Monday, January 31, 2005

of things that make me happy.

Today has been a good day. I was woken up with a call from my parents. They both seem to be in good moods lately and that is always a good thing. The call was nice. So after they hung up, I decided to call some other friends of mine. That was a fun conversation as well.

Well, along the way, I managed to get distracted and I neglected getting ready for class until the last possible minute. Fortunately, I managed to make it just in time to catch the train that would prevent me from being seriously late. Lucky. :-) Class wasn't all that exciting, but it wasn't horrible either. But the fun came afterwards.

I got mail! Yes, that is always fun and exciting. Especially when it is something you have been waiting for. I ordered a coat last week, and it got here this week. (good shipping.) Now, the story is that I have been searching for a coat since middle of summer. I am from Texas. You don't really need good coats there. But here it is colder and I spend way more time walking outside than I did in Texas. But it was quite the adventure trying to find a suitable coat. Well, finally we found one and my parents bought me a nice expensive coat. It is down and long and SUPER COOL! At first I wasn't sure how well I would like it, but I thought it would be ok as long as it fit and kept me warm (plus being down it wouldn't take up too much room or be too bulky.) Well, it turns out it has tons of fun pockets (I really love pockets) and a two way zipper and other cool things. I am happy with the coat.

Well, that's enough for a good day, but I got to ride the train home with Bethany (other missionary) and we talked some. We even managed to get her a seat on the more crowded train line. Well, several stops later, a large group of old women come on the train. They got one seat near us and gave it to one of the women. Another couple of stops, and the woman next to Bethany got off. So Bethany got up too to give another woman her seat so they could sit together. The women were all impressed by this. They starting talking to us some and asking us some questions. But they mostly laughed at us (I think they thought we were cute foreigners or something.) Well, this was amusing for me. But the embarrassing part came when it was time for us to get off the train. I gathered up my box (from my coat) and as we started to leave, this entire bench of old women chorus at us "Arigato" and "Take care" (in Japanese, I can't remember what the word is). Yeah, it was really embarrassing. (you have to understand too that people don't talk much on trains, so we definitely stood out by this happening) Yes, they were cute old ladies, but it was definitely embarrassing.

Anyway, that's the tale of my good day.

Monday, January 24, 2005

of poetry and pain.

I'm not a poet, and really I have no real desire to become one. But none the less, at times like this words overflow to try to express how I am feeling. So yes, there really is no meter or rhyme or structure of any sort. I don't try to follow rules or anything, I just write. So regardless of whether or not it is good poetry, the emotions are true. That is the only thing I intend to capture.

That explained, here is my most recent composition, written on the train.


Trapped inside my own thoughts
A prison I can't escape
Continuously battered by accusations
I can't honestly refute
My failures exposed;
hideous to see
How can I withstand the onslaught
When the accuser is me?

What is this flaw I posses
Anchoring me to inaction?
Always desiring to change;
But frozen in my own inadequacy.

The fault is mine, no one else to blame
I wallow in the bile of overwhelming shame.
The very thing I want to purge
Is exactly what prevents my change.

Oddly enough, I think it might make a good rap, Linkin Park style. Guess all I need is a good chorus and someone to write music for me.

of anonymous comments.

So it is definitely exciting when someone replies to my blog. But so far it has only been people I know replying. So when I get an anonymous reply, it makes me wonder. Now I know it doesn't really change what was said knowing who said it, but it does make me wonder. There is now a mystery I can't solve. Who is anonymous? Is it someone I know who just didn't bother to write down a name, or is it someone I don't know? Now the second option is the one that intrigues me. I am definitely interested in knowing if random people are reading my blog. All kinds of questions arise. Who are you? Where are you from? How did you find my page? Why are you still reading? etc etc etc. Yes, the world is full of questions without answers.

And on a similar, but side note, it strikes me as odd to be blogging about my blog.

Anywho, while I'm here, might as well write a short summary of my day. Went to church, didn't understand the sermon or hymns because it was all in Japanese, went out for lunch with some friends, spent too much time at lunch, was almost late for a meeting with my language partner but managed to make it early instead by finding a shorter train route, did karaoke with lang. part., sang badly, went for coffee w/lp, talked about his English test, walked around looking for place to eat dinner w/lp, found place and ate dinner, talked, came home (thankfully the creepy guy that stands outside on the way home wasn't out tonight, more on him some other time) winding down.

And I realize that when I say short, I mean shorter than I could write. It's all a matter of perspective. And so that is that. Unless anyone really wants to hear about my adventures in downloading anime... Didn't think so. So I will now bring to a close yet another of my strange thought patterns in written form. So long, and good night.

Monday, January 03, 2005

of bad habits, up dates and random thoughts.

Yeah, so it's been a while since I have posted. I this is a habit for me. I will keep up with something for a little while and then I will just not feel like doing it. So, I become a looser and don't keep up with things. I always regret it afterward, but that doesn't seem to stop me from doing it again.

