The world is attracted to Paris, the city of light, but if you stay to live the shadow beneath her reveals itself to you eventually…at least it has to me. Through my daily struggle in Paris, I began to realize what possessed me to title this blog as ‘the third red apple.’ An initial hint is in the pages available in English and French, but little did I know that it was just a beginning.
Back in the old ages, predators were savage and
physical.Victims were slain to death. There was no coming back from that.But in the modern age, predators tend to shy
away from physical abuses remembering the legal consequences.Thus, came the age of victim-business.
It is quite fool proof and yet potent. Generally, people are sucked in by the former
victims’ sad tales, no matter how shamelessly elaborated, and believe them without checking
the facts.Some smart or life-wise ones would
voice their suspicion, only to be struck back with the accusation of
discrimination of all kinds: racist, religious persecutors, misogynist, ageism…the
list goes on.If you have some money, the
victim-business will send their lawyer to milk you, over and over because it
does not matter how much money you have paid already, it is the heart that counts,
and you have not apologized sincere enough.So, pay up!One word from you
complaining their elaboration of the facts, the price will hike even
steeper.It is quite lucrative, this
victim-business of the modern age.Best
of all, no one can stop them, and they feel no remorse about having turned predators
of a more sinister kind.In their mind
they are always right that the world should revere them.The sense of obligation and respect for the
order goes out of the window.It is not
cheating if they do it.Hard work is for
the idiots, like Japanese workers, who are forever indebted to the victim business.
It is so tempting to go down this
road.God knows, I nearly did after being
exposed to ‘the sludge’ community for so long. But Mme. Landlord showed me what is in store
for the victim-business.She manipulated
me by mimicking Mr. Pride jeering at my health damaged by his restaurant from
Hell.It was such a vulgar sight that
spoke a world about her true color.And
yet I attributed the vileness to Mr. Pride because my self-righteousness
blocked me from seeing who she was.I
was against ageism, and she took much advantage of it.Wasn’t I fooled when she acted out the scene where
she was being bullied by Mr. Pride?Furthermore, she thoughtfully advised me not to have a direct contact
with Mr. Pride because he was a crafty man who would use my word and twist them
against me.In hindsight she robbed my
chance of finding out the facts.
I am so grateful that I ran into Mr. Pride
after I had left the influence of Mme. Landlord. His eyes were not as arrogant as I had been made to believe.In the end
he was a man who was duped by Mme.
Empathy, just like I was by Mme. Landlord.In his own way, he apologized to me for my horrendous near-death experience
caused by Mme. Empathy.It took me a
while to apologize to him myself for having opposed him without verifying the facts, but I needed time to be sure that Mr. Pride was not part
of ‘The Sludge’ or ‘the victim-business.And more time to find a definition of myself.I was not going to be a victim, the word I
detest now.I must not turn a predator
either. Then what am I to be? To be continued.
I have just edited
my last post in which I had renamed a character.In hindsight it may have caused confusion, thus I decided to bring back
the old name, Mme. Landlord, to the hyena lady.I also mentioned in the last post that she had lied to me about the personality of Mr. Pride,
but smart readers would have suspected it already.
So, instead I
shall report to you the latest of the restaurant from HELL. In my last post I explained why I refrain from
investing my life in revenge. However, I
still take measures to stop any further damages. This is called ‘survival.’ Let me refresh your memory by referring you to
my post number 74. In it, I explained why
my last resort was to let them win until
they weaken themselves with their own toxins.
I no longer
proceeded with my lawsuit against the restaurant from Hell.I cannot reveal the facts, but Mr. Honor
pulled the string in the end and my lawyer was made to feel the pressure.In this sense, a lawsuit against the
restaurant from Hell never had a chance and Mme. Landlord knew this.Thus she did not want to spend her own money
on legal procedures and schemed to use mine while pretending to be sympathetic to
my suffering.But even if she had been a
nice lady as she portrayed herself to the world, I still would not have
appealed because I sensed that any defeat would further empower the sludge.
In case you have
not read my posts about the young Mme. Harmonie who became the new owner of the
restaurant from Hell, she was the one who demanded the residents to show understanding to the restaurant in the name of harmony while telling me
to keep my windows closed if I did not want to hear their noise instead of insulating her noisy machines up to the standard.However, I stopped calling the police as the restaurants from Hell broke the regulations and repeatedly blasted the neighborhood with a monstrous music.Had it faced the busy street, it would have been understandable, but they terrorized this quiet off-street in the historic corner of Paris.With nothing to stop her, Mme. Harmonie kept
on and wasted her only chance to change the bad reputation she had inherited
from Mme. Empathy who had washed off the restaurant from Hell on Mme. Harmonie.The neighborhood was about to organize a petition against the restaurant, but stopped to see if the new owner would behave
right.Mme. Harmonie proved to be no
better than Mme. Empathy, if not worse.
from hell failed to win local regular diners that even its chef quitted before his anniversary.Of course, this was far
from over for Mme. Harmonie, but I have become immune to disgust after three years in Paris.Instead I thought it was interesting that
there was these two women who shared the similar attitude but one was Mme. Harmonie from
a cult and one was Mme. Landlord, an atheist.To be continued.
A French lawyer working as the assistant of
my regular lawyer was assigned my case against Mme. Landlord.He would naturally be bias as I was his client,
but still the genuine shock on his face was enough proof that Mme. Landlord had
behaved without honor according to the French standards.My lawyer was even more disgusted because he had
once spent hours calming the nerve of Mme. Landlord when the restaurant from
Hell was winning.Who paid for the
expense?Me, of course.But I arranged it as a gift from me to Mme.
Landlord because she was a dear friend of mine…at that time.I had expected it would cost me one-hour
legal fees, but Mme. Landlord took the advantage of my offer and consulted my
lawyer for her own business too.My legal
tab was for 2 hours and more.However, I
was still happy when I paid for it that my French lawyer was touched by my
generosity and loyalty.
