Thursday, June 23, 2005

of stuff...

So nothing terribly exciting has been going on, but several small things have, so I decided to update.

Sunday: The woman came to Bible Study. I had two people there. Turns out the woman is Chinese and has been living in Japan for 10 years. She is Trilingual! Amazing! Well, at one point, a friend had given her a book with Christian stories in it or something and she has been interested in learning more about Christianity. She asked some good questions, and I gave her an English Bible. I am excited that she came and I hope she comes again next week.

Then I went to Cell. Wasn't too exciting, but it was fun. A Japanese man came. His name is Toshiyuki. He is nice and I like talking to him. We went to McDonald's afterwards. Then I came home.

Monday: My day off. Didn't do anything special. It was payday, so I went to the bank to grab some money and I did a little shopping, but mostly for teaching stuff. Found a new textbook for one class. It was cool.

Tuesday: My first class of the day decided they wanted to throw me a "welcome" party. Yeah, I've been teaching for almost three months, but hey, they wanted a party. They took me to this super nice restaurant and we had lots of Japanese food. They are a funny little class. None of them speak great English because it's a beginners class. But they are cute. What was funny was when the waitress would helpfully correct their English! It was funny.

Wed and Today: Just basically teaching and stuff. Not too much going on. Life's not terribly dull, neither is it terribly exciting. :-) Tomorrow's Friday, horray!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

of Gingerbread House and forgotten news...

So today was my second Gingerbread House. Lauren came to help and observe. We had less kids this time, but still, we had 15. They seemed to have a good time. They are really well behaved kids. Many of the older ones have younger siblings, so when we played games like Elbow Tag, the older ones were kind to the younger ones. It was rather amusing to see the older ones run in slow motion when a younger one was "it." But I am glad they are so well behaved. I know that many American kids are not this well behaved in such a large group of various ages. It was a good time, and the parents seemed rather pleased about it. I am thankful.

So, that's my news for today. Now on to old news I forgot to write about. Last Sunday I had another good Bible Study. Oh, yeah, that reminds me. A woman came today looking for information for an English class for her Jr. High daughter. (this is the second time this has happened while I was preparing for Gingerbread House. Normally there is no one at the church on Saturday's, unless Pastor happens to be working etc.) The mother spoke English, so I was able to tell her what I knew and show her the text book for the Jr. High Class. But then the mother asked me about Bible Classes. I thought it was for the daughter, so I told her about the Jr. High class for Sunday School, but it turns out the mother was interested in a class. So she is coming to my Bible Study tomorrow. Horray for chances like that! God works in mysterious ways, but it's awesome that a woman walks in off the street like that looking for a Bible Class!

Ok, back to old news. The Bible study went well and I was happy, and then I took a nap (I had been up late Sat night) and then went to Takenotsuka for Cell. I actually left a little early so I could go to a Tonkatsu restaurant I knew in the station. The tonkatsu was wonderful! It had been so long since I had eaten any, I forgot how much I loved it. Then I went to meet the others. The meeting was late that night since all the "locals" had been invited to Pastor Kitazawa's "surprise" Birthday Party. (Pastor Kitazawa being the pastor at Takenotsuka and also the recently elected Vice-President of the NRK, Japan Lutheran Church) So I was waiting in front of the church since I am still unable to find my way to Jason and Sarah's house, where the meeting was to be held. They all come back from the party together and I talked a little with Pastor and his family. Anyway, we went to cell, and I led the Bible Study, and we had a good time. Knowing that the Cell would run longer than we could get home, Lauren and I were planning on spending the night in Takenotsuka. We were given permission to crash at Cindy's apartment, as she was in the states for Orientation etc. But first, we decided to take the chance and do some late night Karaoke. It was good times. We spent about two hours at the Karaoke shop. We got back around 4:30 AM. But it was all good, because Monday is our day off. So of course, we slept in. :-)

Monday was also a rather good day. I got new extentions, three this time, and electric blue. I am happy with them, and I was also excited because I managed the whole visit successfully with my broken Japanese. Then I went wandering about for a while. I didn't want to return home because I was meeting my Lang. Partner at 4:30 in Shibuya. Now, if you don't know, Shibuya is the classic picture many people have of Tokyo. Lots of tall buildings with flashing lights and moving advertisements. And tons of people. It's popular for young people, rich people, and foreigners. It's cool. I went shopping a little, and then met Hiroki. We talked and that was fun and then we went to Okonomiyaki. It was great. I got some great pictures.

