Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.516

A couple of nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night when I heard a loud thud. I thought something had fallen from the shelves, but the minute I dozed off, a thud woke me up again. This time, it sounded like my inner noise coming from my head. I opened my eyes and saw my room spinning vertically like a fun house at a fair. At first I thought it was a strong earthquake. I covered myself with my futon and waited it to stop. Then I noticed there was no noise of anything that should fall or be broken though the earthquake was strong enough to make my room upside down over and over. Besides, while my room was rolling, I hadn’t fallen from the bed. The room was in dead silence and I lay still. I realized it wasn’t an earthquake and removed the futon from my face. The room was still spinning around me violently and finally I understood I was having massive vertigo. Since I had hardly ever had vertigo in my life, fear engulfed me. I wondered if I was dying now and this was how it felt right before people died. I asked myself if I had bumped my head on something earlier or eaten something bad, but I had no idea. Long, terrifying minutes later, the spin stopped. I felt queasy and went to the bathroom to feel better. And then, the bathroom started spinning madly. I held on to the wall desperately not to roll around. When it stopped, fierce nausea hit me. I got back to my bed to lie down, and the incredible amount of sweat began to pour out of me. I had never sweated so much before. It was as if every pore on my skin had spewed sweat all at once with all their force. I saw my sweat dribble down onto the floor and was fully convinced that I was dying. The first thing that came to my mind was my new song I have been working on. I regretted not having finished it and thought I should have worked for it much faster. It was near completion but never saw the light. I even thought of booting up my computer and setting the song up so that my partner could play it back as it was completed so far. Instead, it occurred to me to leave a last note to him. I rummaged out a piece of paper and wrote down how and what time I died. I also tried to leave some messages for him, but nothing came out but fear. I just scribbled casual words and a weird doodle and went back to bed. Feeling extremely scared, I alternated between dozing off and waking up by vertigo until morning. I didn’t die. Dizziness subsided and I was alive. About a week ago, my partner told me that I might die soon because of my continuous lack of sleep. I’ve exercised at the gym in the morning everyday for over one year and regularly had to shorten my sleep for that. I believed that one-year exercising had made me physically strong and healthy, and that some lack of sleep wouldn’t do me any harm. I was wrong. I think my lack of sleep contributed that scary near-death experience. Or, I was simply under hypnosis of my partner’s reproach…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.515

Before I began to replace a wristwatch battery by myself, I used to visit a small mom-and-pop clock shop. It was diffidently situated in a nook of a supermarket. Although the supermarket had fairly many shoppers around, they just walked past the clock shop and seldom got in. The shop looked near deserted and I often saw an old couple who kept the shop nodding off over the counter. The old man was a typical bull-headed craftsman. He never pitched or chatted friendly to the customer, but worked on a watch intensely and precisely. All his tools looked as old as he himself was, having used for who knew how many years. Every watch of mine I brought there was a cheap one, and yet he treated them as if they were high-end watches. One of my wristwatches has a peculiar-shaped lid and when I brought it in for a battery change, he closed the lid with his own hands by taking ten minutes since his tool was too old to deal with the shape. When I brought in an apparently broken wristwatch, he poured a mysterious liquid inside the watch and dried it with the ceiling light by standing on the chair to reach up the light for ten minutes. The watch started ticking again magically and has been in top shape since then. I had never left the counter during his work because I liked to look at it so much. Everything he was doing to a watch attracted me immensely. I would even gaze at a simple battery change with fascination. He would use a wearable loupe, clean the lid with a tiny brush, open it, take out an old battery with tweezers, bring a new one from behind the curtain, engrave the date on the battery so that he could evaluate its duration on the next change, put it in, close the lid with his old tool and set the time with his wristwatch. Sometimes he found a tattered water-repellent rubber ring inside my watch but he never pressed me into buying a new one. He just picked up torn pieces with his tweezers and put them back in as they had been. His most strict instruction to keep watches was to separate them from appliances at least ten feet. It’s difficult in my small apartment but I still keep my watches as far from appliances as possible. He also told me repeatedly not to place a watch close to a cell phone. I’ve changed my wrist to wear a watch to my right, as I use a cell phone with my left hand. Eventually I moved too far away from the shop and couldn’t visit any more. And I started replacing a battery by myself. I mimic his battery change with much more primitive tools. Probably I liked to see his work because of his passion and earnestness for a watch. I wonder how he’s doing and miss him…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.514

For some reason, I like a wristwatch so much. I have a collection of inexpensive wristwatches. So far, I’ve got 25 of them, almost all of which cost under $15. As a cheap collector, the biggest drawback is a battery. Having the battery replaced at a clock shop costs about $10, which is sometimes more than the price of my wristwatch itself. To solve this problem, I started changing the battery by myself several years ago by getting some basic tools for that. A battery for a watch is available on the Internet only at around 40 cents and replacing it by myself makes a big difference. While I’ve replaced a watch battery regularly, I found it really enjoyable. It seems I also like tinkering about with a watch. There are various tools for a watch on the Internet such as ones to open and close a lid, ones to change a watch band, ones to adjust a length of a metal band and so on, and everything attracts me. Since my songs don’t sell, I even thought of early retirement and visualized myself opening my own clock shop. How nice it would be tinkering with watches all day, surrounded by many new watches. Better yet, how about a clock shop with a cafe in it? Customers would have coffee looking at a line of watches of my pick. But the watches would keep reminding the customer what time it is and the restless ticking of their second hands would make them rush. Besides, I’m a dropper and I would drop the watch to the floor all the time. New watches would be broken and the customer’s one would be compensated. In addition, I have a germ phobia and couldn’t stand touching someone’s belongings, which would make it impossible to replace a battery in a customer’s watch. Above all, people usually retire from a shopkeeper and then start music. My course would be the reverse of a common situation. Incidentally, I’m a little astigmatic and no good with tiny parts. I’d better restrict myself to a battery change of my own wristwatches…

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