However, Mme. Landlord has chosen to abuse my
trust and even extract more money from me.My French lawyer was indignant that an aged woman who was a grandmother
of many grandchildren should have chosen to exploit a migrant young enough to
be her daughter.In hindsight, he was
puzzled that Mme. Landlord who started with a few words about my plight by the
hand of the restaurant from Hell, the two hours legal consultation soon
disintegrated into how much she despised the restaurant that had depreciated
the financial value of her apartments.She
was adamant about kicking Mr. Pride and his restaurant from Hell and for that she
made use of my suffering…and my money.I
was once grateful that my rent was lowered for it, but my lawyer immediately
suspected that Mme. Landlord would collect the difference after the restaurant
was out of the building.She has tried
this method before with Jupiter.She allured
him into paying for renovating her apartment and then terminated the lease and
demanded compensation for the damage.This way she could sell her apartment, now done up in a modern style
thus more sellable than before, with no expense on her at all.
My lawyer suspected Mme. Landlord would repeat
her antics with me, so his legal letter to her covered many grounds.Mme. Landlord made a mistake of having consulted
her own problems with my lawyer, leaving a legal record that she had knowingly benefitted
from my lawyer.My lawyer demanded a
counter compensation from on all the hours of legal fees. My painting labor alone would have cost Mme.
Landlord 5000 euros had she employed a professional.My lawyer halved it out of good faith.He wished to demand her for the injury on my
wrist because it has affected my career and would continue to do so in future,
but as I left France immediately after the injury to accompany my fragile
mother back to Japan, it would be difficult to prove the liability of Mme. Landlord.
While he was finalizing his legal letter,
Mme. Landlord bombarded me with her emails demanding me to do the right thing
and observe the harmony among the neighbors.Her hypocritical words resembled that of Mme. Harmonie of the restaurant
from Hell.No wonder Mme. Landlord detested
her.They were birds of a feather.To be continued.
You might wonder why I still honored my promise
I made to Mme. Landlord to paint her apartment despite her harsh nature that
had revealed itself with time.One was
for the honor of all the migrants.Mme.
Landlord would spread around a slander about another ungrateful migrants who
would not return her kindness.Completing the painting was the only way to prevent it.But another reason was a sentimental
one.I naively hoped that my sincerity might
soften her attitude in the end.In
hindsight I guess I realized something was wrong, but I believed sincerity was
the only way an Asian could befriend a French in Paris.
Mme. Landlord informed me that she was
having a guest over in April and thus she must have her apartment ready by then.She was not in Paris in the month of January,
so I assumed there would be no painting during the cold winter months.I decided to have my mother flown from Japan into
Paris to my new room.I should have done
so sooner considering her advanced age, her fragileness precipitated by four
operations, but I had to delay it thanks to the restaurant from Hell below who made
my former apartment a hell to live.Not the
environment for my fragile mother.February
was not exactly the ideal month for a visit, but Paris is mesmerizing at any
time of the year.
The first 10 days with my mother was
wonderful.She needed my assistance all
the time, but she loved every minute of it.Then…it happened.Mme. Landlord
returned all of sudden to Paris and ordered me to resume the painting of her apartment
to repay her for her kindness.I
explained that my mother was here with me for just another 10 days and there
would be a plenty of time before her guest arrived in 2 months.But non, Mme. Landlord was going away on
holidays in March and she could not fully relax and enjoy it if her apartment was
not done.She was going away with her
grandson that I should know the importance of family.I wrote to her that my mother was my family
too and this was probably going to be her last chance to see Europe if her
pending eye operation was not successful.Mme. Landlord completely ignored this and still insisted.
I realized then that the kindness to
migrants was costly and that migrants’ family clearly came secondary to the
French family.I could not abandon my
mother, but then she fell ill.She told
me to go fulfill my promise while she rested in peace.I knew my mother’s keen sense of obligation
would suffer if I violated it, so I sadly went up the stairs to Mme. Landlord’s
apartment on the top floor.The hyena looked
satisfied that her free help came.She stayed
around for a while to give me tons of instruction but left because the room was
too cold.She told me that her heater
was still not fixed, and the toilet was still broken.Needless to say, Mme. Landlord had no words
of sympathy for my mother who had fallen ill.Instead, she bang on my door loudly to wake my sick mother up so she could
use my toilet.Economizing on toilet
paper was more important than the health of an aged migrant to Mme. Landlord. I hope that no other French women are this vulgar.
I continued to finish the painting because
coldness made me numb, body and mind.I
was too sad to confront the reality that my sincerely had been exploited.Days after I was finally cleaning up having
finished the job.The cold water numbed
my wrist for the last time.I said ‘last’
because the tap snapped as I turned it.I
realized with horror that I had broken Mme. Landlord’s tap and the mobility of
my wrist was gone.
My readers would know that which one of us
demanded compensation. To be continued.
The month of January 2018, I was left in
peace during the long absence of Mme. Landlord.She wanted to enjoy the time with her grandchildren.However, she did not leave quietly…as my
readers might guess by now.
Mme. Landlord would not release my deposit
easily.She cooked up all the things
that needed to be replaced new.Luckily,
my insurance agent had advised me to take photos of the apartment when I was
first allowed in.They
needed to contest the claims concocted by Mme. Landlord, just like she did with
her former tenant Jupiter who had his deposit denied for taking out what
rightly belonged to him.What happened
next needs a bit of explanation, so unbelievable her attitude was.
She had an accident falling off from a
ladder when her phone rang.Now the
phone call was from my insurance agent and the ladder belonged to me.She had insisted on leaving it in her
apartment until the painting was completed.She made a huge fuss about her fall, telling everyone that she fell from the
ladder while removing the glues from her walls.She repeated to the world that had I done the job right, she would not
have needed to be up the ladder.Had I lefft her apartment in a good condition, my agent would not have bothered her.Mme. Landlord had a lot of experience with
Japanese students and tenants that she knew my sense of obligation would yield
if she succeeded in making me feel guilty.
She was right.I felt obliged to pay her medical bills
because she got injured in relation to the action of my agent.Later my French lawyer advised me that I was
not responsible for her injury, but I had already paid her.There was a flash of sheepishness in her
eyes, but she took the money and quickly pushed it down her pocket looking very satisfied.I asked her for
the receipt issued by the pharmacy. I did
not want to repeat the same mistake made by the Japanese government who paid a chunk
of compensation money without an international witness and ended up endlessly being
demanded of compensation by a certain group of people.I personally agree that financial
compensation does not heal everything, but it does not hurt for them to
acknowledge what they have already received from Japan over decades.
