Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.530

I visited my hometown in Kyoto the other day. When I visit there, I usually stay at a hotel instead of my parents’ house, as I don’t get along well with them. This time, I took the municipal subway to the hotel. I hadn’t ridden the subway in ages. To the best of my memory, the last time I rode it was when I submitted some necessary papers at the college I had attended in order to drop out of it. While the line had been stretched and added, the station and the cars’ exterior stayed almost unchanged, and the sight of them brought back my old memories. The subway service started when I was a high school student. The municipality took off the streetcar for good in transition. My home was near the streetcar route and we used it heavily. Since the subway ran only the center of the city, our life without the streetcar became inconvenient. My father and I used to grumble about it together repeatedly, saying the municipality favored those who lived in downtown. But once the subway began to run, I found that taking it to school was more convenient than taking the public bus all the way, which I had been doing. I switched and took the subway to school every day. Everything looked new and cool to me. I even bought a ticket that had the date of the math teacher’s birthday stamped on, and made a bookmark out of it to give it as a birthday present to him on whom I had a crush. I was such a pathetic teenager. I also remembered a ride from school after I got my result of the preliminary entrance examination of Kyoto University. Although a grade of eight hundred was needed to get in, I got a grade of merely mid-six hundred. Realizing I had no way to get in the university that I had wanted to so badly and I threw two years of preparing down the drain, I began to shiver on the subway. My breathing became difficult and I thought we were out of air because of the subway system failure. By the time I reached home, I had run a fever of 102 degrees. A month later, I took the subway to a different university. That one was rated lower than Kyoto University and the examination was easy. I was quite sure I had passed and went to see my number on the announcement board. And mine wasn’t there which meant I had failed. On my subway ride back home, I saw my future was heading down to the bottom of darkness. I felt as if my life would never come out of this long dark tunnel. Looking back on it, I hardly have good memories about the subway. It’s not the subway’s fault, though. I have too many bad memories about Kyoto itself…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.529

The first apartment I rented on my own a long time ago was located on the edge of the Tokyo metropolitan area. The neighborhood was full of vacant lots and there were few shops near the subway station. In front of the apartment was a vast, newly built street, on which cars seldom passed by. It was a lonesome, bleak-looking place. But only in a couple of years, high-rise condominium buildings had been built one after another around my apartment and many commercial buildings had appeared near the subway station. Cars were running constantly on the street in front of my apartment and shook my room. In no time, the neighborhood was filled with young families and I was besieged by kids and babies. I used to work for my music at home during the night and go to sleep early in the morning. My sleep had deteriorated by the disturbing shrieks of neighbor kids who played at the parking lots. It drove me out of the metropolitan area and sent me to the suburbs. My next apartment was far from the train station and surrounded by fields. There were hardly any shops around and it was a quiet, country-looking place. Then, in a couple of years again, numerous houses and condominiums had been built around my apartment and a gigantic shopping mall had appeared. Young families with kids and babies had rushed into the area and soon my sleep was deprived by their annoying shrieks since they let their children play on the streets. Many restaurants newly opened, but I couldn’t make use of it, as they were packed with noisy kids day and night. I was again kicked out of the suburbs by kids and now settled in the mountains. The apartment I currently live in is located in a sparsely populated town that is famous for the heavy snowfall. I was certain I could finally have a kids-free life here when I moved in. Almost all the neighbors were old people and I rarely saw small kids. I thought that if the number of children ever increased in the town like this especially in the time of national demographic problem of a decreased child population, it would be no coincidence anymore but I would be cursed. And it turned out that I am cursed. After a couple of months I moved in, several families with kids and babies had begun to moved into this apartment from the massive earthquake-hit area as a place of refuge from radioactive contamination. In three years, more and more families with kids moved in from else where, and existing female residents have become pregnant one after another. I don’t figure out what’s happening in such a quiet, remote town like this. It’s almost a horror. The communal spa of this apartment is now packed with noisy kids and screaming babies and has become a place for stress instead of relaxation. It’s proved that I have the super power to magnetize children. I might move deeper in the mountains as a last resort. The only way for me to get a quiet life might be living in a complete desolate place by building a log cabin by myself. But I know families with kids would come after me sooner or later and build their log cabins around mine because of my super power, that is, the super curse anyway…

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