Chapter 3: Spring: Among Showers of Blossoms
The dream 1
"Ruica, Ruica, don't go away. Ruica," Kanalu shouted in a dream.
With tears in her eyes, Ruica walked away from him. He stumbled toward
her but could not reach over to touch her. "Ruica!"
His own voice awakened him, and he was covered in sweat. He was hot - not because of the heater, but he turned it off anyway. Soon it would be daybreak.
The brow of the hill had turned a pale red. The town glowed dimly white with snow. Despite the frosty cold morning he felt strangely warm. Kanalu opened the window and broke off a piece of icicle that hung from the roof of his house. The nipping coldness pierced his fingers. He put it into his mouth. He felt the cool sweetness of the melting icicle. Then he remembered Ruica in her last moments, craving water. He was overwhelmed by his great loss and stood for a long time watching the daybreak.
It was during a summer session of Oxford University that Kanalu met Ruica, a foreign student from China. Kanalu wrote her name in kanji, and showed it to her. The characters he chose gave the meaning "her perfume lingers in her garments"
Ruica was from an aristocratic family of the Uighur Autonomous Region and had both the strength that Chinese people possessed and the deepness of desert inhabitants. She had black hair, well-defined features, and eyes that seemed always to look far away.
She was supposed to return to her own country in three months but she wanted to live with Kanalu. Against her parents' will, she moved in with him.
Before long the delightful stay in England ended when Kanalu found employment with a Japanese company.
Ruica spoke fluent English, Chinese and Uighur, but she could not speak Japanese. They moved to an old fortress town, where Kanalu's new employer was located, where people did not speak English or Chinese. Even though people in the town were kind to Ruica, she had much difficulty communicating with them. There was a Japanese language class in the town, but it was available only once a week. Ruica could not fit in with the life of the town. When they were in England, there was a community that accepted people from all around the world. In Japan, some places were not readily open to people who came from outside. When they were students in England, they were always together, but here in Japan Kanalu worked until late hours weekdays and spent his weekends in business trips and playing golf.
Ruica was very lonely. At Japanese companies, new employees, even those with successful careers, were expected to adapt themselves to their work surroundings. Also Kanalu was exhausted. They did not have much time to be together. On the few occasions when they were together, they would vent their frustrations at one another. Ruica was especially frustrated with his job.
"Why do you develop systems for a company which is notorious for environmental destruction?" Ruica asked Kanalu. "In England, you did a lot of research. Was that research only to contribute to the company's profit?"
"I am a new employee. I have to take any job they assign me."
"You have changed. You were so ambitious to do everything by your own method. Where did you leave that ambition?"
"Ruica, I wish I could do as you say. But after all I am Japanese. In Japanese companies it is very important for new employees to adapt themselves to the organization, at least in the beginning."
Ruica shook her head, to indicate that she did not understand.
"I know it is important to adapt to the corporate culture, but that is different from working without pride. Does your work or the technology you are working on make anyone happy?"