Anyway, I think that's most of what I forgot to mention before. It's funny because my life is either really busy, or really empty. I would be kind of nice if it were just evenly balanced. LOL.

On a random note, I find I wish I could spend more time thinking about God and putting Him first in my life. Lately it's been rather easy to become distracted and think about things like "I wish I was in a relationship" etc. I don't know why, as I am rather happy right now, and man, a relationship would only make my like way too complicated. In any case, I would really prefer to put my whole trust in God to provide for me in His time than sit and ponder things until I go crazy. I wish it was as easy to do things like that as it sounds. :-( But it's ok, I still love Japan and I am still content to be here. And most of all, I LOVE GOD! :-D

PS: I've noticed, the spell check really hates Japanese words. Wonder why? ;-P

Friday, June 17, 2005

of Friday's and such...

Well, today was finally Friday. I have more classes on Friday than normal, but overall, I really like my Friday students. All my adult students are super fun, and while I have two rather quiet and reserved Children's classes, I also have a nice class of three boys. They know how to have fun and always laugh and smile. I have a ton of fun with that class. And they aren't discipline problems, so I am happy with that. Anyway, it was that class that made me happy today. One of my students has a rather nice mother who I talk to sometimes (she speaks English fairly well) and today they brought me flowers from their home. It was really cute. I had just started class when I the door opens. In comes his little brother carrying three huge hydrangea, followed by his mother. I was so happy (esp since I've been trying to get his little brother used to me, but unfortunately last week, I scared him while trying to tickle him and he cried a little...)

Anyway, I am happy. Also tomorrow is Gingerbread House. I don't know how many kids will come this time, but I hope it will be a good turn out. But I have to get up early to go shopping for it. Anywho, I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

of my day off...

Wow, This has really been a great week for me. Yesterday I went to my old "hometown" of Takenotsuka for Cell meeting. It was nice because the meeting was later than usual, so Lauren and I had to spend the night in Takenotsuka. Which was rather fun. Lauren and I hit up our favorite Karaoke joint and had a goold ole time. We went to bed around 4:30 ish. Thing I learned from that experience: the sun actually begins rising at that time! Insane!

So we woke up and parted ways around 11 ish today. I had a meeting with my Lang. Partner at 4:30, so I decided to stay in the Tokyo Area. The weather was rather nice today, if just a tad hot and muggy. But I decided to get some more extentions. This time it is pure blue, and I got three. I just really get excited about having blue streaks in my hair! LOL. This time, I went to the salon by myself and muddled through the Japanese to get what I wanted.

So then I wandered about Takenotsuka for a while, and then caught a train to Shibuya, where I was meeting Hiroki. I was a couple hours early, so I also wandered around there. I found Claires and spent a bit too much there, but I am happy with the cute things I bought.

I also took tons of pictures today. So then I met up with Hiroki and that was fun. I always have a good time talking with him. We had Okonomiyaki again. Yesterday I had tonkatsu for the first time in a long time too. It was SO good. I had forgotten how much I like these foods!

So anyway, I just had a really good day and I am happy! :-)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

of Grace...

I am so thankful for the Grace that God sends me. My Bible Study went well again, even though I actually changed it at the last minute to a totally different passage than I had originally planned. I'm glad God loves me, and gives me the words I need even when I'm a looser and don't prepare like I should. Grace is amazing, and humbling. Thank you Father.

of lack of sleep...

I'm tired.

That's what I get for staying up so late. Silly me. I have just a little break before a Bible Study I lead. Then I can finally take a nap. Horray for naptime!

of a random Saturday...

Yeah, so today was Saturday. I didn't have an event today, so I decided I should get some stuff done, like cleaning my house a bit etc. Well, the cleaning didn't happen, but lots of other stuff did. First of all, I got to chat a bit with Michael and then Marlo. I finally wrote and sent out a newsletter and I did a little updating on my website. Hope to do more of that soon. I got a phone call from Lauren, and then I went on a bit of an adventure to find Music Box, a sort of music praise time, run by former missionaries in a nearby Lutheran School. I finally found the place and it was a good time. Three of my students (please note, from here on out any of my students who are also children will be known as "my kids") were there and I talked with a couple of the moms. Met some new people. Spoke a litte Japanese. Got a free ride back to the train station. Not bad.

