Sunday, November 21, 2004

Finally back from a weekend vacation at an onsen and visiting shrines and daibutsu (the Big Buddha) in Hakone and Kamakura. Lots of good pictures to come once I download them from Kevin and Beth's camera.

But until then, just this: Language has become a somewhat barbaric device for me. In doing my best to learn Japanese, I've had to come face to face with language's limitations. It started as I began learning Japanese and thought, oh that expression feels so rustic or so flimsy, or sometimes I'd feel that the Japanese grammar felt primitive or something to that effect, until suddenly there was a transmission of these feelings about Japanese to my perspective on English, and I now often feel the same way about English, and now Language in general. I'm feeling outside of language, so to speak, rather than inside. This is very difficult for me, even though it's also an interesting condition, because language has always been my home, the element where I felt most me. Words and sentences and paragraphs, all the components of composition were sexy, admirable, magical, amazing, good, wise, beautiful, delicious. Now I feel like words have become these hollow blocks that we clunk together and why don't we just scratch some pictures on the cave wall with a stone too? I guess I'm feeling like a curtain has been pulled back and the thing I loved most in the world, that I put faith in more than anything, has been revealed to have an emptiness behind it, a darkened stage. At the same time, I recognize this moment as a place where one makes a decision. To accept that emptiness, or to have faith not in words per se, but in the fact that as human beings we try to express ourselves period. That the endeavor itself is the thing to have faith in.


Blogger scott said...

I think it was Brother Theodor who said, "I gazed into the Abyss, and the Abyss gazed into me. Neither of us liked what we saw."

Keep your chin up. Your trip sounds like fun. Lood forward to seeing the pics.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But doesn't standing outside of something, anything, give it this lovely new perspective? I'd think having/feeling both, about language and thus this thing that you have such passion for (ie: writing), would provide a certain better appreciation.

Your entries are beautiful to read. If being separated from something enhances what you seem to do so naturally, then... take this phase and embrace it. :)

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that comment was brought to you by the letter K and the other letter L.


Hi Trin. <3

12:29 PM  
Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

hehe, yes, it's true. It does enhance things, even the midst of forcing me outside of something I felt comfortable inside of. And then again, something happens like it did tonight, when I went to a little pub and played darts with a troupe of expatriates and Japanese people, Italians, Czechs, Brits, Aussies, Canadians, and me the American, and really well with my Japanese, as well as my English of course. But yeah, it's a really different perspective than I'm used to.

2:32 PM  

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