Two years ago I came to Japan for the first time for a summer music festival called PMF. This was how I discovered Japan and heard about HPAC. During that time I played with a Japanese violist in a chamber music ensemble. She spoke practically no English and I spoke even less Japanese but somehow she became a good friend during that time. Our friendship was based on timing, on facial expressions, on physical jokes and gestures. But after my departure there was no way or reason to continue it. We shared a wordless relationship that lived only in one another's presence.
I have just learned that she will be coming to HPAC next year, so I sent her a message on Facebook in Japanese. And suddenly there were words. We can speak very elemental sentences to one another; we can have a simple relationship through words. It feels like growing up and realizing that the people around you are actually just people like you. Teachers are not gods, no one is perfect, everyone has thoughts, hopes, fears, loves. I don't know her's in the slightest, but I've come closer to realizing that she is a person like me who speaks a language that has meaning.
It is amazing that within a lifetime it is possible to bring the shadow of a person into greater focus. I suppose we do this with everyone that we spend time coming to know. People are people.
So what does it mean, what will it mean, to add words to our relationship? Will it change the way we see one other? Will we have greater scrutiny, greater understanding? Will there be any change at all or will it be only on a scale of knowing that occupies every relationship? A new beginning.