Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hidemi's Rambling No.393

When I woke up in the morning, it had stopped snowing for the first time in several days and it was a clear day with the blue sky. I decided to go to a city a little far from the town. But it had started snowing heavily again by the time I left. I scurried to the station in the snow and heard the delay of the train announced there. That meant I would miss my connection of the train to the city. Because only a few trains run in this line, having another connection is hard. I gave up going there and had lunch at a local restaurant. This town is situated in the mountains and the weather is treacherous with sudden changes. Once it snows, the train easily delays or stops, which makes it so difficult to plan ahead for going out, as the weather forecast almost always fails and I don’t have a car. Besides, we’ve had fewer fine days and more snowy days lately. My apartment has been closed in snow gradually, becoming more and more like the hotel in ‘The Shining’. Am I going to go mad and begin beating my partner with a keyboard of my computer? Or, is it going to be my partner who pounces on me by raising a remote control over his head? I hope we go through the winter and have the spring thaw peacefully…

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hidemi's Rambling No.392

There is a skiing ground close to my apartment and I see people skiing down the slopes out of the window everyday. I’ve never skied in my life. Watching them ski, I sometimes feel like giving it a try myself. But every time, my trauma from my childhood deters it. One summer, my family went to a barbecue restaurant along with our neighbor families. I had a fever that day but had to go because we had planned and made a reservation long before. The place was situated in the mountain and we needed to take the chair lift to get there. Everyone got on a lift smoothly, except for me. I just couldn’t get how to hop on a moving chair. It was too scary for me. I missed quite a few chairs while our neighbors wondered what I was doing. At last, I managed to catch a chair with my father’s help. During the short trip on it, my dangling feet in the air were nothing but a horrible sight. I was also being swallowed by a fear of getting off. In the end, I tumbled off the lift in front of the neighbors’ curious eyes. I don’t think my fever caused this embarrassment, but my natural inability did. I couldn’t enjoy a barbecue, as all I was thinking was to take that dreadful chair lift again when we left. To clarify how embarrassed I was, I confess this is what happened when I was already in the fifth grade. I can’t ski because I can’t get on a chair lift to the slopes in the first place…

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hidemi's Rambling No.391

I went to the nearest shopping mall from my apartment by free shuttle running for the surrounding skiing grounds. One of the skiing grounds is located near the train station so that I can save one station section’s worth of a train fare by getting off the shuttle there and then transfer to the train, instead of getting on the train directly at the closest station from home. For lunch, I got coffee for free and a sandwich and fries at great discount with mobile coupons at McDonald’s. I feel so good when I save small change. When I left home, I put the rest of boiling water into a thermos not to waste the electricity charge I had used to boil it. Even one cent gives me pleasure as long as it’s saved. On the other hand, I spend quite generously for the things that cost over $10. It’s like a fuse blows inside me because the amount is too big for me. As a result, my money doesn’t accumulate. Saving small change is therefore meaningless, but I just can’t stop it. I was so happy to have free coffee and asked for refills repeatedly. Several cups later, I started having a queasy stomach and felt sick. I couldn’t tell if I gained or lost anymore. I headed for home after I window-shopped and bought loss leader foods…

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hidemi's Rambling No.390

In the region I moved in, it stops snowing every three or four days and we have a fine day. On a day like that, I put on rubber boots and walk for twenty minutes to the nearest grocery store for shopping. Between the shoveled snow walls that stand higher than my own height, there’s a narrow path leading to the store. I walk through it looking up and down busily, not to slip and not to take a blow from a lump of snow dropping off the tree. Long icicles are hanging under the eaves of houses and every time I see them, I can hear the game-over sound effects for Mario Brothers in my head. Although I’ve been living in the snow for over a month now, the beauty of the sight still takes my breath away. The snow-covered distant mountains, trees and ground all make me feel like I’m in heaven. It takes only a few minutes to sweat when walking on a snowy path. It’s twice as hard as walking on a normal road. After I finally arrive at the grocery store, I usually check the deli counter. Foods of better quality and larger quantity than the ones in the city sell at the same price as the city’s. Because I get them by an irresistible urge, my large new freezer I’d bought for life in here is already full. My habit of getting more food than I can consume doesn’t change wherever I live…

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hidemi's Rambling No.389

During the New Year’s holidays, Japan is crammed with people everywhere. The small mountainous town I live in is no exception. Tourists flood into this usually quiet town for numerous skiing grounds and hot springs. Where it’s crowded, people’s manners get even worse for some reason. The worst is a family with a child that is my natural enemy. They resolutely ruin my relaxing holidays with crazed shrieks and barbarous behavior. The only way for me to have peaceful holidays is to hide out in my apartment and wait for the New Year’s holidays to be over. Ironically, my apartment building is used as a country house for most residents and is packed with people from the city during the holidays. Parents and kids are bawling and squalling at the parking lot and screaming and diving in the communal spa, with no holds barred. I’ve endured the similar situation in summer when they got the summer holidays, but the New Year holidays turned out to be much worse with more families staying. I’m close to regain tranquillity I cherish here, as the holidays are almost over and schools and offices are beginning. Sadly, my holidays are also over at the same time…

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hidemi's Rambling No.388

The first dream of the year is quite a big deal in Japan. It’s believed that the dream they have in the night of New Year’s Day tells what the new year will turn out to be for them. It’s commonly said there are three items that bode well if they appear in a dream; Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. Japanese people get the holidays between the end of December and the beginning of January, and what they saw in their first dream is often brought up in friendly conversation when the holidays are over. I feel pressured every year to have an auspicious dream because it likely decides my new year’s fortunes. In my dream of the night of New Year’s Day, I was standing by a pond, flanked by two strangers. The pond had filthy dark green water with dirty algae floating. The strangers on both sides of me looked degenerate and had wicked smiles. They asked me, “Are you one of us?” I hesitated, considered my answer carefully, and said, “Yes.” They exulted and forced me into the pond by gripping my arms. I was submerged up to my neck in foul water with them. That was my first dream of this year. No matter how hard I try, I can’t interpret this dream as a good omen for the new year…