soundproofing

dig

I recorded chorus parts for our new song. I do all the recording in my apartment, and as the soundproofing is not perfect, I need to be careful about the timing. It’s no-go when windy or rainy. Noisy kids or a car vendor around the building balk the recording. And I set a cutoff time for the nighttime because the wall to my next-door neighbor is too thin. I was going to finish recording the chorus in one day, but when I woke up, it was already four o’clock in the afternoon. I was absorbed in recording, but soon it reached my cutoff time. I couldn’t finish it. Still a long way to complete the song…

My chorus recording update -I was determined to finish it by the end of the day. But I accidentally stayed up late on the previous day and got up with lack of sleep. I got down to work hurriedly, even without washing my face, because of the cutoff time I have written about. Somehow, the recording didn’t go smoothly due to lack of sleep. I made a wrong configuration to the chorus tracks by mistake and had to record all over again. Then, soon came the cutoff time. I couldn’t finish it after all, yet again…

 

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

it’s close to the limit of my patience

Photo by Edgar Colomba on Pexels.com

Despite the ceaseless agitation that Japan’s population has been decreasing and its birthrate has critically dropped, a population explosion has been happening in my neighborhood in particular.

People keep moving in, kids keep being born, and houses and stores keep being built. Only the space around me is the exception of a Japanese trend. The more the people, the higher the odds of crazy ones.

I introduced here my neighbors who used the street as their own yard and let their kids shoot hoops from the busy street to their house. The noise of a bouncing ball was so annoying and I dropped a note to stop in their mailbox one day. It worked and I had retrieved peaceful sleep for a couple of weeks as I usually sleep in the daytime. A sad fact is that crazy people don’t learn. They resumed playing basketball on the street last Sunday and I had to drop the note again. This neighborhood was once quiet and sparse, but now, it’s close to the limit of my patience…

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

the storm

An online supermarket had given me five-percent off coupons for its physical store. I was going to shop there yesterday but the weather was awful with strong winds. I stayed home, cleaning and doing the wash. The wind was picking up more and more, and at night, it was a storm like a typhoon that was quite unusual for this time of year.

It was caused by the low-pressure system and as I was afraid, my headache started. As the storm got stronger, my headache got worse. With the noise of blowing winds and a bad headache, I couldn’t sleep well. About twice a year, some kids visit and stay with my neighbors two doors down, and their running footsteps disturb me because the walls of my apartment building are too thin. Unfortunately, yesterday was one of their visits. Their relentless drum roll footsteps joined with the storm and the headache in the morning and I got up with the three-way attack. Although the storm subsided, I couldn’t go to the store today because I felt ill from the severe night…

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.

They don’t pick a time and place.

Photo by Tim Douglas on Pexels.com

I have just come back from a grocery store now. They had a great one-day sale today. Since I couldn’t go out for it last week, this one was kind of revenge. I arrived at the store and guess what. The sale items were all sold out already. Revenge never works. I got completely upset and was involuntarily scribbling a complaint on a comment sheet at the store. It was a totally compulsive move and when I came to myself, I submitted it to the box.

As I cooled down, I realized something. I got up at 12:30 p.m. this afternoon, had lunch, and by the time I was at the store, it was past 4 p.m. Maybe my lifestyle is a problem, not the store…

 

After shopping, I had dinner at Starbucks. Their subs are my favorite, but the main reason to dine there is that restaurants in Japan are full of housewives who take noisy, ill-behaved kids along. They don’t pick a time and place. From an expensive restaurant to even a bar, kids are there. Some Japanese bars have a play room for kids. There is even a baby at a bar at night. Crazy. The safest place for me was a cafe. But, they came. When I enjoyed a sub and a holiday cake with a quiet, relaxing atmosphere listening to holiday music in the background, this kid invaded the place. His loud babbling and shrieking filled Starbucks and ruined everything. Starbucks was my last resort and finally, I have no place to dine in Japan…

Episode From Surviving in Japan by Hidemi Woods

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.

only evil people in this world

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I was little, my mother constantly said bad things about others. She believed that, even when someone was kind to her, there must have been some plot behind the nice gesture. To sum up what she talked about every day, there are only evil people in this world.

 In kindergarten, mothers would fix a lunchbox for their kids and the kids would eat lunch with their classmates and their teacher. At one lunchtime, when I was opening a lid of my lunchbox, I inadvertently dropped it to the floor without having a single bite and it overturned there. I lost my lunch. While other kids laughed at me, my teacher, who had been trying so hard to make me play with other kids because I had ignored them and had hardly talked to anyone, cleaned up the mess for me and took me to a small candy store outside the kindergarten.

