As our train emerged from one tunnel, the mountain roads suddenly flashed into sight, he gazed up and heaved a deep sigh. I was struck by this. Listening to him then describe the fullness of his heart, how gazing upon such mountain roads a stream of childhood memories came welling up within him, I keenly felt that the ‘country’ exists beyond my comprehension. It is not so much that I do not know the country as that I do not understand the notion of a ‘birthplace,’ or a ‘first home’ or a ‘second home’ — indeed, what home of any kind in fact is. When there is no memory, there is no home . . . . Looking back I see that from an early age my feelings were distorted by an endless series of changes occurring too fast. Never was there sufficient time to nurture the sources of a powerful and enduring memory, attached to the concrete and the particular. I had memories but they possessed no actuality, no substance. I even felt they were somehow unreal.

– Kobayashi Hideo “Literature of the Lost Home” in Paul Anderer, ed. and trans. Literature of the Lost Home (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 48-49.