I got lost in the rain on my walk around the neighborhood. I went down one big street and then answered the calling of a residential neighborhood where the streets are small but the crows are huge. I came out on the other side to a second hand shop with lots of purses and shoes playing American rap. The clerk greeted me, "Konnichiwa."
The clouds finally broke their hold and I pulled out my umbrella, optimist that I am, and tried to figure out which direction my Kansan house had landed. I pulled out my map (again, ever the optimist and always prepared) and stopped underneath the cover of a bus stop. The rain brought us together, me and the Japanese woman who took a break from biking. "Sumimasen, Nihongo ga wakarimasen, demo.....doko desuka?" (Excuse me I don't understand Japanese, but where is this?) and I pointed to the map. Fortunate that she had such expressive hands. I looked her in the eyes, and she in mine, so intently. She wanted so badly for me to understand her words and I wanted so badly to understand them. We get so used to having our words mean something and to being able to take something from the sounds that we hear. I think we shared this realization with each other, if not the explicit instruction to go straight then turn left and you will see a Lawson on the right and then you will see Akura Danchi. I'm sure there was something in her words that said that. But it was to her hands, in their one gesture that I replied, "Wakarimas" (I understand).