Friday, July 30, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.221

The next bed to me in the hospital was a girl with asthma, who was two years younger than I was. Her mother visited her only on Sundays and she was practically all alone. That drove her to snuggle up to me all the time. And, she became the biggest disturbance in my hospital life. She was babbling rubbish all day long beside my bed and during the night, she would wake me up to tell me that she was going to the bathroom on her each trip there. Soon my patience ran out and we had a fight. She got on my nerves so badly that I started to hit her with a notebook in madness, as if I had been battering annoying flies. Other girls’ mothers stopped me and treated me like the cruelest girl they had known. Thankfully, she got out of the hospital much sooner than I did. Nobody was happier than I was for her release…

Hidemi's Rambling No.220

When I was in the hospital with nephritis, I shared the room with five other girl patients. Except for a very small or very sick child, parents weren’t permitted to stay overnight with the patients. They came during the visiting hours. I was nine years old and had never stayed outside home such a long time before. I suffered from homesickness rather than from nephritis. My parents were too busy working seven days a week as farmers and only my mother visited me everyday. But she only made it less than one hour before the visiting hour ended although I was waiting for her all day long. No matter how desperately I begged her to come earlier, she prioritized her work and I got to see her merely forty minutes or so a day. Sometimes my father also came to see me, taking my younger sister with him. In that case, when the visiting hour was over, I would see my parents and my sister off. They went into the elevator together and the door shut before me, excluding me alone. That was the thickest door I’d ever felt it was. I went back to my bed and lay down hiding tears from other girls and nurses. Maybe it hinted my future relationship with my family. The three of them still live together in our old house that I left after I struggled and couldn’t quite fit in…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.219

This time in my fourth grade, I was in the hospital. It started as cold-like symptoms with a high fever. But I was left unattended because summer was the peak season for farming and my parents were extremely busy as farmers. To make things worse, my family had been rebuilding our house at the time and extra attention of my parents was paid to that. A week or so later, I vomited blood and fainted. That at last captured my parents’ attention and they realized the seriousness. When I became conscious, they had called a nurse who lived in the neighborhood and she was attending me. She suggested taking me to a hospital. After examination, I was diagnosed with nephritis. As the summer break for school was just around the corner, I was admitted to the hospital on the day the break began. Although I had been longing for the summer break as the precious time of my freedom, I was locked up in the hospital instead…

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.218

Fernando Alonso won GP of Germany last Sunday. He is my most favorite driver in the current Formula One competition. He transferred to Ferrari at the beginning of this season, which caused me to cheer for my least favorite team. Ferrari was infamous for foul play and preferential treatment when Michael Schumacher was in the team. Because a couple of years have passed since Schumacher left Ferrari and the team crew changed, I had hoped that the team had gotten out of wickedness. But it hasn’t, judging from the way they won the last race. They made Alonso’s teammate slow down so that Alonso overtook him by team orders that were banned. I wonder if Alonso can stay fair and right as he has been, in a dirty team like Ferrari. The question is awfully similar to the one I always ask myself. Can I stay fair and right in the dirty world like this…?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.217

My sister won the first prize of a local poem contest for elementary school students. Her poem appeared in the local paper and many people read it. The title was ‘My Mean Big Sister’. Back then, every time she saw my face, her habit was to say ‘Play with me!’ As I liked to spend time alone, it had been an endless torment. Her continuous play-with-me chant would often drive me crazy and I tried to escape from her as much as I could. Her poem described how coldly I snubbed her whenever she felt happy to see me at home, and that was highly praised. To congratulate her, I told her that she owed me for this prize because if I had been nice to her, her poem wouldn’t have existed, and added that my meanness proved right and so I would try harder. Needless to say, she got on the verge of crying and ran straight to my mother as usual to tell on me…

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.216

One day in my early teens, I heard a scream from my younger sister’s room. My mother and I went in and my sister was crying over the open drawer of her desk. She said her money was gone. She had stashed all her money in an envelope there by saving her allowances and money as New Year’s gifts from relatives. She had thought the total amounted to well over $1000 and had decided to count for the first time in a long time. But there was less than $500 and she was devastated. My mother lulled her by explaining that was how money was gone. While spending a small amount of money on candies and snacks at a time, it accumulated a big amount in total. ‘That’s why we say money has wings,’ my mother said to her. But my sister insisted she had never bought candies that much and never wasted her money like that because she loved to save. My mother’s theory wouldn’t change though, and she kept telling her that money disappeared slyly while we were unaware. She said, ‘You learned an important lesson today. Now you know what is money.’ Quietly seeing my sister cry hard saying repeatedly that was impossible, I had a clear idea what had happened really. It was I who had regularly stolen her stashed money. I was in junior high school and my allowance was always short for what I wanted. I was constantly in a battle with my mother for a raise and denied. While there were countless things in the world that I wanted to buy, my sister wasn’t interested in buying at all. So, her money was useless and I did a favor by spending it instead of her. My sister’s money had wings all right, and brought me a lot of records, posters, concert tickets and accessories. Neither my mother nor my sister had the slightest idea what I had been doing. And they still don’t know about this…