After Mme. Landlord left to join her
family, I spoke with my insurance agent.It turned out they had never called Mme. Landlord.They had in fact called me and left a
message.I checked my mobile’s records
and found the message sent on the day Mme. Landlord claimed to have the accident
trying to answer the call from my agent.It was a petty lie and yet her circle of friends were disgusted that ‘here
is another ungrateful migrant causing a trouble to the French.’I understand the concern of Madame Le Pen about
the ungrateful migrants because some of them are disrespectful of the French
ways.But I hope she knew of migrants
like me who are made ‘scapegoat.'
Not all migrants are financially challenged.Some of them are elites who had to flee
their homeland to protect their wealth. Such
was this Turkish doctor whose acquaintance Mme. Landlord boasted of a lot.She would say ‘I was raised as a Catholic,
but I do not like religions.Thus, I do
not discriminate Muslims.’For many
months this kind of her comments impressed me.She told me how many of her rich friends frequently invited her for all
expenses trip in exchange of her doing them some favors.Still, I thought she would pay for her own
meals.I would if my travel and
accommodation fees were paid.
day I asked her about the meal arrangement and I was surprised by her response.She casually replied to my question that it
was not her problems to worry about the expense.She did not even look up from her smartphone while
saying ‘Je ne sais pas.’There was no
hint of gratitude, but only the sense of entitlement on her arrogant
profile.This Turkish doctor must have
imagined a friend in Mme. Landlord, just like I was fooled for many months.He may have felt vulnerable in the face of
religious discrimination in the world that Mme. Landlord’s sweet words felt
like music.In my case, I had been
weakened by the restaurant from Hell and thus I was ripe for the easy exploitation
by She the hyena.
However, I was not angry.Sad and disappointed, but not angry because being
a bad judge of character was my fault at my age.I preferred to move forwards.Besides fate dealt me a kind hand for a
change and had one Italian couple in the neighborhood offer their apartment
when they learnt that I was looking for one.They had also been disillusioned by Mme. Landlord and somehow chose to trust
me.Their apartment was in the same
building that I first hesitated because I had had enough of Mme. Landlord and
the restaurant from Hell.However, the
one decisive factor was that I would not need to report the change of address
to the French Government.In order to
extend my visa, continuity was considered important.I had not yet studied the Baroque French
history as I had initially planned to do.At that time my wrist was still fine, thus I hoped to become a graphic
novelist in France.Of course, there was
no guarantee that I would have succeeded, but I would like to have a crack at it at
least.So, I accepted the offer of the
Italian couple and gave one month notice to Mme. Landlord.
I had expected rage, but her concern was
whether I would continue to fight Mr. Pride.She blurted out that she needed the restaurant to be driven out from the
building so that the former financial value of the property would be
recovered.In order to fight Mr. Pride,
a lawyer was needed.Now the readers of
my blog would remember that I have been paying all the legal expenses because I
believed in fighting the evil that had victimized the neighbors.I was the only one who could not speak French
well, thus I was the weakest useless link. I believed Mme. Landlord was genuinely sympathising with my ordeal and her crying face compelled me that I should step
up and bring in a French speaking lawyer. Everything appealed to my Japanese sense of obligation.
Did she con me?I would not know, but by this time a new
piece of information had reached my lawyer.Mme. Landlord had once been engaged in a legal battle with another
commercial neighbor, but the all the expenses were paid by this one wealthy French
neighbor.His lawyer won the case, and
the compensation was paid out, even to Mme. Landlord who had not paid any legal
expenses.That she did not decline the
money that should have been paid to this wealthy French man revealed a lot about her.
I replied to her that I no longer wished to
fight Mr. Pride now that I have purchased the advanced insulation materials from
Japan.She put on her distressed face
again and pleaded me to continue engaging my lawyer so that other neighbors,
notably her, did not have to pay a cent to combat the restaurant from
Hell.I was not fooled again, so I
refused.Then her sweet face distorted
into a dark vulgar face as she hissed.‘No amount of insulation from Japan would work.You will still suffer!’She wished me to suffer while she insulted
the advanced technology of Japan too. Luckily, a young man passed by and Mme.
Landlord quickly put back on her lady face.As she greeted the young man with a sugar voice, I escaped.But remembering how tedious and persistent she
was in pursuing Jupiter for money she did not deserve, I knew it was not over.
The only small consolation was that Mme.
Landlord does not discriminate French nor non-French when it comes to parasite-ing.
To be continued.
My wrist has been hurting the last few days
thus my delayed update.I am still
paying the price for having glorified Mme. Landlord’s personality and let her
abuse me till my wrist snapped.The
amount of labor she threw upon me may not have done less damage had my muscle
not been tense from the stress the restaurant from Hell was exposing me too day
and night.It may have helped if Mme.
Landlord had allowed me to turn her heater on during the cold winter months.
But I soldiered on for the honor of migrants,
not just for Japanese people, because Mme. Landlord wrote to me that her friends
applauded her for the few hours after I had put in one week into preparing and
sanding her walls.That she did not
share with her French friends that I had done the hard work, was still tolerable.However, she had the nerve of writing to me
that her friends were disgusted that I had done nothing useful which surpassed
the level of mere lying.Mme. Landlord
probably meant it as a blackmail so that I would put in more free work, but I realized
with horror that she needed migrants to remain useless, so she could shine as
the saint protector of pathetic migrants.
The only way to silence the hypocrite was to
do the excellent job.Of course, she
would take all the credit, but at least she would have no reasons to complain
anymore.So, I applied three layers of
paint on her walls.At this stage I had put
in another three full days of work.I must
remind you that she had purchased the half priced cheap paint and the three
layers was not giving her the desired result. My arms were feeling sore which did not stop even
during the night.I asked Mme. Landlord
for a break promising her to do more later, but she pretended not to have
understood my French.I repeated the same
thing in English, which she ignored despite that her former occupation was a
teacher.I had to go down to my own room
should nature call because Mme. Landlord lied me to that her toilet was
broken.I did not doubt her words
because she always insisted to use my toilet every time she came to inspect my
work in her other apartment.It was also
hard to believe that a lady of the advance country like France would stoop to
mooching toilet paper from one of the migrants she boasts herself to be the
protector of.This went on for 9 months
since her last tenant Jupiter left her apartment.
