Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Japan is as I left it, like Orkney, only the people are older. It brings to life how time passes differently for people. So much has happened but nothing much has changed in my life. In my Ogiichan’s life (that’s Japanese for Grandfather) not much has happened but a lot has changed, in his person mainly, a loss of mobility and the onset of dementia. I knew from when I greeted him in the house I was born in that he’d lost a spark. No, not lost it, the spark I mean, it was still there but hidden behind a grey veil in his eyes. It reminded me of dogs sleeping in their old age, when you go to stroke them and wake them up gently they turn their snouts towards you with a viscously slow sense of recognition of what’s happening or who you are. Or where they are. I think the old when they lapse in to these states of “not being with it” are often drifting on a another “playing field” of the consciousness. Sometimes my Granny in Orkney would hear something when not paying attention and say something completely disconnected from the present situation. Once she said out of the blue ‘What about the sheep?’ and then someone replied, ‘What sheep?’, whence she replied, ‘The ones at Hoxa’. Old memories must be seeping through and time must be occurring at a different pace for these individuals. Recognising what’s real and not real, what’s just been said and what was said years ago, it’s difficult to distinguish now. I don’t think Ogiichan can understand that I am the same person he used to pick up and carry on his back, because look at me, I’m massive, that’s in comparison to little me. He remembers watching a kite soar when I was the size of a shoe; he laughed properly when the family spoke about when I was small and ran through and under people’s legs at the summer festival they hold in Japanese towns with big drums and goldfish stalls, and thought I'd got lost. These things that happened over twenty years ago stir memories more vivid than the ones made yesterday. So it must mean, one’s own youth affects the interpretation of a happening or scene in the everyday, probably because in youth one feels things with more zeal. With more ahead of you and less behind - things must leave stronger impressions.