Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not quite dead!

Wow. I really have to appologize. It's been a super busy fall with lots of surprises thrown in. (Like my computer suffering a mental breakdown...)

Lets see. I had a birthday. It was good. Because of my schedule, I kinda ended up celebrating for almost two weeks straight. Haha. Then started the long haul of big events, meetings and celebrations.

Halloween is a big event for my school here. This year we tried to do a more "Harvest Festival" style with booths and stuff. It went pretty well, and next year I hope it can get a bit bigger. That was followed by Thanksgiving, (with barely enough time to prepare another big event). This year I tried a pot luck thanksgiving. There weren't as many people, but I think it went well for the first time.

Somewhere in there was also Fall Retreat. This is one of the two yearly meetings where all the missionaries come together. It's fun, but it's stressful as well. Good news is this year we went to the beach! It was really great.

Then came super big event. Christmas. Wow. This year I had a big Christmas event. I spent three weeks teaching all my kids classes to sing "Away in a Manger." This song is not so well known in Japan, but I thought it would be good to introduce it. They sang at the event. It was really super cute. I'll post a video of them singing it later. Then the drama class performed an English Christmas drama. There was carol singing and a message. Then we played some games and of course a present exchange. Now, here is some important info. I wanted to reach a large variety of people, so this was "family style" so my kids came and so did the adults. (this way parents can also hear the Christmas message) But the big addition this year was... Trash Box Jam! Yep, the band came and played at the end of the party. This was amazing! I thought maybe we would have 50 or 60 people. (my events average 20-30 for a good event, although I have gotten up to 50 before.) But somewhere between 80-90 people came!!! I was shocked. Some of the fans from the band came, and this was the first time in a church or in a sancuary for some of them. And this was the first Church Christmas event for most. It was a great chance for the seed of God's word to be planted in them. I was really really excited. I was also really exausted. haha. But it was all worth it.

I'm always so amazed at God's grace. I know there are so many things I fail at. So many things I can be doing better. But God continues to amaze me with His awesome love and grace. Especially at this time of year, when I'm reflecting on what has happened. It's so easy for me to be negative and find all the faults in myself and what I did wrong in the past year. But more and more I can see all the things that God has done instead. It's amazing. It's good to put things in the proper perspective. Or at least a closer perspetive. I guess it's like being a character in a book. When I was a kid (and maybe even still now) I'd imagine I was a character in a book. Of course, I always thought I was a main character. The book was about me. But recently, I'm realizing how the book is not about me. I'm not the main character. At most I can be a supporting character. Maybe the friend who doesn't understand everything that's going on, but still follows and supports the main character. (ok, maybe that is more stereotypical of manga and anime...) When I first realized that, I was a bit sad. Yeah, everyone wants to be the main character. But really, the main character is Jesus. It's amazing that I even get to be included in the story! The more I can let go of my pride and desire to be reconized or in the spotlight, the more I can enjoy watching what God is doing around me. eh, I hope that made sense to someone other than me. Hahaha.

Anyway. Those are my thoughts for now. There are still things to do, but hopefully things will calm down in January. I'll be sure to post more pictures later.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fun surprises.

Well, it's already October huh? Tomorrow I will be celebrating my 3rd year anniversary of my arrival in Japan. Wow, already 3 years. So in preparation for my continued stay in Japan, I had to brave the bureaucracy, and extend my visa. I wasn't sure what to expect, since the Japanese government has a reputation for being strict, but everything went fairly painlessly. I made my final trip to the immigration office today and got my brand-spankin new visa extension stamp. Horray! My passport is beginning to look a little more used now. Hehe. I still have one more stop to make to be completely finished, but at least I know I'm safe now. No deportation for me. This is a good thing.
But on my way to the immigration office, I saw a fun thing. One of the train stations near my house is having a lot of construction done on it. So lately, it's been a bit annoying using that station, but it's still the most convenient, so I use it anyway. LOL. The reason that all this construction work is being done is because they have chosen to build a new Railway Museum right next to this station. This is like a 6 minute walk from my house! Well, to me this doesn't sound like a big deal, but you have no idea how much Japanese people are into museums. And even more into trains! Wow! This is big stuff here, let me tell you! So, on my way to the train station, I noticed a few strange things. First, on the road on the way there, there was a whole lot of police officers directing traffic. Traffic was blocked from going in one direction completely. At first I thought, oh, there must have been an accident. But as I continued walking, I noticed a very conspicuous lack of, well, accident like things. Very strange. I am now very interested in what's going on. I thought maybe, oh they are doing special construction that requires the street to be blocked off. I reach the intersection, but once again, there is a lack of construction happening that might cause the street to be shut down. But there are still more policemen.

I continue on my way to the station, and notice there are now people lining up on one side of the street. Some are holding Japanese flags. Hmmm... pieces are falling into place now.

Here's a picture of the construction workers lining up.

