Karas was raised in Japan; it's the country she calls home. But when
her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma's family moves to a
town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma's grandmother
while her mom undergoes treatment.
Emma feels out of place in the United States. She begins to have
migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother's urging,
she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with
locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang,
another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly
visits to the care center, Zena's poems, dance, and noodle soup bring
Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in
Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.
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