As was previously reported, Daigo Umehara recently released a book in Japan entitled 勝ち続ける意志力, or The Will to Keep Winning. Kotaku is once again doing a feature on the book, this time focusing on an anecdote that highlights the friendships formed within the community.
The story in question is from Daigo’s freshman year of junior high, when he first got into fighting games in the arcade. Coming from being the “boss of his class” in elementary, Daigo had trouble adjusting to junior high and as a result became a loner. He eventually found a place where he could be himself, in an arcade that was some distance from his home.
Daigo, who felt he had no place in school, found himself at home there. Back at school, social norms dictated what sports to be interested in, what TV shows to watch, what music to listen to, and what was popular was more important than personal tastes. But in the arcade, Daigo found himself among like-minded people he got along with because of a common interest they already shared.
It was here that Daigo found a friend in an older boy who was even more of an outcast than him. While other gamers tended to avoid that guy, Daigo found him to be very interesting and the two soon became friends. It was this friend who is the focus of the touching anecdote in question here.
Playing a bit later than usual one summer night, Daigo found himself missing the last train home. Daigo immediately called his dad who, after getting mad at him, told him to take a taxi home. However, after having spent the evening at the arcade, Daigo could no longer afford to take a cab. It was at this point that his new-found friend stepped in and offered him a ride on his bike. Being that the arcade was pretty far from his house, the trip took them 3 hours during which Daigo kept wondering why the guy was doing this for him. As Daigo himself writes:
“I stood there staring at him getting smaller and smaller in the distance, and for the first time I realized, ‘Oh, this is what friendship is.”
To this day, Daigo is still friends with that man.
You can read the rest of the article over at Kotaku.
Image c/o Kotaku East