Anyway, that was about all I had time for before I had to get on the train. I expected it all to be over by the time I got back. I was right, the people standing were gone, but there were still a lot of policemen around.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I found a kind looking policeman (young, kinda cute) and asked him what was going on. He told me that the Crown Prince had come to visit the new museum. WOW. I thought it would be something like that, but I can't imagine a train museum being that important. Anyway, that was the excitement of the day. I got to see the preparations for the coming of the crown prince of Japan. Very cool.

In other news, this was a fun weekend. The band had a live house performance, so I decided that would be my birthday present to myself. I bought a new single, and I was even given a drum stick by Mako and a signed pick from Shissy! They are so nice! I was really happy!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The time has come once again...

Man, it's that time of year again. When I start pulling out my hair wondering how I'm supposed to prioritize everything that's on my plate, and still get enough sleep. Well, I don't really have problems getting the sleep. That's usually high on my priority list. Haha. But the rest definitely causes me some mental stress, wondering what I should be getting done.

Anyway, Fall is almost here. Which means, it's "Crazy Busy Season" again. The new volunteers arrive next week, and there are event's for them, my school events, other people's events (which I really do want to support, but usually I can't), weekly events, meetings, etc. Plus in all the doing that's going on, I should also be building and maintaining relationships. This all takes an amazing amount of time!

So I kinda get stressed thinking about it sometimes. So the only way to keep moving forward is to stop thinking about it, and actually doing it. This is always a challenge for me.

One thing that I really regret, is the lack of communication with America. But it's really really hard for me. Everything here is screaming at me, demanding my immediate attention. I feel torn between two worlds sometimes. And the louder, more immediate one usually wins. But then I feel terrible for the people who want me from America to still have meaningful relationships with them. I really do want to do that. But I think in the last 5 months, I've only really talked to my mother, and Marlo. I have friends who are going through some really hard times, two with small children, my brother and his family, and I haven't been talking to any of them. I really do want to spend time with everyone, even if it is over e-mail or phone or whatever. But that's the one thing I don't have. Grrr... The downsides of having a job. Haha.

Anyway. That's my random rant of the day. Things are actually going quite well. I just get overwhelmed easily when I think of how much I'm supposed to be doing. My lazy nature rebels against being this busy! LOL. That and I like to complain. Haha.

Anyway, exciting news in my ministry. I'm finally, after two years, managing to connect the band with my church. There is going to be a BBQ this Sunday at my church (it's an annual event). This time, the band will be given a chance to play at the BBQ! How exciting is that?
Please pray for this. It's great for them to meet Japanese Christians and see that Christianity is not just an American religion. Please pray for the church members to be open and welcoming and that good relationships can be started. I'm really excited about this chance.

Ok, I think that's everything for today. I need to see if my laundry is finished, and get ready for work now. I love you, even if I can't see you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poking my head in...

So, I've been having a nagging feeling lately that I should try to update my blog more often. But it's hard.

I guess I shouldn't complain. I really do like reading other people's blogs, and I like it when they update often, even if it's nothing big, so I suppose I should do the same.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took this summer. These are actually all right in the heart of Tokyo. Can you imagine? Haha. It's actually a pretty big park near a major train station. I got in trouble for stopping to take so many pictures (it made us late), but I still think it was worth it. So enjoy the fruit of my labors.

Moving on to other topics. Thinks are going well here. There haven't been a lot of big things happening lately, but it's been more of a time of maintenance. But man, I'm terrible at maint! But it's good at teaching me things like, well, yeah, maint! Haha.

The exciting thing lately has been the noticeable growth in my relationships. Maybe I'm just getting better at doing them, or more likely, God has been watering them and they are starting to grow. Now the problem for me becomes, I have so many relationships! Who are my priorities? How much should I be putting into these relationships? Where are the lines? I'm close to the point of being overwhelmed with people, things and responsibilities that demand my time and attention. It's not there yet, so please pray for that for me. It's easy for me to step back and look at the big picture and get really overwhelmed. Then I just kinda shut down and stop everything. Not a good thing. So I want to learn more about staying stable.

My computer is on the fritz lately. I'm not sure how much longer it will last. I'm hoping to get one more year out of it, but I'm not sure if that will happen or not. I've decided this week that I need to move all of my important files to a safe place, just in case it does crash on me. I don't know what I would do without my computer. I'd probably go a bit insane before learning how to deal with life again. Haha. But I realized how much time I do spend in front of my computer, and it's a little scary.

So yeah, nothing big and exciting right now. Just getting back into the flow of things. Of course sometime this week, I really need to get my visa renewed. I wonder how stressful that will be? Hopefully it doesn't take too much time and I can do it tomorrow before work.

Do you ever feel like your life is filled with meaningless business that gets in the way of actually living? Sometimes I think that, but then, inevitably, I get too busy to dwell on it. But then again, I'm not half as busy as most people I know, so I really shouldn't complain. I guess I just have low tolerance for business. :-)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Secondhand Lions

So today was my day off. It was a nice chance to just relax and not do much. I've been tired a lot lately, so I took it kinda slow today.

I did have to reset my C drive on my computer. It's getting old, and I was having some problems with it. So I reformatted the C Drive. We'll see if that helps. But it'll take me a little while to get things back to the way I like them.

