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Hidemi's Audio Episodes by Hidemi Woods

Hidemi's Audio Episodes by Hidemi Woods

By Hidemi Woods
This podcast is narration works of short stories from her books.
Hidemi Woods was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan.
The awkward daily life of a singer songwriter and author, Hidemi Woods. Her life in Japan, music, family, childhood, and embarrassing everyday-experiences.
My life is strewn with embarrassing mishaps and miserable failure. But in some cases, when I write about it and read it objectively, I can see the reason why it happened. As for the ones I still don’t know the reason, if you hear it and find it funny, that’s the enough reason for my clumsy experience. It duly pays off.
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Required Moderation
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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. Required Moderation From January of last year to October, I’d had terrible skin trouble on my face. I had eczema mainly on my cheeks that were itchy and peeling. The condition was too bad to be covered up with makeup and I was in a mess. Since I’d never had that kind of problem before, I couldn’t figure out the cause. Eventually I attributed it to an allergy to basil pasta sauce. But I recently ascertained the true culprit and need to clear the basil sauce’s name. My apartment building has a spa which fee is included in the monthly maintenance fee from the resident. The privilege of using it with no holds barred and the fact I’m cheap send me to the spa every morning and evening. Not using it is a big waste of money for me. At the spa, a hot tub, a Jacuzzi, a sauna and a cold water tub are regularly available. And during the busy time such as the summer holidays and the winter skiing season, an extra hot tub is operated. When I looked for the solution for my skin trouble, I tried everything including shortening my spa time a little. After the trouble went away in October, it reappeared as soon as I started taking an extra hot tub at the spa in December. The cause wasn’t the basil sauce. I took a bath too much and too long every day. Sweating too excessively and having too much metabolism seemed to cause skin trouble. I knew moderation in all things, but had never known it was also true for a spa and metabolism. I thought they were good for health and the more the better. I’ve read or heard everywhere that metabolism is essential to health, and had never thought it also required moderation. It amounts to this, that I was too healthy. I reduced time and the frequency for the spa drastically and my skin trouble quickly disappeared. The free spa was my favorite relaxation. Now spending less time at the spa every day, I feel as if I leave an all-you-can-eat buffet after only a few bites each time. My good old days of sweating in a sauna as much as I want and relaxing in a Jacuzzi as long as I want are over. And to make matters worse, now that I’m careful not to sweat too much, I’ve gained a few pounds…
January 15, 2021
Curious and Terrified
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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.  Curious and Terrified About six months after I moved into the apartment I now live in, I began to see this woman frequently at the communal spa. We just exchanged hellos for weeks and then started chatting about the weather. She is a lively woman who is around sixty years old and laughs a lot. I secretly nicknamed her ‘Aunt Hearty Laugh’ because of her signature laugh. We don’t know each other’s names, don’t talk about personal matters, but have a friendly chat every time we see each other at the communal spa several times a week. Since I regularly take a bath with this Aunt Hearty Laugh while I have never done that with my own mother as an adult, she is almost a stranger yet feels so close to me. Two years ago, her pregnant daughter stayed with her for a couple of months. She joined our chatting and I heard about her office work and the relationship between her colleagues that I had no experience of my own. During her stay, her baby was born and Aunt Hearty Laugh became a grandmother. I took a bath with her newborn granddaughter as well. Her daughter visited her with the baby every long holiday and we took a bath together. At every reunion, the baby’s change interested me. She got bigger, taller, started walking and talking, and gave me a high-five the last time I saw her. Two weeks ago, Aunt Hearty Laugh told me that she was going to move to other apartment nearby. She has her old friend living there and feels secure because she lives alone and is getting older. She said laughing, “That apartment has a spa with thermal springs. Come to take it with me!” She also added, “I’m a lot older than you are but who knows? We could be friends!” which arose a question in my mind. Do I want a friend? I’m constantly short of time for anything and can I spare any time for friendship? I like being alone and can she be an exception? I realized how perfectly balanced my friendship with her had been. I didn’t know that chatting at the spa several times a week was the best relationship for me. To overstep the threshold by visiting her is an unknown territory. I was both curious and terrified...
