Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

A Korean Friend hr580

on October 29, 2016

The neighborhood I grew up in wasn’t so good and low-income families were everywhere. While a small hamlet that my house stood consisted of well-off families of farmers, it was surrounded by poor areas where many Korean-Japanese lived. The income difference produced chronic tension. Naturally, the tension was conveyed to school and the students were divided. When I was in sixth grade, more than half my classmates were Korean-Japanese. There was an undeniable rift between Korean-Japanese students and Japanese students including me and we didn’t mingle well. It was funny because Korean-Japanese kids were born in Japan, converted their names to the Japanese ones, spoke Japanese and looked exactly the same as Japanese, except that they were mostly shabby and sour. As a custom at school in Japan, the sixth grade takes an overnight trip. Our destination was Toba in Mie prefecture, a two-and-a-half-hour ride on an express train from Kyoto. The train had four-people booth seats and each of the students was assigned to the reserved seat according to the school roll. In my booth, I had my closest friend next to me, but sitting in the seats opposite to us were two Korean-Japanese classmates. Those two girls lived in a particularly poor area of all other Korean-Japanese areas, and I had never even passed it by or gotten close to it although it was within my neighborhood. Since I had barely talked with them at school, I felt nervous and thought the trip was already ruined by this seating. But as soon as the train departed Kyoto, what I had expected was reversed. One of the two girls sitting face to face with me began to talk about her intention of becoming an idol singer. Her name was Yukiko Kimura and she declared a plan to enter and win an audition of the idol-searching show on TV when she became fourteen. Because I also wanted to be a singer, I was drawn to her talk and we were lost in chattering. Yukiko Kimura was the youngest of seven girls in her family. Her parents had so many girls in the house that they often neglected her and called her by her other sister’s name by mistake. She said if she won the audition, she would debut by her real name to have everyone remember her name. We talked on and on and had a lot in common. We mocked our homeroom teacher and laughed heartily. Contrary to my initial expectation, we got along so well and had such a good time together on the train. When the trip was over and the school days were back, our friendship was also back to where it was. We returned to each group we belonged to and barely spoke. However, every time I reacted against our teacher and went on strike, or received punishment for that and had to stand in the hallway for a long time, Yukiko Kimura was the first one who joined me and was beside me. Years have passed and I still haven’t heard of an idol named Yukiko Kimura. But I do remember her name to this day…

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