Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by Hidemi Woods
Audiobook : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods
On Sale at online stores or apps. Audible is coming soon.
My moving plan is still alive. The most possible property I’ve found and liked so far is the one located in the snowy countryside surrounded by mountains. It stands alone in the woods and there’s no house, building, or shop around it. It takes 50 minutes by bus to get to the closest town. So, it’s like the one in that scary novel, ‘The Shining’ by Stephen King. It’s completely secluded and away from people. Because of how it’s located, it meets my low price range.
If I moved in that place, I could finally get rid of this crazy society and concentrate on writing songs. Sounds ideal for me. There, only one road leads to the town, weaving through the mountains. If a landslide or a snowslide occurred and blocked the road, I would lose the way to get food and might die there without being found. I’m terrified at the thought of that.
Am I left with no choice but to stick to this mad society and live among people, after all…?
Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods
It happened a long time ago when I lived in Tokyo. My partner and I had dinner at a restaurant one night after we hung around the mall. We came back to our apartment that we had rented on the top floor of the building as our home and the office for our record label.
When I tried to turn my key on the front door, I noticed the door had remained unlocked. It was weird. I may have forgotten to lock the door when I left, which was highly unlikely since I was fussy about locking and couldn’t leave without making sure that the door wouldn’t open by trying the knob for a couple of times. I got in feeling dubious, but our apartment didn’t look unusual. Then my partner suddenly said, “Why is the cabinet open?” My heart began to beat fast with overwhelming uneasiness and I hurried into the bedroom that had a balcony. The tall window to the balcony had been smashed broken. It was a burglary.
I called the police right away while my partner was gingerly looking into the bathroom, the closet, and behind the drapes to see if the burglar wasn’t still hiding. Those minutes were the scariest as too many movie scenes flashed back to me. Thankfully, there was nobody. The police arrived quickly since the station was ironically only a block away from my apartment. Such a location apparently wasn’t safe enough to prevent burglary.
The policemen came in and looked around. As they saw the messy rooms, they showed sympathy saying, “It’s played havoc, huh?” It was funny because my apartment had been messy as it was long before burglary. But probably thanks to it, the burglar didn’t notice an envelope that held a few thousand dollars for the bills and was mingled with scraps of paper on the table. Instead of cash, a dozen of Disney wrist watches that was my collection, a cheap wrist watch that was my partner’s memento of his late mother, an Omega wrist watch that I received from my grandparents as a souvenir of their trip to Europe decades ago, and one game software were missing. Actually, those items had been the only valuables in my office apartment. Other than those and litter, my apartment had been quite empty. The reason was simple. I was near bankrupt at that time.
I had started up my music label with my partner and it had grown steadily as business. A person I had trusted offered substantial financial support and I took it. I rented this apartment and hired staff with that money. Then the financial supporter tried to take over my label and threatened to suspend further finance if I refused. Amid horrible disgusting negotiations, money stopped being wired into my account. The label came to a standstill for lack of funds. I laid off all staff and saw what took eight years for my partner and I to build from a scratch crumbling down. The blow was amplified by anger and self-loathing from the fact that I was deceived by a person I had trusted. Despair and emptiness led to apathy. I stopped doing or thinking anything and had played a game every day.
In hindsight, if there hadn’t been burglary, my partner and I would have kept paying the costly rent for the apartment and playing a game until we spent all the money that was left. But something clicked when I saw the very game software I had played every day picked among other many games to be stolen, and the glass window of my dream penthouse apartment smashed. It marked the point where I hit the bottom but also was a wake-up call. We moved out the luxurious apartment immediately and rented a cheap studio apartment in a small two-storied building.
That move left some money in my bank account. The deposit of the penthouse apartment was returned, too. Also, I received an unexpected insurance payout. The expensive rent of my former apartment included a damage insurance. The insurance company assessed the damage based on the report I submitted to the police. For some reason, they calculated the payout more than the total price of what were stolen. I discussed with my partner about what to do with the money. We decided to go to California. A new start form zero. And that was to be the beginning of all these, everything that I do at present. My works have been taken to the world by that decision, made by the burglary.
Next to my apartment is a parking lot. A loud noise of a car engine without a muffler woke me up early in the morning today. Sick people who enjoy driving a car without an engine muffler and with a booming car stereo are increasing here. I was able to go back to sleep but then the neighbor kids’ voice disturbed my sleep again.
