tomahawk rib-eye at eleven pm, leads me to call it a bar. The drastic changes in a short amount of time helped lead me here, but it did not strengthen my taste for Irish whiskey, thus the nursing of my drink at the end of the bar.
I hoped to acquire the "acquired taste" with another sip. I almost choke on my drink though, as a soft voice beside me says, “I love your hair”.
As I began to choke and was clearly startled, she responds with laughter in the same soft voice. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you”, she says through laughter as she hands me some cocktail napkins.
I turn to retrieve the napkins, and I’m stunned by her beauty. Hair dark as night, skin white as snow, and eyes as green as precious jade. “No, I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting anyone to talk to me.”.
She smiles, and I smile.
Why wouldn’t anyone talk to you? If you haven’t looked around, you kind of stick out.
I paused for a moment and looked around the room. Even in a city as large and as culturally vast as San Francisco, I still stood out. Not many 6’4" Asian men with golden blonde hair walked the streets, even here. I looked back into her green eyes and smiled. I wasn’t sure of myself in this situation. Back in Japan, I had women flocking to me all the time. It was part of being a star and a semi-celebrity. Here though, it was unusual. She was the first person to speak to me in a genuine manner, instead of someone doing service work, or looking to con someone “fresh off the boat”.
“I don’t know anyone here”, I say, as I lay the crumbled, wet napkins on the bar.
“New to San Fran?”, she asks as she settles onto the stool across from me, clearly ready for a conversation.
“New to America”, I say as I sit up straight.
“Well, welcome to America. Little secret, it isn’t all that the tourism ads make it out to be. My name is Kristen, it’s nice to meet you.”, she says as she extends her hand.
I smile, and shake it, responding, “My name is Shinjiro, very nice to meet you.”.
She smiles as she leans against the bar.
So, what brings you to San Fran, Shinjiro?
My face smiles, but my mind flashes back to the real reason I am in America. The place. Mount Takao National Forest, just outside of Tokyo. It was night, and the rain was falling heavily that day. I remember the headlights of my Subaru WRX illuminating my father was on his knees, his arm severely cut and bleeding. I saw the man who had raised me on his knees, ready to die, not fearing death, but also not welcoming it. Between my car and him stood two men, one with a gun, and one with a Katana.
The men turned and looked at me, I knew who they were, and they certainly knew who the car belonged to. I saw my beaten and bloody father, then I saw two other bodies lying behind him. I felt the fire of rage overflowing inside of me. I quickly shifted the car into gear and sped toward the two men. The man with the katana leaped from my path, but the one with the gun was overconfident. He thought his gun made him more powerful than he was. His aim and trigger squeezing was quick, but my Subaru was faster.
A single bullet hit my windshield, and while it cracked the glass, it did not pierce it. My lowered hood clipped him below his knees and his body flew up my hood and over the roof. I quickly stopped the car, shifted into reverse, and backed over him to ensure he was not going to get up. I spring from my car and sprinted to my father. I wrapped my arms around him and helped him to his feet. His voice, which was as weak as his body, shakily said, “Shinjiro, you do not know what you have just done.”.
I steadied him on his feet, and as I did, I looked him in the eye and replied, “No, they do not know what they have done”.
I hear the sound of steel dragging on dirt, causing me to turn cautiously. There stood the man with the katana. His suit was wet and tattered, and his face was marked with a slight bruise. He had clearly already engaged in combat with my father. I watched his hands as he gripped the handle of the Katana. His left pinky finger was missing, a clear indicator of his affiliations.
I stepped forward, prepared to engage in war. “Shinjiro, no, you do not understand. You cannot…” I silenced my father’s speech by lifting my hand. I did not look back at him as I spoke, “no father, they don’t understand WHO we are.”.
I moved forward and began to circle as the man with the katana circled as well. He lifted his sword and charged forward, and I readied myself for combat. His swipe was wide, unskilled, untrained. He was not a Samurai; he was merely a gangster playing at being a warrior. I stepped in and, to the side, blocked his arms, caught his wrist, and used my Judo skills to throw him onto his back. I held onto his wrist and used my Aikido training to break his elbow with a Nikyo pin.
