Sunday 1 August 2010

Last days in Tokyo

Nolico suggested that we watched the big firework in Yokohama, on the rooftop of her university. That sounded like a good idea. And that would also be the chance to see Shinya. I didn’t realize Yokohama was so far off from the centre of town. The train was packed. It was the firework festival this week end. I saw thousands of people in traditional costume flocking to see the main firework in Tokyo the previous evening. Today’s show was to be less spectacular. Personally I didn’t care much, the main point was to see Nolico and Shinya.
What was supposed to take in a rooftop actually took place in a dimly lit classroom. We could watch the firework from the windows… I thought we would have a good view, but it was no different from what we had seen from the street, minus the atmosphere of the cheering crowd. The present people were none too friendly, more busy to eat and drink and chat with each other. No one didn’t even bother to watch. On top of that, we had to contribute 2.000 yen for the food that we didn’t intend to eat, since we already had had a delicious tonkatsu for dinner.  Shinya and I were disappointed, to say the least. Nolico was embarrassed. We sat in a corner with our plastic glass and watched the firework as battalions of mosquitoes were biting us.
The atmosphere started to change after the other guests had a few drinks and felt less inhibited to open up and speak to strangers. I chatted with the former editor of the Japanese Cahiers du Cinéma. Of course he had met Trân Anh Hùng in Tokyo, so we talked about L’Odeur de la Papaye Verte. I can always bet that I would meet one person (a girl usually) who is a fan of that film each time I would go out to some social event. I would hear flowery praises for the score until they realized that my father, not I, wrote it.
Nolico tried to save the ship by mentioning my work with Jo Kanamori, but unless one has some taste for dance, no one really knows who he is.
After four glasses of ice tea and two steamed sausages, I left. Shinya was bored to death and Nolico was happy to put an end to her guilt. One thing I know: no one will trick me to see a firework anymore. I enjoy it when I see one, but I wouldn’t fight myself through a packed crowd to see one. 

Night over Tokyo

Nolico & Shinya


Got news from my brother. Since I’m gone, now he has to see them more and take care of them. My mother seems to become more and more forgetful. I don’t think it’s the Alzheimer disease. Do I say so because I don’t want to think of the possibility of it? Whether it is, the reason is that she doesn’t see any future for herself. Her memory for past events is perfect. For decades now, she’s always been ranting about how old she was getting. There wasn’t much she was looking forward to in the future. Her constant bickering with my father and mood swings do not make things better. My father loses all his creative impulse. I am actually more worried about him than her. But what can one do? Medicate? See someone? My brother’s idea is that we sold the house in Saint-Maur and buy a smaller flat in Paris where they can be closer to social life. For my mother, that would be the best thing to do; she would be able to go out more, walk and be more physically active. I know my father doesn’t want to. He finds it so hard to cope with changes. He says that now that he’s older, he doesn’t want to adapt anymore, which I can understand.
I think of Isabelle who has to shake heaven and earth in order to take care of her ageing parents.
That was the question everyone asked me when I said I would leave Paris. After ‘how will you survive and make a living’ the next concern was: ‘what about your parents?’

Mother and son

I find it hard to sleep peacefully. The situation will surely improve once I have my new home. For now, I have this unpleasant feeling that my feet escape me. There’s one phrase in French that goes: ‘Je perds pied’, which means that you’re losing touch with the ground. That’s exactly how I feel when I lie down. It happens in the middle of the night and an acute sense of disarray gets hold of me. My legs seem to be floating and drifting as I lay in bed. It takes much breathing and meditation to get rid of it. 

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