Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Vegetables, Yogurt, and Pizza hr632

on July 18, 2020

My childhood diet was very healthy. That may be the reason why I was such a skinny kid, contrary to how I am today.
I was born in a farmer’s family in Kyoto, an old city in Japan. My family used to be almost self-sufficient. We mainly ate the leftover vegetables of eggplant and spinach that weren’t fit to be sold at the market because of flaws. We also planted rice and other vegetables such as onions, potatoes, carrots, radishes, burdocks and green peppers, not for sale but exclusively for our daily meals. We kept barnyard fowls that provided fresh eggs every morning. Our breakfasts and lunches were almost always row egg mixed with rice and soy sauce, pickled vegetables and too-weak miso soup.
A natural life may sound beautiful and relaxing, but it’s not in reality. Our fowls would holler screaming crows at dawn every day which would induce the clamorous barking of dogs in the neighborhood. Sometimes, one of our fowls that I named and fed every day like my pets was missing, and we had chicken on the table at dinner that evening. It took time for me to realize I was eating my pet fowl while I was worried about its whereabouts. Sometimes, I did witness my grandfather choked and plucked our fowl.
Since we didn’t have to buy vegetables, we had large servings at meals. Unfortunately, all vegetable meals of ours tasted horrible because we had to pay for seasonings or cooking oil and we were stingy enough to refrain them. Everything on our table was flavorless and bland. It never stimulated my appetite and I stayed skinny. As time passed, shops had been appearing in the rural area around our house. Also, my grandfather began to loosen his tight reign of the household and my mother had been able to have some discretion to go shopping and spend money. Our self-sufficiency was rapidly falling. Foods from outside tasted awesome. My appetite finally came out of its long hibernation. I was hooked by ham and mayonnaise in particular, and became chubby in no time.

sliced red strawberry fruit

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com

Of all the terribly-tasted foods that my grandfather had long eaten, he picked yogurt as the worst. When he saw my sister eat it everyday, he asked for one out of curiosity. He said he had never had such an awful food in his life. After I left home for my music career and started living by myself in Tokyo, he often asked my father to take him to my apartment that was far from Kyoto. He wanted to see what was like to live alone there. My father didn’t feel like taking on such a bother for him and used a clever repelling. He told my grandfather that I was eating pizza everyday in Tokyo.
Of course he knew both that I wasn’t and that my grandfather didn’t know what pizza was. He explained to my grandfather that a food called pizza was oily round bread covered with sour sticky substance called cheese that was stringy and trailed threads to a mouth at every bite. And he added a threat, “You would eat that thing in her small apartment. Can you do that?” My grandfather replied in horror, “Why should I eat such a thing rotten enough to pull threads? I can’t ever go to Tokyo.” That pizza description cleanly stopped my grandfather’s repetitive request.
When I returned home for a visit once, my grandfather asked me a question at dinner time. Pointing the four corners of the dining room and drawing invisible lines in the air with his chopsticks, he said, “Your entire apartment is merely about this size, isn’t it?” As I replied it was about right, he asked, “How come you chose to do all what is necessary to live in such a small space and eat stringy rotten foods with threads although you have a spacious house and nice foods here? Is music worth that much? I don’t understand at all.” He looked unconvinced. As for me, while I had a certain amount of hardship, I had a far better life with tasty foods and freedom compared to the one that I had had in this house. Nevertheless, I didn’t utter those words. I said nothing and pour sake for him into his small empty cup, instead.


42 responses to “Vegetables, Yogurt, and Pizza hr632

  1. There is nothing like freedom, and I congratulate you for gong after it, even if, as your grandfather put it, you can be more comfortable at home. Forgive me, but your sustainable life sounds nice to me, at least the growing vegetables to eat part. We do not have animals here at the tiny house because we eat plant-based, which we cook in a very tasty way, unlike what you had. I am curious, what music do you make?

