stick to this mad society

My moving plan is still alive. The most possible property I’ve found and liked so far is the one located in the snowy countryside surrounded by mountains. It stands alone in the woods and there’s no house, building, or shop around it. It takes 50 minutes by bus to get to the closest town. So, it’s like the one in that scary novel, ‘The Shining’ by Stephen King. It’s completely secluded and away from people. Because of how it’s located, it meets my low price range.

If I moved in that place, I could finally get rid of this crazy society and concentrate on writing songs. Sounds ideal for me. There, only one road leads to the town, weaving through the mountains. If a landslide or a snowslide occurred and blocked the road, I would lose the way to get food and might die there without being found. I’m terrified at the thought of that.

Am I left with no choice but to stick to this mad society and live among people, after all…?

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

Costco is beginning to take control of my life

Since I shopped at Costco for the first time, I’ve been still in shock at their low prices and thinking about it all the time. I had decided to move out this apartment after getting some signs for that and had narrowed down the possible areas. But none of them has Costco nearby. I can’t give up the pleasure to shop at those low prices. And it’s a rare store where I can get products from the U.S. that I really like. Inside Costco, there is a very small, compact America. It’s the easiest way to visit the U.S., in a way. Now that I knew Costco and became a member, I should move to the area close enough to shop there. So, my selection of the place to live went back to the starting point. Costco is beginning to take control of my life…

 

Episode From Surviving in Japan / Hidemi Woods

there’s no telling when it’s done

By the contract, I have to give a month’s notice to move out the apartment I currently live in. If I move out in the middle of April as I planned, I need to send written notice by mid-March. But I’m not sure if my packing is finished in a month. Actually, there’s no telling when it’s done. I’m busy enough with my daily life and adding packing to it as an extra routine has been almost impossible for me. In fact, my packing has been going at a surprisingly slow pace. My own schedule has gradually backed me into a corner and sometimes I have an urge to cancel a move itself altogether. As I began to sag, I decided to postpone a move for another month until mid-May, to make packing easier with plenty of time. It’s the third postponement from my original plan of a mid-January move. It means to pay more money for the rent, but it can’t be helped…

lowest-price hunting life

The most exciting time of year has come for a lowest-price shopper like me. Apparel stores had done their clearance sales for winter clothing and they started selling what were still left unsold at the incredibly low prices to get rid of them. It’s time for me to shop winter clothing for next winter. The other day, I found fleece jackets which prices were 90% off from the already discounted prices. I bought a couple of those at 40 cents each. Even in my lowest-price hunting life, it was a record low for a jacket. I also got a down coat at $28, marked down from $80. I bought several other clothes at such immensely reduced prices as well and felt so exhilarated. At the end of the day, I’ve got a lot more winter clothes at home although I’m in the middle of moving to my new place. More time for packing and cost for moving has been added…

I believe it will be wonderful as long as I stay alive without giving up.

These days, I’ve had nightmares about living in a deserted, out-of-the-way place repeatedly. In them, I was forced to join a dreary folk festival in deep snow with a handful of local people, or I was surrounded by uncivilized people whose language I didn’t understand, or I lived in an ancient, old-fashioned building. Those dreams seem to represent my vague unease for moving to my new place that is located in a remote, mountainous, snowy region. I’ve completed a song I’d been working on for seven years, and I’m about to move out the apartment I’ve lived for nine years. I’m moving to a whole new town where I have no acquaintances, and I’ll start promoting our latest song and recording a new song. Form then onward, I don’t know how my life goes. I believe it will be wonderful as long as I stay alive without giving up. I will enjoy and cherish every process to a new step, which hopefully would be the better one…

I feel as if I threw away my past.

As I’ve been packing my stuff to move out this apartment, various things of sentimental value to me have come out from the back of the shelves. I’ve lived here for nine years and forgotten about most of them since I stored them away. Some are no longer useful, but when I clear them out, I feel as if I threw away my past. That makes me melancholy. Occasionally, I find some money. It’s like I get a bonus for packing, but it’s simply what I stashed by myself in the first place and not what I newly gained. Mostly, what I find are numerous room slippers and old broken appliances. I don’t understand why I kept so many slippers without using. Packing and moving requires a great deal of labor and time. Worst of all, the broken appliances appear one after another and discarding them is costly. I have to pay for each one of them just to dump…

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…

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…

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…