DIGGING around in an old wooden chest this week I came across a pile of scrap books my late father-in-law had created back in the 1960s and 70s. Neatly bound in maroon faux leather each book contains a treasure trove of memories of work, family life, leisure interests and travels. An architect, my father-in-law was gifted with the pen and brought an eclectic eye to selecting scrapbook entries. They might be coasters from a restaurant, an invitation to an event, a photograph of fellow guests at a function, autographs, newspaper clippings, aircraft boarding cards, meeting agendas. But he especially loved to sketch, and enhance his sketches with watercolours, so turning the scrapbook pages is like strolling through an watercolour exhibition.
My father-in-law was an avid and adventurous traveler and those travels offered rich scrapbook source material. As early as the 1960s he was visiting Japan, rather a no-no at a time when the post-war hatred of that country remained palpable in Australia. The architecture and art of Japan, renowned worldwide for its sophisticated simplicity, in particular captured his imagination. He saw the Japanese house, with its ability through sliding doors to open up in summer and close down in winter, as the perfect house style for tropical Queensland. His travels also included southeast Asia including then-almost-unknown Bali, all richly depicted in the bound pages.
It occurs to me, as I become acquainted with the world of blogging, that these scrapbooks are rather like blogs, records and interpretations through the eye of a trained observer of people, places and events. From a family point of view the pages bear witness to the influence his life path had on following generations with pages noting travels in Hokkaido, in far northern Japan, in 1971. Were he still alive he would see his family now includes a granddaughter-in-law from Hokkaido and a part-Japanese great-grandson.