The other day a group of friends went down to the beach. There’s no swimming allowed, so all one can do there is, among other things, sit in the sand and chat, watch people walk their dogs, and after it gets dark, watch people set off fireworks right in front of the sign that says “No fireworks allowed.”
Everett. Do you think you’ll live in Japan the rest of your life?
Mari. I hope not.
Mari. I just don’t want to live here all my life.
Everett. Where would you like to live then?
Mari. Los Angeles.
Everett. You came up with that answer pretty fast.
Mari. I lived in Los Angeles for six months as an exchange student. I love it there. The weather is so nice all the time, the people are friendly—I just love Los Angeles.
Everett. What would you want to do there?
Mari. I don’t care. As long as I get to live in LA, I’m happy.
Everett. I’ve never been.
Billy. I don’t think you’re missing much. LA is kind of sad. So many beautiful people congregating to one place in the hopes of becoming famous. I imagine them rehearsing their Oscar acceptance speeches in the mirror as they get ready for their morning shift waiting tables.
Mari. You see this in LA?
Billy. Yeah, but only because I’ve grown up knowing about the desperation of Los Angeles.
Mari. I love it there. Do you have a Popeyes in your city?
Billy. There’s no fast food in my town.
Mari. Popeyes was my favorite place to eat in LA. That, or maybe Panda Express.
Billy. Of all the great places to eat in LA your favorite was Popeyes?
Mari. Yes. Or Panda Express. I would get out of class and go straight to Panda Express. Their orange chicken was the best. I loved doing this.
Everett. So you want to live in LA so you can enjoy the weather, the locals, and the fast food, but you don’t know what you want to do for a job there.
John. Cheers. At least you know what you want.
Mari. What about you? Would you want to live in Japan?
John. I don’t think I would to be honest. Japan is lovely, full of incredible culture and stunning scenery, but I can’t shake the feeling that, no matter how long I live here, I’ll always be a foreigner. I’ll say this about America: the few times I’ve stayed there I’ve always felt as though I’d eventually be an American. Despite my English accent and the fact that I was born in the UK, I know that if I were to live in America the rest of my life eventually people would call me an American without hesitation; and I would believe them, too.
The sun has just disappeared behind the sea, and people are already setting up convenience store fireworks, which reminds us that we have run out of beer, so we all rise and head to the nearest 7-Eleven to stock up for the rest of the night.