Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.380

I was walking along the main street of this small town yesterday and saw a neighbor who lives two doors down from my apartment walking toward me. We’ve exchanged greetings for several times at the communal spa or in the hallway of my apartment building, but we’d never bumped into each other outside. When I said hello to her on the street, she didn’t recognize me at first. She gave me a puzzled expression for a brief moment and then seemed to recognize me. She returned hello with a friendly smile. After I walked on away from her for a while, I began to feel doubtful. Was it really she? She somehow looked different on the street and may have been a total stranger who just looked like her. Did she pretend to know me to be courteous although she had no idea who I was? I had an urge to ask the neighbor if it was herself. But, suppose I mistook a stranger for her, and ask her, “Did we meet on the street the other day?” What kind of a creepy question would it be? She must think I’m weird. And if we did meet, it would be even creepier to be asked whether we met or not from someone she actually met. She must think I’m crazy. There’s no means of finding out if that was she or not. Distinguishing people’s faces is so difficult for me and it often causes inconveniences…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.379

The house where I spent my childhood was very old. Half the floor in it was bare earth and my family lived like in the way of the Wild West. With our shoes on, we walked around the house and ate meals. It was all right to throw away the rest of a drink from a cup directly onto the floor. My father used to smoke. When he smoked, he would light a cigarette with a match and toss the match to the dirt floor. It burned itself out. That is probably my earliest memory. I remember a thrown match was burning out on the floor and I said “Ah…” According to my parents, I uttered “Ah…” every time my father threw away a match as if I didn’t approve it. And my tone was always tinged with disappointment. I guess I was already cheap as a child and couldn’t bear a thing to be thrown away after just one-time use. I was nagging at my parents about everything all my childhood, and even my earliest memory is something critical about my parents. No wonder we’ve been on bad terms for such a long time…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.378

In my childhood, I lived with my grandmother who inevitably said, “There’s no place like home” when she got back from her rare traveling. I used to think that meant a huge waste of time, money and effort considering that she judged home was best after the trip. But when I came back from my trip this time, I thought, “There’s no place like home” by myself. Does it mean I’ve already felt at home in my new apartment in this new town? Or, am I just simply getting old? It snowed in this region yesterday for the first time in this winter and the ground was thinly covered with snow. The region is famous as a heavy snowfall area. As I had lived for a long time in the urban area where it seldom snowed, I’m exhilarated when it snows. But local people here feel depressed about snow since it’s too much. I’m having my first winter here and not sure how long and severe it will be. So far, I’ve been still fond of winter and snow. When I live here long enough, will I get tired of snow and hate winter? Maybe that’s when this place really becomes my home…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.377

The hotel that I stayed at for the night of my trip was a brand-new one and included an all-you-can-eat breakfast although I had found it online at the lowest price. The cool lobby sparkled with cleanliness and high-tech gadgets were here and there like the card key that called the elevator or opened the room with electronic sounds by just being held over the small panel. But stepping into the room, I was taken aback at its small space. It had two small double windows designed not to open since the hotel stood right above the train station. I was afraid that I couldn’t breathe and sleep because I have claustrophobia. Thankfully, I did both, as it seemed I’ve been overcoming claustrophobia since I moved in a town surrounded by the mountains. Next morning, I went down to the restaurant for the breakfast buffet I’d looked forward to. Although the place was quite big and had many tables, only few tables were left empty. Along the buffet was a dire long line of guests to get food. There were too many people everywhere! I began to find it luxurious that I now lived in a sparsely populated town with plentiful vacant lots. I think nature is astonishingly beautiful, far more so than neat shops. Few people agree with me and that’s why the city is packed with so many people…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.376

I visited the Tokyo metropolitan area for the first time in six months since I moved out there. After getting off the bullet train, I walked to the faraway platform to transfer the train. Because Tokyo Station is too big and so many different train lines come in, it took fifteen minutes to get to the platform even by using the moving-walk. The whole station was filled with an enormous number of people even though it was midday of a weekday. It reminded me of a news image of a department’s floor in US on Black Friday. I assume the total number of people walking in a long tunnel between the platforms for one day exceeds the number of shoppers for one year at the busiest shopping area in the town where I currently live. On both sides of the tunnel were cool shops that glowed in the dazzling light. After a 40-minute train ride, I arrived at the nearest station to Costco, which was my first destination for this two-day trip. This station was also crammed with passengers all the way to the ticket gate. To descend from the platform to the ticket gate, the long lines were formed in front of the huge stairways. It took a good ten minutes to exit the station and I missed the bus to Costco. It was raining with bitter wind, as the weather forecast had said. The thing that has been almost always wrong proved right on the particular day of my trip…

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