Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.336

Beside my new apartment is a mountain which sloping side has a fancy Italian restaurant. Normally it’s beyond my price range but I had an opportunity to eat there at 30% off. The website said it took 15 minutes from the foot of the mountain and I started to walk up a steep slope. At first I enjoyed a fine view of flowers on the roadside and the town stretching below, but 20 minutes later, I was sweating all over without any sign of the restaurant. The steep road quietly continued to twist back and forth up the side of the mountain. When my feet became close to the end of their strength and I sweated for three saunas, I finally arrived at the restaurant. Sweat spoiled my dress, makeup and hairdo and I entered the place looking like I had been caught in a downpour. The restaurant was perfect with an exquisite atmosphere and delicious meals, except for the whacking prices. By the time I came down the mountain from there and reached my apartment, I was totally exhausted and even began to have a headache. It was so strong that a painkiller couldn’t ease. Since I moved in, I’ve been walking so much wherever I go, but I feel I’ve weakened rather than strengthened. Because my walking destinations are mostly restaurants, I haven’t thinned either…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.335

My mother and I don’t have much contact with each other. But after Japan’s earthquake, I’ve heard from my mother sometimes, which is quite unusual. A couple of months ago, she sent me a postcard that said she was worried about me for frequent aftershocks. The other day, her thank-you card for my Mother’s Day gift was forwarded to my new place although she had completely ignored my gift the year before. She doesn’t know my new address because I haven’t told her that I moved. Every single action I take makes her resent for some reason, and I conceal things around myself from her as much as possible. On that forwarded postcard, she wrote that she’s been worried about me this time for radiation from the crippled nuclear power plant. Each time, I noticed her firm intention not to use a specific sentence. It’s ‘Why don’t you come home to stay with us for a while?’ When people leave the Tokyo metropolitan area for the safer western part of Japan, where she lives, it’s so unnatural that she hasn’t suggested it. Of course, as a mother who has told me not to come home ever again, I understand that is the last suggestion she would make for me. I can even read between the lines, that she is overflowing with joy, because she believes I’ve suffered the earthquake’s aftermath as a punishment I’ve opposed everything she told me to do. Possibly, I’m twisted to think this way and she may be really worried about me. But ever since I left home, I’ve lived easily and cheerfully and that has been intolerant to her. The fact I’ve already left and moved for a safe area would infuriate her if she knew. It’s human nature to gloat over someone’s misfortune and begrudge someone’s happiness, I guess…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.334

A month has passed since I moved in my new apartment. Although I’ve been vigorously unpacking, cardboard boxes have still occupied more than half the living room. My handmade soundproof wall has been completed only on one side of the walls in my bedroom/studio that borders on the next door. The positions of my furniture and instruments have been roughly decided for my studio. My old apartment was built on a light steel framework and had very thin walls. I was disturbed by all kinds of noise – rain, wind, cars, kids, neighbors, crows, helicopters – you name it. As my new apartment is built with reinforced concrete, it was supposed to be a lot quieter. It actually was, but wasn’t as much as I had expected. Unknown clanging noise coming from some pipe woke me up for several times, or I heard footsteps form the room above or below. I had probably overestimated reinforced concrete. I know I should be content with much quieter surroundings here, but thinking about having gone through that hard and long process of the move, I want the kind of silence that I had imagined as a reward. I’ve been telling myself that it may get better when the whole soundproofing is done. Also, I shouldn’t forget that there’s no such thing as 100% satisfaction in this world after all…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.333

There is a lake a few miles away from my new apartment and I decided to go there for the first time. The local bus to the lake was surprisingly old-fashioned and worn-out. It jolted along a mountain road, ascending higher and higher. The lake lay at the foot of the mountain, surrounded by the fresh green woods. Although I had expected it to be a popular recreation place for locals, it was quite lonely and quiet with only a couple of small spots to eat and shop. One of them was an Italian restaurant and I had an expensive lunch there as a sole customer. The directory showed that there was a walk around the lake and I tried it. It got steeper and rougher as I walked on, as if I was climbing a mountain. The walk looked exactly like the one in my recurring nightmare in which I walked along an ever-steepening path and ended up tumbling down the slope every time. I crawled along the walk on all fours so as not to tumble down. Fighting off a fear of heights, I finally got to a suspension bridge over the lake, and the view of the lake from there was breathtaking. On my way home, I mistook the road for the bus stop, and walked all the way home. It took 90 minutes and I was dead on my feet…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.332

Formula One’s GP of Canada is one of my biggest pleasures. I look forward to watching it on TV every year because it is a precious and rare race that is aired live in Japan for the time difference. The race is special to me also because it is held in Montreal where I used to live and I adore the city. The live broadcast started at 2 a.m. in Japan and I stayed up, all excited. It rained heavily in Montreal and the race was suspended when a third of the laps were run. By then, a Japanese racing driver Kobayashi was in the second, which meant he would restart the race from the second position. There have been many Japanese Formula One drivers, but the best result has been third. With Kobayashi on the second, I might witness a historic moment live on TV. The heavy rain persisted for two hours and finally the skies began to clear. When the drivers were getting back into their cars for the restart, the TV commentator of the Japanese broadcast suddenly said, ‘I’m sorry that we have no air time left.’ And the live coverage was replaced with an infomercial at 4:30 a.m. They were insane. According to the post-race report on the Internet, the race after the restart was totally action-packed, to the climax that Button overtook Vettel who was leading the race on the final lap. Kobayashi didn’t make the podium but crossed the finish line side by side with Massa almost at the same time. It sounded like a great race that I had hardly seen in 22 years as an avid Formula One fan. That particular race I missed…

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