December 28, 2020
Be Alone and Quiet
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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.  Be Alone and Quiet  As I take the communal spa in my apartment building twice a day, I regularly see the staff of the building or other residents. One morning, I bumped into a management staff member in the hallway. I had seen him for several times before, but never talked with him, except to exchange greetings. On that particular morning however, he said hello as if we were so close each other. He continued, “Gosh, I didn’t recognize you because you look so different today!” I had no idea what he meant since I always wear the same clothes and the same hairstyle when I’m headed for the spa. “Do I look different?” I asked, and he said, “Totally, you’ve changed!” Completely perplexed, I got out of mysterious conversation, convincing myself that he mistook me for some other resident. A couple of days later, I was taking the Jacuzzi in the spa when a woman approached me. She deeply appreciated me and said, “Thank you so much.” Again, I had no idea what she was talking about. I didn’t even recognize her. According to her, she had taken a bath too long the other day and fainted here, and I had helped her, which I never did. I told her that it wasn’t me but she seemed pretty sure it was me. I denied for a few more times and she left still looking dubious. I was puzzled by these two incidents and concluded three explanations: there is my look-alike in the building, or I’ve developed a split personality, or I like the spa so much that I’ve begun to sleepwalk there. Meanwhile, the woman, who claimed I had helped her, has been very friendly to me since then and chatted all along when she finds me. I would rather be alone and quiet like the days before…
December 11, 2020
People Go Blind
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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.   People Go Blind The apartment building I live in is far from the city and only few are permanent residents, among which I am. Others use here as their vacation home. It’s crowded with those vacationers in the summertime and the wintertime. Especially the summertime is the worst for me, as many kids stay here. I use the communal spa of the building and encounter too many ill-behaved kids. They and their parents don’t understand the difference between a swimming pool and a spa. Under a big ‘No Swimming’ sticker, they jump into the tub, splash around, dive and swim. Their parents let them do that happily. They turn the usually quiet relaxing spa into hell. It seems parents have lost a concept of discipline and kids’ manners have gotten worse and worse every year. I thought their bad manners hit rock bottom last summer, but I was wrong. This summer, they reached a record low. Now they can’t tell a spa and a toilet apart. I saw a boy urinate on the floor beside the tub without hesitation as soon as he rushed into the spa room. Instead of reproaching, his mother watched it smiling delightfully. When I got out and put on my clothes in the locker room, an old woman spoke to me and told me how uncomfortable she was to see that ill-behaved family. We agreed on lack of parents’ discipline. A week later, I saw the old woman in the spa again. She had got her grandchild visiting and was taking a bath with him. If not urinating, the boy was shouting and shrieking while swimming and diving. The old woman, who had talked with me about bad manners, was saying nothing to his grandson and was just smiling, playing with him. Other residents who had seemed clearly annoyed by noisy kids also acted in the same way, once they were taking their grandchildren with them. A fact I newly discovered is that people go blind when it comes to their own grandchildren…
November 20, 2020
Routine Thief
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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 Routine Thief I’m particular about almost anything. That’s why my daily routine is inevitably quite precise, especially for details in it. My routine includes taking a bath at the communal spa and exercising at the communal gym both located inside my apartment complex for the residents. One night, I found an unfamiliar woman in the Jacuzzi of the spa. This Jacuzzi has eight spots to sit inside and I have my particular spot I usually sit in. The spot isn’t popular, as other residents prefer different ones. But this woman was sitting right in my spot, which made me move to the other. The spa has a sauna that stops being operated early in the evening. I take it after its operating hour in the late evening as a low-temperature sauna since heat remains. No residents use it that way and I can monopolize it. One night, I found the same woman in the sauna, using it as a low-temperature sauna like I do. My days of a sauna monopoly are over. I’ve seen her more and more and it seemed she is a new resident in this apartment complex. I bring a big hook to the spa and put it on the wall of the shower booth to hang my bag of amenities from it. No other residents do something like that as they put their amenities on the booth floor directly. And one night, I noticed that new woman began to use a big hook on the wall of her booth. Now I was convinced it was no coincidence. She apparently imitates me. There are four tubs in total in the spa with different water temperatures and different tub sizes. I take every one of them. Other residents don’t take all, just taking a couple according to their liking. One night, the mimic woman began to take all tubs like I do. I exercise inside the hot tub while I’m submerged in the bath water, which no other residents do. And one night, the mimic woman even started exercising in the hot tub just as I always do. I sometimes have a chat with other residents when we share the locker room. And as she has become familiar to them, she also began to have a chat with them intimately and impudently while I still talk to them modestly. Before taking a bath, I exercise at the gym next to the spa, which is also one of my daily routines. The other night, I went in the gym as usual and, look, who was there, the mimic woman! She has started exercising at the gym and then begun to bring her husband there. They had used different machines beside me for several days, but her husband began to use the exercise bike I regularly use.
