From East to West

As I reach for the anti-ageing night cream, a smile comes to my face as I reflect on my earlier conversation. Tonight, just over 3 months since I travelled to Japan, I am reunited with 2 dear friends who have arrived in Scotland from Tokyo for a holiday. We are in ‘The Bothy’ a traditional Scottish restaurant in Glasgow’s West End and we’re talking about my time in Japan. 

I reflect on the amazing sites I visited including the beautiful Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) in Kyoto. I hear how this temple is quite unique. Many temples in Japan which were once golden or brightly decorated are now old and brown in colour. Unlike other countries in Asia, like China and Thailand, Japan does not restore temples back to their former glory but instead the age and different stages of the temple are respected. Could this valuing of age be a clue to how communities in Japan respect their older people? Surely valuing every stage of life is something we should all strive towards?

Now back home as I glance down at my bedside table and see the range of cosmetics all designed to minimise ageing, I consider how our western society has a negative outlook on growing older and if only we could celebrate the successes of ageing and the richness of our experiences.

It is now just over 2 weeks until I embark on the next part of my Winston Churchill fellowship to USA and I look forward to comparing east with west in supporting our older people and people with dementia. 

Thank you to Ken and Niomi, my inspiration for writing this blog. 



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