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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.522

The oldest episode of my ancestors that I heard from my grandfather is about my great-great-grandfather and I hereby write it down for the record. According to my grandfather, his grandfather was quite a prodigal. He didn’t work and just squandered the family money. Our family was a powerful landowner when he inherited the family fortune and became a master of the family. They had lived in the same house I grew up and all the land stretched as far as the eye could see from it was his land back then. He had a lot of tenant farmers that worked for him in his land. Many servants lived on the family premises and also quite a few relatives of the family lived in the house. My grandfather once showed me his old photographs in which our distant relatives were taken together. I asked if they were group photos of some important events, and he told me that they all lived together in this very house. Our house was over 100 years old and the remnants of my great-great-grandfather’s prime were here and there. The old kitchen remained on the earth floor with one big and six or seven small clay ovens. We didn’t use them any more but I always wondered how much cooking was needed for how many people when that ovens were used. Across the front yard from the house was a gate building in which had a small room. It was my first own room when I entered elementary school, but it used to be one of the quarters for the servants. Beside the gate, an old wooden container with carriage poles was parked on the wall. In old days, it was used as a fire extinguisher that people carried water in the container with the poles on their shoulders. Only a powerful family had it for the entire hamlet. Our old local name that had been used in place of our family’s last name was written on the side of the container, telling how big our family used to be. On a hot summer day, my great-great-grandfather made his servants take him to the river that runs through the busy district just to make them fan for him and cool himself down. All year round, he visited a place where geishas served him and had a party. He was a lavish spender and the family fortune dwindled away. In stead of working, he sold his ancestral land piece by piece for his extravagance. As his land had been passed to his tenant farmers and the number of his servants had shrunk fast, he kept partying. By the time he died, only the house and a few tiny pieces of nearby land had remained. No one knows why he lived that way, but he drank up the family fortune. I imagine he must have had painful parties and have drunk terrible sake every time…

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