So then back at the main station, I decided I need to check out a book store for some ESL resources. I think I found a book I want to use for one class, but I am still looking for a book for a different one. So I wandered around there a bit, and then started walking back home. Well, on the way home there is this clothing store owned by a black man. I don't think he's American, but he does speak English. There are also a couple of younger black men who work for him. Well, one of these guys started talking to me as I walked by. He wanted me to go out to coffee with him. I declined. He was more persistent than most because he tried to set up a time for tomorrow etc. Yeah, there's just something strange about the idea of going out with some random guy I met on the street. I don't trust situations like those. But at the same time, it's nice to be picked up... LOL

So then I came home and had a message from Besty (I had called her earlier, but she wasn't home.) I waited about an hour and then called her back. We talked for over an hour. I was just getting ready to hang up when I hear strange tapping noises. It was really freaky. Then I started hearing voices, a man's voice. So now I am thinking a drunk man is wandering around my house. And I am also realizing that my door is unlocked. (apparently my window was unlocked as well, but I didn't know that.) So finally, I tell Besty (who is still on the phone) that I am going to go check it out. Turns out it's Mika and Alex. I had been so scared! But it turned out OK. So then, (after being teased because my house is a mess and I wouldn't let them in) we went out for a while and talked. So now it is 3 AM, Saturday night and I have church tomorrow. I won't want to get up in the morning, I promise. Well, I generally don't want to get up any morning, but that's just me.

So there's the play by play of what turned out to be a rather eventful Saturday, despite me not having any work related events.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

of being built up...

So I've decided Japan is good for my self esteem. Or at least today was good for my self-esteem. Today I was fortunate enough to have many people build me up. It's so odd for me to be surrounded by people who praise me. I almost don't know how to deal with it. I keep wondering when I will wake up from this dream. My co-worker praised me (and I actually value her opinion very much) and I know at least one of my adult classes love to come to English class. And of course 99% of the kids love me (but that's normal, kids are easy to please.)

The adult class in question took me out again after class today. They are great. They are going to take me out on a Saturday next month it looks like. And my Tuesday class is planning a "welcome party" for me week after next. Things were slow at first, but I think it's just because it takes me a little while to build up relationships. But now my weeks are filling up with things to do. I feel like this is less work, and more like me being rewarded.

I just pray that God uses my time here. I know that I myself am not really capable of much. But I am so thankful for this experience. I know I will remember this for the rest of my life and be so happy that I did this.

It's funny, I still feel lost and directionless sometimes, but before when I felt that, I felt such overwhelming discouragement. But now, somehow, it's ok. I can still feel contentment, while I feel the other things too. I want to feel like this the rest of my life...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

of cabbage...

Yes it is strange to have a post dedicated to cabbage, but there is a good reason for this. Today, my student brought me a cabbage she had grown. Now this is an exceptionally sweet thing to do but not really something to write home about, except for one thing, This cabbage is HUGE! Now when I say HUGE, I mean larger than my head huge! My arms were tired from carrying the thing across the street! I am not certain how I can possibly eat this much cabbage. Good thing I like cabbage! I have seriously never seen such a large cabbage before. Also, this sucker is heavy! Ok, that's my rant for the day. Anyone want some cabbage?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

of multicultural students...

Yeah, today is a day for me to randomly blog. I have a break between classes, and wanted to jot something down before taking a nap.

So the two most popular "mission Fields" that people think of are Africa and China. Personally, I have no real desire to go to either place (my true love being Japan), but I came to an interesting conclusion the other day. One of my students is Chinese!

Not that I can tell the difference. I didn't know until he told me that he couldn't come to Gingerbread House because he takes Chinese lessons on Saturdays. When I mentioned it to Mika, she told me it's because he is Chinese! He went to Shanghai last week and brought back Omiyage for everyone in English class. He is such a cute kid too.

Anyway, that's my thought that has basically nothing to do with anything. I'm gonna nap now. Latta!

of late nights and early mornings...

Wow. Yesterday, I thought I was doing pretty good because I woke up in time to hit up good ole Micky D's for some breakfast (this is amazing for me actually, but lately I've been getting up before noon...) For some reason (unrelated to waking up at a decent hour) I was super sleepy yesterday. I think I might be developing some mild allergies, my eyes are itchy lately and I've been sneezing. Anywho, that's not really what I'm blogging about. It's what happened after work. Now, it is important to remember that I start work at 1 PM and I end work at 9 PM.

