Tag Archives: The Old Man in the Woods

Sakai-san: Prelude – 2006

  Running late. Nothing new – it’s the norm. Taking short cuts, familiar back routes through the rice fields of Toyama on route to something else; always something else, some reason, some rush, some… Rarely a drive now, for a drives’ sake.   65km/h, bend in the road, bridge ahead and on it an old […]

Sakai-san: Part I – 2006

  Sakai-san is 78-years old. Born in 1927, Namerikawa, Toyama, youngest of seven children and a second son.   “Ha—ha-ha-ha—.” A wheeze of a laugh, gap-toothed mug, purple hair and smiling eyes. “Didn’t have much money then, see, and if you don’t have money, you have children. They help out. More mouths to feed, but […]

Sakai-san: Part II – 2007

  It’s dark now when I get there . . . Five-fifteen. But already dark, winter, soon December, soon snow. A moment of unrecognition, then the familiar gap-toothed smile . . .   “Ha, wow! Today I’m lucky. First my niece and her husband, and now you. I’m happy.”   I don’t catch it the […]

Sakai-san: Closure – 2007

  In May 2007, I went back to visit Sakai-san. House boarded up, front room barricaded, entrance padlocked shut. Cats meowing loudly from somewhere close, but no Sakai-san. In our last conversation, there was mention of subsidized housing in the city. He’d been denied the first time; wasn’t allowed to declare his old age pension […]