Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

The Beginning of My Life hr638

on January 16, 2021

After I was graduated from a Catholic high school in Kyoto, Japan, I went overseas for the first time in my life as a family trip around Europe during spring break right before starting college. The culture shock I experienced there seemed to alter my brain. It took control of me and began to inflict cracks everywhere on common practice of the small hamlet of Kyoto that I was born and grew up in.
One of the things I realized in Europe was that so many different people lived by so many different ways of their own. It had been always that way and not worth mentioning, but that kind of notion blurred in my home town where everybody knew everybody who lived in the same way. As a firstborn, I was destined to succeed my family that had lasted over 1000 years, which meant I should live with my family in the same house, on the same location, for my entire life until I die. Although that had been fixed according to the hamlet’s long-standing common practice, what I saw and felt in Europe told me that shouldn’t be the only way to live.
Another thing Europe showed me was better understanding of my parents. Through numerous happenings during the trip, I learned their true self. They weren’t wise, weren’t respectable and didn’t even love each other. It became questionable whether I should follow the fixed life that was demanded by my parents now that I found they didn’t deserve trust.

Photo by Matheus Natan on Pexels.com

The first day of college came in only a couple of days after I returned from Europe. It was an orientation day on which we had a physical checkup. I didn’t understand why it was necessary in the first place. For a few-minute-long checkup, all the freshmen had to stand in line waiting for their turns. We waited for three to four hours doing nothing, just standing. I couldn’t leave the line for lunch. A friend from the same high school as I had been in spotted me and went to get a cookie. While I was munching it standing in an everlasting long line, I felt dreadful for my college life that had just started. I had been fed up with my school days that were inefficient, wasteful, full of totalitarian practice. I thought I finally got out of it but it turned out to be started all over again. Everybody did the same ineffective thing at the same time here in college too.
The college had a compulsory two year’s curriculum claimed ‘general education’ and one of the subjects was physical education. About 30 students of the same class gathered at the ground wearing the college gym uniform. We played catch in pairs in one class, and danced odd moves to music all together in another. To me, it wasn’t college at all. I was sent back to kindergarten.
I asked myself what I was doing day after day. The world was infinitely vast yet life was too short. There was no time for doing what I was told to like others did. Time had to be spent on what I wanted to do even though others didn’t do. Three months later, I stopped attending all the classes other than an English conversation class. I knew I would neither graduate college nor get a degree as a result, but I didn’t care. There, I chose what to do by myself, and my own life has begun.


7 responses to “The Beginning of My Life hr638

  1. Oh well, 十人十色. You do you…looks like things have turned out OK!

  2. amleta says:

    Hi Hidemi. My name is Amleta and I am an Italian artist. I really like learning about your history and knowing that you do so many things. I’m glad you’ve been to Europe. Maybe you’ve seen a little bit of Italy too?

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Hi Amleta. I’m so glad we came across each other. I visited Rome and Orvieto a long time ago, and still can’t forget how delicious pasta I ate there was. Thanks for your interest in me and comments!

  3. fergysun says:

    Hidemi, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. My mind traveled many years back to a time when I was stationed in Iwakuni Japan. I too experienced culture shock coming from New England in the US to Japan. We both experienced these new lands and cultures from opposite sides of the same lens. I love your personal and welcoming writing style. If we had met back then I would have ask you the thousand questions you are answering for me now in your posts. I applaud your courage to take the rush of letting your readers inside as you bear your soul. I also understand that by risking vulnerability you gain strength of purpose. Stay the course…. どうもありがとうございます

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you for such a thoughtful, encouraging comment. I hope life in Iwakuni served you well. I had never expected that I’m able to answer your questions through my posts after those years, but what a pleasure! Your insightful words mean a lot to me. Thanks again, and by the way, your Japanese is so good! こちらこそ、ありがとうございます

      • fergysun says:

        I consider myself an observer of people. However, as one who ties to understand the nature of things though his sense the truth of things comes through questions and dialogue. As I roamed about Japan I observed woman at that period in time as subservient…often elder woman walked paces behind their husbands. I found this hard to understand as my interactions with Japanese woman showed me that they were smart, talented and industrious. Having come from a single parent home where my mother raised 5 boys by herself for the most part…my reference was that woman were strong and independent. I knew that having a strong woman as my mate enabled me to have a partner to depend on to help build our future. I remember asking my Japanese counterpart if there was a woman’s liberation movement in Japan. He said that he thought there might be at least one woman in the country at that time in 1977. So, without babbling on …your stories enabled me to see a side of Japanese woman and girls that I’d wondered about.. I just couldn’t believe that within a society of such talented woman that there wasn’t a kernel of desire to break with such a strong traditional culture. I now understand what I could not know back then that women such as yourself were taking a different pathway in life towards a road less traveled … Please accept these comments with my sincerest respect …. Fergy

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