Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.366

Throughout my schooldays, a field day was a nightmare for me. I was poor at gymnastic and a slow runner. I always swaggered as the smartest kid at school, but a field day was the annual event that I was humiliated as a laughingstock in front of all students and their parents. The team events like tug-of-war did less damage because my poor performance was covered up among other students. But individual competitions like a hundred-meter dash were such dreadful events. It was raced in groups of six and I was always last. I don’t know how it’s felt to breast the tape. My parents came to cheer and bring lunch on a field day every year and always felt embarrassed in the stands. When I was little, I had been extremely introverted and hardly spoken to anyone except for my family members. But with a lot of effort, I had become sociable by the time I was in the fourth grade. And on a field day of that year, a strange thing happened. I came in third in the hundred-meter dash. I never thought sociability affected ability to run. I assumed my long spell of a humiliating field day was over. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t. I had been skinny but as I got sociable, I gained an appetite and got fat. I soon returned to be a back marker in the race on a field day. I became more unsightly as a slow fat runner and drew more laughter than before. Humiliation added up to a field day…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.365

It’s a season for a field day at school in Japan. Students have rehearsed the various events for a month or more. Parents are invited to a field day to cheer and bring lunch for their kids. Popular events are the 100-meter dash, an obstacle race, a tug-of-war, and a relay race. Among them, there is one weird competition. Students play on opposite sides of a red team and a white team, to throw small balls into a basket. Parents are required to sew the ball out of cloth beforehand and the school collects them for the event. In the competition, the handmade balls get scattered around a pole at the top of which has a wooden basket. With a signal, students dash to the balls all at once, pick them up and shoot them at the basket. Then teachers count the balls inside the baskets of both teams out loud, and the team with more balls in the basket wins. Besides this, there are other strange team events. A mock cavalry battle that a student wearing a cap is carried by two students who run around to get opponents’ caps, a composition exercise that students form certain shapes with their bodies as a group, and a dance by the whole classes. They need a lot of rehearsals because of those team events. All students must participate in a field day that comes every year until they graduate from high school…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.364

One of what I hate most in this world is a kid. I rarely see a quiet child and most of them are ill-behaved, noise making, violently romping monsters. I can’t stand their high-pitched voice and way of laughing. All my life I’ve tried to avoid them, even when I myself was a child. Ironically, almost all my favorite places are also kids’ favorites. Kids encroach on theme parks, restaurants and stores that I happen to like and I eventually can’t go in. The mystery is, the same thing happens to an area where I decide to live. When I lived in downtown Tokyo, I had chosen an apartment in a quiet area, but families with kids had moved in the neighborhood constantly. Soon, I was besieged by kids and had to move out. After I moved in a suburb, the quiet neighborhood had rapidly gathered families with kids and I again had to escape. Now I’ve moved in a sparsely populated town surrounded by the mountains. I’d seen few people around me and been confident to have finally found a kids-free environment. Five months have passed since I moved in and I noticed an ominous change around me. There used to be only few elderly residents in my apartment building, but I’ve seen more and more kids lately. They are jumping into a Jacuzzi in the communal spa and running around the locker room. A baby is crawling the dirty floor there. Kids have been moving in since I did. Am I a magnet for kids or something? Do they inevitably gather around me? I’m afraid that the town also might have many kids soon…

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