November 9, 2020
A Fear of Having Heart Attack
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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  A Fear of Having Heart Attack   I had a nightmare last night that a room flooded and I drowned in the cold water. The sense of water was so real and I actually passed out in the dream when I gulped in too much water instead of air. I think the nightmare has something to do with my new custom. The communal spa in my apartment building has a sauna. While I love to take a sauna, I had never stepped in a cold plunge sitting next to it. Running water is pouring into the small bathtub and icy water is overflowing. I looked with wonder at some residents jump into the cold plunge after getting out of a sauna. One woman soaked herself in icy water completely from head to toe. I didn’t understand how they could do so without having a heart attack. I tested the water with the tip of my toe once, and almost screamed with its coldness. But as I regularly saw someone sink in the cold plunge, my curiosity had grown bigger. And three weeks ago, I finally summoned the courage to give it a try. I gingerly put my leg into it and found that the small bathtub was much deeper than I had thought. I lost my balance and my other leg splashed in. Although I was just out of a sauna and very hot, the extremely cold water froze my legs instantly. I tried to get out but the tub was too deep for my height. The fear that I could never get out of freezing water seized me and I began to panic. Swashing water clumsily, I struggled to climb out. I sincerely wished nobody was watching. Strangely enough, I couldn’t forget the sensation afterward and wanted to try again for some reason. Next time in the spa, I dipped my legs in the cold plunge again. Then, I tried to soak up to my chest. In a few days, I found myself submerge to my neck. Now, taking a cold plunge has become my custom. Every time though, a fear of having a heart attack crosses my mind. It seems I’m attracted with a narrow escape from death. I imagine I might be dead in a cold plunge someday…
October 23, 2020
Slipper Battle
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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 Slipper Battle  About ten months ago, a middle-aged woman complained to me about my slippers at the communal spa of my apartment building. She wanted me to take them off and stay barefoot in the locker room because everyone except for me was barefooted there as a custom.  I refused as being barefoot wasn’t an official rule and I felt much more comfortable and more hygienic with slippers on. I was kind enough to explain to her that wearing slippers was more hygienic on the public floor than barefoot. It’s totally logical, but she didn’t accept anyway because her point was to keep up the custom.  I’ve kept wearing my slippers in the locker room everyday to this date even though sometimes there were other middle-aged women who grumbled to me or darted an angry look at me. Three months after I got the first complaint, I saw a woman wearing slippers in the locker room and I was no longer the only one that wasn’t barefooted. Then, since last month, a mother and her child have been wearing slippers. As I predicted, people began to imitate me and adopt my way.  And the other day, this slipper battle developed a new twist. I entered the locker room with my slippers on as usual, and there was a woman who had gotten out of the spa and been putting on her clothes. She was putting on her socks when I walked past her. Thinking I found the third example of non barefoot, I said hello to her with a smile as I usually did. She turned to me and our eyes met. I was astounded. It was none other than that middle-aged woman who told me to be barefoot here ten months ago. She herself was wearing socks! She looked startled to see me and her face got filled with embarrassment at once. She returned hello to me in a faint voice. She lost her battle.  Slowly but steadily, a wrong custom such as nothing should change is disappearing. I was shown a proof that to keep doing the right thing can change the world in a better way. For me, though, it’s an extremely trivial thing like wearing slippers…
October 1, 2020
Frantic Washing
