there’s no such thing as 100% satisfaction

A month has passed since I moved in my new apartment. Although I’ve been vigorously unpacking, cardboard boxes have still occupied more than half the living room. My handmade soundproof wall has been completed only on one side of the walls in my bedroom/studio that borders on the next door.

The positions of my furniture and instruments have been roughly decided for my studio. My old apartment was built on a light steel framework and had very thin walls. I was disturbed by all kinds of noise – rain, wind, cars, kids, neighbors, crows, helicopters you name it. As my new apartment is built with reinforced concrete, it was supposed to be a lot quieter. It actually was, but wasn’t as much as I had expected. Unknown clanging noise coming from some pipe woke me up for several times, or I heard footsteps form the room above or below. I had probably overestimated reinforced concrete.

I know I should be content with much quieter surroundings here, but thinking about having gone through that hard and long process of the move, I want the kind of silence that I had imagined as a reward. I’ve been telling myself that it may get better when the whole soundproofing is done. Also, I shouldn’t forget that there’s no such thing as 100% satisfaction in this world after all…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

the lake

There is a lake a few miles away from my new apartment and I decided to go there for the first time. The local bus to the lake was surprisingly old-fashioned and worn-out. It jolted along a mountain road, ascending higher and higher. The lake lay at the foot of the mountain, surrounded by the fresh green woods.

Although I had expected it to be a popular recreation place for locals, it was quite lonely and quiet with only a couple of small spots to eat and shop. One of them was an Italian restaurant and I had an expensive lunch there as a sole customer.

The directory showed that there was a walk around the lake and I tried it. It got steeper and rougher as I walked on, as if I was climbing a mountain. The walk looked exactly like the one in my recurring nightmare in which I walked along an ever-steepening path and ended up tumbling down the slope every time. I crawled along the walk on all fours so as not to tumble down. Fighting off a fear of heights, I finally got to a suspension bridge over the lake, and the view of the lake from there was breathtaking. On my way home, I mistook the road for the bus stop, and walked all the way home. It took 90 minutes and I was dead on my feet…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

a match : Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods

 
Apple Books, Google Play, Audible 43 available distributors in total.
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.

take a long, long time to finish the song

I’d like to get down to working on our next song soon, but before that, I need to set up my studio all over again in my new apartment. So far, piles of cardboard boxes have occupied my new place. To make space for a studio, I should unpack those cardboard boxes and sort out their contents. Then, I’ll take measures to soundproof by myself.

As I did to the walls of my old apartment, I’ll fix folded cardboard boxes to all over the wall, cover them with soundproof polyurethane, put more cardboard boxes on it as a sandwich, and add soundproof sheets over it. Thatll be done with only one side of the wall. I should repeat this for other sides of the wall and the ceiling. I’m a little frustrated at this cumbersome process to start arranging our new song.

The melody and the words of the new song have been completed, so that makes me want to start working on the arrangement soon all the more. I know it will only take a long, long time to finish the song once I get down to it after all…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

A new restaurant opened

A new restaurant opened one train station away from my new place according to the Internet. It seemed an American cuisine restaurant which specialty were a cheeseburger and a waffle, which is rare in this area. There are many other restaurants on the street where the new restaurant opened and I’d wanted to stroll along it sometime.

Most restaurants there were introduced with the pictures on the Internet and looked neat enough. I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t disappoint me this time around, and went there for lunch. But, sadly, my jaw dropped yet again.

It was as if the pictures I’d seen on the Internet had been taken 30 years before or something. All the restaurants were rusty and shabby. The street looked deserted with nobody strolling along.

I spotted the new American restaurant among them and a man dressed in a white cook uniform was sitting in a chair in front of the place looking at his cell phone. The door was left open and I glanced at the inside. There was no customer in a cramped restaurant. The online photo of the place was far better than the actual one. Whoever took the online photos of the restaurants on this street must have a genius for making dreadful sights look beautiful.

