Monday, September 23, 2013


It's a dangerous thing to review Japanese flashcards before noon.  Or study any Japanese for that matter.  It endows me (or at least would seem to) with a face that says, "Yes, speak to me in Japanese," which is almost as dangerous as the ensuing attempts to follow-up with a like-language response.  But as hard as it is to have a conversation in Japanese, it is also hard to correct or give guidance in translations and phrases in English.  I swear I'm a native speaker of at least one language.  But maybe not.  Maybe I just think in pictures, communicate in sounds and gestures.  A Japanese friend of mine and I were talking today about the difficulties in translating in one's own language and she suggested that a good translator needs to be even more intimately familiar with their own language–the many subtle inflections of words and the phrases of which it is capable–than the one that is foreign to them.  I appreciated this and I think I can understand.  If I had more linguistic skill and experience from which to draw,  I might even have the audacity to agree.  So many poets and authors are also translators.  Those keepers of communication.  I really appreciate those who seem to find a space between words so as to make them disappear.  I look for this in my bow changes, in my shifting, in my vibrato.  A smoothness, a grace that makes the means vanish.

But it all starts with those awkward chunks of knowledge.  Fingers to the strings, gripping the bow, one flashcard, one word at a time.  If we don't come to it, there will be nothing between which to find any space.  The pillars of communication, the foundation of sharing understanding from one being to another, must at the very least be respected before the artistry can wind its way through them and uphold the structure alone.  To float and be grounded all at once.  To occupy the space the of living with others.  Oh a morning of preparation dawns.

No comments:

Post a Comment