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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 Frantic Washing I am a germphobic. I never go out without packs of wet wipes and always carry a small spray bottle of sanitizer. Whenever I touch anything that shares contact with others, I wipe my hand right away. It’s especially cumbersome when I go on a trip. My routine after check-in is to spray sanitizer to tissues with which I wipe the door knobs, switches, handles of the wardrobe and the refrigerator, hangers, remote controls, faucets, toilet seat, toilet cover, flush handle. If the hotel doesn’t have a duvet style bed for its rooms, I bring clothespins and wrap the cover with the sheet by fastening them together so that any part of my body doesn’t touch the cover that isn’t washed each time. Then I place two pairs of slippers that I bring from home, one for pre-shower and one for post-shower. As you can imagine, it’s so much fuss for me to stay at a hotel. I just can’t help it. I took a short trip the other day to a neighboring prefecture. For this trip, I was extra nervous. The local train I got on was near empty and most of the sparse passengers were wearing a medical mask. A 2-hour somewhat tense train ride later, I arrived at the hotel. A big spray bottle of sanitizer was put at the entrance and all the hotel staff at the front desk were wearing a mask. I went out for lunch at a family restaurant and it was also empty despite lunchtime. The shopping mall I visited afterwards had only few shoppers around. Since I hate crowds and a jam, all places turned in my favor. It seemed I bought comfort with nervousness. Back in the hotel room, I worked through my room-cleaning routine and had dinner with my partner in the room with deli foods I had gotten at the supermarket because I am cheap. Next morning, I used the elevator to have a free breakfast at a small eat-in space inside the hotel. I was off guard and didn’t wear a mask although the small elevator was unexpectedly packed with guests. Nobody was talking and I unconsciously held my breath. After an awkward silence, I was released to the designated floor. The breakfast was a buffet style. I took food with tongs that many guests used, out of plates that they slowly walked by and looked into. Everyone pushed buttons on the dispenser of coffee and juice. Wet wipes didn’t give me usual assurance for this particular trip. I went back to my room and washed my hands frantically.
August 24, 2020
My Social Distancing
Episode from My Social Distancing and Naked Spa in Japan by 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 My Social Distancing I’m not good at being with people by nature. I always like to being alone and stay inside my room. Basically, any contact with others is uncomfortable. Not to mention phone calls, public places are dreadful for me unless they are near empty with few people. I hate to have a person standing right behind me at the checkout counter in a supermarket. Whenever I take a train, I search for a car that has the least passengers. My so-called ‘body bubble’ seems excessively large. I often almost utter a scream when a person bumps into or even slightly brushes me. Needless to say, chattering with others is excruciating. My apartment building has a communal spa for the residents and I use it everyday. The residents are inevitably acquainted with each other and small talk between them is rampant in the spa. I’m often caught up in it and desperately try to find closure of the conversation by sweating all over. To avoid an ordeal, I’m usually careful not to share time together with familiar residents as much as possible. When I see them, I practically run away. My partner calls me a robot because of my behavior. The time of recent social distancing shouldn’t bother a person like me. Social distancing has been already my thing for a long time. At least I had believed so. I had thought it wouldn’t hurt a natural ‘social-distancer’ as myself. But I found I was wrong. One of my favorite Japanese comedians from my childhood died the other day. Until just recently, he had appeared on various TV shows and his funny face had been the norm for TV. The daily TV time in a Japanese living room has changed suddenly, completely. He was a nationally popular comedian who earned the monstrous TV rating. When I was a child, my family gathered in front of TV for his show at 8 p.m. every Saturday and laughed so hard together. Kids at school would talk about the show next Monday and laugh again together. When I was in my early teens, I danced his signature gig called ‘Mustache Dance’ so frantically in the dining room that my foot slipped and I fell hitting my face on the dining table. Those memories made me feel as if part of me was lost with him by his death.