As I was starving, I entered the least unsightly restaurant where some customers had just come out. They served the meal twice as much as an ordinary restaurant and it was so delicious. Unexpectedly, It was a pleasant eating experience. I went home feeling like trying other restaurants on that street as well. As for the American restaurant, I’m still not sure if I have the courage to go in…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

a shopping mall

I found out that there was a downtown area in the region of my new place and went to look around. It was a twentyminute train ride from my apartment. According to an online map, a shopping mall building was right next to the train station, but further information wasn’t available anywhere on the Internet.

When I actually got off the train and stood at the station, my jaw dropped. A shopping space that had been called a mall on a map was a one-story shabby building with few stores. It was like a swap meet, rather than a mall.

The main street in front of the station seemed to be caught in a time warp. I felt back in time walking through the old, forlorn shops. Murmuring Downtown? Can’t be!“, I decided to try another shopping mall about a mile off. After I walked for 25 minutes through rice paddies and vacant lots, a huge suburban shopping center appeared. It was what we called a mall. I felt greatly relieved that I found a place to shop for my life in a new town. The shopping center had the free shuttle from the station. My long walk was totally lost labor…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

Tokyo

Moving to a new place reminds me about the time when I first left home. I had always longed to live in Tokyo since childhood, watching modern high-rises or cool apartments in TV dramas. I knew that would never happen to me because I was a firstborn in a family succeeded from generation to generation and was destined to finish my life in the country family house.

But music provoked me to throw away everything my family, friends, college life and, above all, secure life and to move to Tokyo. As almost all Japanese record companies were in Tokyo and there were many musicians as well, I thought it would be easy to promote my music and find good band members. In actual fact, I only found bad musicians in an unsightly city with too many people, and the record companies picked trashy songs by ignoring mine. Except that I was so happy to have left the place where I was born, things in Tokyo weren’t as good as I had expected…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

my yukata : Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods

 
Apple Books, Google Play, Audible 43 available distributors in total.
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.

new apartment

Since I moved in my new apartment, I’ve occasionally felt a sense of homesick. Only I’ve seldom felt it for my old apartment. What I miss are shops and restaurants that I often visited, characters and mascots that were standing by the roadside or painted on signboards, and the memories associated with them. In my case, homesick isn’t for home to be exact.

I’ve moved for six times in all both domestically and internationally in my life, and the first one was when I left home where I was born and raised, and started to live on my own for the first time in Tokyo. Although it seemed like a perfect occasion to feel homesick, I was too happy to feel any. To date, I’ve never missed my hometown nor wanted to visit the house.

Recently, I’ve seen many people on TV who live in the shelters after the earthquake eager to return their hometowns instead of moving to new places. For most people, home is such an important place. I wonder if my new place here can become my home…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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

goodbye to the empty apartment

dav

The moving day had finally arrived. I got up only with a three-hour sleep. There was little time before moving out. Although a mover would come a few hours later, unpacked things were still littered all over the floor. My hands were trembling with a panic. Just as I managed to pack everything, the moving van pulled up.

The problem was a huge amount of trash. We must use the municipal specified bags to throw away trash, but I used them up and had no time to go and buy more. I ended up shipping trash to my new place. While the mover was loading up a truck with my furniture, boxes and the trash, the real estate agent came up to check the apartment.

He was examining the place closely to see if there was any damage. As a matter of fact, I had been dreading this moment for months. I was afraid that he was going to charge me an outrageous price for repairs. Since I didn’t have enough time to clean up the place, a possible cover-up wouldn’t work. When I was braced for a high price, he said that the room cleaning was included in the security deposit I had put down and I would receive the most of it back. I didn’t have to clean the place in the first place or pay for the damage. On the contrary, I got money back.

After both the agent and the mover left, I said goodbye to the empty apartment I had lived for nine years, locked the door for the last time, and headed for the bus stop. I would never been in this neighborhood again. An end leads to another beginning…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

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