My relative’s home where I mistook my grandmother’s uncle for a kidnapper was the place that my grandmother had lived in mostly until she got married. Her mother was a geisha and died right after her birth. As she didn’t have a father, her mother’s parents took her in and raised her at their home. When I visited there as a child, her mother’s brother had succeeded the family. Her mother’s brother, or my grandmother’s uncle, who is the one that took me to the secret place, was a medal-awarded artist for Japanese lacquer. He had a studio beside the house and his young son invited me in. There, his son made an origami crane with a tiny sheet of paper merely half an inch square and gave it to me. I felt like I watched magic. His older son was an architect. So, the lineage of my grandmother on my mother’s side is abundant in artistic people. When I left home to pursue a career as a musician, my grandfather approved and let me go despite of my parents’ opposition. But a few years later, he realized that I had been determined and wouldn’t come home to succeed the family. He began to blame my mother. He thought I became a musician because of part of my blood, which came from my mother’s side that had a geisha in the lineage…
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods
I saw God for the first time in my dream the other day. I was preparing for work in my room. I looked out the window and noticed three small dots in the cloudy sky. While I was figuring out whether they were aircraft or UFOs, the three black dots were getting bigger and bigger as they were coming closer. They were flying with tremendous speed toward my window and I recognized each dot was in the shape of a human. The two of them were leading the way for the third one that was flying a little behind them. I was extremely frightened and covered my eyes. Even so, I felt an urge to see them and opened my eyes. They were hovering right in front of the window. As soon as I saw them, I clearly understood, or was told somehow, that the two human-shaped things at the front were angels and the also human-shaped one in the middle behind was God. In this dream, God was Jesus at the same time. Their looks were so different from my imagination. None of them had wings nor was wearing white. All of them were quite young with black hair, wearing black hooded coats. They were flying just by themselves, with their arms lightly forward and their knees slightly bent. I was completely awed and fearful. God/Jesus was looking straight into my eyes with a serious gaze while hovering. Then, He turned and flew away with His angels high up in the sky. When they disappeared, my mother came into my room. I told her what had just happened but she showed no interest. Instead, she asked me to let her hear our new song. The moment I pushed a play button, I woke up. Later on the same day, totally unexpectedly, our new song had been finished at long last.
When I was in kindergarten, I was always pushed away and ignored by my fellow kindergartners.
I played the bells wearing a headpiece of a dove on stage alongside other kindergartners at an annual presentation before the parents. I was told to stand at the edge of the stage close to the wings. As we were playing, the kids next to me continued to thrust me into the wings. I tried to fight the way back onto the stage as it had looked more and more that I didn’t participate the performance. No matter how hard I tried, they kept pushing me aside and the best I could do was to poke half of my face out of the wings.
It was the time of an Apollo-frenzy and the kindergarten held an exhibit of miniature rockets made by the children for the parents. The rockets were to be made out of empty soft drink bottles. Since the plan of the exhibit was introduced, I had diligently collected empty bottles. By the time the miniature rocket began to be built, I collected and brought the highest number of bottles to the class. But once we started making, the kids wouldn’t use my bottles. Although all of us brought similar bottles in the same shape and size, they were carefully excluding the ones I brought as their materials. Every time I glued one of mine to the rocket, some kid removed it. I glued, they removed. The rocket had gotten bigger only with other kids’ bottles as we repeated the glue-remove maneuver persistently. Finally other kids’ patience to keep removing my bottle ran out and they started throwing it away out of the window. I went outside to pick it up and as soon as I came back, another bottle of mine was thrown out. Now a new routine had been established. They threw out, I picked in. The rocket completed without one single bottle of mine. I brought home all the bottles intact and told my parents that those were surplus. My mother came to the exhibit and saw the rocket that I didn’t participate to make, but with my name among the builder’s list.
Come to think of it, those kindergarten days precisely represent my whole life. As a singer-songwriter, I have been pushed away and ignored in music circles. Nobody has noticed nor recognized me as if I were an invisible person. I had dreamed that my songs would be in the charts and I would become a celebrity. I would be on ‘Tonight Show’ as a guest and talk with the host. I would be loved by people and be on the top of the world. I had prepared for that day for a long time. I had been dieting and exercising. I had been nice to people and talking to them to improve social skills. I had fervently craved fame. Meanwhile though, the songs that I completed with all my effort and strength by sacrificing everything else had never been appreciated. I think it’s time to accept the reality. It’s about time to abandon confidence and expectation for this world and to admit that I had overestimated the world.
Since the end of the last year, strange things have happened to me as if some messages had been being sent. I had vaguely received and interpreted them. Then I came across one movie that defined the message and made me wide awake. I hadn’t been able to shake off the idea that I had been locked up in a prison or an institution since I was little. And I was right. I realized this world’s true self. Now I have, at long last, found the way to get out of it.
I can’t wake up in the morning. I can’t get along with others. I can’t do what I don’t like. I can’t notice transparent glass so that I bang into it. I can’t get a driver’s license. I can’t perceive people’s feelings. But everything is all right from now on. I am happy to be pushed away from the world because I am no longer part of it. By willingly stopping being part of it, I got out of this world and attained freedom. It’s so funny I had desperately tried all my life to belong to this society that I had known is crazy since my childhood. I will live as myself without conforming to the craziness. I will not care about this society’s value now that I’m out of it. Instead, I evaluate solely by my own value. I judge what is good. I decide what is successful. I’ve never felt free this much in my entire life. All of a sudden, everything reversed and people look locked up while I was released. Outside, my life itself is art because it exists to create music. My songs are supreme pieces and that means I’m totally successful. I’ve become a true artist standing center stage in a spotlight.