So after work, Mika (the woman I work with) tells me that her friend Alex (who lives reasonably in the area) wants to hang out. My first thought is, who the heck starts hanging out at 9 at night? My next thought is, heck yeah, I'm cool enough to tag along! So of course, I agree. And so I set out on a late night adventure (yes, I have a Japanese lesson today and I work. I am SO SLEEPY!). So I ended up meeting Alex at this new station while Mika went to get her parents car.

We managed to find this place from the directions Mika gave me and we met up with her not long after. This place was really nice, but it was kinda funny. The whole building was black, and inside was really dark. The waiters were dressed in the pretty traditional waiter attire (for Japan) but then they each had a walkie talkie. It was really funny to me watching this play out. So then we were escorted upstairs and led to another little secluded booth. We barely had time for the last order of food, then they told us it was the last order on drinks, then eventually, they told us it was time to go home. Nice place, but a bit pricey.

So afterwards we get in the car, and Mika, after some nerves (she hadn't driven in a while) drives us back to my house. No one really seems to want to end the night. They jokes about hanging out at my house, to which I wish I could have said yes, but alas, my house is not fit to hang out in atm. So then Mika suggested Karaoke. We of course agreed. So we then spent two hours at Karaoke. It was a good time, but man, I must be insane. I didn't go to bed until after 3, and here I am at 10:30 trying to get ready for my Japanese lesson at 11.

Thought of the day: I AM SO FREAKIN TIRED!

PS: the first spellcheck option for the correctly incorcorrectly spelled "freakin" is foreskin. Just FYI.

Monday, June 06, 2005

of the fall...

Yes, given my great enjoyment of writing on religious themese, unfortunately, this post is not one of them, though the title would be a great heading for one...

Actually, the news of the day ain't all that exciting. But I had another "first time in Japan" experience, and so I thought I'd grace all my readers with this knowledge.

Today I fell for the first time while riding my bike. Yes, sad but true. Got a few scrapes, but nothing too major. Other than that, I had a relatively good day. As it was my day off, I decided to ingore the state of my house and indulge the restlessness that was plaguing me. I spent the day wandering about, getting to know my neighborhood a bit better. Not too bad. Anywho, not all that exciting.

of community...

So my program is currently undergoing many changes, the least of which is a new director. This really has little to do with anything, except that this aforementioned new director has a vision for us: community. At first, I felt she was being a but pushy with this idea of hers (really, I am not sure you can understand unless you have actually met the woman), but since attending some small group meetings (hereafter referred to as Cell) I have jumped on the community bandwagon.

I am really excited about the changes in the focus of our program. It is exciting to see how just meeting once a week and having a Bible Study together helps. I am looking forward to seeing how this impacts Japan.

I also have to say, that I am just overwhelmed by the Blessings my Father has lavished upon me recently. I feel similar to Joseph (everything he did prospered). I don't want to sound conceited, because really, it's nothing I'm doing. In fact, I'd say things are going well despite my presence. But I see so many possibilities here. Maybe it's because I'm new in Japan, and I haven't seen the disappointments etc. But I am so excited about what I see. The new programs I start have more support than I thought they would, and God has been blessing my Bible Studies and meetings as well.

I have to admit, it's rather strange to me to have so much going well all at once. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Since I made the decision to come to Japan (has it already been a year?!?), my life has felt "right." There's just no other way to explain it. Of course life is not perfect, but I have never felt so content with my life before, for such a long period of time. Maybe it is because I have battled with depression so often, but this period of calm is like a whole new world for me, and just a bit unreal. Some days I just wonder when it will start going downhill again. Guess that's a bit pessimistic. For now, I am enjoying life in spite of myself. I don't know what the future holds, but I think that's best to leave in God's hands anyway.

Well, this doesn't even begin to skim the surface of my thoughts and feelings on these subjects, but it's late and it's been a long (although entirely fruitful) day. I am going to go off to bed now, and hopefully wake up ready to clean my house and do some much needed organizing of my classroom. If you read this anytime soon, please pray that I can have a productive day tomorrow (despite it being my day off).

Yes, life is good because God is good. I wish everyone knew that and could share in my Treasure...