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Japan is Words

Japan is words - written, spoken, sung, and unsaid. I think of the journal stashed beneath my nightstand, crammed with pages of lists. Lists of people, places, food, memories and moments I get to keep. Our picture in the Japanese newspaper tells a story and adds to the hours spent each night writing reflections we’d discuss over raw fish and green tea. Sincerity slipped from the lips of kids just like me in lengthy conversations on trains. Sweet Japanese attempted English, so eager to please yet so hard to understand. Our guide led us in laughter as the monks let us experience their lives. We shared their temple, meals, bath houses, and meditation. We sang the words to “Country Roads,” tears threatening my cheeks as the voices of those handicapped students changed me. Some couldn’t speak, let alone understand, yet we sang together. Together, we left words unsaid in moments where words cannot do justice. I stood on pavement, rain pounding an umbrella to match my tears as I watched what remained of Hiroshima. Tears fell as I held new friends for the first, and possibly the last time. Japan is words – words written, spoken, sung, and unsaid.



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