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.215

I had a dream about my sister last night. In each and every dream about her, she takes my parents away from me. She’s four years younger than I am and I still remember the time when she was born. Although everybody told me that I must have been very happy to become a big sister, I felt gloomy more and more as my mother’s due date was drawing near. I strongly wished my sister would never be born because I knew grown-ups’ attention would leave me. And I was right. She was born to be my parents’ favorite. My mother especially stood by her all the time, both physically and mentally. I was sent away to my grandparents’ room to sleep with them. My mother’s arms and lap were always occupied by my sister and I was constantly driven away to my father. Only consolation for me was my grandfather’s attitude. Because Japan was excessively male-dominated –it still is, in my opinion-, he was bitterly disappointed that his newly born grandchild was a girl again. He kept complaining about it to his neighbor friends, saying ‘It’s no good! A girl again! No good!’ For that matter, he had six grandchildren in all and none of them was a boy. I regard it as a curse. My sister still gets along well with my parents as their favorite, lives with them in my hometown, and they brag about whatever she does while they criticize for whatever I do. To this day, they remain taken away from me by my sister. It can be a good thing for me, though…

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.214

The most troublesome homework for the summer break in elementary school was a picture diary. It was a big blank book in which you would draw and write about what happened each day, along with the day’s weather. Because I held off on my entire homework as a lazy student, the last day of the break would become a shambles involving my parents every year. While I was doing other pieces of homework sobbing from regret and their rebuke, they were tackling the picture diary by forging happenings and making sentences. But the thing was the required daily weather. There wasn’t the Internet yet at the time and the weather record of the past 40 days depended on my father’s memory. My mother drew pictures and I wrote down the stories my parents told me. My picture diary was evidently written by a grown-up with peculiarly well-drawn pictures and mature sentences. Of course, the total amount of homework was too huge to be done in one day even by three people, and I would submit only part of it on the first day of the second term. When asked by the teacher for the rest of it, my excuse was always ‘I’ve done it, but somehow, I forgot to bring it.’ The first couple of days of the second term would be spent likewise. Although my parents made me promise that it would never happen again, I repeated it every summer break…

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.213

The summer break has started in Japanese schools. It’s about 40 days long and followed by the second term. When I was a student, schools imposed tons of homework as a common practice. It was an enormous amount with which you would deal everyday to finish. Because I was a negligent student, I used to spend the whole summer break without doing my homework until the last day of the break every year. As a result, I had to stay up all night on the last day, weeping and regretting. My homework would become a family matter because my confession of unfinished homework was made to my parents on the last night of the break. For its considerable amount, my parents had to get down to my homework right away without finishing to scold me as much as they liked. My mother's strong vanity couldn't afford embarrassment that I would be scolded by the teacher in front of the class for not having done my homework. Continuously reprimanding me, my parents would help my homework all night…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.212

I shopped at the discount supermarket that I’d recently noticed its existence again. Their usual prices are at the level of special sale prices at other supermarket. They also have their private brand at even lower prices for beer, noodles and wine. Meat is cheaper than the half-price one at other stores. I get the meat there with further discounts because of the imminent expiration date, so that the price is unbelievable for meat. It’s open 24 hours and I can go there any time I want without worrying about its closing time. It’s a perfect place to shop for me if not one particular thing –the music played in the store. They play Japanese hit songs annoyingly loudly. Their problems are they sound like a patchwork of fragments from hit songs of U.S. that were popular ten years ago. Their lyrics are particularly horrible with childishness. I try not to listen to them but it’s loud enough to beat any defense like earplugs or portable music devices. I don’t want to be contaminated, so I have to leave the store quickly each time. Being unable to enjoy shopping leisurely is the catch of this otherwise great store. The low price always has its reasons…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.211

I spent the whole day giving much thought to the apartment that I’d found. There are numerous cons about the place, but moving in a better place with my low price range seems impossible. I looked for solutions for the cons – the soon-out-of-order water pipes and the broken boiler, except for the neighbor who is wanted for murder, as there’s nothing I can do about it. Thanks to the Internet and my partner’s unconventional ideas, I reached the solutions at the end of the day. I was so excited and happy that moving in that gorgeous apartment was getting feasible. I got up this morning only to find out that the place had been just taken. I hope you can imagine how disappointed I am…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.210

