Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.539

I was walking beside the math teacher on whom I had had a crush, on the day of a school excursion when I was a sophomore at high school. He asked me which university I was applying to. When he heard my answer, he asked me again, “Do you think you can jump across this paddy field to the other side?” The paddy along the path was over thirty feet in width and I dismissed it as absolutely impossible. “That’s exactly what you’re trying to do for the university,” he said. I resented as I thought he would encourage me since I had gotten full marks in almost every math test. But he was right. I eventually failed all the universities I applied to and my dream to work as a super businesswoman at the leading company was shattered. I lost confidence in myself, lost sense of purpose in my life, and ended up being a freshman in the women’s college that belonged to the same school I attended when I was in junior high and high school. The entrance examination of that college was the only one I passed although I hated to go there and took the exam for my worst-case scenario. Students from the same high school were entitled to get in the college without entrance exam if they didn’t apply to other universities and colleges. While I endured three years of studying for a different university, my classmates just had been having fun, and I settled in the same college as them who didn’t have to take the exam. I was humiliated every day when they spotted me at the campus and asked me, “What are you doing here?” or said, “I thought you were going to the better school!” Everyone in the college including faculty seemed dumb to me in those miserable days. Even the slip-on sandals that the president would neatly leave in front of her office door made me furious and I kicked them away to the hallway with all my force. One day I was called into the school office. The staff told me to see a psychiatrist who was temporarily assigned to the college. I had no idea why I needed to see a psychiatrist. I entered her small office and she welcomed me with her warm smile. She just kept saying to me, “It’s all right. Everything is all right. You don’t have to worry anything. It’s all right.” That was all she said. Only two freshmen including me were called in and I asked the other girl what it was all about when I bumped into her. She guessed that had to do with a survey the college had conducted for all freshmen. She suggested that we were called in because we checked yes on a question whether we ever want to commit suicide. I was astonished at the fact that other students except two of us had never felt like killing themselves up until in their late teens. I strongly felt they were the ones who needed to see a psychiatrist, not us. I was slowly, gradually coming to grips with who I was. I wasn’t made for a businesswoman to begin with. Being a musician seemed much more like myself…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.538

In the time of my school days, women in Japan were mostly housewives. It was considered that women quit working when they get married. One of my mother’s old female classmates stayed single and had an administrative job at IBM in Tokyo, which was so rare at that time. To me, continuing to work after marriage was more natural than being a housewife since my mother went to work every day. Only, I didn’t want to be like her who worked as a farmer in a country. I would rather have become a sophisticated businesswoman like her old classmate at IBM. It was necessary to graduate from the first-class university to be hired at a large famous company like IBM. I started to study for the university’s entrance examination when I was a freshman at high school. My daily life had inevitably changed. I had gradually distanced myself from my cool friends with whom I used to hang out all the time, and spent much time with my new would-be-a-doctor friend. She introduced me the whole new world. She was sincere, courteous and refined, and respected her parents who were both doctors. My study days were troublesome. Because I tended to listen to music instead of studying in my room at home, I studied at the library as much as possible. There, I spent the time solving math problems that I loved to do so much. Although Japan used to have a stupid system for the university entrance exam that the high average mark of all the seven subjects decided the school, I didn’t feel like studying other six subjects beside mathematics. I just studied math day and night, even floating a sheet of a problem in a plastic bag in the tub while I was taking a bath. I knew I needed to study other than math, but I didn’t realize my biggest weakness back then – I can’t do anything I don’t like. As the exam drew near, pressure had begun to seize me. I pulled out the plug of my stereo not to listen to records and stuck the plug to the wall with a note of ‘Patience!’ A small thing provoked my fury toward my sister with no reason one evening, and I found myself gripping her by the throat. I came to myself when I realized I was choking her. She told my father that I tried to kill her and he suggested to me that I should see a psychiatrist. Every practice examination showed I wouldn’t pass the university I was applying to, but I relied on my IQ heavily. I believed that if my brain ran at full blast on the very day of exam, my high IQ would wring out a high score by recalling what I didn’t even remember. Otherwise, it would be proved that my high IQ was a worthless, useless, decorative-only nothing although my whole life had depended on it. I couldn’t possibly accept that kind of notion. I refused, by any means…

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