Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.387

This year has been full of big events for me. What I had never experienced before happened one after another throughout the year. The biggest earthquake in my life, an indescribable fear of radiation, daily blackouts, a shortage of food, and a move to a rural small town enclosed by high mountains. I had sensed strongly a change and a beginning of my new life. I’ve gotten accustomed to living in this small town that I had felt anxious about, and liked rural life more than I had expected. When I gaze up at the innumerable stars in the sky or snow-covered mountains from the window, I can’t help feeling a presence of something larger than life. I’ve been able to be more relaxed than before, as I got away from the stress of city life with too many people around. One thing to regret for this year is that I hardly worked for my music. Turmoil in moving to a new place and setting up my home studio all over again ate up my time. Now that I’m already used to rural life where time passes slowly, I’m almost terrified at the thought of how long it will take to complete my next song…

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Sunrise / 88th Planet [001]

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.386

My late grandfather liked to go out and often wanted to take me with him when I was little. Although I didn’t like to go out with him, I couldn’t say so because he was a tycoon in my family. There were two reasons why going out with him wasn’t fun. One was because I was tense all the time being with him who used to be very strict. The other was because he sometimes took me to weird places such as the porn movies or a betting ticket office. So, when he said to me “Let’s go to a Christmas party together!” one day before Christmas, I sighed and felt dismal. It wasn’t common in Japan to have a Christmas party back then and I couldn’t imagine what it was like. It sounded shady enough since the offer came out from my grandfather. Of course I didn’t say no and left for the party with him. The site was a small place looking like a community center. Several men were busy working in and out of the place. One of them spotted my grandfather in front of the building and greeted joyfully. He seemed so happy to have us. My grandfather was a head of a local senior citizen club and it turned out to be the club party. We arrived before the party officially started, but he led us inside. We were handed party hats and told to put on. The small hall was dark and had pretty Christmas decorations and music. There were a few snack stands and we were given tickets for the snack. Just for two of us, they worked in a hurry and let us know when the snack was ready one by one. While people working there and my grandfather were all cheerful, I was cautious and sit tight because everything was totally new for me. I had never seen grown-ups having a Christmas party, had never put on a party hat, had never been suggested dancing, and had never seen my strict grandfather in such a good mood. We left when other guests began to show up. It was a sort of handmade party and not a gorgeous one. But unexpectedly, it was the best Christmas party I could remember…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.385

When I was in college and still lived with my family, my younger sister rose to the holder of a diploma in Japanese dancing, which meant she obtained a license to teach it. A celebratory public performance by her was going to be held at a big hall. And again, my mother demanded me to come. Her demand escalated this time and she ordered me to hand a bouquet to my sister when her dance was over. My mother’s intention was to show everyone she knew that all the family had supported my sister and were happy for her success. The fact was I hadn’t supported her and was never happy for her at all. My mother had known it for years and that was why she decided to make me hand a bouquet. She wanted to give an illusion to everyone including my sister that I was pleased. While I refused repeatedly, my mother looked at me as if I had been a cold-blooded monster. I gave in to her persistent attacks. On the day of my sister’s performance, I visited her dressing room and my mother waited with a huge gorgeous bouquet that she had bought and I was supposed to give to my sister. The plan of a farce was like this; when she finished dancing, she would walk on the runway in applause, and receive the bouquet from me who would stretch out beneath the stage. As I was told, I was standing beneath the runway with the bouquet when it happened. Her dance was over, but the curtain fell and she didn’t appear on the runway because of a mix-up. I was left standing like a fool, holding a ridiculously large bouquet. The audience was staring at me curiously and whispering. I laid the bouquet on the runway and left the hall instead of returning to my seat. I was walking along the street and tears were rolling down on my cheeks. I had never been humiliated this much before. For her Japanese dancing, I had suffered alienation, loneliness and disregard all those years. It culminated in huge humiliation…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.384

My hometown is in Kyoto, which is a popular tourist destination in Japan. There is a big historic festival called Gion Festival in summer. Because it attracts visitors all over the world and the venue is too crowded, my family had never gone out to see it. When I was in high school, my friend suggested hanging around the venue on the eve the festival. The evening of the eve is also a popular attraction with the parade floats parked on the street. To go there, it was common to wear a yukata, which is a casual kimono for the summer season. I didn’t have one of those and asked my mother to get one. Before the festival, she bought a yukata for me so that I could go. I liked its design very much. Usually, a yukata had a pattern of morning glories or goldfish, but mine was unique and fancy with a fireworks pattern. It became my treasure as I wore it again a couple of years later for the festival with my first boy friend. Meanwhile, after my younger sister failed the TV talent show audition, she hadn’t stopped learning Japanese dancing against my wish. My mother convinced her that she failed because we were late for the audition that day. According to my mother, the judges weren’t taking enough time to see how talented my sister was. So, she had still taken lessons in Japanese dancing. It’s danced with wearing a kimono and for practice, with a yukata. My sister had some yukatas as her casual practice wear for the lesson. One evening, when I was left at home as usual, my sister came home with my parents from a lesson. She was wearing my yukata. She used my treasured fireworks yukata as her casual practice wear. I cried, “It’s mine!” My mother explained she was out of fresh yukatas and made her borrow mine for that evening only. They were too insensitive to care about my feelings toward her Japanese dancing lessons and my yukata. I’ve never worn it since then…

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