I was a fan of a local country band called Bugs Bunny when I was in junior high school and they were going to give a performance at an open-air municipal auditorium. Their performance was one of the series of the local traditional musical event. It would start at 6:30 p.m. while my curfew was 7:00 p.m., which meant I needed an exceptional permission from my parents. My father readily gave it, telling me that he used to go to the event himself when he was young. He guaranteed it would be so much fun. I was changing my clothes before leaving home on that day when my mother asked what I was doing. I told her about the event, and she said madly, “ Are you out of your mind? Your curfew is seven o’clock!” I explained that my father had allowed me to go, but she kept saying, “No way! You can’t go!” I called out to my father for help and she demanded angrily, “Did you allow this? Did you, really?” He said yes in a faint voice and got under her fiery anger. I begged him to persuade her, but her definite noes drowned out his “It’s rather an educational event.” At last, he said to me, “You can’t go because your mother says so.” That was the last straw. I screamed at him, “You wimp! You can’t decide anything by yourself! I hate you!” I called my friend crying, to tell her that I couldn’t make it because my father was my mother’s servant, and stopped speaking to him. On the next evening, he came into my room hesitantly. As I ignored, he put a bag on my desk and said “Sorry.” After he left, I opened the bag and inside was a book of poems, which I had wanted for some time. I had talked about it casually at dinner and he remembered. He gave me a gift instead of confronting my mother. A few years later though, his character changed completely for an unexpected reason. It happened when I decided to be a musician after high school. Until then, he was a gentle father who liked music so much that he recorded my singing for practice when I was little and bought me records, a stereo and a guitar. But since I chose music as my career, he has been mean and spiteful to me and been opposed to my decision to date. Who would think one career choice reverses someone’s personality?…
I found that the problem I’ve been tackling, which is to boost the volume of our new song, could be solved by redoing the mixdown. But it’ll take a few more months to complete. I feel reluctant to tell my partner that I need more time to complete the song. I thought about an extreme. What if I were the only human on this planet? If there were no one else besides me, I would redo by taking as much time as I want until I reach my satisfaction. Time is relative like happiness and bears meaning simply in relation to others. Come to think of it, our new song is written just about it. While I’ve been working on it, I ignored what I had written myself. So, I decided to go back to the mixdown. Considering the song’s theme, it was destined to take time…
I’ve been working for mastering of our new song for some time now. I still can’t get it up to my satisfaction though, after using everything I’ve got. I successfully made the sound itself exactly what I’d wanted. The only problem is the volume. I tried countless compressors and limiters, read a book on the subject and looked it up around on the Internet with no luck. Our song stays in low volume compared to other CDs. The other day, I found mastering software that many engineers regard as an ultimate volume booster. It looked attractive, but it was quite pricey. It was my decision whether I bought it or took our song to a studio engineer. I just wanted to try the software and go through with the mastering so badly. I decided to try to the best of my ability and then, after it became certain that I couldn’t, turn to a professional. I bought the software. Now, the road to a goal is one, only the ending will be either the software or the studio. I’ve known that completing a song takes time, but music also can be a money pit…
An artist who has a contract with a major record company generally has a deadline for work. Due to the cost of studio use and the promotion schedule, they often need to finish recording in a couple of weeks. Sometimes, it requires compromise and the work results in what they didn’t want. I, on the other hand, have no contract, no obligation, no bind. I’ve been working on the current song for seven years now, including two years of recording. These years have been the happiest time in my life, with contentment from work. I’m in an ideal position to pursue my music as much as I want, so to speak. I always wonder why people don’t live like this. Of course, if they do, fame and money is almost certainly hopeless as is my case. I have no contract, no fame, no money, and call it ideal. Maybe I’m beginning to become a nutcase…
My sister always wanted to be a writer but she has settled for being a local government employee. In a dream I had the other night, my sister said, “I haven’t written anything because I dread that my work won’t sell.” And I replied, “Even if it sold, you would dread that your next work wouldn’t sell while people around you expect a great deal. So, you dread anyway whether it sells or not.” I woke up and was marveled at what I said in there. In my real life, I’ve never thought that way while I’m craving success in my music career where nothing has sold. I heard my subconscious talk in the dream. That made me think. If I dread either way, it’s meaningless to be disappointed at myself who is still an unknown or to be impatient to make a hit. In fact, too many artists with a big hit got caught by alcohol or drugs and died young. As an artist, it’s ideal to create music at my own pace without any pressure and hold on. Having said that, I can’t shake off a stupid desire to make a big hit and show off at a high school reunion in front of my old friends who ended up housewives…
Today is the Star Festival in Japan. It’s based on a forbidden love
story between Altair and Vega, who are allowed to meet each other by
crossing the Milky Way once a year on the seventh of July. We celebrate
it by decorating a bamboo tree with paper ornaments. Among the ornaments
are slips of colored paper on which we write our wishes. After the
festival, they are taken into a river that is believed to be connected
to the Milky Way for this particular occasion, where the written wishes
come true. The last time I wrote my wish and floated the slip into a
river was when I was nineteen. Since I had already started my career as a
singer-songwriter, I wished to be successful someday. It seems that my
wish slip hasn’t reached the Milky Way yet in spite of this many years’
from Tumblr https://hidemiwoods.tumblr.com/post/186060758144