The Money Pit hr650

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I made up my mind to become a professional musician when I was eighteen living in Japan. I had imagined that the hardest thing to be one was to keep up better works by strengthening talent, which proved wrong. The hardest thing is money. Scraping up funds for activities as a musician without losing time and energy for music is most difficult. It’s equally the case for either an artist who has made a smash hit or the one who has been unsuccessful like me. And it has remained to be the case today after decades passed.
At the very beginning of my music career, I regularly rehearsed in a studio as a member of the band that strongly intended to become professional. It was the first serious band I had joined. I somehow managed to play well enough compared to other skillful members and didn’t get fired at the first session as I had feared. The band was based in Osaka that is a 45-minute ride by train from Kyoto where I lived. The studios the band used were all in Osaka, which meant I needed to pay the studio rental fee and the train fare each time. I was a college student back then, but barely went to class. Instead, I worked at the restaurant as a cashier and spent everything on the band. My time was dedicated to music and I came home just to sleep.
The studio was equipped with a synthesizer but I didn’t have my own although I constantly appealed my passion to become professional. It had gradually seemed odd that I used a rental synthesizer in every session while I tried to motivate other members to be professional as soon as possible. A thought that other members questioned my seriousness began to cross my mind as I continued to play with temporary sounds. Since we played our original songs, original sounds were necessary. On top of that, when I practiced back at home, I used the piano for a synthesizer that was quite ineffective as practice. I finally decided to get my own synthesizer. I chose the latest model at that time called Yamaha DX7 that was featured in almost all the pop songs and albums in the music business of 80s. It cost about 2500 dollars.
Before I joined the band, I had saved money out of my years’ allowances and was going to use that money to study English in England. The amount of my savings was about the same as the price of a DX7. I had put it in time deposit at the credit union bank for higher interest and for my friend just a few months before. That friend of mine had worked at the bank by giving up going to college because she needed to support her handicapped mother and two younger siblings when her father suddenly abandoned them. I wanted to help her in some way and set a time deposit through her with hope that it might raise her performance evaluation at the bank. Sadly, my rare good deed couldn’t last any longer. I went to the bank, apologized her a million times, and cancelled a time deposit. While she kept telling me with a smile “Don’t worry, don’t bother,” I was bathed in guilt, and yet I withdrew my savings and went on to get a DX7. I chose a DX7 over staying in England and being her friend.
After all, it was just the beginning of the long way that I have walked on until today. Since I decided to become a professional musician, I had lost my friends and my family not to mention a college degree as a dropout. What I gained instead are thousands of sleepless nights for worry about money. Even while I stay awake in the night yet again, I still believe that the happiest thing for a human is to fulfill one’s calling.

way for me to become a millionaire

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One day, I saw numbers in my dream. I dream a lot every night, but numbers rarely appear. I thought it was some sort of sign, and bought a lottery ticket. I won $10. A few weeks later, I dreamed about numbers again, and bought a ticket accordingly. I won $100. I was convinced this was it. This must be the way for me to become a millionaire. Since then, I’ve kept buying a lottery ticket every week, but with no luck at all. For the first time in almost a year, I won $10 yesterday. The sum dropped off. And the total spending for the lottery has become incomparably much more than I gained…

 

Speaking of dreams, I have one that foresees something once in a while.

Back in high school, I needed to go to school for my extracurricular activity during a summer break. The teacher on duty was randomly selected for the day. I saw a teacher of a Japanese class on duty wearing a peculiar tie in my dream. And the very next day, that teacher was on duty at school, wearing the exact tie I’d seen.

I saw the members of my favorite band go away in two separate vehicles, and a few weeks later, the band broke up in the way exactly how I’d seen.

A big earthquake occurred and an old Japanese house was flattened in my dream. I saw the future date for it, too. Two weeks earlier than that date, an earthquake actually occurred in northern Japan, and I saw the flattened house on TV. On the date of the dream, instead of an earthquake, the stock market tumbled.

In each case, nothing worked for my benefit, because it was too trivial, or happened remotely, or I don’t have stocks. Worthless dreams…

Episode From Surviving in Japan by Hidemi Woods

Audiobook  : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total.