July 28, 2020
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps. Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total jackpot A dream I wish to have in the night most isn’t about dating a Hollywood star, or making a great hit with my song. It’s not about my parents saying to me with tears “We were wrong. We’re sorry.” either. It’s about numbers. I once saw a woman on TV who won 4 million dollars by the lottery with the numbers she had seen in her dream. Shortly after that, I myself saw numbers in my dream and began to buy a lottery ticket with those numbers. I won $10 for several times and $100 once, if not 4 million dollars. Since then, I’ve always waited for numbers to appear in my dream, the numbers for the jackpot. And the other night, new numbers appeared in my dream for the first time in months. I was convinced that the time had come. I rushed to the only lottery stand in this small town and got a ticket for five consecutive drawings with those numbers. I lost them all. I went out again in the snow with my partner for five more drawings. At the stand, he found that he had left an ATM card at home, which was necessary to get a lottery ticket. He acted as if he had lost 4 million dollars on the spot and looked up the sky with despair. I’d never thought the numbers from my dream gave him so much hope. I ended up coming back again to get a ticket before the next drawing day. While I rely on my dream numbers and keep meeting the deadline for each drawing rigidly, a possibility of the jackpot is practically none…
June 16, 2020
huge absence
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps.  Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total huge absence I went to the Tulip concert the other day. Tulip is my lifelong favorite band and the reason why I became a musician. They are making a national tour commemorating their 45th anniversary. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been to several concerts every time they were on tour. They used to tour every six months, which made the number of my attendance soar. Most part of my monthly allowance was spent on the ticket. Among the five members, I was an avid fan of the lead guitarist of the band, Toshiyuki Abe. I was always enchanted tremendously by the sensuous sound from his red guitar in my youth. After I grew up and the band broke up, they reunite every five years to make an anniversary tour. I had been to several venues each time by spending costly transportation fees and staying at a hotel when the venue was too far to be in time for the last train back home. That had been my usual pattern concerning Tulip until their 40th anniversary tour was wrapped up. Although I had waited anxiously for their 45th, the wait ended abruptly two years ago even before the tour started. Mr. Abe, who I believe is the best guitarist in the world, suddenly passed away. Tulip’s 45th anniversary tour turned out to be a memorial to him, which I’d never, ever pictured happening. I wasn’t going to go to their concert this time. I didn’t want to see the band without him who had been my idol for such a long time. It would be too sad. Whenever something related to Mr. Abe popped into my mind in my daily life, my eyes easily swim with tears automatically. I couldn’t imagine how sad it would be that I actually saw Mr. Abe missing in the band and realized again he was gone. On the one hand, I thought I’d better not go, but on the other hand I was curious how the band would play without him. They announced Tulip would become a four-man band without having a new guitarist. Who would play the guitar part then? Would they change the arrangement and have the keyboard cover the part? Or, would one of the members switch to a lead guitarist? Or, would a robot stand with a guitar? I had thought of possible alternatives every day and couldn’t stop thinking about it eventually. To solve mounting questions, I decided to face the sadness and go to the concert. After I got the ticket, though, I still felt hesitant to go. I couldn’t believe I was holding a ticket of Tulip in which Mr. Abe didn’t exist. I had asked to myself what I was doing for three months. But about ten days before the concert, I began to feel excited and my heart leapt up. I was headed for the concert hall on that day with odd rapture.
