His big secret was out.

While I was packing my stuff to move to my new place, I inadvertently dropped a scale model of a Formula One car yesterday. It’s a McLaren MP4/6 with Ayrton Senna in it, and handmade by my American friend who made it for me and gave me as a gift a long time ago. A rear wing, a front flap, a mirror and a steering wheel came off. The model is so elaborate and the repair seems to require delicate work. I’m not so confident of repairing it as good as it was, and felt depressed. I talked about it to my partner later, and he hinted it had been already broken before I dropped it. When I asked him what he meant, he guiltily confessed that he had once dropped it by himself a few years before. Because the damage was on the opposite side of the display, he hadn’t told me that to this date. His big secret was out. I felt a little easier to find out that I was not to blame. But it remains broken all the same…

It’s a wonder I still survive in this world.

The other night, I had a dream about joining the military. I was going through various kinds of training and failed each one of them. As I couldn’t do any physical activities, the training officer asked me if I could cook or wash. I answered honestly I couldn’t do either. The officer asked my former profession and I told him that I was a singer-songwriter. He suggested me to be in the entertainment division, but I refused because I didn’t like to perform in front of people. There was nothing I could do. Then, for some reason, I was deployed to Afghanistan. And I woke up. It was a wild dream but the part that I couldn’t do anything satisfactorily was a fact. Getting out of bed, I realized again how little I could do. It’s a wonder I still survive in this world…

I often get a surprisingly discounted item

A clothing store in the mall is going to close for good and I went there today for the closing sale. I often get a surprisingly discounted item when a store is closing. It has helped me save much money. Recently, more and more stores have gone
out of business in the area where I live, and the mall I went today has also had less and less shops. As a new shop hasn’t opened, they put tables and chairs for customers to rest where the old store used to be. Now the mall has the break areas everywhere. While I enjoy a sale, I lose a store to shop one after another around me…

I had never been in such heavy snow in my life.

After a quarter of my furniture arrived at my new apartment, I returned to my old place. It snowed very heavily on the day of my departure. When I was about to leave the apartment, it stopped snowing once, and I walked to the nearest train station instead of calling a cab. The moment I got to the station, it started snowing again, even more heavily. I was waiting for the local train at the platform, seeing an unreal view. Everything was entirely covered with snow and it seemed as if there was nothing but mountains. Only a vast white ground spread out between the mountains and me. I felt like I was in the movie ‘ Fargo’. The train didn’t come after the arrival time had passed. The station was unmanned as it was too remote, and no announcement was available. I thought it was delayed by heavy snow. Time went on. I began to feel uneasy because I had a bullet train to catch at the terminal station. There was a man who was also waiting for the train, and he used the station’s emergency phone to call the terminal. He kindly came back to me and let me know that the local train service was suspended due to snow. I called a cab with my cell phone, got to the terminal and barely caught the bullet train for which I had the reserved ticket. I had never been in such heavy snow in my life. Can I really move in and live in the place where it snows hard enough to stop the train…?

I got almost skewered.

As the process of moving, I went to my new place for the second time. The area was covered with deep snow this time and it looked like a different world. I got to my new apartment on foot from the train station, walking along the sidewalk sandwiched between the plowed snow walls. The snow walls were my shoulder high and I’d never seen this much snow in my life. As soon as I arrived, I got down to cleaning the room. I spent first two days cleaning the stained carpet. On the second day, I was to receive several boxes I’d sent from my old apartment. Looking at the heavy, ceaseless snow, I was afraid that my boxes wouldn’t reach here, but they came all right, to my relief. On the third day, I went shopping for food. To get to the supermarket, I needed to take a train, and I walked along the snow walls to the station again. I concentrated on my steps not to slip when an icicle dropped from a lamppost right before me. I got almost skewered. All the way to the supermarket, I was busy watching up and down, for my steps and icicles. That was awfully similar to an advanced stage of Mario Brothers. It was an ordeal just to get to a store. On top of that, my toes became icy as slush had seeped inside my supposed-to-be waterproof boots that I’d bought specially for this trip. You can’t make light of snowy country…

