I tried one last time under the dim light of a mercury lamp.

Here, I make an embarrassing confession. I hadn’t been able to ride a bicycle without training wheels until the fifth grade. I always believe that riding a bicycle successfully for the first time should be like the one in the movie ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ where a father played by Dustin Hoffman jumps for joy and takes a picture of his son’s first ride. Sadly, parents in real life are too defective. My parents used to be farmers who worked out on the field from dawn to night. They hardly took a day off and when they did, it was a rainy day. During winter when their work was a little less hectic, they would bring crops from the field to a communal wash place by the small park near our home. They spent the rest of the day washing the crops by hand with their long booted feet soaked in freezing water. My father used a short interval between the field and the wash place to teach me to ride a bicycle. He couldn’t spare more time and I wasn’t a fast learner. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I became the only one among the kids of around the same age in the neighborhood who couldn’t ride a bike.

One day, my mother took me to the park with my sister on her way to work. Because she told us to bring our bicycles, I thought she would teach me this time. But she spotted a couple of older kids in the park, asked them to teach me and rushed into the wash place. With the kids’ help, my younger sister by four years got to ride a bike without training wheels, while I couldn’t. The kids laughed at me. When my mother poked her head around the door of the wash place and asked them how it went, they said, “She’s no good! Her sister rode it first!”

Much later, I was already close to my then-best friend Junko and took courage to ask her to teach me. She helped me in the park earnestly until it went dark. As it was time to go home, I tried one last time under the dim light of a mercury lamp. And I finally made it. Behind me, I heard Junko shouting for joy, “She’s riding! She made it! Hooray!” When I stopped and looked back, I saw her face flush with happiness. I miss her. More than I miss my parents…

It’s no good! A girl again!

I had a dream about my sister last night. In each and every dream about
her, she takes my parents away from me. She’s four years younger than I
am and I still remember the time when she was born. Although everybody
told me that I must have been very happy to become a big sister, I felt
gloomy more and more as my mother’s due date was drawing near. I
strongly wished my sister would never be born because I knew grown-ups’
attention would leave me. And I was right. She was born to be my
parents’ favorite. My mother especially stood by her all the time, both
physically and mentally. I was sent away to my grandparents’ room to
sleep with them. My mother’s arms and lap were always occupied by my
sister and I was constantly driven away to my father. Only consolation
for me was my grandfather’s attitude. Because Japan was excessively
male-dominated –it still is, in my opinion-, he was bitterly
disappointed that his newly born grandchild was a girl again. He kept
complaining about it to his neighbor friends, saying ‘It’s no good! A
girl again! No good!’ For that matter, he had six grandchildren in all
and none of them was a boy. I regard it as a curse. My sister still gets
along well with my parents as their favorite, lives with them in my
hometown, and they brag about whatever she does while they criticize for
whatever I do. To this day, they remain taken away from me by my
sister. It can be a good thing for me, though…

from Tumblr https://hidemiwoods.tumblr.com/post/186200882702