Then suddenly she told me to interrupt the
painting and assigned me with a new task.She decided to go after Jupiter for compensation and she needed a
secretary for preparing documents. My
printer was made to work till it broke because she was persistent. My wrist did not get as much rest as I needed.
However, I had started looking for a new
apartment to distance myself from Mme. Landlord that it was easier to just go
along for a while.I wish a doctor had warned
me of the risk, but instead there was my Japanese sense of obligation to keep promises. Mme. Landlord made sure that I
did by constantly repeating to me how much I owed her for her kindness.
She did not know that my French reading had
improved beyond her imagination, but I could read the communication between them and discovered that Jupiter had tried many
times to fix the things she complained of in her apartment and that she sabotaged
his effort each time.She kept writing
to him that she loathed the modern kitchen he left had behind, but she had insisted
that I covered the modern kitchen board and shelves with cloths before I paint
the walls for protection.Mme. Landlord
was only pretending to loathe the modern kitchen.Financial extortion was her true aim.If you
are the first-time reader of my blog, let me tell you that Mme. Landlord also
boasted herself to be gay tolerant that she would lend her room to Jupiter.She would have nagged him on for compensation if
it was not for me.Seeing that Jupiter
would not cave in, she turned her attention on my saving, small as it is.
So, you see, Sir. Farage of Brexit, it is handy
to keep migrants around because your white people can be shielded from the true evil
who prefer to go after the weaker prays.While this sounds sarcastic, I later became friends with Jupiter that I
am truly glad that Mme. Landlord is off his back.
At the beginning, Mme. Landlord
asked me each time she wished to borrow something from me. Then
gradually ‘borrowed’ became ‘taken.’ After 16 months, she would just
take them and would be rather cross if I retrieved my things from her
apartment. Still, I made excuses for her, telling myself that it was
her advanced age making her forgetful of manner. Of course, she was
miserly to the bone, but I did not want to see it then. My plate was
already full of dark sludge of the restaurant from Hell, I could not handle
another type of evil.
So, I got to work in the cold month
of December in her apartment. I spent two days in total scraping off
the old layers, filling up the numerous holes. A professional
painter would tell you that this was the most tedious work of painting, but I
did it because Japanese would honor their promises. It was becoming
evident that Mme. Landlord did not see me as her equal, but that was
natural. France was her land and she had priority here over
me. I was never invited, I came to France on my will to learn her
culture. It would be audacious, even unpractical to expect a
red-carpet reception. Thus, it would have been sufficient to me if
Mme. Landlord only realized that I was too useful to mistreat…to lose
I had underestimated her avarice,
financial or any forms. She even lied to me that her heater was not
working. She made me work in the unheated apartment during the
winter to save her money, but I would not doubt her words. I did not
even touch her heater. Mme. Landlord had taught many Japanese
students and spoke fondly of their politeness, but what she really appreciated
was their obedience. She knew I would complete any hard task, once I
took it upon. She hated the black wall paper Jupiter had left
behind. Instead of paying a professional a lot of money to remove
it, she opted to make me paint several layers over it. I could see
it was going to be an impossible task, compounded by the cheap semi-transparent
paint she had purchased for me to work with. However, a decedent of
Samurai warrior would keep his or her promises. It was going to be
the last favor I would ever do for Mme. Landlord, and misjudging her
personality was not going to be the excuse to break my promise.
So, I found a way to peel off the
black wallpaper. Unfortunately, it did not make my work easier
because there were still many glues stuck on the wall and it was hell removing
it a strip by strip. I spent three whole days removing the glues,
but Mme. Landlord was not satisfied by the result. She insisted that
since I removed the wall paper without her agreement, I had the responsibility
to make the wall smooth and void of any glues. She wrote an email to
me so there would be no misunderstanding. She wrote to me how her
son and her family were appalled that Mme. Landlord was left to finish my lousy
job. If they had come, why did they not help their own
mother? Unfortunately, their mother had raised them with the ideas
that migrants were the source of free labor.
Just in case you were thinking that
I might have really done a lousy job, then let me tell you about this professional
painter who was sent by the insurance company of the Syndic to paint the
ceiling of Mme. Landlord. There had been a leek on her
roof. The painter did a good job, but Mme. Landlord said it was NOT,
pointing at the one tiny , oh, so tiny spot left near the
window. She refused to pay unless the painter did more extra works
for her. It turned ugly that the boss was summoned. After
the heated argument, the painters left fuming. One of them insisted
on shaking hands with me, but not with Mme. Landlord. He told me
that ‘That is a nasty woman there’ indicating that other French women were
nicer. I was much relieved to hear that. I much prefer
Mme. Le Pen for her honest acknowledgement of discrimination over the hypocrisy of Mme.
Landlord who acted as a defender of the weak, the gay and the migrants while
actually exploiting them.
She was chatting away about her grandson
and how well she was getting along with her son and her daughter in law.Mme. Landlord and I were in Leroy Merlin, a
hardware shop in Paris.Paint needed to
be purchased to paint her apartment, the one that had been left in mess by her
former tenant Jupiter.Not knowing that
she was lying I offered to help with the big task because she had put on an
Oscar performance of a crestfallen old lady.Besides, her son who lives in Paris would surely help his old mother too?To
this Mme. Landlord replied as ‘Oh, no, I cannot ask my son (and his wife).They are raising children.Their time is precious.’ I let pass this
inconsiderate comment about my time being insignificant as a childless single
woman because Mme. Landlord was from the generation when women’s worth was
measured solely by the number of children she bore and raised.She cannot be accused of the general opinion.To her credit, she had shed off racial discrimination
that was prominent among the older generation.
Or had she?Her eyebrow moved up as Mme. Landlord spotted some paints with the reduced
price.She asked a shop assistance if it
was suited for painting over dark color.The assistant replied ‘Non, it is semi-transparent.’Now Jupiter had left black wall papers on the
wall and yet Mme. Landlord wished to paint the walls in light beige. She should
have a professional painter remove the black wall paper or invest in high
quality paint.She chose neither because
the both options were costly. She
purchased the cheap paint and decided that I should paint many layers to
compensate the poor quality.And yet
such was my loyalty to her that I did not oppose.I wished to help her economize, just like I
did all the printing jobs she needed for nearly two years.
