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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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A Wise Shopper hr570

I’m always impressed by the size of houses that appear in TV shows and movies of U.S. Even when the setting is for a poor family, they live in a mansion by Japanese standards. That’s why the story is often confusing when the house tries to tell how much its inhabitants go through hardship. Japanese people live in tiny space as much, including myself of course. One of my favorite pastimes is bargain-hunting. I like searching for goods that are marked down by 80 percent or more and getting them. When I’m out for a store, I keep my eyes peeled for a cart or shelves of bargain items and pounce on like a hyena. Those items usually have a small sticker of the discounted price over the price tag where the list price had been shown. Some of them have a layer of numerous stickers as they got discounted more and more repeatedly. I peel the sticker off carefully to look at the former list price and to see how much it’s reduced. Sometimes the reduction is huge, which means I hit the jackpot. Imagining there are people who got it at the list price, I feel like I’m a wise shopper and it would be foolish if I didn’t get it. So I buy things dirt cheap, most of which are clothes. Back in my apartment, I squeeze the catch into my closet. The closet is already full with those discounted items and hangers are no longer necessary for my clothes because they are sandwiched each other too tightly to drop. I use many cardboard boxes to store my stuff that make my tiny apartment even smaller. My apartment doesn’t have a walk-in closet, but it seems like my apartment itself has turned into one and I live inside it. I can’t throw them away because it would make a profit of a discount a loss. A number of my cardboard boxes are growing and I don’t catch up. I can’t find one particular item when I really need it. Although I know I have gotten it and stowed somewhere, I rummage around and just can’t find it. And that item shows up from somewhere when I least need it. And it’s gone again somehow when I need it. As I repeat that, I can’t tell why and what for I got it in the first place. The other day, I made a firm resolution to clear some space in my apartment by putting my stuff in order closely. It was a troublesome job but I tried to make my apartment bigger and look better. It worked to some degree and my living environment was improved a little. Only a few days later, I needed a scarf when I was going out. And I couldn’t remember which cardboard box I had stored my scarves in and where I put the box. I again pulled back out numerous boxes and opened them. I couldn’t find it. All my scarves that I had collected through the years by bargain-hunting was sucked into a black hole in the galaxy far, far away and disappeared. I wonder how many years will pass until I see them again…

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