The Japanese language can be ambiguous at times.  Maybe many times.  Often, the subject is left unsaid, because people get the gist (hm… didn’t know that was spelt with a “g”) of who is doing what.  Unlike Spanish, the conjugated verb doesn’t tell who’s doing it.  So, if you miss the beginning of the conversation, for a learner, it could be challenging to find out what’s going on.

No, this is not a language lesson, but a cultural lesson.  Really? you ask.

Yes. Language absolutely reflects culture and subculture, no matter where you go. I’m sure someone else has said it, but if they haven’t, remember to quote me on it.

I was recently with two friends.  One in particular I have a lot of difficulty understanding.  I have no idea why, I just can’t seem to catch her.  She’s a Tokyoite, so I’m not sure what the deal is.  I actually feel a bit sad about it.  The other friend has spent some time overseas, so I’m sure that helps me when she’s communicating (she knows what I’m going to understand and what I’m not).

Anyway, friend 1 was saying something that I was working at grasping.  The wheels in my brain were working out of control to come to the conclusion of what she was getting at.

Friend two saw the steam rising slowly from my brain.

“Dakara….” she kindly stepped in. (“Therefore/because of that…”)


Like I hinted at before, there’s a huge part (exaggerated motions here) of language and culture here that’s all about what’s left unsaid.  What’s hinted at.  And to successfully understand the Japanese language [and people], ya’s gonna needsta know this.

1+1= …..

2.  You don’t need to say it.  But maybe in Japanese, it’s like 1+…..

For example, if you invite a friend to something or otherwise request something and the person uses the word “chotto” (a little), that’s usually a no.  EEEeeeeeck, screech the car, case closed.

Beside that, there is SO much about the grammar and phrases that the your language choice conveys the feeling behind it. You don’t even have to say the feeling, the phrase you choose communicates it all.

So, lately, I’ve been practicing my “dakara’s” with people.  What are they really saying here?  Is there something that is unsaid in this situation that they are hoping I catch?

I feel like I must look like an outfielder with baseballs flying all around while I’m just standing there, eyes straining at the air.

Let’s hope no concussions come out of this.

Lives of the Movie Stars

So in case you missed it, we’re filming right now.  We’re incredibly privileged to be part of a documentary, not only for WIM but also our own story.

We were told it was going to be an incredible amount of work.  And it is.  But it was easier than I thought in some ways.  And harder in others.

For example, it’s easier because they said it would take copious amounts of time to do anything because they have to set up cameras and check lighting and blah blah blah.  Well, I have a toddler.  Which already equals copious amounts of time.  So, bam.  We’re even folks.  You take care of lighting, I’ll chase a toddler.

Also easier because things I thought I was going to have to oversee, I don’t.  “Extras” of activities that I hadn’t anticipated got cancelled.  Whew!

And harder.  Not because of them– not at all.  And especially having Chris B from WIM around has been an extra hand of blessing in our lives.

But harder because well… planning ahead for a toddler is one thing.  But planning ahead not only her food and schedule and otherwise entertainment, but meal planning for company 24-7 is something that has been a juggle.  Mostly because we have a small refrigerator and where in the world are we going to put the eggs?  Oh, we need to buy snacks for this event.  This should have been thawed like yesterday for lunch I have to make in an hour.

So, it’s been a challenge, but I feel like I’ve been able to handle it with some degree of grace and coordination.

But the real kicker has been the teeth.  That is, the 6 back teeth and molars that decided to make their appearance in my daughter’s mouth.  And that has resulted in long bouts of late night crying, fussiness (caps, italics, bold, all that), a runny nose, and just otherwise fidgetiness that has transformed my laidback fun-loving toddler.

Oh, and did I mention that I sprained or strained a rib in my back?  Yeah.  Because, hey, why not?  For 24 hours I was physically unable take anything more than a light breath without some pretty severe pain in my back.  Who knows what I did, but though I’m still sore, I’m on the mend.

BUT.  Knowing these hurdles that have been placed in our paths during these two weeks, I feel like God is doing something in the film.  V and I have been vastly encouraged by the team and their grace and Chris’ words for us.  And we’ve been able to film some things we wouldn’t have imagined.  The weather has been perfect and otherwise we feel like the Lord is going to use this in big ways.

We’re still a week out, so please continue to pray for us! There’s more to go.  We want to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to tell God’s story through our lives.  We hope that everyone involved– the wonderful crew, us, those surrounding us here, the viewers at home, that all can be incredibly blessed by the story of God’s workings in our lives.