A Complete Sentence Must
    Tom Abray
Mr. Nakata rose from his bed and looked through the window into the garden.

A complete sentence must:
1. Have a subject
2. Have a verb
3. Express a complete thought

After a moment, during which he seemed to be making up his mind about something while assessing the half-light in his garden, he moved into the bathroom where he deftly performed his morning ablutions.

Supply subjects and/or verbs to make these fragments complete sentences:
1. The woman in the long blue dress.
2. Left her luggage in the hotel.
3. The dentist holding the noisy drill.
4. Wondering where his money had gone.

In another room Mr. Nakata, who was not a young man, completed his exercise routine. When he was finished, he moved into the garden, where he sat quietly, without moving, for nearly half an hour. Then, as if he had just heard some signal that he had been waiting for, Mr. Nakata rose to his feet and walked almost hurriedly into his house, to the kitchen, where, with no fuss and little wasted energy, he prepared himself a simple breakfast.

Connect the fragments by joining them to neighboring sentences:
1. In the fifteenth century, the French originated a game similar to the tennis played today. The first tennis tournament was played at Wimbledon, England. In 1877.
2. The first tires were made of solid rubber. Giving a rough ride. They were replaced by tires containing a cushion of air.
3. Termites have three classes or castes. Workers, soldiers, and royalty. The workers and soldiers are blind.
4. The first commercial television broadcasts were made in 1939. The broadcasts stopped during World War II. Resuming after the war and revolutionizing entertainment by 1950.

He did not return to the garden, as one may have suspected, but sipped his tea at a table indoors.

Mr. Nakata's house, a quiet, dark place of gentle hellos and good-byes, refined conversation, and good cooking. Once armed cavalry, in the garden, orders to advance. On command, men and animals, the house with the clatter of hooves, into the street, enemy troops through town. Or so the story.

Mr. Nakata had an early appointment with the dentist, and he prepared now to go out.

Was not always. Gathered. Charged, filling, rode, ambush, moving. Goes.

To get to the street, Mr. Nakata had to walk through his garden, which was now filled with daylight. It was not as quiet as it had been earlier. The sounds of the car engines and tires in the nearby street were now audible. As Mr. Nakata stopped to remove a dying leaf from one of his potted plants, he noticed that the pedestal on which it stood was being severely attacked by termites.

Mr. Nakata's house was not always a quiet, dark place of gentle hellos and good-byes, refined conversation, and good cooking. Once armed cavalry gathered in the garden awaiting orders to advance. On command, men and animals charged, filling the house with the clatter of hooves as they rode into the street to ambush enemy troops moving through town. Or so the story goes.

The dentist's office was not near Mr. Nakata's neighborhood. It would take him perhaps forty minutes to walk there. On the way, he would regard the city and wonder at how it had changed since he was a boy.

The Sentence is a Bushel of Rice:
Mr. Nakata's property, in a traditional neighborhood in Kanazawa, Japan, was ideal for such tactics. The size of the house, garden, and toriniwa (literally, "through passageway to garden") had been specified by regulations reflecting the owner's productive capability (measured in bushels of rice) and the feudal government's military requirements.

Mr. Nakata crossed the parking lot and entered the dentist office. It was a modern building, in a modern part of town. When the door closed behind him, a chirp that sounded as if it could have been emitted from an electronic bird escaped from somewhere down the hall. Mr. Kuni, the dentist himself, appeared and greeted Mr. Nakata with a bow. "You are the first one," said Mr. Kuni, "and you've taken us by surprise. Do you mind waiting for a very short time? I'm very sorry." Mr. Nakata nodded and seated himself in the chair that was offered him.

The Sentence is a Potted Plant,
a Line of Drying Clothes:
Although practicality is the foundation of the Japanese house, the essential is supported by aesthetic ideals. The potted plants Mr. Nakata so carefully tends will be placed in the street for the pleasure of passersby. The colourful line of newly laundered clothes brightens the dark and still house; threaded onto bamboo poles, they resemble banners that decorate religious buildings during festivals.

Mr. Nakata was soon ushered into an examining room. One of Mr. Kuni's assistants, a young woman, took x-rays of his teeth. "Mr. Kuni will be with you in a minute," said the woman. Mr. Nakata nodded. He noticed that the assistant looked tired and-there was something else--perhaps even as if she had just been chastised for arriving late, but Mr. Nakata could not tell for certain.

The Sentence is an Opening:
One of Mr. Nakata's neighbors has a small garden that contains a tree and a large stone lantern that can almost be touched from her bed. They have an imposing presence, blurring the distinction between in and out, here and there. The opening is important. Openings without glass or screens give the impression that the room is part of the garden and the garden part of the room. Glass is a wall, however transparent. It keeps out a bird song and the smell of damp earth. Screens also form a visual barrier and reduce the flow of air.

