Japan Again

I had a flash that my life in Japan had been that of a child killed who died young before rather than that of a fox as I had previously imagined, but this one seems to strengthen my suspicions.

The only actual memory I had was that I had indeed been a child, and had been killed by a truck (a relatively rare sight in that part of Japan in those days and one I was unprepared for) between 1925 and 1928.  That puts my age at 8-13 years if the roughly 2-year gap between my life and Phil’s is any indication.

I also had some subjective impressions surrounding this memory.  I was at that tender age when children are about midway between adults and babies and everyone is gushing about what a handsome young man or pretty young woman they’re becoming.  I believe “Kinsei” (golden) may have been a doting nickname I was called or something used to describe me by a doting elder.  As a very young child I may have been confused by the book “Takasaki Han Kinsei Shiryuku,” which had already been released at that time.  

I also believe that my family was Buddhist and that I spent a fair bit of time around the Daruma-Ji temple in Takasaki in that life.  

I don’t know though.  For one thing, my only memory of the temple is from down low, outside one of the buildings, in the company of foxes, not other children, and being hit by a truck is also what my first instinct was that had killed me as a fox.  Also, I can’t read Japanese so unless there’s a database of English translations of newspapers from Takasaki in the early 20s, I’m going to need someone who speaks Japanese because the full extent of the Japanese I can actually read is embarrassingly poor; I have a difficult time learning non-Latin alphabets and I get stumped by grammar outside of Anglo-Germanic or Latin conventions.

I’m a bit stumped by this.  It’s almost as if this were a sort of temporal accident where I might have been both in some weird warping of time (maybe evidence of these “accidents” Phil was talking about?) but going in that direction feels dangerous and unfounded to me.  

I can conjecture wildly about it, but for now the easiest explanation is that either confusion of memory or wishful thinking at some level has caused me to create sets of memories that are either ambiguous or hint at two seemingly mutually-exclusive possibilities.  Unless I can somehow find evidence that both sets of memories are authentic and distinct from each other, I don’t think I’ll have any reason to believe this is genuine.  I’m recording it here for the sake of completeness in case something really unexpected comes along and I’ll have date stamps for every discovery.

Memory Fragment

This is probably the darkest memory I’ve had in many months.

I don’t remember where this was, it may be relevant to the memory of the young boy standing by his father’s corpse.  

I remember a family that had lost a relative and were stricken with grief.  The women and children gathered around the body, wailing and saying something in a language I couldn’t understand, though I can’t remember if it was French or Flemish and I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell anyway because they were screaming.

We tried to warn them away from the body, but they didn’t listen or didn’t understand.  They were all cut down by a mortar shell or light artillery shell as we watched helplessly.  

Here come the tears I’ve been unable to cry all week long… I know the feeling so well now, the painful emotional blockage that comes just before something triggers these memories.  It’s never an easy relief though.  It means remembering things I’d much rather never know about.

Oh God…


The German soldier whose body they find…  Let’s see, went to school a short while, then put to work until his mid-30s as a laborer…

He’s the German version of who I was.

We really were killing our brothers.

Oh God…

That’s no time at all from feeling mildly uneasy to exactly the sort of emotions I was trying to avoid the last couple of days.  Already “face your fears” feels like the worst advice I could have given myself.  But consider the alternative…

(EDIT) I can kiss my attempt to stop being melodramatic goodbye too.  Damn it all!