The Garden of Words

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Garden of Words

The Garden of Words tells a story of two lonely people that rendezvous on rainy days. I am completely enamored by simple stories of people who are trying to find their place in the world. There is so much depth to these characters. Their sense of longing and solitude is palpable. Even though the world is animated, I feel a strong connection to the story. The story emphasizes the original meaning of koi - a "longing for someone in solitude". What does it mean to exist? What does it mean to live day-by-day? Where am I? Who am I? Am I in this alone? A simple connection with another human being can make life worth living. It can make you wake up in the morning. It can give you a sense of meaning and purpose.

In an interview, the director Makoto Shinkai said he created the film with the hope of cheering up people who feel lonely or incomplete in their social relations. However, he made a point that "this movie doesn't treat loneliness as something that must be fixed." I find that to be such a beautiful sentiment. Loneliness is a human experience and state of emotion. I find it necessary to embrace loneliness and solitude, so that we can truly understand ourselves. Then it becomes a beautiful equation if you can share that solitude with another human being. That's my understanding of koi.

I've learned to embrace the rain, because water gives us life and it makes everything beautiful again. Life is a journey that requires us to walk with two feet on the ground. When it rains, it pours, so walk the walk of life with courage. Breathe.

なるかみの, すこしとよみて,
[A faint clap of thunder,
Clouded skies,
Perhaps rain will come.
If so, will you stay here with me?]
Yukino in The Garden of Words[3]
from Man'yōshū, Book 11, verse 2,513[4]

[A faint clap of thunder,
Even if rain comes or not,
I will stay here,
Together with you.]
Takao in The Garden of Words[5]
from Man'yōshū, Book 11, verse 2,514[6]