A Life Distilled

Awamori Kame pots used for ageing.

You were born on the day of a storm

The weather matching the thunder and lightning

Rattling inside my chest from the moment

You were due to come into the world

I’ll never forget the gentle heartbeat

Or the tiny hand you placed into mine

The spark of potential that flashed in your eyes 

Was preserved inside the kame

Sealed with a handprint

Years of maturation

Cultivated with love and care

Until the boy became a man

And what a man you’ve become

Strong, brave, compassionate

Together we’ll drink the memories

That have aged in awamori

Nuanced flavours of a life

Still maturing 

Becoming more complex

With every new experience 

Set aside a fresh kame

Fill it with the hopes and dreams of your children

Teach them a life distilled 

Is a life worth cherishing



When I was a boy

My father used to tell me it was a man’s world

And to grow up meant to trade comfort for duty

My mother taught me how to make art

I used to watch her carve kokeshi every day

Their faces marked with funny little grins

Like they were in on a joke that only the two of us understood

And when she died it felt like a part of me went with her

So, I preserved the rest of my childhood inside a kokeshi

Innocence chiseled in wood

Sculpted out of memory

Sometimes, my daughter takes hold of the child I once was

And runs around the garden laughing and yelling

When she squeezes too hard I let her know

And I tell her stories of obaasan

Until the day comes when she’s making figurines for her own family

And we’re all just raw material stacked on shelves

Destined to outlive our bodies

Pop Culture and Japan

The Physical Power Of Memory: Armour And The Value Of Family

In Japanese culture, family is an important part of daily ritual. Japanese families are considered multigenerational, linked by a respect for ancestors. Ancestry is a powerful force within society and a comic character that highlights the importance of family is Armour. A member of the X-Men, Hisako Ichiki has the power to create a shield made out of memory. Through Armour, I’m going to explore the concept of memory and how it can hold families together.

Continue reading “The Physical Power Of Memory: Armour And The Value Of Family”