Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.383

When my younger sister had learned Japanese dancing for a couple of years, my mother decided to get her on a local TV talent show. Unlike me, my sister was always my mother’s pride for her prettiness. To be on the show, there was an audition in a city, about 20 miles away from our home. My father was going to drive them there. I assumed they would go with just three of them, leaving me behind as usual. For this particular occasion though, I felt rather happy not to join them because I had borne a grudge against Japanese dancing since my mother let my sister take lessons not me. But my mother had the nerve to demand me to come with them to the audition, saying that it was a huge event for my sister and I should show support for her. I got in the car, not for her audition but for a possibility to eat out at a restaurant on our way back, which we hardly did and the three of them might do without me. My mother was never punctual and we were already late by the time we left home. From then, things were just like the movie, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. When we got there, the registration was closing and the judges were leaving. My mother desperately begged for the audition. They reluctantly allowed it with the obvious intention of making it finish quickly. After my sister danced for a few seconds, they stopped the music and said thank-you. I kept asking my mother if it meant she passed or not while my sister gloomily undressed. When my mother admitted my sister failed, I felt over the moon. I thought justice had been served. I was in an utterly good mood and was saying, “Let’s eat out! Which restaurant shall we go?” all the way in the dismal car. My parents and my sister were too depressed to respond to me and we ended up going straight home. I couldn’t get to eat out after all…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.382

My mother used to take lessons in Japanese dancing. A woman in the neighborhood taught it in the evening to the neighbor housewives at her house. They held an annual public performance and my mother would practice earnestly at home when it came closer. My sister and I used to imitate her and dance alongside her. I liked it and danced quite well. I was in junior high school and my sister was still in elementary school. Since my sister came home from school much earlier than I did, my mother would take her to the lessons and let her wait and watch there. My father gave my mother a ride for every lesson. So, my parents and my sister would go out together once a week while I was left in the house with my strict grandparents. Soon, my sister began to take lessons as well. I felt it extremely unfair because it was I who danced well and should take lessons. I complained to my mother as hard as I could, but she never paid attention. The junior high I attended was so far from my home and I couldn’t come home by the time they left for lessons. My mother made no effort for me to ask for a late lesson to the teacher. It seemed she simply wanted to go out with just three of them once a week. Even in an instance of Japanese dancing, I was again an outcast in my family. I wonder why it kept happening to me all the time…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.381

Lately, relaxing at the communal spa in my apartment building has been the biggest pleasure for me. I take a hot bath, a Jacuzzi and a sauna first thing in the morning and also in the evening. But as usual, it’s housewives with kids that spoil my pleasure. Especially the one with a baby is the worst. I strongly disagree to bring a baby into the spa since it still relies on a diaper and the spa has a stone floor. I’ve often seen a baby slip and fall on the floor, bumping its head. It’s a dreadful sight to me but a mother is usually just laughing at it while the baby is bawling for pain. It even seems a mother tries to make an ear-piercing noise with a baby in the spa on purpose. They let babies shriek and cry all the time in the spa, and crawl around on the locker room floor while they’re drying their hair. It’s sheer madness. Some mother leisurely washes her body by leaving her baby to its five or six-year-old sister. In my opinion, it’s negligence of parental responsibilities and child abuse. Sadly, few feel angry with those senseless mothers. Other residents show great pleasure to see a baby and laugh happily while it’s crying. They look at mothers’ negligence as if it were heartwarming or something. They flock around a baby, laughing frivolously and babbling foolishly. Even a usually grumpy woman with a sullen face who returns hello very unwillingly to me is remarkably amiable to a baby and smiles at it with all her force. To me, a baby is a grotesque alien or a hairless monkey at best. I’m again in the minority here…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.380

I was walking along the main street of this small town yesterday and saw a neighbor who lives two doors down from my apartment walking toward me. We’ve exchanged greetings for several times at the communal spa or in the hallway of my apartment building, but we’d never bumped into each other outside. When I said hello to her on the street, she didn’t recognize me at first. She gave me a puzzled expression for a brief moment and then seemed to recognize me. She returned hello with a friendly smile. After I walked on away from her for a while, I began to feel doubtful. Was it really she? She somehow looked different on the street and may have been a total stranger who just looked like her. Did she pretend to know me to be courteous although she had no idea who I was? I had an urge to ask the neighbor if it was herself. But, suppose I mistook a stranger for her, and ask her, “Did we meet on the street the other day?” What kind of a creepy question would it be? She must think I’m weird. And if we did meet, it would be even creepier to be asked whether we met or not from someone she actually met. She must think I’m crazy. There’s no means of finding out if that was she or not. Distinguishing people’s faces is so difficult for me and it often causes inconveniences…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.379

The house where I spent my childhood was very old. Half the floor in it was bare earth and my family lived like in the way of the Wild West. With our shoes on, we walked around the house and ate meals. It was all right to throw away the rest of a drink from a cup directly onto the floor. My father used to smoke. When he smoked, he would light a cigarette with a match and toss the match to the dirt floor. It burned itself out. That is probably my earliest memory. I remember a thrown match was burning out on the floor and I said “Ah…” According to my parents, I uttered “Ah…” every time my father threw away a match as if I didn’t approve it. And my tone was always tinged with disappointment. I guess I was already cheap as a child and couldn’t bear a thing to be thrown away after just one-time use. I was nagging at my parents about everything all my childhood, and even my earliest memory is something critical about my parents. No wonder we’ve been on bad terms for such a long time…

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