postcard from my mother
I received an unusually nice postcard from my mother, which said she was worried about me because aftershocks of the Japan’s earthquake had still continued to come almost every day in this area. She had also called me right after the earthquake and when the phone service was restored, she asked me if I was all right.
Both gestures of hers were so unlike her usual attitudes toward me. When she called, she asked me what my apartment was like and where it was located, too. I’ve lived here for nine years and have told her about my apartment many times over the years. I don’t know if she’s not listening to what I’m saying or she simply doesn’t care about me, but either way, she doesn’t remember things around me at all.
Considering that many people in Japan have felt helpless and faint-hearted since the earthquake, her true concern might be just for her future as an old woman, not for me. I found a wrap with a markdown of 75% that had left unsold for winter and bought it as a Mother’s Day gift to send to my mother. When it arrives, I’m sure she will glance at it, tuck it away in her drawers, and forget about it quickly. I know this much because a few years before, she has told me not to come home again, and yet, she has acted as if nothing had happened between us…
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
TV talent show : Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods
the lessons : Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods
my mean big sister : Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods
money has wings : Talking and Reading from Japan by Hidemi Woods
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Living in Japan: The Girl’s Days with Desire
A Rich World Requiring No Wealth
The most luxurious hotel in my small, rustic town is not far from my apartment. I visited there again the other day, not to stay the night but to use the club lounge.
The club lounge is exclusive to a member of the hotel’s loyalty program. The members can use it free of charge. The hotel has a regular lounge for its guests which menu has heart-stopping prices. Nonetheless, it was alive with customers who came to ski on the skiing slopes adjacent to the hotel. At the entrance, just by telling the server that I am a club member and flickering my membership card, she ushered me to the back of the regular lounge. Behind the glass door was the club lounge.
Once I stepped inside, I was in a heavenly place. Despite the hurly-burly of the regular lounge, I had this secluded section to myself. A cartridge coffee machine brewed freshly each cup. Bottles of sparkling wine and club soda stood in the ice-filled silver cooler. Kiss chocolates in silver wrappers, Hershey’s almond chocolates in gold wrappers and packs of a specialty cookie were arrayed. The place used up two-story-high vertical space and the wall-wide window reached to the second floor ceiling. Out of it was a side of the snow-covered mountain. I enjoyed sparkling wine in a flute glass as much as I wanted, sitting in a cozy sofa.
The thing is, I didn’t pay a dime for this service since the membership fee is free. Other occasions I use my membership card except for this lounge are when I travel to the city a couple of times a year and stay at one of the same hotel chain to happiness seems to be enlarged 10 times when a gorgeous experience costs none. I don’t think that the wealthy feel happy when they pay a lot of money to use a luxurious hotel lounge because it’s how things usually go. I’ve seen many rich people who don’t have a good time with a frown no matter how expensive the place they are at is. My parents used to be rich, but they were always unhappy and pulled a long face. The schools I went to were exclusive Catholic schools, but the students and their parents alike didn’t seem happy at all from any angles I could have ever taken to observe them.
It’s an illusion that money brings happiness. I have just finished my second book that I wrote disregarding big sales. Since I didn’t bother about how many copies would sell, I had fun in all the processes such as writing, an enormous amount of editing work and publishing. My happiness is 100 times as much as the one that I felt when I was desperate to be famous and rich.
A long time ago, I got in a facility of a soft drink company when I visited Walt Disney World. The visitors there were allowed to drink a various kinds of soft drink from the dispensers as much as they wanted for free. The minute I entered the place, I noticed a strange atmosphere. It was crowded, but people were all smiling. Each of them was laughing, talking, jesting, and having fun with a small paper cup in their hand. While I lived in U.S., it was the only place where I saw people look joyful and relaxed without influences of alcohol or drugs.
Does wealth really make people happy? We can be happy without it if we overcome fear and create the world where money doesn’t work on us. I know, though, the way to happiness is of course long and hard…