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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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Escape from the Snow World hr565

The mountain region in Japan where I live is covered with seven to ten feet of snow every winter. My town is in a close area with mountains in all directions. Those mountains turn into tall white walls in winter. Deep snow lies beneath, white walls stand around, and snowflakes constantly cover the sky above. It gives me a sense of being contained in a white box. As winter deepens, I begin to feel claustrophobia and suffocating. For that reason, I take a trip to the snow-free region and stay there for a few days every winter. I stayed at a hotel near Narita Airport and one near Tokyo Disneyland this winter because they became bargain prices by using my accumulated points of the hotel chain’s loyalty program that I had gained with a trip to Montreal. Since I was entitled to use a pool and a sauna for free at the hotel near the airport, I brought my new swimsuit that had been sleeping in the back of my drawer for more than ten years and looked out-dated even though it hadn’t been worn. Right after I checked in, I rushed into the pool. As I was swimming watching a plane flying over me through the round glass ceiling, I remembered how pleasant swimming was. I used to swim in the pool at the gym a couple of days a week until about ten years ago. I would care about my health and stamina so much, but I have gradually become a night owl and put on weight. I decided to take this opportunity to restart my health-conscious life. Next morning, while almost every part of my body was aching, I had breakfast at the buffet restaurant in the hotel. Most guests were from foreign countries because the hotel was close to the airport. I felt as if I was eating abroad and it cost a minimum to take an imaginary overseas trip. After I stuffed a whole day’s amount of food into my stomach by eating for two hours there, I left for an outlet mall near the hotel. I usually enjoy strolling around a mall and looking for a bargain price, but I returned to the hotel quite early this time in order to swim in the evening. Before I checked out next morning, I went back to the pool again. Then I moved to the hotel near Tokyo Disneyland and found that the pool there was free too. I ended up swimming four times during this four-day trip. Although I was supposed to be healthier when I came home, I started coughing next day and it didn’t stop. Whether this trip was effective or not was now questionable. Did I catch a cold at a warmer place where I bothered to travel to get away from my cold town? Besides, my region has had unusually little snow this winter and neither the ground nor the mountains are all white. I can’t tell what I took that trip for after all…

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A #twilight view out of a #hotel room I stayed in during my #trip to Chiba. The convention center and #Tokyo #Bay. #sky #sunset #sea A #twilight view out of a #hotel room I stayed in during my #trip to Chiba. The convention center and #Tokyo #Bay. #sky #sunset #sea
Inside the #hotel I visited for coffee near #TokyoDisneyland during my latest trip. #Japan Inside the #hotel I visited for coffee near #TokyoDisneyland during my latest trip. #Japan
A #cake at the lounge for a hotel's loyalty program member. It's free! #dessert #sweets A #cake at the lounge for a hotel's loyalty program member. It's free! #dessert #sweets
The interior of the #bus running between a monorail station and a hotel in #Tokyo #Disney  #Resort. #MickeyMouse The interior of the #bus running between a monorail station and a hotel in #Tokyo #Disney #Resort. #MickeyMouse
#Christmas decorations inside the hotel I visited during a trip to Chiba, near #TokyoDisneyland. #Christmas decorations inside the hotel I visited during a trip to Chiba, near #TokyoDisneyland.

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