“You’re just a pirate, and I’m going to be a pirate.”
That’s how Kenji Ogawa, who worked as a cook at a coffee shop in the 1970s, described his day-to-day life in his book, A Pirate’s Life: A Journey into the World of Ninja Coffee.
He was an “old school” Japanese ninja, a man who lived in a hut and worked his way through his apprenticeship as a samurai, Ogawa said.
His daily routine included “biting bamboo” to make rice, picking mushrooms from the forest, eating beans, and drinking coffee.
Ogawa said he was always “on alert” and would “fight for my honor and freedom.”
But the life of the ninja wasn’t always a happy one.
During his apprenticeships, Ogawas daily life included “going through a lot of hardship,” Ogawa wrote.
He would have to work all day long, eat nothing but rice, drink water from a jug that contained a poisonous plant called koi fish, and drink tea.
Ogarawa said there were times when he “came down from the high ground and saw something that was really horrifying, a whole village on fire.”
But it was a “dream come true” when he became a ninja.
“I was a samurai when I was 17 years old, and in the course of the next few years I grew up and became a member of the Samurai Order,” Ogawa said.
Ogasawas life as a ninja was filled with hardship and danger.
He was born with “an inherited disease that left him with only one leg,” he wrote.
Ogcas life began when he was 16 years old.
During that time, he was captured by the Japanese military, tortured, and starved.
After his ordeal, he fled Japan, eventually making it to the United States, where he worked as an electrician.
But when he returned to Japan, he began to experience “serious psychological problems,” Ogawaras memoir said.
He wrote that he was “a lost soul” who “did not know where to turn.”
Ogasaws troubles escalated.
He “lost everything,” including his family, which had been married for 35 years, Ogawar as said.
He went through a “nightmare” at the age of 21, when he found out he was pregnant.
Ogawa decided to “rescue” his daughter, and the couple adopted him.
Ogamas life in America, however, didn’t turn out so well.
He began having a series of health issues, including a condition that would eventually result in him being diagnosed with “brain cancer.”
Ogamashas story of overcoming adversity and suffering through mental illness was “heartbreaking,” Ogwa said.
“But there’s nothing like that in my life,” Ogwawa wrote in his memoir.
“I never gave up, never gave in, and never gave the lie to the old ideas.”
Ogawas story was told in the book, which was published last year.
In it, Ogwa recounts how he was told to work as a “househand” at a restaurant and “was hired to clean the floors.”
At one point, he wrote, a manager offered him a job in a Japanese restaurant.
But Ogawa was a new Japanese ninja.
He had never been to Japan before, he told the manager, and he was scared.
The manager told Ogawa that he should not have been there, Ogowa wrote.
Ogawawa felt he had no choice but to accept the job.
“He said to me that he would be fine if I went to the Japanese police and said, ‘Please don’t do anything to me, because I am Japanese, and there are people like you who don’t understand what you’re talking about,'” Ogawawas memoir told Newsweek.
“But if I wanted to come home to Japan in a few days, I would go to the police.
But I knew he wouldn’t do that.”
Ogoawa eventually left the Japanese ninja’s life behind.
In 2001, Ogawan became a captain in the Japanese army.
He served in Korea and later Japan, and Ogawa became an instructor of a new generation of Japanese military veterans.
Ogoras new life as an instructor taught Ogawa to embrace the world.
“It is the only place in the world where you can experience life and work in the same way as the Japanese people,” Ogawan wrote.
“And that’s the lesson I took from it: You can experience happiness and sorrow, joy and pain.”
Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter at @drewschwartz.