 She told me to pick any bread I liked. I picked one timidly, feeling afraid what kind of trap this would be, as I didn’t have any money. She suggested one more. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and shook my head. She picked one more piece of bread by herself, took out money from her own wallet, and gave all the bread to me.

 I was stunned. She bought me lunch. It was the first time that someone unrelated to me was so kind to me. Since then, I had started talking to her. Even after I finished kindergarten, I had kept exchanging letters with her and I still send her a Christmas card every year.

 She was the first person who destroyed my mother’s theory of the evil world and taught me that there were some good people in this world…

Episode From An Old Tree in Kyoto /Hodemi Woods

Audiobook 1 : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Audiobook 2 : My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  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…

 

Podcast: small rural town in Japan

Episode from Hidemi’s Rambling  by Hidemi Woods 
 
Audiobook 1 : Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
 
Audiobook 2 : My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by Hidemi Woods On Sale at online stores or apps. 
 
Apple Books, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total. 
 
 
 
Let me report how a small rural town I live in has been lately. Since  there are many skiing slopes in the town, the forlorn main street has  ski lodges, B and Bs, souvenir shops and rental ski shops. Quite a few  had been out of business as the skiing boom was gone. One out of every  three shops is closed now along the street. The other day I found that  my favorite shop there hung a sign saying ‘For Rent’. The shop was my  dream shop that carried imported foods and goods from U.S. Imported  merchandise is usually costly, but that shop sold selected Costco-brand  foods at almost the same prices at Costco or sometimes lower prices.  Considering the membership fee at Costco, they cost less here. The stamp  card of the shop was also magical. They gave the customers stamps  according to the sum of purchase and the accumulated stamps were  exchanged for the merchandise. Those stamps were ridiculously easy to be  collected and I couldn’t count how many bottles of salsa I got for  free. In addition, the shop often held a prize drawing event. The  drawing always came out with a prize and I got numerous freebies such as  pouches and stuffed animals. I had never left the shop without  something free in my bag. It was almost charity for me and I felt the  more I shopped, the more the shop was in the red. That maybe proved  true. The shop has been closed for good and sadly my strange rule that  my favorite place is almost certainly to be out of business worked again  just as I had been afraid of. The number of children in the town has  decreased and several schools were merged into one. That one school is  also small and the local bus started to be partly operated as a school  bus. Noisy kids rush in the bus in the afternoon and I can’t use it any  more. My favorite modern restaurant in town has had more and more closed  days. Now it closes on three days of weekdays and opens only for three  hours each on the remaining two weekdays. One of the B and Bs on the  main street newly got out of business and came into the market. The  price was unbelievably low. Even so, nobody bought it and the price got  even lower. It’s less than a tenth of a typical house price for three  times the space of a typical house. It was cheap enough for me to think  of running a B and B myself.