June 3, 2020
I must try
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps.  Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total I must try My parents didn’t get married for love. Their marriage was part of a deal to inherit the family’s fortune and they took it for money. Another part of the deal was to carry on the family and they had me as a successor. It had gone according to their plan until I decided to do what I wanted for my life and left home. Since then, they attempted every evil way to pull me back in the family. They tried all possible means to make me give up my carrier as a musician. They said I had no talent, I was a failure, and how bad I was as a human being, over and over at every opportunity. They conned me once big time. Out of the blue they offered money to set up my own record label, and after I rented an office and hired the staff, they suddenly withdrew their money, crushed my label and bankrupted me. I defied any kind of attack, threat, temptation and begging from them because I was determined to be a musician. When they realized I wouldn’t succeed the family, they told me not to even visit them because they didn’t want to see me any more. On their repeated requests not to come see them in their house, I understood they didn’t need their child who wasn’t a successor. From that experience, I have a doubt about a concept of unconditional love. I spent about 10 years to complete my last song. The new song I’ve been currently working on hasn’t been completed yet after four years. It was not because I was loitering over my work on purpose. Making music is the only thing I do seriously without compromise. I don’t want to let time interfere with my music. It’s completed when I’m satisfactorily convinced it’s finished. And I dream of my future in which my song will be such a big hit that it will make me a celebrity and take me to Monaco. The other day, I noticed an unfavorable fact. While I dedicate my life for my songs that I spend all my effort, time and passion on, I unconsciously expect reward from them. Although I already have so much fun and feel indescribable happiness during work, I believe that my songs should bring me money and fame someday. That sounds awfully like my parents’ attitude toward me. They raised me while they expected reward when I grew up. Do I also nurture my songs for reward when they are completed? If so, I will end up exploding my anger if my songs don’t reward me with money and fame. Am I the same as my parents after all or can I give unconditional love to my songs? I get enough reward in the process of completing songs. My reward is done when songs are done. From then on, all I should care is to make my songs happy, which means to support them all my life by doing whatever I possibly can to make them be heard by a lot of people. Can I love my songs that way and be satisfied with my life until the day I die?
May 7, 2020
I felt so much hope
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps.  Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total I felt so much hope New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday in Japan. It’s as big as Thanksgiving and Christmas put together. It’s a day when millions of people visit shrines and temples wearing kimono or their best clothes and pray for good luck by offering money into the boxes. Before midnight, shrines and temples begin to seethe with people. I used to be one of them when I lived in my hometown, but now I just watch the tumult on TV at home every year. I recall New Year’s Day of 2011 as my merriest one. Back then, I still lived in the apartment in a suburb of Tokyo. The plan to move into this rural town had been already arranged, but I hadn’t moved out yet. From the last minutes of New Year’s Eve to the first minutes of New Year’s Day, shrines and temples all over Japan ring the bell 108 times. 108 represents the number of worldly desires of each person. The bell ring is supposed to take them away one by one for the new year. I was listening to the faint sound of the bell that a temple near my apartment was ringing when 2011 arrived. I opened a bottle of champagne, which is too expensive for me to drink except on this day every year, prepared the New Year’s meal that’s not traditional but of my own style, and had it with my partner who looked somewhat to be in bad shape, while watching a comedy live show on TV. After I watched the first sunrise of the year over Mt. Fuji on TV, I turned on my PC and found that my new song that I had spent several years to complete was put up on i-Tunes and Amazon for the first time. I felt like a new life for me had started with the new year and it would get better from now on, with my new apartment in a new place in the wings and my new song made public. I guess the reason why New Year’s Day of 2011 was the merriest for me isn’t just an expensive champagne or the New Year’s meal or the comedy show. It’s because I felt so much hope. I continued watching comedy TV shows until noon that day feeling so good, and when I was about to go to bed, my partner confessed that he had caught a cold and was undoubtedly sick…
April 21, 2020
the end pounces abruptly