So here is a quick update. My first Holiday Season in Japan was good. For the holidays I visited another group of missionaries on the other side of the mountain range in Niigata. I have to admit, I had a wonderful time. I am so grateful for all the hospitality shown to me. Everyone was so thoughtful and kind, I would have to say that this has been one of the most rewarding vacations for me in a long time.

There are currently 5 missionaries in the Niigata area. The great thing was being able to spend time with all of them, getting to know them and learn more about them. Since they are separated from those of us in Tokyo, it is harder to get to know them as well. I am very grateful for the chance I had to get to know them better. I would write more about it, but I have already forgotten much of what I wanted to say.

In other news. Japanese class resumed and it was hard going to get back into the swing of things. I think learning Japanese is really important, and I want to do it, but 3 hrs of Japanese class every day is tiring. It doesn't sound like much, but is is definitely mentally draining. The good news is that I can see my progress and there is a lot of instant gratification. (like turning on the TV and hearing one of the verb forms you learned that day)

Orientation is going pretty well. It is interesting dynamics when there are only three people in a group. There has been some friction recently, but nothing too bad, and really, that's to be expected when there are people who spend time together. Doesn't mean we like it though.

Yesterday we went as a class to see Sumo. It was great. I know it doesn't sound exciting to see very large, mostly naked men wrestling with each other, but it really is. I got all into it. Of course I've been watching some on tv, so I could recognize a few of the wrestlers. I think I will do more research on the sport.

Now on to random thoughts. You know, it's an odd process to dertermine things to write in your blog. I mean, on the one hand, this is almost like a journal for me to keep my thoughts and feelings. But at the same time, I know people are reading this (mostly people I know). Well, this definitely makes you filter what you say. Not really a profound thought or anything, but just something I was thinking about.

I think I am getting used to live in Japan. I don't get quite astounded that I am here anymore (although it does still amaze me that something so wonderful happened to me). That's probably a bad thing. I am falling back into bad habits of mine and that is not a good thing. I often wish that once I overcame something, I would never have to deal with it again, but life is an awful lot like laundry. No matter how many times you wash your clothes, you always have to wash them again. Yeah, that's the reason I hate housework so much. Actually, that's probably a good reflection of my life. I let my house get all cluttered and messy till all I can see is the mess. Then I try to start to clean it, and it is discouraging because there is so much to clean. But, when I actually get something accomplished, sometimes its really easy to see. So I try to feel good about what I accomplished, but I still always see how much is left to do still. And the sad thing is that it is all my fault. I can't blame the state of my house on anyone else. I am the only one who lives here. Sometimes it's really easy to get arrogant. I can think that because I am a churchworker, and I am a missionary, and I have had all of this training, that I am such a good person. But then I look at myself and wonder how I get anything accomplished at all. It really is amazing that anything good comes out of my life. I am constantly being reminded that I am a child of Grace. I cannot do anything without God. This should be reassuring, and it is, but at the same time it's not. Yes, I have Grace. Yes, that is good. But I still wish that I could be the kind of person I could be proud of. Yeah, I know it's really selfish and I want it for the wrong reasons, but there it is. My only pride should be in Christ, and well, it is because I just don't have anything to be proud of on my own. So, in a way, my mess is a good thing. It keeps me humble and aware of my total dependence on Christ. After all, we can't have me thinking that I can earn my own salvation or that I deserve the good things I get.

And and quick side note. I realize that the way I express my thoughts are often misunderstood. People don't like it when I get too negative and try to cheer me up. Well, there are just all kinds of ways people react to the things I say. All I know is that a lot of my thoughts and feelings are just really abstract. Many people don't know what to think of them. And that's all right I guess. I realize that I am strange. I also acknowledge the possibility that my insights are horribly wrong. The good news is that I know that ultimately, it doesn't matter. I don't have to be a perfect person, I don't have to know all the answers. I have been redeemed by grace, and that is all I need. Yes, I know this is not an excuse for my shortcomings. While I know I can stay the same I am and God still loves me, I also have His fire in my heart. This fire doesn't allow me to be content with the bare minimum. It calls me to be refined. I will never obtain perfection in this world. There will always be things that I struggle with. Yes, sometimes it's discouraging. But that's ok. I don't have all the answers, and that's ok too. Because I have faith, I have the strength to keep moving. I don't know where I'm going, but I know that no matter where I go, God is there.

That was a really round about way of thinking things out, but that's how my mind works. If you have actually read this to the end, let me say I am impressed. You have a better attention span than I do.

of three months.

So, today would be the three month anniversary of my arrival in Japan. I wouldn't have really thought of it, except today I found myself walking back to my apartment, lugging more luggage than I really needed. As I turned a corner, I realized that just three months before I was turning the same corner, with the same bags. It's amazing how much I already feel like this is my home. I can now grocerery shop with more ease, and I even returned from a trip where I had to make all the travel arrangements by myself. I still feel amazingly Blessed to be here, and I am very thankful to God for allowing me to be in this place.