I had to carry all the heavy cans of paint
back to her apartment because Mme. Landlord would not spend 50 euros for
delivery. Mme. Landlord thought I
deserved some reward and served me a pumpkin soup.It was the weakest soup that I had ever
tasted that even water would have had more flavor, but ‘it is the thought that
counts’ I told myself.Then one of her
gentleman friends knocked on the door.She had asked him to come give her some advice on the best way to paint
her apartment.I was amazed by her
transformation.She behaved coy and
flirtish, her voice was a pitch higher than the one she would use with me.Well, that’s French woman for you, I was
amused…until she started telling lies.
The gentleman said the painting of the
entire apartment was a bit much for an amateur woman like me.He advised Mme. Landlord to use a good quality
paint to compensate for my want of stamina and experience.I was relieved that he had spoken some sense
into her, however, Mrs. Landlord replied ‘oh, I have bought the best that the
shop recommended to me.’My French had
improved enough to understand her lies, but my speaking ability was never to be
on par with a native speaker.As soon as
I opened my mouth and uttered a few words of French, Mme. Landlord spoke over
me to shut me up.She went on to say to
the gentleman that it was me who insisted on doing this favor for Mme. Landlord
because I wished to repay her for her kind services.It was true, but the minute she boasted it publicly,
it lost its class.I felt used by Mme.
Landlord to impress her gentleman friend. She went on to plead him to tie two chairs
on a small lorry.The gentleman obliged
and asked if she wanted him to deliver the chairs to her other apartment.Mme. Landlord declined saying that she could
not be so impolite to her good friend.And
yet, as soon as the gentleman left, she turned around, back in her normal tone,
and told me to deliver her chairs across the old town of Paris at 23:30 at
night.On her lips there was a sheepish smile,
but her eyes were malicious.
After the phone call, I felt like a fool that I
had just spent a whole day feeling lousy about myself for having denied Mme.
Harmonie the access through my apartment. Caution told me to have the message heard by a French speaker,
but I was convinced that she was making a demand that she did not deserve to
make. So, I wrote another refusal message to Mr. Pride and the
syndic, adding that I did not appreciate the aggressive tone of Mme.
Harmonie. She never sugarcoats her words, which even her own
employee admitted to me later, but I did not know that her usual tone was less
soft than other French speakers.
I was astonished when I received an email from her that she did not call me
that day. It turned out that I had replayed her old message making plans for
our first meeting, which took place a month ago. A mistake is a
mistake, so I apologized to her in writing immediately. Part of
Japanese culture is ‘swift apology’. Japan is too small a nation to
live with a reputation of ‘a loser who does not acknowledge one’s
mistake.’ The only case we stubbornly refuse to apologize is when
the recipients have elaborated the facts. We have compassion for the
victims, but not any more if the victims turn into something else who treat the
compensations they received like it never happened.
Back to my mistake. I had jumped to the conclusion. Mme.
Harmonie deserved an apology. She further demanded a public apology in writing,
which was fine except she also criticized Mme. Landlord whom I still adored at
the time in the same email. I had also heard that Mme. Harmonie had
spoken rudely to Mme. Landlord who accused the restaurant for having dumped
their commercial rubbish into the residential area. I felt I had let
down Mme. Landlord, so, I wrote an apology note to everyone in the building
about my mistake, adding my plea to Mme. Harmonie that she should leave Mme.
Landlord alone after this.
That night I wondered why I did not practice my usual caution
before accusing Mme. Harmonie, and then realized with horror that I was acting
with the sense of license as a victim of the restaurant from Hell. That
it was so easy to blame someone without checking the facts, shocked me. I
felt self-righteous and blamed someone for something she did not commit. In
a beat I shifted from a victim to a perpetrator. Disgusting but I
had acted like Mr. Justice, the most hypocrite of all! (Please,
refer to the episode 71~73 for the details about Mr. Justice, or http://www.thethirdredapple.com/2018/04/the-bullied-takes-on-goliath-in-true_29.html)
I became afraid for my soul. The traditional potion
passed down through my family protected my body, and the teaching of my Samurai
ancestors saved my sanity, but my soul was still weak. I finally
acknowledged the importance of religion. Their function was to
shield our soul from corruption. My soul was in jeopardy indeed. However,
it was not just the restaurant from Hell that pushed me towards the religion. It
was Mme. Landlord, an atheist who dared to take over the God.
The pain in my wrist lingered too long that
I had to return to Japan because my other wrist began to hurt.I needed the help of my family in Japan with every
day chores.Thus I have been following
the news of the World Cup in Japan.Let
me tell you, the Japanese would have preferred our national team to have
progressed to the top 16 in a different manner.No need to condemn us.We know
that stalling to keep the lead, which many teams have done in the soccer
history, is different from stalling when you are losing.We are also painfully aware that we possess
none of the gifts that other teams have.After all the flakks the Japanese players copped, the Japanese team will
be clobbered by the Belgium who openly speak of the Japanese team as a warm up
practice before facing Brazilian team.Despite
what you think of the Japanese, we have accepted all this with resignedness, not
If there was one thing I would ask…please,
do not take your anger out on the Japanese supporters.As soon as the media credited them for
cleaning the stadium seating areas after the games, there was a backlash.The Japanese supporters were accused of
trying to make their national team look grander than the real life.I need to point out to you that cleaning is
just our habit.The supporters have been
doing this in Japan all the time, not just in the international venues.Japan
is such a tiny country that if we each did not clean up after us, the life
would have been intolerable.Those who
look for ulterior motives in the others, are often projecting their own pattern
of thinking. The man who went out of his way to speak to Japanese media about his contempt on the Japanese fans may approve if the Japanese start wrecking the shops that belonged to our opponents as well. Let me point out the
obvious: the Japanese people have always been the butt of joke and there are
reasons for that. Look at me for an
instance.For over one year I made every
effort to please Mme. Landlord whom I believed to be my friend. Instead of appreciating me, Mme. Landlord
chose to exploit the situation.
