Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.327

Since I moved in my new apartment, I’ve occasionally felt a sense of homesick. Only I’ve seldom felt it for my old apartment. What I miss are shops and restaurants that I often visited, characters and mascots that were standing by the roadside or painted on signboards, and the memories associated with them. In my case, homesick isn’t for home to be exact. I’ve moved for six times in all both domestically and internationally in my life, and the first one was when I left home where I was born and raised, and started to live on my own for the first time in Tokyo. Although it seemed like a perfect occasion to feel homesick, I was too happy to feel any. To date, I’ve never missed my hometown nor wanted to visit the house. Recently, I’ve seen many people on TV who live in the shelters after the earthquake eager to return their hometowns instead of moving to new places. For most people, home is such an important place. I wonder if my new place here can become my home…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.326

My moving day had finally arrived. I got up only with a three-hour sleep. There was little time before moving out. Although a mover would come a few hours later, unpacked things were still littered all over the floor. My hands were trembling with a panic. Just as I managed to pack everything, the moving van pulled up. The problem was a huge amount of trash. We must use the municipal specified bags to throw away trash, but I used them up and had no time to go and buy more. I ended up shipping trash to my new place. While the mover was loading up a truck with my furniture, boxes and the trash, the real estate agent came up to check the apartment. He was examining the place closely to see if there was any damage. As a matter of fact, I had been dreading this moment for months. I was afraid that he was going to charge me an outrageous price for repairs. Since I didn’t have enough time to clean up the place, a possible cover-up wouldn’t work. When I was braced for a high price, he said that the room cleaning was included in the security deposit I had put down and I would receive the most of it back. I didn’t have to clean the place in the first place or pay for the damage. On the contrary, I got money back. After both the agent and the mover left, I said goodbye to the empty apartment I had lived for nine years, locked the door for the last time, and headed for the bus stop. I would never been in this neighborhood again. An end leads to another beginning…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.325

It was the day before my move. Time for packing everything including basic necessities. I unscrewed the table legs and removed the drapes and the venetian blind from the windows. After packing the stereo, inside the apartment was weirdly quiet and I heard my own voice reverberate. When I had the last dinner at this apartment with my partner on a small folding table and remembered many good things that had happened or come in here, tears suddenly rolled down my face and I couldn’t stop crying owing to the beer and a spell of lack of sleep. But I knew I couldn’t afford to be sentimental. I had to evacuate this apartment by noon the next day. It seemed undoubtedly impossible to finish packing and cleaning the place by then. A hectic, sleepless night awaited me…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.324

I have only three days to go before I move to my new apartment. I’m already exhausted from packing. Once furniture is moved, the dirty wall or mold appears and the thorough cleaning is also necessary. A mover came today to pick up some pieces of my furniture. To me, they looked like supermen. They carried heavy objects down the stairs so easily. One of them had been even determined to carry down my electric piano by himself until I begged him to do it with his co-worker. Compared to them, I’m nothing. Moving just a few things tires me out and makes my muscles stiff. I don’t know how unstably I’m moving, but I have bruises all over. After I settle in my new place, I’ll exercise and strengthen my body ? that is, when I finish all the packing and cleaning and move out here in time for the deadline…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.323

About two months have passed since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake in Japan. Finally, aftershocks have dwindled. Those atrocious scheduled blackouts have stopped being carried out so far. Food shortages were resolved. Nevertheless, life is totally different from the one before the earthquake. Radiation has been leaked from the crippled nuclear power plants everyday and I can’t go outside as much as I like. At nighttime, stores and restaurants hold their signboard lights off and the streets have become dim. I don’t understand why they turn the lights off since the electricity consumption is low at night and electricity can’t be stored up for later use. As there’s no rational reason for that, I suspect they’re just promoting their gestures of trying to save on electricity. Their baseless savings of electricity make the whole town stale and depressed. In Japan, people have consecutive holidays from the end of April to the first week of May, which is usually the lively, noisy and annoying time of year for me. But this year, the holidays were gone quietly. When I decided to move to the countryside, my biggest concern was if I adapt to living in a small town with sparse shops. But after the earthquake, ironically, the city I currently live in is as dark as the small town I’m moving to, and because my going out is limited due to radiation, the shopping experience here is nothing less than in a small town…

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