Kandy in Shinjuku.

9 years ago by in Travel

It was quickly apparent that he had always been fiercely independent, and was proud of it. Kandy left his provincial home at 12 for Colombo, chasing his dream of becoming a football star. He relentlessly struggled to prove himself and earn a spot on league teams’ rosters by day, and hustled and slept on the street at night.

He never made it as a football star. Kandy was forced to leave Sri Lanka when the fighting between the Sinhalese-dominated government and the Tamil Tigers escalated 15 years ago. Now that the fighting has finally died down, he is looking forward to starting a business back home some day soon with his Japanese wife and daughter.

He works in a restaurant by day, and in Kabukicho as a tote for hostess clubs at night. I asked him when he found the time to sleep. A grim smile was the only answer he gave.