I like recording shows more than actually watching them

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I edited TV shows and burned them on DVDs yesterday. As I’ve written here before, I like recording shows more than actually watching them. The most fun part for me is editing. It’s so bracing to remove impurities and store the pick of the shows to my taste by deleting commercials and unimportant scenes. Almost all of my collection is from US TV dramas, sitcoms, and Japanese variety shows. My DVDs contain the shows or the scenes strictly selected by me and considered worth saving. The volume is growing, but the content is mostly the scenes of a Japanese comedian who trips or falls over something, and the ones of a mascot, a space shuttle, and a Japanese bullet train…

Episode From Surviving in Japan by Hidemi Woods

Audiobook  : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total.

Podcast: the evil world

the evil world
When I was little, my mother constantly said bad things about others. She believed that, even when someone was kind to her, there must have been some plot behind the nice gesture. To sum up what she talked about every day, there are only evil people in this world.
In kindergarten, mothers would fix a lunchbox for their kids and the kids would eat lunch with their classmates and their teacher. At one lunchtime, when I was opening a lid of my lunchbox, I inadvertently dropped it to the floor without having a single bite and it overturned there. I lost my lunch. While other kids laughed at me, my teacher, who had been trying so hard to make me play with other kids because I had ignored them and had hardly talked to anyone, cleaned up the mess for me and took me to a small candy store outside the kindergarten.
She told me to pick any bread I liked. I picked one timidly, feeling afraid what kind of trap this would be, as I didn’t have any money. She suggested one more. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and shook my head. She picked one more piece of bread by herself, took out money from her own wallet, and gave all the bread to me.
I was stunned. She bought me lunch. It was the first time that someone unrelated to me was so kind to me. Since then, I had started talking to her. Even after I finished kindergarten, I had kept exchanging letters with her and I still send her a Christmas card every year.
She was the first person who destroyed my mother’s theory of the evil world and taught me that there were some good people in this world…
 
Audiobook  : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps.
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total.

my voice didn’t come out

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Eight years ago today, I moved into this apartment. There are things that I like about it such as the utilities-included rent, the unique design, and the view. It has the flip side though. Every time the wind blows, TV is down. The roof is so thin that raindrops sound like the percussion. The walls are also thin and even subtle sounds I make trigger the neighbor’s banging. Those things keep me looking for a better place constantly. Each and every place has a flaw. Too dense, too rural. At least one side of the place borders the next-door neighbor. It seems that an ideal place for me to live in doesn’t exist. Well, to begin with, is there such thing as an ideal place to live in on this planet…?

 Last night, I had a nightmare. In it, I got up and found myself alone. I was a child still living with my family in my hometown. My parents and my little sister came back from McDonald’s. They had breakfast there without me. I grabbed my mother’s arms and said, Listen to me! Listen to me very carefully!! You must treat your kids equally! Whatever you do to my little sister, you should do the same to me! You can’t keep doing nice things only to her! Besides, how could you bring home nothing for me? It’s McDonald’s where you can get take-out!! But, no matter how hard I tried, my voice didn’t come out. I repeated those words very hard again and again but only my mouth was moving. In the end, I shouted at the top of my throat, and awoke from the dream.

I’m still exhausted. I dream a lot every night. And this one is one of the repeated dreams. Although the details are different, I am ignored by my parents and left alone each time. I’m fed up with this kind of dream but I know I will soon have it again. When am I released from this…?

Episode From Surviving in Japan by Hidemi Woods

Audiobook  : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total.

 

praying and bowing

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I visited a local temple for what was called ‘hatsumode’. It means to visit a temple or a shrine to pray for good luck after the new year comes, and is a major event of New Year’s in Japan.

People do it during the first three days of New Year’s. Famous shrines and temples are packed with thousands of visitors. I hate a crowded place and being bound with a fixed schedule, so I go to a nearby temple at anytime in January. Before praying, you should put money in a wooden box set in front of a building. While they put a 10-yen coin, a 100-yen coin or a bill in some cases, I always put a one-yen coin and take some time to pray. Maybe I take a longer time than anyone else, praying and bowing repeatedly. Too many wishes for one yen…

Episode From Surviving in Japan by Hidemi Woods

Audiobook  : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total.