But children are not people. Children become people when they wriggle out of your arms and say no
Olga Tokarczuk, Flights (Jennifer Croft Trans.)
In 2019, Mori Ponsowy wrote Okāsan, an account of the days she spent in Japan with her only son, who is twenty one years old, and now lives there, in the antipodes of Buenos Aires. It is a travel journal that unfolds with the private, effortless rhythm of the things we scribble down at night in bed, before turning off the light. The author weaves her impressions of the Japanese culture and scenery with those that spring from looking at her son as an adult for the first time. Her awe for the extravagant elegance of his clothes and the estrangement from hearing him speak a language they do not share, are intertwined with the silence of skyscrapers, the dreamlike state of the immense city, the loveliness of a woman selecting beans. There is a sense of nostalgia — no travel diary is ever complete without some trace of sadness for what no longer is, what has been lost in time, what has changed — and yet, the book remains translucent to the pleasure she takes in writing about the boy who now makes a new life for himself and smiles back at her when she grabs him by the vest to keep from getting lost in a crowd. Mori shapes the light and captures the air of those walks along Japan, to mesh them, ever so delicately, with the story of the silent, enigmatic tie that connects her to her son.
Okāsan: Diario de viaje de una madre, Buenos Aires, Reservoir Books, 2019