Monday, December 25, 2006

Donald Keene at his Tokyo home
Originally uploaded by ionushi.

Reading what Keene has written makes me think that my efforts to archive photos and memories may be worth while. We can store vast amounts in the memory palaces of our brains, photos and some related words are the key that lts us unlock the rooms we seldom enter in our mind:

" Some readers of my serial have expressed admiration for my ability to remember so much that happened long ago. I, on the contrary, am more aware of what I have forgotten. Recently I had the occasion to take out some old photographs. They show me standing next to other persons, all of us smiling at the camera. I don't remember either the places or who the people were. I search for a clue, perhaps words written on a wall in a foreign language, anything that might reveal in which country the picture was taken. All that survives of these moments are some photographs without captions.

"I have often regretted that I haven't kept a diary. A diary would surely help me to recapture much of the past. But perhaps it is just as well to have forgotten so much. If I remembered everything, I would recall things that frightened me when I was a small child, teachers I disliked at school, friends who I thought had be

trayed me, people I loved who did not love me. No, it is probably better not to try to remember. I hope that this chronicle, for all its deficiencies, has at least suggested how one human being spent an essentially happy life." (Chronicles of My Life in the 20th Century)

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