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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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Hidemi's Rambling No.530

I visited my hometown in Kyoto the other day. When I visit there, I usually stay at a hotel instead of my parents’ house, as I don’t get along well with them. This time, I took the municipal subway to the hotel. I hadn’t ridden the subway in ages. To the best of my memory, the last time I rode it was when I submitted some necessary papers at the college I had attended in order to drop out of it. While the line had been stretched and added, the station and the cars' exterior stayed almost unchanged, and the sight of them brought back my old memories. The subway service started when I was a high school student. The municipality took off the streetcar for good in transition. My home was near the streetcar route and we used it heavily. Since the subway ran only the center of the city, our life without the streetcar became inconvenient. My father and I used to grumble about it together repeatedly, saying the municipality favored those who lived in downtown. But once the subway began to run, I found that taking it to school was more convenient than taking the public bus all the way, which I had been doing. I switched and took the subway to school every day. Everything looked new and cool to me. I even bought a ticket that had the date of the math teacher’s birthday stamped on, and made a bookmark out of it to give it as a birthday present to him on whom I had a crush. I was such a pathetic teenager. I also remembered a ride from school after I got my result of the preliminary entrance examination of Kyoto University. Although a grade of eight hundred was needed to get in, I got a grade of merely mid-six hundred. Realizing I had no way to get in the university that I had wanted to so badly and I threw two years of preparing down the drain, I began to shiver on the subway. My breathing became difficult and I thought we were out of air because of the subway system failure. By the time I reached home, I had run a fever of 102 degrees. A month later, I took the subway to a different university. That one was rated lower than Kyoto University and the examination was easy. I was quite sure I had passed and went to see my number on the announcement board. And mine wasn’t there which meant I had failed. On my subway ride back home, I saw my future was heading down to the bottom of darkness. I felt as if my life would never come out of this long dark tunnel. Looking back on it, I hardly have good memories about the subway. It’s not the subway’s fault, though. I have too many bad memories about Kyoto itself…

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