Nothing But Leaves My Carrot Gives hr643

Photo by Frank Cone on Pexels.com

When I was nine years old, I suffered from a kidney disease called nephritis. I skipped school and stayed in bed at home for a week as I felt sick and had a fever every day. It had gotten so worse that I vomited blood one night and passed out. My mother found it next morning and called in a neighbor who worked as a nurse. She urged my mother to take me to the local clinic which doctor in turn urged her to get me examined at the hospital. As a result, I was hospitalized for nephritis.
As it was when I lived in a small village of Kyoto, Japan, no one in my family knew what nephritis was. My mother rummaged out a supplement of a homemaking magazine that featured medical issues. It had charts of disease that showed a result according to symptoms by following the arrows to correspond applicable symptoms. I chose the arrows of my symptoms and ended up the result of ‘death’. No matter how many times and how many different patterns I tried, the bottom of the chart concluded with a word ‘death’. “Does it mean I’ll die of this disease in any case?” My mother and I asked the same question to each other and closed the booklet.
My hospitalized days in a shared room of six patients at the children’s ward began. As a nephritis patient, I didn’t have freedom of flushing the toilet. Urine had to be kept in a glass jar each time to be examined. Its amount and color told a condition of a patient. Other patients’ jars were put on the shelves along with mine. Compared to others’, mine was less and darker. I was afraid if my condition was so bad. Because I didn’t want to admit it and didn’t want doctors and nurses to find it either, I tried to cheat. Into a one-time jar, I urinated twice so that at least my amount seemed normal. It had escalated gradually and I urinated the whole day into one jar. Ironically, the abnormally large amount of urine drew an alarming attention of a nurse who thought my illness had taken an inexplicable turn for the worse. It worked directly opposite to what I had intended and I confessed my cheating helter-skelter.
My six-patient room wasn’t usually lonesome as we were kids and some of their parents were allowed to stay with them on the couches next to their beds. But some got permission to go home for the night provisionally, some got well and left the hospital, some got worse and moved to a single room, all of which coincided at the same time and the room was almost empty one night. A girl whose bed was on the opposite side of mine and I were only patients in the room. After the lights-out time, she asked in the darkness if I was still awake. As I answered yes, she started telling me a story that she made. I thought she felt lonely and couldn’t sleep because the room was too quiet that night with just two of us. Her story was about two rabbits. They seeded, watered and grew carrots at each section in the field. The night before the harvest, one of the two rabbits sneaked in the field and pulled out all the carrots from the other rabbit’s section. He ate them all and put leaves back on each hole to cover it. Next morning, two rabbits came up to the field and started to harvest their carrots on their each section. The other rabbit, who knew nothing about the night before, was excited to reap his carrots since he had been looking forward to this day for long. But every time he pulled out his carrot, there was nothing beyond the leaves. He was puzzled and sang, “Nothing but leaves my carrot gives!” While his friend rabbit was pulling out a ripe carrot one after another next to his section, he pulled out only leaves out of a hole repeatedly and sang each time, “Nothing but leaves my carrot gives!” I dozed off and woke up by the girl’s voice of “Hidemi, are you listening?” a few times during the story. Unfortunately, my patience didn’t last until the end. I had been completely asleep at that part of the story and didn’t get the ending. With hindsight, her story may not be her original but something she read or heard since it ‘s too good for a story that a small child makes. Either way, I still remember the story for some reason. When my song didn’t sell at all although I had spent many years to complete it, I heard “Nothing but leaves my carrot gives!” from somewhere.
One day, we had a new comer in the six-patient room. Although she was a junior high school student and wasn’t supposed to be in the children’s ward, she was sent here because the women’s ward was full. She was unhappy to be confined with kids and complained to her mother and the nurses. She looked a grown-up to me and I liked her instantly. I went to her bed to talk to her and tried to console her. I had been stuck to her bedside every day since. She often told me not to make her laugh because her wound from an appendix operation hurt. She laughed at my talks anyway. When she left the hospital, she gave me a gift. It was a small porcelain doll who was wearing a white bouffant skirt beneath which was a bell. On the skirt, there was a printed inscription saying, “I wish for your happiness.” I had put her on the shelves in my room long after I left the hospital, until I grew up and left home.
I think those hospital days have influenced me immensely. I had been constantly aware of death in those days. I got well after all but I had never felt death so close to me in my life. As it’s said that people don’t live life unless they understand death, that experience has driven me to think things based on the idea that I eventually die, and therefore to do what I want for my life. Even if my carrot gives nothing but leaves.

mean to her

My younger sister won the first prize of a local
poem contest for elementary school students.
Her poem appeared in the local paper and
many people read it. The title was ‘My Mean
Big Sister’.
Back then, every time she saw my face, her
habit was to say “Play with me!” As I liked to
spend time alone, it had been an endless
torment. Her continuous play-with-me chant
would often drive me crazy and I tried to
escape from her as much as I could. Her poem
described how coldly I snubbed her whenever
she felt happy to see me at home, and that
was highly praised. To congratulate her, I told
her that she owed me for this prize because
her poem wouldn’t have existed if I had been
nice to her. I added that my meanness proved
right and so I would try harder to be mean to
her. Needless to say, she got on the verge of
crying and ran straight to my mother as usual
to tell on me…

Episode From An Old Tree in Kyoto /Hodemi 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

test of courage

In my hometown, there used to be a night for
a test of courage for kids in summer when I
was a child. It was a small neighborhood event
that an adult volunteer set up a sign saying ‘A
Test of Courage’ at the entrance to a narrow
lane between the neighbor houses. Except for
the entrance, the rest of the lane was left as it
was, without any special scary decorations or
surprising effects. Enough nature still remained
in my neighborhood back then though, and a
ditch, bushes and shrubs along the lane had
sufficient effects in darkness to scare kids.
One summer dusk, I heard my grandmother
call me urgently when I was playing in the
yard. She grabbed me and ran into the house,
escaping from something. It was a ball of fire
drifting above us. That was the first time I’d
ever seen a will-o’-the-wisp, and I haven’t
seen one since. But to my family, seeing a

willo’-the-wisp wasn’t so rare. My grandmother
once saw it perch on a side mirror of a parked
car in front of our house. Scientifically, it’s said
that a will-o’-the-wisp is some phosphorusrelated

phenomenon. Near our house, there
was a graveyard where we had buried the
deceased from generation to generation, which
is now banned by law requiring cremation, and
we believed it had to do with a will-o’-the-wisp.
I had plenty of natural scary materials in my
childhood…

Episode From An Old Tree in Kyoto /Hodemi 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