This week is a mega busy week – note to self……must remember to consult my calendar more before saying yes to everything…….
It’s so busy that the week actually started yesterday. Sunday is usually MY day, but this week I had visitors from Japan, which was lovely. The lovely Philly Hare introduced me to Tomo, via Twitter when she was out in Japan earlier in the year. He is in his 40’s and was given a diagnosis of dementia. He is working hard to raise awareness in Japan and has been over here for since last week. He’s being followed by a Japanese television crew and recording a documentary.
Last week he was in Scotland but he’s ending here in England. Yesterday he was Leeds helping to start the Memory walk there – I know that simply because I suddenly saw him on Twitter!
The prospect had been quite daunting to welcome, not only Tomo but a film crew who are recording the documentary, into my home, especially as there would be an obvious language barrier… My 3 words, written down phonetically won’t get me far 😳
Sarah offered to come and be cuppa tea lady so that at least alleviated some of the stress.
They were due to arrive at 10am so Sarah arrived in plenty of time to sort the cuppas out if they wanted one. The weather wasn’t obliging but at least the rain had stopped.
They all arrived on time and it was sooo wonderful to finally meet Tomo. My 3 words of Japanese went out of the window as the initial chaos ensued. He had come with 6 others, including his doctor from Japan. They even all wanted a cuppa Yorkshire tea, so we all got on from the start, especially since it wasn’t me that had to make them all! BIG thank you to Sarah for being there as it would have been impossible without her.
Me and Tomo chatted over a cuppa through an interpreter while my conservatory was being rearranged by the film crew…….My fears of meeting and talking through an interpreter were immediately laid to ground as we instantly shared laughter and everyone relaxed.
We then settled into the brand new conservatory (as they’d made it look very different!) and were filmed chatting about absolutely everything. We chatted about our family, diagnosis, the future. It became apparent that there are differences but also so much is the same. The post code lottery of services available, the stigma attached in so many areas, also exist in Japan.
Tomo has teenage daughters and was keen to hear Sarah’s view on how she and Gemma cope with my diagnosis. All through the conversation, the same message kept appearing – that to TALK must be a priority. To be open and honest, both about the good and bad, is a support mechanism that works both ways.
I can’t remember what else we spoke about as I wasn’t recording the words on my iPad but we had lots to say and lots of views were exchanged.
Tomo is doing a wonderful job of raising awareness in Japan.
The culture may be different in Japan, but dementia is the same the world over. In this day and age it’s possible to connect with people all over the world. Me and Tomo were connected through dementia and hope to remain so – it was so nice meeting him and all those who came with him.
A very different Sunday……😊