Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.375

My weekend trip to the city approaches. I basically like to travel, but it’s a time-consuming process to make a plan, to check the train schedules and the transfers, and to make reservations for the bullet trains and a hotel at the lowest prices. I’ve been still unpacking after moving in here and setting for my home studio is unfinished which means my music work has been suspended. Added to that is packing for the trip and setting the timer of an HDD recorder for TV programs while I’m away. Since it’s the first time to go down to the city from the secluded, highland town in six months, my schedule of the trip is quite tight with lots of things to do. I wonder I can really enjoy this trip. If a trip begins when it’s planned, so far it’s a tie between excitement and stress. Because I’m spending a lot of money for a cheap person, I’ve been under tremendous pressure to make the trip worthwhile and to keep a good condition without catching a cold. In the meantime, the weather forecast for the first day of the trip is for rain…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.374

Each of us has a must-have item for our dream home. For some, it’s a walk-in closet, and for others, it’s a Lazy Boy. For me, it’s a bagel guillotine. I’d always dreamed about life with a bagel guillotine on a breakfast bar. Actually, the final push to decide on my new apartment was its online picture showing the breakfast bar opposite to the kitchen. But I’d never seen a bagel guillotine on the market in Japan. To begin with, Japanese people hardly eat bagels. They like soft, tender food and tough food like bagels doesn’t appeal to them. A few days ago, I happened to go in a small cafe in town for the first time and they carried a bagel guillotine at 80% off in the obscure corner. It was an odd appearance since the cafe didn’t carry bagels nor any merchandise except for the bagel guillotine. The only merchandise they carried there and the only one who had wanted one of those in this small town encountered miraculously. I got it and put it on the breakfast bar in my apartment. I was so satisfied and felt moving in here was a right decision. But to get bagels themselves, I have to go down to the city on a long train ride because I haven’t seen a store carry bagels here…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.373

Since I moved in this small town, I’ve noticed two peculiarities that I didn’t experience when I lived in a suburb of Tokyo. One: no coins are found on the street. Two: the odds of getting a wrong total when shopping are more than 50 percent. Because of the latter, I check a receipt thoroughly here every time I shop. At a home furnishings store I often shop, at least one item among what I buy has a different bar code from its price tag on the shelf. I’m surprised if they don’t make a mistake for a total at the checkout counter. When I shopped at a grocery store the other day and carefully checked the receipt as usual, I found a mistake, as I’d expected. I complained to the cashier and she paid me back the difference. But the refund was still one yen short on my calculation. As a super cheap person, it’s out of the question for me to give up one yen, and I claimed again. She gave me one yen back. Walking toward the bus stop to go home, I made sure the total again in my head and realized I had miscalculated and my second claim had been false. I got extra one yen wrongly. I didn’t want to steal from the store but didn’t want to turn back either. I got on the bus feeling guilty, and on the floor, I found a one yen coin. That was the first money I’d picked up in six months since I moved in this town. Peculiar…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.372

Three months ago, I wrote here about a middle-aged woman who told me to take off my slippers in the locker room at the communal spa of my apartment. Her reason for the strange demand was because everyone except for me was barefooted inside the locker room as an implicit rule and I should have followed suit. I feel wearing slippers is more hygienic than barefooted on a shared floor and still have kept wearing them there to date no matter how many puzzled stares I received from other residents. And at last, it happened yesterday. After taking a bath, I came in front of the washstand in the locker room to dry my hair as usual, with my slippers on. Then, lo and behold, on the feet of a woman sitting next to me was a pair of slippers! The second example has emerged, and I’m no longer the only resident that isn’t barefooted. She must have seen me wearing slippers and thought it was a good idea. I’m glad to have had the courage to keep wearing them. I struck a blow at Japanese bad habit of being the same as others. With a small step like this, the world can be changed. I was greatly encouraged by such a petty incident concerning just a pair of slippers…

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