Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Defection from A Negative Empire hr578

I’m a singer-songwriter living in Japan. Yet, I’m totally unfamiliar with Japanese recent entertainment. As I haven’t caught up with Japanese pop music, TV dramas and movies for decades, I don’t know any tunes, any titles and any names and faces of a band, a singer or an actor. I have lost interest in Japanese entertainment as a whole except for comedians for a long time. The reason is simple: there’s nothing worth listening or watching at all. Every single thing I encounter is rubbish and I have stopped trying to find something good. It seems that as a nation falls into decay, its entertainment perishes accordingly. The most common sales pitch for movies in Japan is ‘You can cry hardest.’ The tears in the pitch don’t mean what we shed when we are moved or touched or happy. They mean specifically the ones when we are sad. The sadder a story is, the bigger hit a movie scores. As a result, movies that center only on death of one’s beloved are overrun in Japan. That kind of movie is what I want to watch least. I prefer foreign movies which themes exist, touch me, and consequently make me cry. But Western films are not sad enough for Japanese people and every year the number of foreign movies that come into theaters shrinks. Even the Japanese comedy TV shows are aired less and less although they are the only domestic entertainment I can enjoy. I used to be an avid frequent visitor of a Disney theme park in Tokyo where I could feel like I’m visiting America. Sadly, Japanese taste has been greatly increased there and changed its atmosphere so much that I’ve long since stopped going. While less Western culture flows into Japan, more and more Japanese games and animations are going abroad. I’m afraid that the Japanese negative spirit might brainwash teens and children in U.S. through them. Thanks to cable TV I recently subscribed, I enjoy TV shows and movies from U.S. every day. Unlike domestic counterparts, good ones are abundant throughout the channels and I can easily find myself absorbed in. Zombies, devils, serial killers and the FBI come at me every night and I fight against them. That gives me food for thought, and makes my brain active and me feel positive. I’m duly aware of a lot of problems, but I can see hope exist in U.S. I suspect that’s the very reason why Japanese people are inclined more for domestic culture. They have lost hope and want to share denial of hope with others. They see themselves die with characters in the Japanese movies. I will stay away such a negative and would rather wander around cable TV channels from U.S. I intend to devour good entertainment as much as possible for my own survival. And I believe that will lead me to create good works of myself and help them be part of good entertainment. It’s not a matter of fame and money any more. It’s a matter of life or death. Well, of course it’s even better to stay alive with fame and money, I admit…

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Ordinariness vs. Contrariness hr577

I have signed up for a few online survey websites and answer some questionnaire or other every day to earn small change. Other than money, there’s a byproduct in answering them. Each questionnaire has a set of answers to choose from that a survey writer thinks participants’ answers are supposed to be. I can see a trend and an opinion of a majority of Japanese people through the choices. To be honest, even though I’m Japanese myself, it’s a complete mystery to me what Japanese people think and how they live. I can understand the American way of thinking, for instance. It’s reasonable and logical, right or wrong. But for Japanese people, I often have no clue why they act or think as they do. The answer choices for a questionnaire are helpful leads to knowing them better. I take a glimpse of popular things or thoughts among Japanese people through a set of likely answers. There’s another interesting byproduct in surveys. Unveiling my true self. To save time, I answer them as quickly as possible. Choosing an answer instantly without deep thinking reveals what my unconscious mind really tells. I’m sometimes startled at my own answer, which means I still don’t know myself either. While I’m answering them, I encounter a problem quite frequently. My answer isn’t included among the suggested choices and I can’t select any of them. It’s so rare that I find the answer that refers to me or to my opinion in the long list of choices. In most cases, my answer is ‘Not applicable’ or ‘Other’. I simply don’t agree or apply to the suggested answers anyway. The choices are laid out in order of probability and none of them represent my answer. I even don’t know the items or the people on the choices that are considered to be popular in Japan. There’s no way for me to choose from what I’ve never heard of. My opinion is always in the minority. Whatever I do or think is usually shared by merely two to ten percent of all. Unfortunately, consensus is valued above character in Japan. Being different falls into disfavor. What I think and how I behave is mostly ignored or meets a scornful laugh. As a result, I feel I’m totally an outsider of this world. Maybe I’ve become a contrary person who believes most people except a few wouldn’t understand me ever. The other day, a motion to expand a parking space in my apartment complex was made. The complex I live in was initially built as a vacation home for people in the city. But recently, more and more people have been moving in to actually live here like myself. That has caused a shortage of a parking space. Some proposals for the solution were brought up, such as, to expand the parking lot by acquiring the neighboring land, to reduce parked cars by collecting fees or limiting to one car per household. Although I opposed strongly, other residents voted solidly for a motion to get land to expand the parking lot with a huge amount of money. The cost would be paid by reserves that the residents, including me, pay every month as a maintenance fee. It’s outrageous to me because I have neither a car nor a driver’s license, and don’t use a parking space to begin with. No one ever imagines a resident without a car exists in an apartment complex that is located in an absolute rural area enclosed by the mountains. My opinion that living here without a car is duly possible and thus expanding the parking lot is unnecessary was completely ignored and sneered at as usual. I wasn’t disappointed, though. I knew how things would go and this outcome is exactly what I expected. I’m used to being outside the majority…

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The Influence of Global Warming hr576

I live in an apartment that is enclosed by the mountains and a five-minute walk to the ski slopes. It was built about 30 years ago, when this area was cool enough to be lived without an air conditioner in high summer. As an air conditioner was assumed unnecessary, my apartment has the structure that an air conditioner can’t be set up. But in recent years, the temperature here reaches above 91 degrees in the summer time. While I’m not sure global warming plays a part in this, my apartment is now evidently too hot to live a normal life without an air conditioner in the summer. Every day I fill up a plastic bottle with water, freeze it and use it as a portable cooler inside my apartment. It’s possible to set up an electrical cooler on the window, but it would cool only one room while it would occupy a large part of the widow blocking the view and making my apartment dark. Besides, since my apartment was designed without a possible use of an air conditioner, the allocation of the maximum electricity for each apartment is low and I would worry about a circuit breaker all the time not to have a blackout. Even so, when an unbearably hot summer ended last year, I decided to place a cooler on the window for the next summer. And as the way of the world, I forgot the heat I had suffered when autumn came. By spring, I couldn’t remember why I needed a cooler altogether. Then, summer arrived again with stronger heat. There is a communal spa in the building for the residents of this apartment complex and a cold bath is operated there every day in the high season. I used it a lot this summer. The small tub is filled with extremely cold water because the tap water is from the mountains. The water cools off my body instantly and I’m hooked with its sensation. Being submerged up to my neck in it, with my heart pumping and my teeth chattering in ten seconds, I can no longer tell whether I’m fierily hot or freezing cold. I get a scare every time that my heart might stop in this cold water. Especially in the hot summer like this year though, it was so easy for me to push away my fear of a heart attack and I plunged in it three times one evening, making it my new record. Next day, I had a sore throat and began to cough. Then I was running a fever and had stayed in bed for a week. I caught a cold by three plunges into a cold bath. I hated my poor immune system and felt wretched about myself. After I got rid of a fever and got out of bed, persistent coughing has continued to make me miserable over ten days. While I was scuffling with my cold, summer is coming to an end. I didn’t get a cooler this summer either again…

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