Written by Vosot Ikeida & Marco Antonio Clivio Benitez
Continued from Round 1
The Opposite Side of the Earth
Vosot Your country, Argentina, is exactly the opposite side on the globe of the place I live in, Japan. When we are in the daytime, you are supposed to be in the night time. But sometimes a hikikomori lives oppositely every day - sleeping at noon and being awake at night.
What is your daily life cycle like?
Marco Antonio My life cycle is very random. A hikikomori who never goes out has no reason to wake up or sleep at specific times. Sometimes I spend the whole night playing games or watching anime, and sometimes I'm so tired I spend the whole night sleeping and I keep sleeping during a part of the day. It's totally random. When you don't have a job and you don't go to school, you stop waking up at specific times so your sleeping habits get totally random.
Vosot I see. My daily life cycle was also irregular. Are you anxious about your physical health? Do you have any problem with getting fat or eating disorders?
Marco Antonio I usually don't care about my physical health. After spending my whole life without doing any physical activities, my body got weak, but as long as I can use a computer, that's good enough for me. Regarding the problems with getting fat, I've never had that kind of problem, I guess I've been lucky. I just eat whatever I want and never get fat.
Living "Hikikomori" Without Knowing "Hikikomori"
Vosot Do you have any other fellow hikikomori? Do the hikikomoris in Argentina have your own network of hikikomori?
Marco Antonio I don't have any hikikomori friends. In fact, I have zero friends. I tried finding hikikomori groups in Argentina but I couldn't find any. I think most hikikomori here are probably hiding on their own, without contacting others. We have a population of over 44 million, It's statistically unlikely that there is no hikikomori here, I'm sure there are thousands out there, but without a group, I don't think we will ever find each other. Some of them may not even know the meaning of "hikikomori". It's possible many of them are hikikomori without knowing the word "hikikomori" exists.
Why Became a Hikikomori?
Vosot How long have you been a hikikomori and how old are you now? How did your hikikomori life start?
Marco Antonio I've been a hikikomori since November of the year 2004 at my age of 14. I have just become 28 years old on 7 August while we are chatting on the internet.
My hikikomori life basically started when I dropped out of school a few days before finishing 8th grade. I was supposed to finish it on 5 December 2004, but I dropped out in November and that's when my hikikomori life started. I didn't want to waste my life at school so I didn't even try to go back, then I realized that I couldn't even go out to buy fruits at the fruit store that is located right in front of my house.
Right now going out is literally impossible.
Vosot A part of your words resonated with me. Personally I felt like you; "I don't want to waste my life like this." when I was 23.
If it is impossible to go out, I imagine many things are inconvenient for you in the daily life. Sometimes you may have to go to buy, not only fruits, but also many other things.
How are you dealing to obtain all the necessary things for life? Your parents go shopping for everything instead of you? Or, do you utilize the internet shopping often?
Marco Antonio I send my mother shopping for all the stuff I need. The internet shopping is mostly used to buy electronic products, like a new computer, or a new external hard drive.
Vosot That makes sense. Do your parents blame you for your being a hikikomori? In Japan, usually the relationship between a hiki and his parents are awful, including me. That is one of the hells that a hiki has in life in Japan. But I overhear in Europe, the relationship between a hiki and parents are not so bad.
What is it like in your case?
Marco Antonio My parents don't even tell me to go out to work or study anymore. They just know I'm not going out anyway, so they don't waste their time asking me to do something impossible.
Vosot I see. It is understandable that a long time like 14 years makes your parents change so...
Hikikomori and Psychiatry
Vosot Have you or your parents ever wanted you to go to a mental health clinic and to take the psychiatric care so far?
Marco Antonio No, I've never gone to that kind of place. That place is usually reserved for the most crazy and most dangerous people. For any other mental problems, you have to go to the psychiatrist's home, or he will visit your home. Most psychiatrists won't visit your home though, only a few do it.
Vosot Your reply is always concise and getting the right point. I imagine you were very good at school, weren't you?
Marco Antonio Not really. I didn't really care about it so I only studied 1 day before the tests. Also, I never did anything in physical education class. The only thing I was good at was math since I didn't really have to study for math tests.
Vosot Had you experienced being bullied at school? If I am asking you something you don't want to recall, I am sorry.
Marco Antonio Yes, I was bullied from the 1st grade to the 8th grade. From the 1st grade to near the end of the 4th grade, I was in a Catholic school and I was being bullied all the time, but every time I was bullied, I fought back against them.
Unfortunately, fighting in a Catholic school is not a good idea. I was expelled from the school near the end of the 4th grade by the priests who were in charge of the school. The worst part is that the people who were bullying me didn't get in trouble and were not expelled from the school. After being expelled, I transferred to a public school to finish the 4th grade, then, in 5th grade the bullying started again.
The reason was quite clear: I was always sitting alone, reading a book on my desk, not talking to anybody, so I was an easy target for them. I had already been expelled from a school, I didn't want to get expelled again, so this time, I didn't fight against them. But I couldn't tolerate their actions for too long, so I ended up "exploding" and started chasing them all over the school to hit them after being bullied for like 3 or 4 months.
Then, it became a cycle: I was constantly bullied for 3 to 6 months, I "exploded", attacked them, then I went back to being bullied for another 3 to 6 months, then the cycle repeated itself all the way from 5th grade to 8th grade. In the last 2 years, the bullying got worse, so they were also hitting me and spitting me.
But I still tolerated them for 3 to 6 months every time just to avoid getting expelled from the school. While the public school didn't expel me for SOMETIMES defending myself from them, the school chairman didn't do anything about the people bullying me. They just didn't care, and I even explained it to them. It seems the same thing happens in other countries, I see it on the news all the time, the people in charge almost never do anything to stop bullying.
Continued to Round 3
To the Japanese Version of this article
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