Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.399

Every year in January, I visit a temple to pray for good luck in the new year. It’s a common practice for most Japanese people. Since I moved last year, I visited a local temple of my new town for the first time about a month ago. It was a small, uninhabited temple surrounded by three large trees that were over three hundred years old. Before praying, offering money should be put into a wooden box set in front of a temple building. I usually put a one-yen coin that is of least value in Japan into the offering box because I’m cheap. But this time, seven feet of snow buried the site and I couldn’t go in. I had to pray outside the entrance and throw in the offering money. As the temple building was a hundred feet away, my one-yen coin, which is made of tin, couldn’t possibly reach there. Even so, I threw it with all my strength because I felt that the closer the coin landed, the more grace I would get. Since then, I’ve had a pain in the joint of my right elbow for a month. I feel a sharp pain in my right forearm every time I bend my elbow or hold something with my hand. My partner reads this as a sign that says I should stop being stingy and being too careful for small change this year, as my desperate coin throw caused it. It sounds to me more like his request than a sign. I, on the other hand, read this as a punishment to throw money onto the ground. Either way, I’ve got a pain from a temple instead of grace…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.398

I’ve completed my home studio by handmade soundproofing to my small apartment room and setting up instruments, equipment and the wiring. The software and drivers have all been installed on my computer. The only thing that remains to be done is start working on our new song. I’ve run out of excuses to avoid work any longer. I wrote the next song when I was having trouble with my neighbor who newly moved in a room next door to me in the apartment building that I used to live. At that time, I was so annoyed and at a loss why I should have endured this uncomfortable time. But in hindsight, it paid as I earned one new song. Now, I’m getting down to select instruments, make sounds, arrange the song, record a chorus, rehearse vocals, record vocals, mix, and master. It’s lengthy, continuous, lonely work stretched over several years. Our last song into which I put a great deal of similar effort and time to complete, by the way, has turned almost no profit so far. This is what I do with my life at stake…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.397

A dream I wish to have in the night most isn’t about dating a Hollywood star, or making a great hit with my song. It’s not about my parents saying to me with tears “We were wrong. We’re sorry.” either. It’s about numbers. I once saw a woman on TV who won $4 million by the lottery with the numbers she had seen in her dream. Shortly after that, I myself saw numbers in my dream and began to buy a lottery ticket with those numbers. I won $10 for several times and $100 once, if not $4 million. Since then, I’ve always waited for numbers to appear in my dream, the numbers for the jackpot. And the other night, new numbers appeared in my dream for the first time in months. I was convinced that the time had come. I rushed to the only lottery stand in this small town and got a ticket for five consecutive drawings with those numbers. I lost them all. I went out again in the snow with my partner for five more drawings. At the stand, he found that he had left an ATM card at home, which was necessary to get a lottery ticket. He acted as if he had lost $4 million on the spot and looked up the sky with despair. I’d never thought the numbers from my dream gave him so much hope. I ended up coming back again to get a ticket before the next drawing day. While I rely on my dream numbers and keep meeting the deadline for each drawing rigidly, a possibility of the jackpot is practically none…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.396

As the place I live in has been closed by snow lying about nine feet and I tend to feel claustrophobia more often, I went down to the nearest snow-free city by bullet train for the first time. It’s a regional city far from the Tokyo metropolitan area where I used to live. It has a cool shopping mall right above the train station, inside and around which there are numerous stylish restaurants and shops, including my favorites such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. I also found Gusto and Royal Host, which are Japanese major restaurant chains. With a fifteen-minute bus ride from the station, the city even has an enormous shopping mall that includes Costco. That mall is so gigantic that I felt as if I was in U.S. Costco there is far better than the one in Tokyo area that I used to shop at, with more space and less shoppers. It was so comfortable to shop around. People in the city are nicer than those who live in the metropolitan area, too. Urban coolness and convenience combined with a rural relaxing atmosphere makes the city an unbeatable place. It precisely turned out to be an ideal city for me. I felt excited to see a splendid place like this exist in Japan. The problem is, I need to pay the expensive bullet train fare each time to go there because the local train takes too much time and stops running too often due to snow. No matter how well I manage my money, a visit once a month is the maximum I can afford. It’s so hard for me to wait until next month to go to such a wonderful city I finally came across…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.395

I started watching ‘Mad Men’ that had been recorded and stored in my HDD for some time. In an episode I watched last night, young Don found a mark by a hobo on an entrance jamb of his house, which stood for a dishonest man in the house. A few years ago, when I still lived in my old apartment in the Tokyo metropolitan area, a man banged on the door in the evening. He said he was sent by a management company of the apartment and it was urgent. My partner opened the door and the man told him that a water filtration system had to be installed in my kitchen now. My partner found out right away that the man was just soliciting and had nothing to do with the management company. He was pushy and persistent while my partner was driving him off. In the end, my partner shoved him away. Afterward, we noticed a small strange mark beside the door. Then a couple of months later, there was a Japanese news story on TV, which reported on a vicious soliciting scheme. Sales persons mark each house with a small sign to categorize by easiness of soliciting. That explained a mysterious mark at the entrance of my apartment. Based on the fact that I had never had any kind of soliciting again since the night my partner shoved a sales person, the mark on my apartment could have stood for something quite tough…

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