It was in the summer of 1993 that I gave up fieldwork in Lagos due to the civil unrest in Nigeria and arrived for the first time in Cameroon’s capital city, Yaoundé. It was a great fortune for me that I was able, at that time, to accompany a Japanese pioneer in urban research in Africa, Prof. Shunya Hino. During my first two days in Cameroon, Prof. Hino, who had conducted research in Cameroon for a long time, took me around to various places in Yaoundé. Prof. Hino taught me the importance and joy of first participating in the midst of people’s lives and observing and talking with people instead of thinking about various things. I did my best to keep up with Prof. Hino, who would dive into the giant maze-like alleys of slums and the chaos of markets without the slightest hesitation. We would rest every once in a while and enjoy a cold beer in front of a liquor store amidst the tumult of the market. It was also at this time that I discovered that boiled peanuts are the perfect companion for beer. On the evening of the second night, with a quick “well, then,” I was left to fend for myself in the city. To be more exact, I got out of a taxi in which Prof. Hino and I had been riding to meet with an individual to whom I had been introduced by a Cameroonian in Paris. Unfortunately, the person in question was not home. Not knowing how to get on a sharing taxi, not knowing the streets, and certainly not being able to ask for directions in French, I wandered about aimlessly and ended up sitting down in a pub, exhausted, to drink a beer (I had, however, learned to order a beer). I don’t recall now how I got back to the hotel from there, but I still vividly remember the feeling of anxiety and sense of being at a total loss as I watched the taxis coming and going as I sat drinking my beer. That’s how my very long relationship with Yaoundé started. I began living in a certain “slum,” and, before long, came to know the local streets like the back of my hand to the point that I could walk around freely while thinking such thought as “if I go to such and such street I might run into so and so person, which I need to avoid because I’m in a hurry today.” The area is home to many members of the ethnic group known as the Bamileke. I boarded in the home of an elderly Bamileke woman and I got to know the lifestyles of the Bamileke. The Bamileke are known as the business people in Cameroon. A large proportion of Bamileke people make their livelihood as self-employed businesses operators at scales ranging from large corporations to street stalls. In fact, the Bamileke boast many executives of large companies that have worked their way up. While it may be a trait of all groups involved in trade, the Bamileke are disliked by other ethnic groups in certain respects. I was, however, drawn to their attitude (recognizing, of course, that this varies widely from individual to individual) of not relying others and to do something on their own to earn a living. As such, I set out to interview Bamileke business leaders and to examine their life histories. While it cannot be said that they have been surrounded by advantageous environments, they believe in themselves, they believe in their potential for success, and work diligently. I discovered business leaders from other ethnic groups also acknowledge the superior work ethic of the Bamileke. There was a mutual respect among individuals trying to succeed as self-employed workers regardless of their ethnicity. Small-business owners also worked diligently every day to achieve success. The Bamileke shared with me their dreams of building a house in Yaoundé, building a house in their home towns, sending their children to university, increasing the size of their businesses, etc. The Bamileke people, both non-business people and self-employed people actively organize mutual-help associations known as tontine in French. They form same-village associations based on their villages or towns of origin and hold weekly meetings. Without exception, I found that every same-village association had organized a tontine. In the tontines organized by the same-village associations, all members bring a set amount of money to their weekly meetings, and each week, a portion of members receive the sum total of this money, which they as capital for their business, to send their children to school, to buy land, to build a house, etc. Furthermore, the circumstances under which individuals must work to be able to pay into the tontine have facilitated the accumulation of capital. It can be said that it is the tontines that have made the Bamileke into the business people that they are today. Unlike politicians and high-ranking government officials who have become rich through bribes, Bamileke business leaders who have succeeded in a single generation by taking advantage of tontines and working hard enjoy the admiration (and envy) of youngsters. Despite the fact that many lament that it has become more difficult to achieve the Cameroon dream, I have seen many individuals who continue to work hard with dreams of one day achieving success. I believe that it is such individuals (both men and women) who make Yaoundé the appealing city that it is. Nearly two decades have passed since I first visited Yaoundé. I have not been able to go to Yaoundé in recent years. I must return to those familiar alleys where I have so many friends before it once again becomes a giant maze.