The window of my room looks out on the front yard of a neighbor’s house. Kids and idle housewives were playing and talking loudly. Kids are my archenemies. They relentlessly attack me with their evil, highpitched voices and shrieks. When I first moved in here, there were few houses around. But soon, more and more houses were built, more families were moving in, and I got surrounded by kids.
Every time I move somewhere quiet, the area quickly gets booming and kids are running everywhere destroying my cozy living environment. Now that I’ve decided to move, the destination should be someplace quiet, kids-free, bugs free, and hopefully, people-free…
I have a strong phobia about bugs. My apartment is heavily armed by numerous bug repellers, such as electrical, herbal, you name it.
The other day, it was very cold like winter, and yet, a bug appeared in my room, right next to an electrical bug repeller. Impossible. A couple of weeks earlier, a light switch of the bathroom got broken. Combined it with the inconceivable way of the bug’s appearance, I took them as signs to move out this apartment. The last time I moved was also when I found a bug and a light switch of the bathroom got broken. It was the best decision as the move turned my luck. I’ve started packing my stuff even though I have no idea where to move. I’ve got a lot of cheap stuff as a result of sale-hunting and have little time to pack, so it will take a long time to move, anyway…
I found tall wooden shelves discarded at a garbage dump of my apartment. It was as good as new and I carried it into my place. The shelves seemed to be a product of someone’s moving-out. I cleaned it and made it my new shoe shelves.
I felt so good seeing my shoes arranged beautifully on the shelves. The pitiful thing is, though, that almost all the shoes cost less than $20, mainly $10, and about half of them are worn out and have holes and cracks…
By the contract, I have to give a month’s notice to move out the apartment I currently live in. If I move out in the middle of April as I planned, I need to send written notice by mid-March. But I’m not sure if my packing is finished in a month. Actually, there’s no telling when it’s done. I’m busy enough with my daily life and adding packing to it as an extra routine has been almost impossible for me. In fact, my packing has been going at a surprisingly slow pace. My own schedule has gradually backed me into a corner and sometimes I have an urge to cancel a move itself altogether. As I began to sag, I decided to postpone a move for another month until mid-May, to make packing easier with plenty of time. It’s the third postponement from my original plan of a mid-January move. It means to pay more money for the rent, but it can’t be helped…
The most exciting time of year has come for a lowest-price shopper like me. Apparel stores had done their clearance sales for winter clothing and they started selling what were still left unsold at the incredibly low prices to get rid of them. It’s time for me to shop winter clothing for next winter. The other day, I found fleece jackets which prices were 90% off from the already discounted prices. I bought a couple of those at 40 cents each. Even in my lowest-price hunting life, it was a record low for a jacket. I also got a down coat at $28, marked down from $80. I bought several other clothes at such immensely reduced prices as well and felt so exhilarated. At the end of the day, I’ve got a lot more winter clothes at home although I’m in the middle of moving to my new place. More time for packing and cost for moving has been added…
These days, I’ve had nightmares about living in a deserted, out-of-the-way place repeatedly. In them, I was forced to join a dreary folk festival in deep snow with a handful of local people, or I was surrounded by uncivilized people whose language I didn’t understand, or I lived in an ancient, old-fashioned building. Those dreams seem to represent my vague unease for moving to my new place that is located in a remote, mountainous, snowy region. I’ve completed a song I’d been working on for seven years, and I’m about to move out the apartment I’ve lived for nine years. I’m moving to a whole new town where I have no acquaintances, and I’ll start promoting our latest song and recording a new song. Form then onward, I don’t know how my life goes. I believe it will be wonderful as long as I stay alive without giving up. I will enjoy and cherish every process to a new step, which hopefully would be the better one…
As I’ve been packing my stuff to move out this apartment, various things of sentimental value to me have come out from the back of the shelves. I’ve lived here for nine years and forgotten about most of them since I stored them away. Some are no longer useful, but when I clear them out, I feel as if I threw away my past. That makes me melancholy. Occasionally, I find some money. It’s like I get a bonus for packing, but it’s simply what I stashed by myself in the first place and not what I newly gained. Mostly, what I find are numerous room slippers and old broken appliances. I don’t understand why I kept so many slippers without using. Packing and moving requires a great deal of labor and time. Worst of all, the broken appliances appear one after another and discarding them is costly. I have to pay for each one of them just to dump…