Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.535

Since I booked a low-cost carrier flight to LAX from Japan, now I’ve looking for a hotel to stay in California. The best scenario is to find a high-class hotel at a bargain price, but it’s not easy to come across such a good deal. I have to decide between a cheap hotel and a moderate one. My partner and I happened to stay at a low-class hotel in Japan the other day to shop at the outlet mall that is far from home. The stay cost $45 per room including breakfast for two. The room was very small and there was hardly any space to put our bags and stuff. It had two beds and the smaller one was set above the bigger one like a bunk bed. I was going to sleep in the upper bed, but couldn’t climb the ladder which too-slim, round pole rungs hurt the back of my feet unbearably. Although my partner managed to reach the narrow bunk bed, he was afraid of falling all night long and woke up exhausted with a shallow sleep. That hotel boasted a huge bathtub. In their website and on their signboard out front, they clamorously touted the size of a bathtub and the comfort of the bath time. Because I saw the description of their bathtubs that they said are so huge and we could stretch our legs in relaxingly so many times, the tub had grown gigantic in my imagination. Then I found just a normal-sized tub in the room. The restaurant to have a free breakfast was a small space, looking like an old cheap food court. TV was on instead of the background music like a cheap bar. But there I showed my real ability as a cheap person to enjoy a free food. It was an all-you-can-eat breakfast with a wide variety that was delicious. I literally ate all I could eat and felt full and almost sick. But we were the only ones who appreciated it so much. It was a weekday and almost all the guests were businessmen on a business trip. There was no female guest except for me. It seemed they didn’t have enough time for breakfast in any case. Some of them just gulped orange juice and dashed out. Some sat on the tip of their chairs and swallowed down food on their small plates hurriedly. Aside from the breakfast, the cheap hotel deprived us of sleep and exhausted us for this stay. When I stayed at a hotel like that in Florida a long time ago, I had the biggest fleabite in my life. These experiences may tell me not to choose a cheap hotel for a trip to US. On the other hand, the cost of staying at a moderate hotel gives me a headache…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.534

The news told the other day that it snowed unusually heavily in Kyoto where I was born and grew up, and ten inches of snow covered the city. Only ten inches made the news since it snows in Kyoto merely once or twice a year. For that reason, snowing was an exciting lucky event for me when I lived there. White snow covered the old, brownish somber city and made it look a little better. I vividly remember the fun I had as a child when it snowed and covered the ground rarely thick one morning. The front yard of our house turned into a vast white mattress, which was a view I had never seen before. I had a snowball fight with my father who hadn’t been hostile to me yet like he is today. He deliberately took my snowball attacks in his face and yelled repeatedly, “You got me! I surrender!” My younger sister was still a baby and I was able to monopolize the fun and my father for once. My mother usually didn’t allow me to make a racket but snow softened her and she took photographs of our snowball fight. It surely was one of the happiest moments of my childhood. Heavy snow came again when I was a high school student. I was riding the local bus to school with my friend and other students, feeling gloomy as I felt every time I was on my way to school. When the bus arrived at the bus stop near the school, we saw a teacher stand there. As soon as the door of the bus opened, he told us that school was canceled due to snow. The bus I took ran a loop route around Kyoto, which meant it eventually returned to where I got on. My friend and I didn’t even have to get off the bus and went straight back to home. It became a magical ride by snow, with us feeling over the moon and giggling and laughing all the way. I was walking with my partner when the next heavy snow hit Kyoto. Only a few months had passed since we first met and we were just friends then. I was uplifted by snow and caught him a surprise with a snowball. It directly hit his face and I burst into laughter. What I didn’t understand was his look. He was stunned, rather shocked, with his eyes bulged. According to his theory, adults don’t have a snowball fight and I was the first and only one who broke his theory. I just loved snow so much. Now, I live in a town where it snows all day every day during winter and snow mounts up on the ground higher than my height. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night by a sense of claustrophobia. If I had seen my future living like this when I was a child in Kyoto, I would have thought I would move to Alaska or the North Pole, or the earth simply would have the glacial period. Life turns in an unexpected way. People who live in this town greet each other saying unpleasantly “Here it comes again!” when the first snow falls. I still feel joyful for snow, and I guess I haven’t become a local yet while living here for four years now…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.533

New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday in Japan. It’s as big as Thanksgiving and Christmas put together. It’s a day when millions of people visit shrines and temples wearing kimono or their best clothes and pray for good luck by offering money into the boxes. Before midnight, shrines and temples begin to seethe with people. I used to be one of them when I lived in my hometown, but now I just watch the tumult on TV at home every year. I recall New Year’s Day of 2011 as my merriest one. Back then, I still lived in the apartment in a suburb of Tokyo. The plan to move into this rural town had been already arranged, but I hadn’t moved out yet. From the last minutes of New Year’s Eve to the first minutes of New Year’s Day, shrines and temples all over Japan ring the bell 108 times. 108 represents the number of worldly desires of each person. The bell ring is supposed to take them away one by one for the new year. I was listening to the faint sound of the bell that a temple near my apartment was ringing when 2011 arrived. I opened a bottle of champagne, which is too expensive for me to drink except on this day every year, prepared the New Year’s meal that’s not traditional but of my own style, and had it with my partner who looked somewhat to be in bad shape, while watching a comedy live show on TV. After I watched the first sunrise of the year over Mt. Fuji on TV, I turned on my PC and found that my new song that I had spent several years to complete was put up on i-Tunes and Amazon for the first time. I felt like a new life for me had started with the new year and it would get better from now on, with my new apartment in a new place in the wings and my new song made public. I guess the reason why New Year’s Day of 2011 was the merriest for me isn’t just an expensive champagne or the New Year’s meal or the comedy show. It’s because I felt so much hope. I continued watching comedy TV shows until noon that day feeling so good, and when I was about to go to bed, my partner confessed that he had caught a cold and was undoubtedly sick…

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