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.