As I stood up, I picked up the katana. I stood over this man who was once an aggressive abuser and attacker and watched him as he was now a victim, writhing in pain. I turned to my father and handed the katana to him.
This one is yours.
Shinjiro, are you ok?
Her words snapped me back to reality. I had zoned out, lost in my memories. I smiled, to ease her concern, and took a sip of my Irish Whisky to steel my nerves, but all it does is burn my tongue and throat. My face gives away that I am not a drinker and again causes her to laugh. I shake my head, amused at myself as I sit the glass down again.
I’m sorry, just a bit of a memory flashing back.
Well, it clearly isn’t because you’re drunk.
I give an agreeing laugh and this gives her a genuine smile as if she could get any more beautiful.
So, what brings you to San Fran?
I always wanted to see the Golden Gate bridge.
She laughs, a genuine belly laugh, even giving a little snort as she does. Through her laughter, she says, “That’s it, the bridge? What, were you obsessed with Full Hosue growing up or something?”.
What, you seriously don’t know what that is? Danny Tanner? Uncle Jesse? The Olson twins?
I shake my head, my face giving away that I do not know what she is talking about. This is a clear sign to her that I am not only new to San Francisco but to America.
I only arrived in America about two weeks ago. San Francisco has one of the largest Japanese populations in the country, so it seemed like the logical place to go after arriving in America. That, and I really did want to see the bridge.
She smiles and shakes her head.
So, I guess the real question I should be asking is, what brings you to America?
Oh, well, aren’t you just one to dish the tea? What kind of business?
I’m a bit hesitant to give her the answer. In Japan, they looked at us as professional athletes in the same vein as baseball or basketball players, but in America, it was different. The professional wrestlers here had a bit of a celebrity attached to them, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t intrigue me a bit. So, without certainty of how she would respond, I answered vaguely.
The family business.
She gave an inquisitive grin and leaned in. Her eyes looked around the room overly dramatically, as she said, “What are you in the Yakuza?”.
Again my mind flashed back to that rainy day in the first with my father. I held the katana out to my father. “This one is yours. Take your vengeance”, I said as I held the blade out to him.
My father, Hahn Yamamoto, shook his head “no”, and waved me off with his good arm.
Shinjiro, this is not the way to handle this situation. Derukui wa utareru. The nail that sticks out is struck.
Anata wa watashi o karakatte iru nodesu ka!?!
These men were going to kill you. How can you not avenge that?
Shinjiro, this will do nothing but bring more trouble to our house. The only way to end this is to pay them.
No, we end this by consuming them with fire.
I pulled the sword away from my father and turned back to the owner of the Katana. I lifted the blade up, and as a bolt of lightning flashed through the air and glistened off the steel blade, its reflection returned my mind back to the present moment. I smiled back at Kristen as I leaned in closer to her.
If I told you, I’d have to kill you.
She leans back laughing, and says, “I thought James Bond was British, not Japanese.”.
I winked at her as I sat back and replied, “I’m a master of disguise”.
We spent the next hour and a half talking to one another. In that time, I managed to finish the rest of my Irish Whiskey, but it was a battle the entire time, and with each disgusted sip, she laughed. I walked her to her car at the end of the night, and to my delight she too drove a Subaru WRX.
Nice car. I used to have one.
Oh really? I thought James Bond always drove an Aston Martin.
I smile and give a slight laugh.
So, would you want to come back here again? Maybe, for dinner and not just a drink you can’t handle?
Is their steak better than their whisky?
Much worse, actually.
Well, as long as I’m in your company, I could withstand a rotten meal.
She bit her lower lip as she smiled. She pulled out her phone and asked for my number. A moment after giving it, I received a text reading “Kristen Warren” with a smiley face emoji. We smiled at each other in silent bliss for a moment.
I’m heading to the east coast for a couple of weeks. When I get back, I’ll take you out for a celebration dinner.
Oh, what are we celebrating?
A successful business transaction, you know… family business stuff.