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps. A Japanese band Tulip is the decisive reason that I chose a musician as my lifelong career. It literally changed my life entirely when I came across their music. I’ve been an avid fan of them since I was a high school student. The band had broken up, but has been reunited occasionally for its anniversaries. It had the 40th anniversary concert tour. I went to three venues by paying for the expensive tickets, the bullet train fares and the hotel stays. A large sum of money for a poor and cheap person like me was spent on the concerts because it crossed my mind that it could be the band’s last tour and my last chance to see them perform live. Considering the members’ ages of above sixty and their tour rate of one every five years or so, the next tour seemed precarious to me. But I was totally impressed by their high-level performance at the concerts in this tour. They played their old familiar tunes better than ever. Listening to their performance, I realized I had had a keen eye for the true rock band even as a high school student. The band I picked among many other bands was the one that kept shining and still played lively rock through all those years. After the last concert, I felt in rapture how lucky I was to be a fan of them. I wanted to go to the bathroom when I was leaving the hall, but there was a long line of people. Next to the hall was a hotel and I was headed there for the bathroom. I found a bunch of people gathering at the passage between the hall and the hotel. It seemed they were waiting for the band members to come out of the hall, as they would get in the cars here. Holding my desire for the bathroom, I joined the crowd and waited. No one showed up. After a while, I began to think the information among these people was false. An hour has passed and people started leaving. I was close to the point I couldn’t hold it anymore when the members finally appeared one by one with the staff guarding them. They waved, got in their each car and drove off. I got to see my favorite member Toshiyuki Abe off stage for the first time since he signed on his essay book for me and shook my hand at the book-signing event when I was a college student. I shrieked his name to him as I usually did. He glanced at us, waved at us, smiled at us, looking so happy. He got in the car, waved at us again and went away. I ran to the bathroom and felt the utmost happiness, never suspecting that was the last time I saw my idol. The end pounces abruptly. The other day, the news that he had passed away in India came in. Another dream of mine has been broken. I had dreamed of being a popular singer-songwriter and having Abe’s guitar playing on my songs. I had been striving by this goal in my mind. I can’t believe I would never get to go to a Tulip’s concert again. My memories related to Tulip are the only good ones during my dismal teenage period. How fun it was to go to their concert with my friends! How hard we laughed together reading Abe’s essays after school! How hopeful I was when I was singing their ‘Blue Sky’ out loud with my friend looking up the blue sky from the class room window! Tulip was a symbol of hope for me.
April 14, 2020
I nearly screamed
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps. Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total I nearly screamed The decisive reason I chose music as my career is Tulip. It’s a Japanese pop and rock band. They literally changed my life and have still had influence on my songs. They broke up years ago but over the past decade, they were sporadically reunited and on tour for a limited time. Those occasions are extremely precious to me since I constantly crave their concert. In late January, I happened to see a poster of them at a convenience store. It told about their reunion and the limited time tour. I was so excited that I nearly screamed there. It was then that my long torment of an allergy has begun. Besides a pollen allergy, I had never had an allergy in my life. But I found a reddish rash at the lower part of my both cheeks one morning, which seemed some allergic reaction. During the days when I arranged the tickets for Tulip’s concerts, the rash had gotten worse. It was red and itchy and covered the lower half of my face that was swollen. I looked terrible. I walked drooping my head to hide my face with my hair every day. I selected three concerts of Tulip’s tour since I couldn’t afford all venues much as I wanted, and they were held monthly between April and June. Each venue I got the ticket for was far from my home and I needed to book the hotel and the train. I doubt if words can convey how embarrassing it was to make three trips wearing the red rash on my face. I had dreamed of Tulip’s another reunion for five and a half years and when it finally became a reality, I went to their three concerts looking awful with a red, swollen face…
March 30, 2020
are you one of us
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps.  Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total are you one of us The first dream of the year is quite a big deal in Japan. It’s believed that the dream they have in the night of New Year’s Day tells what the new year will turn out to be for them. It’s commonly said there are three items that bode well if they appear in a dream; Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. Japanese people get the holidays between the end of December and the beginning of January, and what they saw in their first dream is often brought up in friendly conversation when the holidays are over. I feel pressured every year to have an auspicious dream because it likely decides my new year’s fortunes. In my dream of the night of New Year’s Day, I was standing by a pond, flanked by two strangers. The pond had filthy dark green water with dirty algae floating. The strangers on both sides of me looked degenerate and had wicked smiles. They asked me, “Are you one of us?” I hesitated, considered my answer carefully, and said, “Yes.” They exulted and forced me into the pond by gripping my arms. I was submerged up to my neck in foul water with them. That was my first dream of this year. No matter how hard I try, I can’t interpret this dream as a good omen for the new year…