Geek Japanese may seem fair game to you,
but you would gain far more by befriending us. Our loyalty goes a long way. I was even thinking of inviting Mme. Landlord and her family to Japan
during the Tokyo Olympic, all expenses paid.Of course, I dropped this idea when she wronged my aged mother who
visited me in Paris.That was the
wake-up call. To be continued.
My injured wrist has had some rest.I’m not sure if anyone would care for my
updates while the world cup 2018 is on, but I’d better write some before my
wrist gives way again.
In hindsight, I was always uneasy that Mme.
Landlord constantly reminded the people around her of her good deeds.She called herself ‘a good person yet underappreciated.’It may be very Japanese of me, but I was
brought up with the idea that good deeds may be recognized, but should not
demand rewards.It was sad because she
did not need to remind me of her kindness because I always remembered it.When she asked me to print all her private
documents, I did not doubt her explanation that she found the modern technology
difficult.I had to go through several
ink cartridges, each quite expensive in France, but I was happy to do them for
However, one night, Mme. Landlord needed
her vast documents for her freelance work and I had to deliver the printed
documents after 22:00.Unfortunately, after
hours of consecutive printing, my printer broke down.As I apologized to her that it was not all
done, there I saw it, a printer hidden behind her books.Mme. Landlord looked sheepish for a moment,
but still rejected my suggestion to use her printer.She would wait till I got my printer
fixed.Had she not told me to deliver
her documents late at night because it was urgent?I felt uneasy but, tried to suppress the
feeling.Japanese are too loyal to
question their friends’ motives.So I
agreed when she asked me to carry one of her chair to her other apartment on my
way home. It was heavier than it looked,
but I would not suspect that Mme. Landlord, who did volunteer works to help migrants
receive visa in France, would exploit me, another migrant, to economize 15
euros worth of taxi fares which would have costed her otherwise.My arms hurt after 30 minutes long slow walk
while holding onto the heavy chair, but there was another four staircases up to
her apartment, now vacated by Jupiter.I
tried to focus on the honor of being trusted with the key to her apartment. Of course, Mme. Landlord saw the situation
completely differently because with the keys came another instruction, which
was to open her windows every morning to let fresh air into the apartment.Of course, the windows had to be closed every
So I was a free secretary and warden at her
disposal.I served Mme. Landlord for 16
months because I did not want to be one of those ungrateful migrants.I was grateful that a Parisian had befriended
me.Only my injury that rendered me
useless would repel this hyena who was not even a true Parisian, it turned
out.To be continued.
The sharpest sword in the world is said to
be the samurai swords.My ancestors were
entrusted with enormous responsibility that could cut through anything…except
sludge.It would simply wrap itself
around the sword while dripping on your clothes to stick as stains, which you
just cannot shake it off.I started to
wonder if Mr. Honour and Mr. Pride were themselves preyed upon by Mr. Justice’s
crowd.Anyway, it was time to adjust myself.You do not fight sludge.The best you could do is to let them win until
they weaken themselves with their own toxins.Did I believe this?Not at the
time, but I chose the reverse psychology by instinct.Well, more like a prayer it was.
Speaking of prayer, I recall having touched
something at the moment I was falling down the abyss, despairing the reality of
human nature (part 71).It was a small
statue of Jesus Christ.Though I am not
a Christian, my mother is a protestant that I would take the little statue with
me for a nostalgic reason.I must have
knocked it down off the book shelf and the statue fell near me.In the movies, this would have been the
moment I was converted, but I did not wish to choose a religion out of spite of
other religions or cults.Besides I
could never bring myself to believe the unrealistic stories preached by each
religion.I wanted logic or psychology.However, I realized that no logic could
explain why the evil was triumphing in the real life either.Hmm…I could stop being criticizing of the
religion.But like I said, hatred did
not seem the right reason to embrace a religion.
Though I concede that I cannot explain it, I
learnt since I arrived in Paris, that there are three types of evils: First is
the predator Goliath; the second is the sycophants who support and empower the
Goliath; and the third…the hyenas.In
the trail left behind by the Goliath and the entourage, there lay their
victims.Weaken and helpless, desperate
for a tiny hint of kindness.They may
not seem much, but most likely the easiest to exploit.The hyenas know it.It took me months to realize that I was
standing next to one.It was Mme.
You may wonder why I still retain the title
‘The bullied takes on Goliath’ after Mr. Honour went out of the picture.Well…I learnt from this grim experience
that Goliath does not exist on its own.It may even have been made to turn into one by the sycophants surrounding
the former honorable man.
The man who walked into the restaurant was
Mr. Justice, brother of Mme. Empathy.My
readers would remember that they sold this restaurant pending 2 lawsuits without a full explanation.It was a text book case of property frauds
and yet Mr. Justice had the nerve to show up with a smile to meet his prey,
Mme. Harmonie.How is that possible?I screamed inside me.
In need of some explanation that would make
sense I searched the internet. The
discovery was even more incredible.Mr.
Justice worked as a humanitarian.He
denounced Mme. Le Pen for racial discrimination, but this was the man who let
his sister build the chamber of horror where I, an Asian woman, was fried above
the restaurant cooking ventilation.This
is the man who let his sister terrorize her neighbours at two restaurants and more from what I heard making
many French neighours sick day and night.And yet he smiled in the photo like an icon of justice and benevolence.Scary part was that he really seemed to
believe it himself.Talk about
And where did Mme. Harmonie fit into this
equation? I soon found out.One night I heard a chorus from below that gradually
turned into howling.Then my apartment
started to shake.The whole building shook
from what I learnt later from stomping that continued all night.I was not annoyed, I was scared.Usually my curiosity would beckon me to find
out what was happening, but instinct told me to stay away from what was
obviously a ritual of some kind.As I listened
to their primitive shouts, getting louder each time, I could not help but
remember the dark souls of the butchers who lived near Notre Dame Cathedral
praying on the tourists to consume their flesh.Their shops are no more and there is a police station, but their souls
that could not have been accepted into the heaven may have found a new hang
Nonsense, I tried calming myself.But I sadly remembered that Mme. Harmonie
knew that I suffered from the thin ceiling of the restaurant.And yet she allowed this thunder like
gathering to happen.No, she probably
did not even remember that I existed.I
pictured herself dancing away merrily with Mr. Justice down stairs.Outwardly she is a respected critique and he
is a revered humanitarian.The whole
community of them, protected by Mr. Honour, the Goliath.I choked on the cursed vapour invading into
my apartment.I felt sick to the
core.I was falling down the abyss of
human souls that is essentially evil. I
searched for something to grab at frantically.