She laughed as she opened her door. I took the door from her in a gentle manner and held it open for her. Before I shut the door, she looked at me and said, “don’t forget about me, or that celebration dinner while you’re on the east coast.”.
Kristen, I don’t think I could ever forget you. Thank you for welcoming me to your country.
I shut the door with a smile, and as I watched her drive away, I wonder to myself if she will ever get to know the real me, or if she can handle knowing the truth about me. As the taillight of her car disappeared, I began the walk back to my apartment. The streets were littered with people and lights, and as I placed my air pods in my ears, I turned up my music and let myself get lost in the thoughts of my OCW debut match.
Fugenjikko. Actions before words. Actions speak louder than words. This is an international truth. Put the work before the talk. Place faith in the deeds of a man, not the words of the man. Doing is better than saying talk is cheap. What one does is more important than what one says. Be proactive with your hands, and cautious with your mouth.
Talking is all I’ve seen you do, Easton, just words without substantial action. I will commend you on being the one who stepped up and accepted my challenge. I think that many others in OCW feared the unknown, and that is why they did not accept my challenge. But I don’t think it was an act of bravery from you when you stepped up to answer the challenge. No, I think it was something different for you. I think it was an act of cowardliness. I think you saw a new face, and all you could think was “fresh meat”. Be careful when you do that, Easton, because sometimes the “fish” are actually sharks.
When you saw an unfamiliar face, you assumed they were unacquainted with American or OCW styles. You thought I was an easy mark and a way to pad your pathetic record. You’re wrong, Easton, and at the premium live event, “You Can Do It”, you will find that I can indeed do it and that you cannot do anything about it.
You claim the title of Dragon and you’re upset about my using the moniker as if you have some exclusivity to it. What or who made you the Dragon? Did you make it through the trial by fire? Was it because they forged you in the flames? Was it a moniker passed down from generation to generation in a family of warriors? Or did you just think Canadian Dragon sounded cool?
Words made you a dragon, not actions. That explains why you wanted to engage in a war of words on the internet before our match because it is the only war you will win involving me. I admitted that I spoke too soon about you, and humbly apologized, and what did you do with that olive branch I extended? You broke it over your knee, the only thing that you will ever break over your knee as far as II am concerned. I said to let us not have a war of words, but to test our skills against one another. But you only responded in anger, because you are too unintelligent and unskilled to respond in any other manner.
I understand that my calling you a “common wall lizard” triggered you, but you seem easily triggered, which is another sign of unintelligence and low self-esteem. I also understand that the truth can sometimes hurt. You’re two wins over fifty-fifty. That isn’t the record of a dragon, that is the record of a common wall lizard.
They may bill this match as Dragon versus Dragon, but I’m afraid that is false advertising by the OCW marketing department. For it is truly the Golden Dragon versus the Canada common wall lizard. That is exactly what you are, Easton, common. A common little pest that will serve as nothing more than an appetizer for the Dragon that hungers for gold.
Do you know what gold is, Easton? I ask since you have never held any here in OCW. See, dragons have a natural proclivity towards gold, yet you’ve neglected to store any away. That is just another shred of evidence in the case of you being a common wall lizard, and not actually a dragon.
Easton, you are only a dragon in your own mind. I will be the dragon slayer, the one who delivers a flaming death to the Canadian Dragon. In the battle of the dragons, only one can win, and the winner becomes the alpha of the fertile hunting ground. Easton, when it comes to winning this match, you CAN NOT do it. But, as for the Golden Dragon, at the premium live event, everyone will be saying “HE CAN, do it”.
I derailed my train of thought as I arrived at my apartment to an unusual sight. I noticed my outside light was shattered and my door was ajar. I take out my earbuds and return them to my pocket as my senses raise to high alert. I pull my phone out and utilize the flashlight feature.
As I slowly open my front door, I find something quite unexpected, a box that has been gift-wrapped. I slowly pick the box up, using my sense of sight, sound, and smell to examine it for danger. With none detected, I open the box, by untying the black bow that bound it closed. I slowly lift the lid and what I find inside sends chills up my spine.
The end of chapter 1.