March 20, 2020
a rich world requiring no wealth
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps. 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 heartstopping 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 is 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 snowcovered mountain. I enjoyed sparkling wine in a flute glass as much as I want, 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 toHappiness 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 that 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…
March 7, 2020
what I do
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps.  Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total I’ve completed my home studio by handmade soundproofing to my small apartment room and setting up instruments, equipment and the wiring. The software and drivers have all been installed on my computer. The only thing that remains to be done is start working on our new song. I’ve run out of excuses to avoid work any longer. I wrote the next song when I was having trouble with my neighbor who newly moved in a room next door to me in the apartment building that I used to live. At that time, I was so annoyed and at a loss why I should have endured this uncomfortable time. But in hindsight, it paid as I earned one new song. Now, I’m getting down to select instruments, make sounds, arrange the song, record a chorus, rehearse vocals, record vocals, mix, and master. It’s lengthy, continuous, lonely work stretched over several years. Our last song into which I put a great deal of similar effort and time to complete, by the way, has turned almost no profit so far. This is what I do with my life at stake… Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods
March 2, 2020
Episode from Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps.  Apple, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total That casino was old and forlorn. Inside, it had the outdated concert  hall where gaudy revues and magic shows used to be abundant. Since the  casino lost its popularity and customers, the hall had been used as a  makeshift break area. Those who used up money for gambling and no longer  had anything to do sat there sparsely with vacant eyes, producing a  wretched atmosphere that perfectly matched the whole casino. My partner,  my mother and I was resting there after we lost most money. As it was  too gloomy to be sitting in the break area, my partner suggested that we  should use up the scarce rest of our money and leave the casino. Each  of us sat in front of our favorite slot machine. On the screen of my  slot, I came close to win with two matched pictures but the third one  didn’t come up in every turn. My mother and I quickly ran out of money.  Further down the floor, I saw my partner still playing. I left him there  and went back to our hotel with my mother. It was the last day of  our stay and I started packing for checkout. The hotel looked out on the  waterway that connected the hotel and the casino. For a brief break  from packing, I went out on the balcony of our room and watched the  waterway. Then I noticed something gigantic floating far up the  waterway. It was slowly flowing toward the hotel. The closer it got, the  more monstrous it became. It approached near enough to tell what it  was. A tall, triangular-shaped white condominium was carried on a  massive barge. Tied behind it was a white enormous sailing ship. They  were carried carefully from the direction where the casino located.  Considering where it came from and how unusual they were to be carried  along the waterway, I assumed that they were some prizes of the casino. I  called my mother to the balcony and we wondered what kind of person had  extremely good fortune like this. The barge and the ship stopped in  front of the hotel, right under our balcony. There was the third boat  tied behind the ship. A man was sitting in it almost buried in numerous  boxes and bags. It meant he was the winner. I gazed at the man with the  biggest possible amount of envy. And I gasped. The man who won all of  those was no other than my partner! I couldn’t shout, couldn’t scream  but was just speechless. I saw my partner getting off the boat and being  welcomed by the hotel staff. He gave them some instructions and they  hurriedly moved around. Soon, there was a knock on the door of our room.  The bellboys brought countless boxes of shoes and bags of brand clothes  into our room. Finally my partner came in. He said calmly, “It’s time  for checkout.” I told him that I hadn’t finished packing and he said, 
February 25, 2020
Let's Listen to My Song! [ Sunrise / Hidemi Woods ]
After I  released full-length albums of my band in Japan, I moved to U.S. and  started this project. It took about 12 years to complete, but I'm  entirely satisfied with the fruit.  Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps. Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total
February 24, 2020
Let's Listen to My Song! [ The Lousy Neighbor / Hidemi Woods ]
I  made the instruments' arrangements, mixed down, did the mastering and  sang, all by myself. I hope you enjoy my original songs with my sincere  feelings, that are different from what you are used to listening. Audiobook : On Sale at online stores or apps. Japanese Dream by Hidemi Woods Apple, Audible, Google Play, Nook Audiobooks,  43 available distributors in total
February 22, 2020