As I get older, I have more frequent experience of loss of memory. For example, I am writing at my table, and suddenly an idea comes to my mind. I go to the bookshelves on the other side of the room. Then I have no idea why I am in front of the bookshelves: “Why am I here?” In this short time while I come walking across from the table, the idea of my pur — pose is gone. This is a loss of “working memory”, which is under so much discussion in the science of the brain these days.
My mother was very feeble-minded shortly before her death when she was 97. She was very slow in taking meals. In the middle of her act of having a drink, her hand with a cup came to a stop and she had no idea of where her hand had to go. There was a loss of the working memory needed to take her act to the end, to the purpose, which is drinking.
In the monthly newsletter of GDM West Japan (June 2002), Konoeda-san made an interesting note about the working memory in relation to learning a second language: Don’t let our limited working memory be used up in putting English into Japanese before the learner comes to get the point of the statement.