MrNine.jpg

5
BUDDY MISTER NINE


As I got used to the market life, I noticed the fact that the
faces seen everyday were quite the same. I started to under-
stand the individual characters and started not to panic while
writing the invoice slips anymore.

Three-castles
Stone-mountain
Ise-lights
Heaven-fields
River-right
Gold-blossoms
Close-four-men
Close-origin
Chestnut-dragon
Three-english
Three-activeness
Three-fullness
Left-one
Mark of three-field of rice
Blue-denseness
Sickle-easy
Big-bridge
North-denseness
North rice field-main office
North-deputy
Close-light
Third-rising-#17
Third-wooden cup
Shino-fields
Tiger-luck
Plain-eight
Rice field-island
Big happiness-fisheries
Warrior-share
Cross passing-glory-store
Tiger-three
Old-looking
Round-one-marine products
Round-happiness-big-one
West-marine products
Market-river-marine products

These were what the major middlemen's names meant.
Each middleman had each of their characters, but perhaps,
they could have been roughly divided into three groups.
Middlemen such as Sanjou (Three-castle), Kanafusa (Gold-
blossom), or Kuritatu (Chestnut-dragon) were the so-called
superior goods buyers, who bought only the goods they had
received orders from their customers. They never complained
about the prices that the auctioneer offered, but when the quality
of the goods were bad, or the amount of the goods were
lessened improperly without notice, he flies into a rage, and
would never compromise, with the Law on his side. They
were the typical stubborn old timers of the Market but they
were becoming a scarce race along with the downfall of the
wholesale market system.
The more typical and dominant type of middlemen can be
described as follows.
That is, they inspected goods very carefully, studied the
market prices hardly, and bid at a price derived from each
middleman's experience, which was called to make a bottom
price.
They were very confident of earning a margin with that
bottom making price.
The last type of middleman was the one that swept away
all of the remainders after the auction, pretty similar to a hyena
in nature. He would buy everything but afforded little money.
The prices he bid were always a dumping price for the shipper
that had sent fish to the auctioneer company.
Tactically, the auctioneer tended to knock down remaining
goods to a specific middleman and not to others. By that
method, he was able to shut out the cheap bids of the other
middlemen.
Famous middlemen of that hyena type were middlemen
like Sabu of Ishiyama (Stone-mountain) or Q-chan (Buddy
Mr. Nine) of Ichikawa (Market-river).
Sabu's bid was really cheap. His main customer was a
retailer at Candy Street.
His bid merely succeeded. His bid was so cheap that, once
in a while when he got a knock down, the news spreaded all
around the Market.
The other big shot, Q-chan, or Buddy Mr. Nine of Market-
River, was an ex-sumo wrestler who had dropped out of the
race. He was extremely big and had a thick unshaven beard.
He had a short hair cut which made his round shaped head
very close to a skin-head. His ears were completely crushed
by the hard sumo training and it emphasized the roundness of
his head.
Buddy Mr. Nine's voice was big. Everytime he came to
the auction, he said a couple of words to the auctioneer so
loudly that everyone around would hear. The topics he talked
about were usually things like the latest political news, horse
race results of the day before, or comments on the latest market
prices. In a moment later, this Buddy Mr. Nine, wearing a
squashed and almost slipping off cap with a plastic license
They were very confident of earning a margin with that
bottom making price.
The last type of middleman was the one that swept away
all of the remainders after the auction, pretty similar to a hyena
in nature. He would buy everything but afforded little money.
The prices he bid were always a dumping price for the shipper
that had sent fish to the auctioneer company.
Tactically, the auctioneer tended to knock down remaining
goods to a specific middleman and not to others. By that
method, he was able to shut out the cheap bids of the other
middlemen.
Famous middlemen of that hyena type were middlemen
like Sabu of Ishiyama (Stone-mountain) or Q-chan (Buddy
Mr. Nine) of Ichikawa (Market-river).
Sabu's bid was really cheap. His main customer was a
retailer at Candy Street.
His bid merely succeeded. His bid was so cheap that, once
in a while when he got a knock down, the news spreaded all
around the Market.
The other big shot, Q-chan, or Buddy Mr. Nine of Market-
River, was an ex-sumo wrestler who had dropped out of the
race. He was extremely big and had a thick unshaven beard.