Mme. Landlord creased her face and spat ‘Do not expect this
tenant to reciprocate decency.She is
from the lowest end of the society!’Now
I do not claim to know much about the society in France, but I had been surprised
that Mme. Harmonie allowed her team to do renovation work over 4 weekends in
row in this respective area of Paris where sensible people refrain from doing
washing on Sundays. Even Mme. Empathy left us in peace on Sundays to show some class.
Nevertheless I still had to pin hope on her
because the sales of the restaurant to Mme. Harmonie practically rendered my
lawsuit against the restaurant invalid.
All the deception to the authority was committed by the former
restaurant owner, not the new one. Even the
name of their lawyer was withdrawn from the online noticeboards of the court
cases because there would be no meaningful verdict now.
The plus side of this, however, was that
Mr. Honour, the biggest Goliath, was gone with Mme. Empathy.It was a humongous relief.Sure it was his misplaced sympathy in his friend that put the restaurant from Hell beneath my floor, but it was also his
influence that forced Mr. Pride and Mme. Empathy to do the right thing, though
partially.I was rescued from the death chamber
of noise and leaked electricity. Now it
was up to Mme. Harmonie to insulate her ceiling.She had called out to the landlords that she
would like to come to favorable agreement, had she not?
It turned out what Mme. Harmonie really meant was ‘favorable to
her only.’ She walked into my room and
closed the window and told Mme. Landlord that I should keep my windows closed
all the time if the restaurant noise bothered me.Mme. Landlord hit back, ‘People have the
right to enjoy fresh air from the opened windows in this part of Paris, though
it may be different from where you are from!’ I gasped that a restaurant owner who serve food to the public should have little regards to the well-being of others. Also the decisively superior attitude of Mme. Landlord made me wonder how she really saw me and her gay tenant in her mind. I was to find out several months later.
Back to Mme. Harmonie. She turned to me all of sudden in English demanded that I admit that the noise of the
kitchen did not bother me.Now, she came
in the morning when there was no clients in the restaurant. There was only one chef and he was standing still in front the cooking
table.It would be different once the
guests came in and the chef and his assistant chef would be rushing around the
kitchen, opening and bang closing the refrigerator.As I tried to explain this I saw a crafty
grin on Mme. Harmonie.She knew all these
but trying to feed her words into my mouth.I
said ‘it would be different at later hours.’Mme. Harmonie was adamant to trap me. ‘But are you annoyed by the noise now?’Seeing that she was not going to let up, I
had to resort to shake my head slightly.It was ‘no’, but I gave her no words to quote me later. She was taken back in silence.
During the conversation pursued between
Mme. Landlord and Mme. Harmonie, it was revealed the new owner of the
restaurant had not been informed of the unauthorized ventilation pipe by neither
Mr. Pride nor Mme. Empathy.Mme.
Harmonie had been deceived, but she was no way a victim by nature. To be continued.
You might wonder why I was not disappointed that Mme.
Empathy did not get her uppercomance. First, I had not expected any
because this is not a movie, but a true story in the real
life. Secondly, it was all those men who had bent the rules and
morality to indulge her ever since she could remember. What person
would not be affected by that? What person would even think of doing
the right things or playing by the rules after such easy rides? I
have no sympathy for those men who ended up being trodden by her. I
was just sooooo grateful that I had survived the woman.
Besides, a few months break in Japan had normalized my
I realized that the worst was over. Mr.
Pride’s architect had done a good job suppressing the noise of the
ventilation. Sure there was still some noise during the night, but
my super-duper insulation SHIZUKA would conceal it. Sure it was
unfair that I had to pay for them from my own pocket, but they were portable
thus I could take them with me anywhere.
Mme. Landlord was still ever bent on driving Mr.
Pride’s restaurant out, but I was feeling sorry for the new
owner. The new owner was also a victim of Mme. Empathy. I
shall call her Miss Harmony because she sent a letter to every resident and
every landlord that she would like to talk and come to an amicable
agreement. No one replied, except me. I felt sorry for
the woman who had been lied to and invested her savings into this dodgy
restaurant permit. If she could agree to insulate the ceiling of the
restaurant, I would have loved to make peace with Mr. Pride for her
sake. With this high expectation I went to meet the woman with Mme.
How naïve I was. I should have remembered
my instinct when I first saw Miss Harmony: the dark shadow leaning against the
wall puffing smoke out with confidence. As I got to know her, I
began to see why Mme. Empathy felt no remorse for deceiving the new owner of
the restaurant from Hell.
But what surprised me just as much, if not more, was Mme. Landlord who
was not at all pleased about meeting Mme. Harmonie. To my surprise the
departure of Mme. Empathy did not excite her either. ‘They're just
tenants. Dealing with them does not solve the problem at the
root. It is the landlord that matters.’ Her reasoning was
correct, but I was a tad surprised to detect classism in her
tone. We are all guilty of some form of discrimination, but not
everyone poses to be egalitarian. I had respected Mme. Landlord for
her volunteer works for migrants and her tolerance for
homosexuals. Unfortunately, she was having problems with her other
tenant who was gay and that may have affected her frame of mind?
Pork Barrel is politicians’ one mean out of
many (hopefully legitimate ones) to ensure their office, but Japan is currently
rocked by a scandal tagged by the word SONTAKU that can be translated as ‘Conjectures’. It all started by our First Lady whose desire
was to become ‘a Saint.’ God, help
us. According to the media (thus not
guaranteed, these days) she had been urging people to exploit her influence that came from her status. People with good sense did
not take up the offer, however, at least one man thought, ‘why not?’ and to cut
the long story short, one bureaucrat had to commit suicide and our current
Prime Minister’s third reelection is off the table.
It may have been the same with Mr.