As I’ve been constantly looking for an apartment online, I found a pretty good one again. It’s located by a lake near Mt. Fuji and it’s spacious, furnished and Western-style. Usually, this kind of property is far above my price range, but this one is discounted considerably so that it dove into my range. The catch is that the building is very old by Japanese standards. It’s 36 years old. Still, it’s the most gorgeous place I could possibly afford. I gathered information about the area, such as the climate, restaurants, shops and most importantly, the train and bus schedules because I don’t have a car. I decided to go to look at the room and sent an e-mail to the real estate company for an appointment. Meanwhile, I bought a train schedule book and made a precise plane to go there as a weekend trip. A reply from the real estate company included the more detailed information about the apartment. Because it’s old, the water pipes may give out at any moment. The boiler is broken, too. To finish up, one of the residents is wanted for murder. It’s not the one again…or, is it…?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.209

Tomorrow is a polling day for a national election in Japan. For the past two weeks, it had been noisy from candidates’ campaign cars, which are the most common way for campaigning in Japan. The car is decorated with banners of a candidate’s name and runs through streets shouting the name over and over at the top of their speakers. Here, it’s still the era that Marty went back in ‘Back to the Future’. When it comes to an election, I always remember Mr. Goyude. He was a local politician in my hometown. I often saw him outside the elementary school I went to, waving and talking to kids. He would hand out his cards to kids, saying ‘Say hello to your parents for me!’ Some foolish kids boasted about getting his autograph or shaking his hand. Every time I saw Mr. Goyude, I felt pitiful for him. Japanese people say ‘A doctor or a minister, which will you become?’ when they admire a promising child. Our family’s next-door neighbor used to say it to me and each time, I hoped not to be a minister because to become one, the process seemed so sad and miserable. Now I’ve grown up and I became neither a doctor nor a minister…

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.208

I decided to upgrade my Cubase SX3 to Cubase 5 and placed an order online last night. I’ll save $400 by the upgrade, not getting the whole thing. To qualify the upgrade, I needed the serial number of the current software. I rummaged in my room for the number. Finally I found it and entered it on the order form. For the last blank of the form, they required a user ID. That’s a big enigma. I wasn’t given any user ID for Cubase. On the other hand, I’ve got quite a few user IDs for the website. What user ID? Which one? I looked through the papers and couldn’t find anything likely. On their FAQ page, there was an answer to a completely different question from mine, which told to enter the name in the user ID space. Now that I’ve run out of guesses, I filled in the blank with my name. A submit button had never been far like this. This morning, the e-mail told me that my order was processed. The user ID was simply my name. Just getting an upgrade is this troublesome…

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.207

Today is the Star Festival in Japan. It’s based on a forbidden love story between Altair and Vega, who are allowed to meet each other by crossing the Milky Way once a year on the seventh of July. We celebrate it by decorating a bamboo tree with paper ornaments. Among the ornaments are slips of colored paper on which we write our wishes. After the festival, they are taken into a river that is believed to be connected to the Milky Way for this particular occasion, where the written wishes come true. The last time I wrote my wish and floated the slip into a river was when I was nineteen. Since I had already started my career as a singer-songwriter, I wished to be successful someday. It seems that my wish slip hasn’t reached the Milky Way yet in spite of this many years’ traveling…

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.206

When I left for Costco yesterday, it started raining slightly. I thought how unlucky I was. I could have returned home but I didn’t want to waste my time to have prepared for going out and went on. By the time I got off the bus to walk to Costco for the rest of the way, it had stopped raining. There seemed a big downpour during my bus ride. I may have been lucky after all. On my way home, I missed the bus. I thought how unlucky I was, again. But by taking the next bus, my subsequent connections for the train and the buss went incredibly smoothly. I may have been lucky again. When I went to bed that night, I felt numb in my left arm and I feared that I would die from a stroke during my sleep. Thinking how unlucky I was, I fell asleep…

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.205

My apartment hunting is still going on and I found the best pick so far online last night. That could be it. It looked so attractive and I got excited enough to prepare for going there to close a deal first thing in the morning. There was some time before dawn and I looked up on the Internet about the property. Plenty of information was there, most of which were complaints about the superintendent of the building. All complaints seemed to refer to the same person and I became doubtful whether I could live in a place that such a bad person managed. While I read on the complaints, a different one caught my eye. A low flow of a shower. It was the last blow. By the time the morning dawned, my excitement was gone…

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hidemi's Rambling No.204

I got up 1 p.m. and when I arrived at Costco after walking to the station and taking a train and a bus, it was already 7 p.m. By the time I finished shopping and started back home, I felt exhausted because of heat, humidity and the long trip. Platforms of the train station were packed with commuters although it was 9 p.m. They were waiting for the train, standing squeezing each other and almost spilling over from the platform. I was sitting on a bench at the platform to take a rest and watching them get on the train, crammed and holding a strap. I was impressed by their physical strength. They get up early in the morning, commute all the way, work all day long and still have this energy left, while I get up in the afternoon, go shopping and rest on a bench waiting for the less crowded train. To me, this is a once- or twice-a-month thing, but they are doing this every day! Are they human beings with mighty power? Or, I’m a super weak person. Can I withstand all summer like this…?