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      I’m so glad that I was able to connect with you because you precisely got the heart of my story, ‘freedom’. With your comment, I noticed my miserable sustainable life was simply due to bad cooks in my household! If you’re interested, here’s a link to my music. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! https://hidemiwoods.com/songs-by-hidemi-woods/

      • Same here, happy to have found your blog and this post was the perfect first read. I would love to feed you one day! Yes, thank you, will have a listen and tell you what I think honestly.

  2. David Yochim says:

    I loved this story, it really made me smile. I live in the geographical center of America and could not help but to think how similar your early life was to my own. My grandparents were poor farmers. Life on their farm was very similar to your life. I look forward to reading more, and thank you for following https://davidsway.blog!

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      It’s so interesting that we had similar lives far apart, you in the center of America and me in Japan. I had never imagined similar things were going on in America! Thank you so much for your comment!

      • David Yochim says:

        I have traveled around a good bit of the world, including a visit to Sasebo, Japan. People around the globe have far more in common than meets the eye. My time in Japan was really nice.

  3. Farida Hakim says:

    Congratulations for having the courage in getting your “freedom”. I also wanted to ask you if you sing or play an instrument, but I see that someone was faster than me. I will for sure listen to it. Seems also that your family is very united. Have a nice day 🙂🍀

  4. Farida Hakim says:

    Wow, very original and you have a beautiful voice 🙂

  5. Wow what a story! I think I’ve got some false idea that living on a farm would be easy with plenty of tasty food, from what you are saying, it seems you are way more happy being your true self, living a life of freedom to eat and do whatever the hell you want in Tokyo…good on you. Also, dont feel ashamed for being a bit overweight. I am a woman and I’ve put. on a lot of pounds over lock down, Im not ashamed of this because…you know what? life is short, great food is one of the simple joys in life, so rejoice in the size you are, enjoy your food and love yourself anyway. 😘

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you for putting positive thoughts into me with your comment! I couldn’t agree more. We should take any joy if we find one. That’s life. Let’s enjoy great food, even at home now! Thanks again!

  6. Brian Hardin says:

    Great story about living by yourself and pursuing your dreams! I loved your grandfather’s reaction to pizza! Thanks for posting!

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      I’m so glad that you precisely seized what I wanted to write about. My grandfather was a strict man but also a funny man, come to think of it. Thank you so much for your comment!

  7. What an interesting story and an overall interesting site. Thanks for the follow.

  8. anasylvi says:

    I liked very much this story. In my childhood, my country was under a communist regime, food was not great and hard to find and, of course, I ate just because I had too, I didn’t enjoy too much the process itself. After the fall of the communism, different products started to appear, not all of them very healthy, but I was happy I had more options, at least. In time, I managed to make choices that I consider both tasty and healthy to a degree. Yes, you can call it a side-effect of freedom, I suppose. 🙂

  9. cheriewhite says:

    Very powerful story! You’re very brave to move on to freedom. And I admire you for showing respect when your grandfather gave you that tongue lashing on your visit back home. Too many people in my country are disrespectful and it’s not a good thing. Wishing you much love, happiness and success!

  10. Precious One says:

    This was such a lovely post. You’re a great storyteller.

  11. I always thought life in nature sounded so beautiful 😂, now I see I probably wouldn’t be able to deal with the noise! Really well written, keep it up!

  12. Thanks for visiting me on my blog. Thanks for stopping in! I am visiting you as well and found your story facisnating and glad you are enjoying the fruits of your labor!!!

  13. Clare Pooley says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I love how your father got out of taking your grandfather to see you by saying you ate pizza all the time! His description of pizza sounds horrible! 😀
    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for the follow.

  14. It’s hard for elders to understand the young. Thank you for swinging by the “Ranch” and for the follow. We 💙 visitors.

  15. Sparkyjen says:

    Have you ever wondered what your grandfather ate when he was growing up? What did his parents/grandparents feed him? I wonder if he thought he was doing better after growing into adulthood, now being the provider. Fascinating story. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you for an inspiring comment. I’ve never thought that way because I had assumed he had been eating pretty much the same things all his life. I should have asked him. I’m glad you liked the story and let me know that. Thanks again!

  16. storianblog says:

    What a funny and well written story! Kudos to you for following your dream.

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