"Your teeth are excellent," said Mr. Kuni, "as good as a man who is twenty-five. Good life: that is the best medicine. You are a happy man. You don't spend your time worrying about money, do you?" The assistant entered the room for a moment to fetch a pair of gloves. She bowed to Mr. Nakata. Mr. Kuni said to her, "This is the happiest man in all of Kanazawa. What do you think his secret is?"

"I don't know," she blushed. "What is your secret, sir?"

Mr. Nakata blushed a little also. "Ignorance is bliss," he said in English.

Mr. Kuni and his assistant bent their heads toward him, so Mr. Nakata repeated what he had said in Japanese.

Mr. Kuni denied it cheerfully. "His only fault:" said Mr. Kuni to the assistant, "false modesty."

The Sentence is a Sliding Panel:
Sliding panels can be placed in various locations or removed entirely. The amada (rain shutters) and shoji (translucent paper panels) can be precisely and subtly manipulated and placed to achieve desired effects. They are practical, but they also create a sense of telescoping space. Moving about the house provides an infinity of views, never precisely remembered and always new.

It was true that part of Mr. Nakata's modesty was false, but there was also some truth in what he had said. He believed that some things were impossible to elaborate in conversation, happiness, for instance, and this made him careful and reverent. He had not found words for it that could be spoken in a dentist's office without abusing what he had found, and so he did not pretend that he had what he did not.

The Sentence is a Metaphor:
Beyond its practical and aesthetic meaning, the garden is a place of the spirit, compensating for the absence of nature in our daily lives. In Japan, the wilderness disappeared long ago. Mr. Nakata's garden is a metaphor for the vanishing rice paddies and the rocks and islands of a distant sea. In his later years, Mr. Nakata finds solace and respite here, and a refuge from the street's traffic and indifference. The garden next to Mr. Nakata's bed is the place he glimpses during sleepless nights and in early morning hours a place that fosters contemplation.

Mr. Kuni withdrew to attend to another patient. For a few minutes Mr. Nakata was left alone with the television. The nurse came in again, and Mr. Nakata asked her if she would mind turning up the sound a little bit. She handed him a remote control and told him that he could change the channel, too, if he wished. Mr. Nakata did not notice, but the young woman behaved self-consciously, now that she was alone with him.. She had rarely seen Mr. Kuni treat a patient with the respect that he had shown toward this old man. She asked Mr. Nakata if he understood how to use the remote control, and he said that he did. As she left, she said that she would be back in a few minutes to clean his teeth.

The Sentence is a Garden:
The garden changes little. It simply exists, offering views of green leaves and blue sky, of wet stones and freshly laundered clothes lightly moving on a hot summer afternoon, a reminder that some things are continuous in a life of insistent change.

Mr. Nakata's teeth had been cleaned. He had left the dentist's office and now, since he was not often in this part of the city, he was taking the opportunity to walk through a large park that was near Mr. Kuni's. For the most part it was a modern park, with tennis courts and swimming pools, but in the centre there was a small, traditional garden. In the middle of the city, Mr. Nakata rested on a rock at the edge of a garden.

Drilling, driving, originating, playing, making, replacing, containing, having, being, stopping, resuming, revolutionizing.

Mr. Nakata savoured life, but not like other men. He did not live as if he were going to die tomorrow, but as if he were going to live forever. His memories had to last forever, and so he had always tried to think, "This moment is worth remembering forever."

Sliding Panels:
Sentences have three classes or castes. The first sentences were made of solid rubber. In the fifteenth century, the French originated a sentence similar to the tennis played today. The sentences stopped during World War II. Resuming after the war and revolutionizing entertainment by 1950. They were replaced by sentences containing a cushion of air.

Just a little to the right of Mr. Nakata stood a western woman in a long blue dress. Mr. Nakata could see the appreciation in the woman's eyes. He turned to her and inquired, "Do you speak Japanese?" Then he explained to her where the garden came from and part of what it meant.

The sentence changes little. It simply exists, offering views of green leaves and blue sky, of wet stone and freshly laundered clothes lightly moving on a hot summer afternoon, a reminder that some things are continuous in a life of insistent change.

By the time Mr. Nakata returned home it was the hour for his afternoon nap. He sat on the edge of his bed and looked out on the garden. His head was cocked slightly to the side, as if he were trying to remember something. After a few moments he lay down and fell asleep. In the afternoon his dreams were always colourful and vivid. Today was no different.

A complete sentence must:
1. Like a long blue dress
2. Among the drying laundry
3. Between bamboo poles


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...