I am too short for good luck

Mt. Fuji is regarded as a symbol of good luck. Looking out the window of my apartment, I can barely see the top of Mt. Fuji far away after the leaves fall off from the trees nearby. It’s a season I can see it, but I haven’t been able to find it this year where it’s supposed to be. My partner told me that he has seen it for some time. I looked and looked for the unique shape of Mt. Fuji which was hardly overlooked. Then I noticed that the branches of the trees near my apartment had stretched upward. They block Mt. Fuji at my eye level but not at my partner’s who is much taller than I am. No matter how hard I jump, I can’t see the top. Starting this year, I am too short for good luck…

all my furniture is the lowest price one

My moving process began in earnest. I’ve already sent several boxes to my new place, and now I set about my furniture. I looked up on the Internet for the lowest possible price and decided to move furniture separately by a small cargo container, since I don’t have a car. Although it’s the cheapest way, the cost of the shipment is about the same as the total value of my furniture, because all my furniture is the lowest price one. I might as well replace them to new ones as spend money to move them, but people don’t do a garage sale in Japan. I can’t throw away what is still usable and I’m attached to them. For the first shipment, I emptied and cleaned the shelves and drawers. They were seven pieces and it took me more time and energy than I had thought to do the work. I was exhausted, but it’s just the beginning. Only about a quarter of the moving was done. More pieces of cheap furniture await me…

The family had run away with huge debt.

When I lived in my hometown, there was our distant relative’s house at the back of ours. The relation was too distant for us to consider them as more than old neighbors. The man in the family was usually just one of our neighbors but once a year, he behaved as if he was our close relative. In the New Year, he would visit our house, coming right into the living room. No doorbell, nor calling. He would simply walk in, pass along the hallway, open the living room door and say, ‘Happy New Year!’ Unlike my parents, I would never complain about his behavior, though, because he gave me money as a New Year’s gift each time, which was also the Japanese tradition. Actually, he was generous all the time. He liked to hold events for the neighborhood such as a golf competition, and treat people to dinner and drinks. He had long been a PTA president. He was well-off enough to build a new house of a modern style with the lawn. I often heard his daughter play the piano. The mystery was, we didn’t know exactly what he did to afford his generosity. One day, we noticed that we hadn’t seen him and his family for days. Then, his house got off limits with a banner of foreclosure. The family had run away with huge debt. A collection agency came to our home, as they thought we knew his whereabouts as a distant relative. Later on, his beautiful new house was demolished. The lavish family disappeared with its house…

became her new superstition

New Year is the biggest holiday in Japan. There is a traditional meal for it, which is called ‘osechi’. It’s assorted foods of beans, boiled vegetables, boiled fish, and steamed fish paste, boxed in layered containers. The kinds of an assortment are slightly different at each family according to the family tradition. My family’s traditional ‘osechi’ was absolutely terrible. The assortment consisted of only three kinds of food. Boiled carrots, boiled burdocks and black soybeans. That’s it. We even didn’t have to buy them except for black soybeans because they were grown in our family’s field. It was accompanied by miso soup that had sticky rice cake and big taro in it. Big taro was grown in our front yard and my family held a superstition that you would become a head of something by eating it in the New Year. Unfortunately, it’s huge and painfully tasteless. As a child, I always wondered how they could call them a New Year’s special feast since our daily meals were better. To conclude the ‘feast’, we drank special tea. A cup of Japanese tea with a pickled plum sunk in the bottom. As another superstition, my family believed that it would bring happiness, but it tasted horrible and made me unhappy right away. And then, what I thought couldn’t be any worse hit the new bottom. On one New Year’s Day, there was a new addition to our traditional meal. It was called ‘kuwai’ and looked like a chestnut with a sprout. My mother heard that eating it in New Year made you ‘sprout’ to the world. It became her new superstition and my father began to grow it in the front yard. It tasted utterly awful. If primitive people found it in the woods and tried it, they would certainly dismiss it as inedible. Although I had endured the terrible feast until I left home, I’m not a head of anything, nor don’t sprout to the world…

spend the closing days of the year on cleaning frantically

Japanese people spend New Year’s Eve cleaning. Basically, they spend the closing days of the year on cleaning frantically because somehow they need to clean up the house thoroughly and wash the car before the new year comes. The cleaning reaches the climax on New Year’s Eve. Mothers also need to prepare the special meal for New Year’s. The pressure that everything has to be done by New Year makes them prickly all day. They often take it out to someone in their families. So, New Year’s Eve is a day of cleaning and fighting in Japan. I recall few New Year’s Eves in my childhood that I managed to escape my mother’s scolding. I sincerely wanted to get rid of that custom, and have firmly decided not to clean up on New Year’s Eve. Even so, every year I find myself cleaning up somewhere in my apartment in spite of myself. I did it today, too. Does DNA work in this act…?