He had a short hair cut which made his round shaped head
very close to a skin-head. His ears were completely crushed
by the hard sumo training and it emphasized the roundness of
his head.
Buddy Mr. Nine's voice was big. Everytime he came to
the auction, he said a couple of words to the auctioneer so
loudly that everyone around would hear. The topics he talked
about were usually things like the latest political news, horse
race results of the day before, or comments on the latest market
prices. In a moment later, this Buddy Mr. Nine, wearing a
squashed and almost slipping off cap with a plastic license
attached to it, would change his tone of voice. He would roar
the auctioneer's name and say,
"Hey you, how much is this?!"
After a few exchanges of words, Buddy Mr. Nine would
write his bid on a piece of paper. The piece of paper was
really a tag to identify the owners of fish, by writing names in
the blank space, but was also conventionally used as a form to
do the biddings. He rips off the tag from the book fiercely,
and throws it inside the ballot box.
The auctioneer was usually startled by the bid. It was
always extremely cheap.
Although, once in a while, this attitude of the auctioneer
looked phoney.
Since Buddy Mr. Nine was never satisfied without the
auctioneer's astonishment, the action started to get ritual. If
the auctioneer would look like pretending, even slightly, Buddy
Mr. Nine would say, "Hey, you waai-da minute. I think I
changed my mind. Rip up that piece of paper and throw it
away, will you?"
He throws into the ballot box a much cheaper bid.
One day, after the auction, the herring fillet delivery was
almost finished, and it was about 8 a.m.. Buddy Mr. Nine
sprang open the door of the shack behind the auction stage
excitedly. The herring fillet auctioneer was just taking his
time: lighting a cigarette.
Buddy Mr. Nine was angry. He said that the herring fillets
that he had knocked down at the auction had not yet been
delivered to his store. The auctioneer seemed to have realized
something and started to panic. The auctioneer had forgotten
to save a particular amount of herring fillets, as promised with
Buddy Mr. Nine before the auction. To do such a thing was
illegal, but no one would have complained. It was because of
the strong influence Buddy Mr. Nine had towards herring fillet
trading inside the Wholesale Market. His bids were cheap,
but the amounts he knocked down were extremely large.
Everybody understood also, about the high risks he took.
He was something more than a common middleman. For
example, when other middlemen got sudden orders from their
customers, they went to buy from Buddy Mr. Nine. He would
sell them all that they wanted.
The middlemen relied a lot upon Buddy Mr. Nine.
By the way, Buddy Mr. Nine was really mad and his face
turned reddish. The auctioneer, who was rather the timid type,
thought that he was going to be hit. He looked down and tried
to make his body tight and small, so that he wouldn't get hurt.
A time of silence passed.
Once in a while, middlemen, other auctioneers and small
pickers would show their faces in the shack, but seeing the
scene, they passed away in a hurry.
"I'm sorry," moaned the auctioneer.
Buddy Mr. Nine replied, "You don't have to be sorry you
ass hole!" and he hit the auctioneer on the upper arm. The
auctioneer, hit hard by Buddy Mr. Nine's fist, which was like
a baseball catcher's mitt, screamed, "EEEK."
The abuse continued endlessly for about half an hour.
<Torture> -- it could have been called.
The next day, Buddy Mr. Nine came to the auction as usual.
"Hey! Ya - better be a little bit wiser today," said Buddy
Mr. Nine to the auctioneer. "You know I lost a lot of money,
yesterday."
Buddy Mr. Nine's voice was so big that everyone around
heard what he said. He ripped his bid off and threw it into the
ballot box.
The price was not cheap.
Not only compared to Sabu of Stone-Mountain, but to
superior buying middle-men who bid to buy all, Buddy Mr.
Nine's bid was higher. Perhaps, Buddy Mr. Nine's customer,
to whom he couldn't deliver the day before, came again the
day.
"Okay, you knock down that bid today," said Buddy Mr.
Nine in a forcible voice. "If not, you're a dead man."
Buddy Mr. Nine grabbed the auctioneer's bruised upper
arm, which made the auctioneer scream again.
Most of the herring fillets were knocked down to Buddy
Mr. Nine but he didn't keep the price that he had bidden, and
made the auctioneer change the prices on the invoice book
cheaper.
"You owe me what I have lost yesterday, don't you?" said
Buddy Mr. Nine in a voice that sounded all around the auction
place.
"You see, you ass hole?" added Buddy Mr. Nine.



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