Words can help us communicate and makes sense of the world. We explain things to ourselves and to others and start to create some bearing on our place in the world, our values, how we ought to act. But sometimes words can create things that are untrue–identities that are incomplete placeholders for what could actually become; relationships that are only partially defined, and left unrealized; values that might benefit from reconsideration. Sometimes words cause miscommunications, thinking that we have relayed something to another when in fact they have met us in an entirely different place. How far away are we from ourselves and those around us?
And then there is the comfort of hearing Japanese, of reading it, of not being able to understand it or to use it. I'm without its benefits, without its detriments. Communication comes through my will, through my courtesy, through the way that I take up space. Understanding is an act of trust and open listening. The sounds are empty and the voice that speaks them is a friend.