Honour.He may have wanted to do a
genuine favour for Mme. Empathy. But many people, not just me, have suffered
physical damage as the result of his action.But what Mr. Honour and the First Lady of Japan ought to have known was that
doing a favour to one person would result in depriving a fair chance from other
candidates. In Mr. Honour’s case, some other decent restaurant team which
deserved the chance to contribute to serious Paris dining scene was wasted on Mme. Empathy's team who was in it for easy cash. The First Lady of Japan may have become a Saint to her
acquaintances, but she has become a predator in the eyes of the others.
My neighbors live in fear of Mr. Honour
after their official complaints against Mme. Empathy’s
restaurants were rejected based on inconclusive evidence.The officers had come to measure the noise and odour when the restaurant was
closed.Coincidence? My lawsuit was slowed further by an odd counterclaim
from the accused. My lawyer could not
believe how things were different from his other cases.However I somehow sensed some darkness had
been lifted from the building.
It was not long before Mme. Landlord found
out that Mme. Empathy was searching for a new apartment where she could live with her new man with the money she had obtained from the sale of her shares in the
restaurant business.Our femme fatal had found a sucker to wash her
hands off.This meant my struggle would
continue, but it brought about a wonderful twist. Mr. Brave, her arduous admirer, also sold his
apartment, which left Mr. Pride with less allies.I chose to celebrate for the time being.
…until another shadow was leaning by our
wall, puffing out the smoke.
No more sugar sweet voice, Mme. Empathy
bared her fangs at Mr. Pride.‘I and my
brother (Mr. Justice) will sue you for compensation for failing us.My patrons invested into the renovation and machines
of the restaurant based on the 10 years guarantee you signed. However, you failed to silence that nagging
Mme. Landlord at the last assembly general.You said you had intimidated the Syndic so that he would yield to your
demand!But we cannot forever ignore the
lawsuit against us by that Jap or Chinese, oh, whatever!’
I had seen the scary side of Mme. Empathy
which could send shiver down the spine of anybody, even Mr. Pride, the man who
sniggered at the physical ordeal of an Asian woman.Despite that, I could still see his points
that she was to be blamed for not having played by the book which led to my
lawsuit.He was also a victim of Mme.
Empathy because if it were not for her silver tongue, he may not have purchased
this defective property equipped with an extractor pipe installed illegally by
the former owner without the consent of the Syndic.In fact this was the main issue of my
lawsuit.My lawyers saw that my physical
suffering would not carry much weight in the court (wow!), but the illegality
of the pipe may.This is why the
otherwise confident Mme. Empathy was rattled.
She softened her expression and cajoled Mr.
Pride.Oh I have seen that transition a
few times myself.Mme. Empathy purred ‘But
we can get out of this if you follow my plan.I will find some sucker to buy my machines off me.You just keep your mouth shut about the
pending lawsuits and I will not need to sue you.’My lawyer did not think this was possible as
any sensible buyers would check the status of the restaurant permit.The prospective buyers would soon see the
records of the pending lawsuit and would stay away from the trouble.No problems as Mme. Empathy would choose her
preys wisely.Would her protector or my
Goliath give her time she needed to run?Would there be another prey added to Mme. Empathy’s trail of
I returned to Paris well prepared.It would have been suicidal not to against
the likes of Mr. Pride who would not blink at the physical pain he incurs on
others.It would take a professional
psychologist to explain how he justifies believing him to be the victim, not me,
because I am causing loss on his business.But there he was, I just had to deal with it.
You may ask again why I would not leave and rid
myself of this problem.I already wrote
in the old episodes that some landlords simply replaced their tenants with
unsuspecting ones.One of them even lied
to his tenant that it would be absolutely quiet.What saddened me that all the new tenants who
were duly terrorized by the music beats from the restaurant day and night…were
all Asians.One Taiwanese student was
stuck because her landlord would not return her deposit despite the
problem.In the end she chose to betray
her friend from Beijing.I was surprised
to see the new girl who took over the apartment.The landlord had agreed because he was not
losing any money.
I instantly felt sorry for her because she
had been told lies by someone she trusted.I shall refer to her as Miss Plum (the national flower of China) who was
initially wary of me, a Japanese woman.However, I assured her that Mrs. Landlord and my lawyer were working to
solve the problem, and let her know all the times that Miss Plum was not
alone.Knowing how lonely an Asian woman
by herself can be in Paris in times of illness, I informed her all I knew about
good medications available in Paris.I
do not know what Miss Plum thinks of me, but we are amicable neighbors and that
is enough for me to feel happy. She even
signed the petition against the restaurant.I respect her gut because other tenants became chicken and declined to
sign.They left to escape the noise, but
Miss Plum stayed on to fight with me.It
is for beautiful surprises like this I stay in Paris.
Back to my preparation against Mr. Pride who had decided a long-term harassment could wear me down.We’ll see about that.I purchased
the most advanced insulation material made in Japan.It is the first and only insulation material in
the world that is effective against the low frequency noise.The company is called SHIZUKA meaning science
of tranquility.The inventor was recently
given the top award at the national commercial invention contest in Japan.They have already begun exporting their
products to USA.Germany, the leading
nation in Europe in the field of regulations and combat against noise of all
types, has shown interest. This is what
I needed to shield myself from the low frequency noise emitted by the big
refrigerator and freezer which Mme. Empathy installed right beneath my bedroom
instead of her basement like other decent restaurants in Paris do, including most
Michelin starred restaurants.SHIZUKA is
also effective against electromagnetism.Mr. Pride had used his votes, he had many, to annul the plan to install earth tours in
our building despite it would expose the residents to physical danger relating
to electricity leak.I do not presume to
know what he hopes to happen to me, the one who lives above his deadly kitchen,
but whatever he wishes for, the advanced technology of Japan would protect me
I am keenly aware that I am an idiot for wasting
my money and time on this restaurants from hell.However, I just could not be the one to dump
the problem on someone else.Not until
it is clear to the world that I have done all I could against this demon.I had always respected Chinese women for
their dynamism. With Miss Plum’s boldness
combined with my Japanese meticulousness, I felt empowered.
And then, I learnt a surprising news about
Madame Empathy.To be continued.