Friday, May 09, 2008

Hai-(nice to meet you)-ku Friday 5/9/08

Haiku Friday

Since this went so well
when I "talked story" last week
I have another.

Perhaps you'll recall
my first moments in Japan
and scary near miss?

The nutshell version:
my passport in the bathroom -
*almost* forgotten.

Um, yah. After that,
my first night there in Japan
got *so* much better.

That cool guy I'd met -
pre-departure? dear friend J?
We went for gyoza.

(During "the homestay"
the family made gyoza -
first bite I was hook'd)

This was on my list
of things to do in Japan
'cuz I *love* gyoza.

I had all this cash
but in foreign currency
I did not yet "get."

They could have charg'd us
five hundred dollars for it -
it's not like I'd know.

We ate, chatted, paid
with Monopoly money,
more friendship building.

(A friendship that would
become 10 years and growing.
How funny, who knew?)

I can't even say
just how exhilarating
this simple thing was.

Standing just outside,
it all struck me really hard,
all seemed so surreal.

I was doing it!
I was living my big dream!
Me, there in Japan!

Oh my God, oh, wow!
Oh my God, oh my God, wow!
Oh my God, pinch me!

Wishing that I could
have this moment forever,
I did something bold.

Something so practiced,
something I'd worked on for months,
but something I'd fear'd.

And though my voice shook,
nervous as hell, oh my God!
I asked a stranger...

...all in Japanese
fearing he'd not understand
and that I'd look dumb...

...I balls'd up and ask'd
if he would take our picture.
He kindly said yes.

Now, this might just seem
like nothing all that special,
but for me it's huge.

This was the first time
I had to communicate
for real, in real life.

I wanted something,
not some textbook exercise.
Language = Magic.

It did not stop there.
Ev'ry class I ever taught
I brought this with me.

I hoped my students
would someday feel this same awe,
the power of words.

is connecting with others,
a bridge between souls.

Sure, for a picture
that sounds a bit dramatic,
but still it's so true.

At heavier times
I've helped out a friend,
translating sad things.

Broken Japanese
filtered through sincerity
is made whole (enough).

I believe it's true
no matter the language;
it does connect us.

Textbooks and testing,
they are one part of learning,
but the smallest part.

Of course you must know
that I still have that picture,
a treasur'd mem'ry.

And now I delight
when someone approaches me
and asks haltingly...

...but excitedly,
even in broken English,
"our picture. you take?"

I'm honored to be
part of an experience
they'll keep forever.

Partly thanks to him,
Chantix tip, smoke free today:
day three-two-seven


  1. i completely understand. i'm getting braver and braver with my thai and want to do a little dance when i'm understood!

    what great memories!

  2. "Communication
    is connecting with others,
    a bridge between souls."

    I love that line(s)! Fun memories.

  3. What a marvelous
    ‘experience’ shared in ‘Ku!
    Lessons for us all ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

  4. I loved, loved, loved this. You are my favorite place on Haiku Friday.

  5. I wish I knew another language! I do know "Gangsta" or teen slang but never picked up a second language. Is that you in that picture Maggie/

  6. Very cool! Japanese seems like it would be a difficult language to learn...glad you were brave to use it!

  7. first: great story!
    and you are SUCH a good haiku-er!

    second: nice outfit!
    we had very similar taste back then!

  8. look how cute you are!!!!!

    this was a fun read!

  9. Oh, wow. I'm impressed. Fluent in Japanese. I get it. I did Spanish (badly) in Honduras. But I have noticed just trying gets you better treatment.

  10. Omigosh tooooo cute.
    Warm and fuzzies all around.
    Leave it to you Maggie, to put a smile on my face!~


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