cherry blossom-viewing picnic

Cherry blossoms begin to bloom. That means it’s the season for Japanese people’s customary cherry blossom-viewing picnic. It sounds lovely but the reality is a dreadfully gross event.

Every once in a while, they feel the need to confirm their unity as a nation by doing the same thing at the same time. Their cherry blossom picnic is the perfect example. Before the full bloom, they save a spot a few days ahead with a tarp. On the picnic, they get together with their colleagues and bosses if they are office workers, or seniors and juniors if they are college students. And they drink beer into a stupor sitting on the tarp. A couple of people are killed by acute alcoholic poisoning every year. Parks and the areas with cherry blossoms are crammed with the tarps and people on them. It’s a completely miserable sight to me not only because of the tarps but also because it has become an obligation. They have to do this not to disturb the harmony in their community.

I enjoy cherry blossoms every year by taking a walk near my apartment, because I’ve never been under obligation of any kind. I’m so outside of any community…

Audiobook: The Family in Kyoto: One Japanese Girl Got Freedom by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 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, Google Play, Audible,   43 available distributors in total.

My new Kindle has been published! “A Little Girl in Kyoto: only evil people in this world / Hidemi Woods”

It has gotten warmer little by little and spring is near. Shortly, cherry blossoms are blooming here and there around Japan, making a usually somber country beautiful. Cherry blossoms mean the season to begin a new year at a school and an office in Japan. It was spring when I entered elementary school and this time of year reminds me of how I felt at that time.At Japanese schools, the whole school assembly is held once a week. I remember the first assembly at the elementary school held in the schoolyard. The school had a large number of students, close to 2,000. They gathered in the schoolyard to listen to a principal’s weekly address, lined up in neat rows by the class and the grade. As I was in the first grade, my row was near the edge of the yard. I glanced at the far side of it, where the sixth-graders stood in line. They were tall and looked like grown-ups to me.And all of a sudden, a strong sense of claustrophobia seized me. I realized that I would keep coming to this school until I grew that big. Considering the excruciating two years I spent at kindergarten, coming here for six years seemed forever and torture. On top of that, it wouldn’t end there. Three years at junior high school and another three years at high school would follow. My mother had already talked about a college then, too. The day I would be freed from school I loathed so much would be so far away. I felt as if I had been put in prison with a life sentence, while the principal was congratulating the first-graders in his speech and cherry blossoms were warmly looking down…