Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.532

I spent my schooldays from junior high to college at a Catholic school not for religious reasons but for my mother’s vanity. She wanted me to attend the most prestigious school in Kyoto in order to brag about it. With no religious background, I encountered quite a few unfamiliar events at school that held Catholic ceremonies regularly. The school often celebrated the Mass, which was an entirely new and different culture to me and I hadn’t the slightest idea what they were doing. Christian students sat in the front row with white lace veils on their heads at the assembly hall. The priest gave them something that looked like a soft snack and they ate it. I regarded it as the believers’ benefits to have a snack during the Mass. The school held the annual Candle Service near Christmas. Before my first-ever Candle Service at junior high, Sister told us to bring something from home as a donation for the Candle Service. She added for those who couldn’t think of what to bring, that bars of soap would do. I had no clue what the Candle Service was. All I could imagine was I would receive some sort of service from Sisters. I looked forward to it because I thought Sisters would serve cake or tea like a Christmas party, and I could get it just with a bar of soap. But as it turned out, we just stood in line holding a candle at the dark assembly hall and sang several hymns endlessly to the poor accompaniment of the orchestra club students. While singing, we got on the stage one by one and put a bar of soap or other donations into a cardboard box. When all the students finished putting their donations into the box, the service was over without any cake. The school had a big, tall fir tree across from the entrance gate. It stood by the side of one of the school buildings like a wall decoration. Its top reached as high as the third floor of the building. Judging from its size, it was planted there when two Sisters came from US after WWII and opened the school. Around Christmastime, the tree was decorated with ornaments and made the school look beautiful. I was a member of the student board when I was a sophomore. Until then, I hadn’t known that the decoration was the student board’s task. I felt exhilarating for the first time as a student board member. The boring board revived and every member had so much fun decorating the tree together. The tree was too tall to decorate the upper part from outside by a ladder. We got inside the building, put an ornament on the tip of a broomstick and stretched it out of the window of the third floor. Gold tinsel garlands were thrown toward the tree from the forth floor window. It was the biggest Christmas tree I had ever decorated. I had had all those Christian events and classes in the Bible for years until college and yet I never really understood the meaning. I left school, got out into the world, and worked as a musician. Through the years of making music that hasn’t been paying, I feel I finally know why I continue and have spent so much time and energy to create a good song, which hasn’t brought me money or fame. It took a long time to understand, but better late than never, I suppose…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.531

I came across the special offer on the ticket of a low-cost carrier on the Internet. I was going to take a trip to California in the holiday season of next year and have saved money for it. But to take this time-sale offer, I decided to bring forward the trip to next May and booked it. Even though the fare is drastically discounted, the one between Japan and US is still incredible for a cheap person like me who spares money by the cent every day. Add to that the hotel stay and the total is so astronomical that it almost makes me faint. Not only the cost, but also the plan itself seems to be fantasy. The flight is six months away and there are too many uncertainties for the plan to take shape. What if an Ebola epidemic spread all over the world? Humans might become extinct by the time of my flight. I wouldn’t exist let alone the flight would be cancelled. What if Japan fell into default because of a chain of its poor economic policies? Or, what if a strong earthquake hit Tokyo as a rumor has been going about? I would be scouting around food and supplies instead of packing for the trip. What if I got sick? What if terrorism occurred and the airport security got tighter than ever? It would be unbearable since I was once stopped at the security check as their scanner spotted a coil on my notebook in my bag. What if passengers on my flight started a fight over reclining the seat and the plane made an emergency landing? What if I said a careless joke to a flight attendant and got arrested as a terrorist? By booking the flight, I paid a large sum of money and started the next six months until the flight with various kinds of worries and all of what-ifs. Nevertheless, both the considerable expense and all those anxieties can’t beat my surprisingly strong desire to go to California. What I dread most is to become dumb by staying put in a stifling, easy, unchanging country like Japan…

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