Thirteen Hours B.C.

Yamada Suita 8:41am
Time has always been important to me. There are only so many hours in the day. I know from experience that that my body will begin to shut down in about twelve hours from the moment I awake. I have to do all I want to do in that time.

So you may notice that I not exclusivel  use the clock to describe my day, but something I call ‘B.C’ time. No I am not waiting for the Second Coming, ‘B.C.’ stands for ‘Before Collapse’

I do apologise, did I mention I have a disability, specifically, left-sided spastic hemiplegia?

I can of course power through for a few hours or so longer, but not for that much longer, my body will require me to rest, I am living on borrowed time.

And did I mention that I live in Japan?

May ask you? How do you begin your day? Maybe a coffee and some carbohydrates , maybe a complaint about having to get up in the morning? I begin the day with this question: Is today a walking day?

Cerebral palsy, or to give the specific variation I have – left sided spastic hemiplegia often leaves me physically encumbered. I may live in Japan and would love to spend every non-working moment visiting the temples of Kyoto or the metropolis of Tokyo, but given my condition it’s something I really can’t do.

 The worst part about with being disabled is this: there are days when you can’t get out and about and yet you suspect that something interesting is around the next corner. Time becomes important to you when you have a disability. I know I have only a few hours of being useful, of being able to be physically active. You have to learn to use your time wisely, you have to plan, you have to make decisions. Will you be able to get up early? Is today a day you can walk up steps – Japan is home to many a steep staircase. Can you walk up the steel staircase and get back down it?

There are some days when my answer to these questions is no, but there are days when the answer is yes. Thankfully for moment the ‘yes’ days outnumber the ‘no’ days.


One Cane, One Umbrella, One Hand 

I don’t mind Mondays, but its rainy days that always get me down. It is now rainy season in Osaka and for the next thirty-six hours or so it will rain solidly, the kind of rain that that Bob Dylan used to sing about.

The rain itself really has a kind of beauty of about, it beats the ground with some force, and when it does the sound it creates, is a wall of sound of which Phil Spector would be proud. It really is amazing, if only for its duration. Rainstorms, in the country I hail from of at least, rarely last more than two minutes. Here in the Land of the Rising Sun, they last many hours, almost a day.

Of course you carry an umbrella. Really good and sturdy umbrellas are sold at every convenience store. And they are quite wide umbrellas; quite enough to cover your entire body, not a drop will touch you, unless of course you are carrying a walking stick in the other hand.

Welcome to the problem of one, stick, one umbrella, one hand. Not as sexy as two girls, one cup, I grant you, but important nonetheless. I cannot do much with my left hand, I can grab, but I do not have enough co-ordination to move. It is basically a robotic arm,that just happens to be on a human.

My balance goes completely. I attempt to dance the delicate ballet that is the dance of stick and umbrella. It is a rather violent dance which the stick usually wins. I simply cannot walk carrying both. I give up on the umbrella. After all it’s only water, what does it matter if I turn up to work on the brink of pneumonia?

And the rain is rather beautiful.