Then I decided to watch a movie that my parents just sent me. It's called Secondhand Lions. It's a good movie, and I recommend it to you. I actually watched it twice. I watched it once, then I watched the directors commentary.

I'm actually becoming a big fan of watching the commentaries. Usually I don't have enough time to watch both the movie and the commentary in one sitting, but I did today. It really puts everything into a new perspective when you can understand the thought that goes behind it.

I guess that explains a lot about me. I had someone ask me why I ask "why" so much. But to me, the reasons why you think something, or why you do something changes the meaning of what I see.

Watching this movie the first time, I never noticed that it was filmed in Texas, and set in Texas. It's just normal for me. Then listening to the commentary, I could see how much of that I take for granted. I appreciated it so much more then.

Also, living in Japan, and watching a movie from Texas about themes like becoming a man and courage and believing in things, really put some light on some of the cultural clashes I have sometimes without even knowing it.

I'm sure I'll forget all these profound thoughts by tomorrow, and I'll probably never be able to really articulate them well. But, I was definitely very impressed by this movie.

It also helps me to remember, that no longer how long I stay in Japan, there will always be Texan in me. It's always where I came from and learned how to view life. Just like no matter how well Japanese people speak English, they will always have Japan in them. I want to learn more about Japan and understand how they look at the world. Right now, I just know that it's different than the way I look at it. I want to see what they see, and understand why they do that. The more I learn about Japan, the more I learn about myself and my own culture.

It's fascinating how these things work.

Anyway, sorry this is really random, but I really wanted to write them down.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

check it out!

So I've made about 7 videos now. Each one the editing gets a little better. This is the last one. I'm pretty happy with it. Of course I like the song too. The effects are at the beginning and end, so if you get bored with the song, check out the end before you turn it off! LOL.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Talking about Milkshakes...

So one of the things that I sometimes find myself missing from America is milkshakes. Milkshakes are hard to find in Japan. There are very few stores who sell them, and the one's I've tried weren't up to par at all. So for a while I was definitely lamenting the loss of one of my favorite drinks.

But eventually I found a suitable replacement.

It's called Coolish. In Japanese they call it a -8 degrees C ice cream drink.

What it actually boils down to is: a milkshake in a bag! Even comes with a handy dandy lid! Great!

I really like it. Here is a picture of my two favorite flavors. Good old vanilla, and my new favorite, Matcha! (Matcha is Japanese green tea, but a powdered version. It's really really really yummy!)

You know you've lived in a foreign country to long when...

《insert guess here》

Nope! You're wrong! haha

I had a “cultural moment" yesterday. I was planning for a retreat with a girl who has only been in Japan less than one year. Well we are all aware that I tend to talk with my hands. We also know that different gestures mean different things in different cultures. So it stands to reason that offensive gestures could be made by mistake. Normally not a big problem. Right?

Well we know I'm not a big fan of following the crowd. So what do I do in situations like this? I of course do the opposite of what any normal person would do. Instead of using an innocent American gesture that causes offense to a Japanese person, I used an innocent Japanese gesture that causes offense in America. Ha! I didn't even realize it either until the other girl pointed it out to me. I've become so used to things like this that I copy them naturally now. I now use many Japanese mannerisms instead of American ones. For instance: I now point to my nose when referring to myself rather than pointing to my chest. It's funny the things you pick up without ever noticing it.

So you may be wondering, what exactly was my mistake?

So in Japan the middle finger has no special significance. You often see people casually pointing to things with their middle fingers. So by now you must have figured it out. Yes. I, in my cultural confusion, flipped off my fellow American!

Monday, August 06, 2007

What a difference a year makes.

So I've been talking to people about this year's summer camp and I came across a wonderful revelation. I can speak Japanese! Well, at least there is a marked difference from last year. Last year there was also a summer camp. I remember playing with the kids, but I also remember saying a whole lot "I'm sorry, I don't understand Japanese." This is a hard concept for kids to understand. When you speak any Japanese at all, they think you should be able to understand it all. I usually turn it into a game where I try to convince them that I am in fact not speaking Japanese at all. They usually don't believe me. LOL.

But this year, I noticed that instead of saying "I don't understand" every five minutes, I probably said it only 5 times a day!! How exciting is that? I could even understand 80% of a children's movie!

It just goes to show what a difference a year makes. I know it's hard for me to see my progress sometimes. Especially since I don't really have anything to gauge my language learning by. So this is a great way to see the progress. Next stop, understanding adults! LOL.

But I am in fact speaking more and more Japanese lately. This is a good sign. I can even talk with Mako these days! (He uses a lot of really strange words. He takes great pleasure in teaching me strange dialects as well.)

Speaking of Mako, here's a really cool picture from this weekend.

Also, you will find a Japanese man wearing pink shoes with hearts on them. Only in Japan.

And finally a traditional style Japanese "hotel" room. Not really a hotel, but you get the point.

I'll try to write more again. Later!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 03, 2007

Summer is here!

Well, summer has finally arrived! I'm really happy. It's the end of the rainy season, so my mood has improved noticably. Of course it's hot and nasty, but you can't have everything.

So this week, I went to a Summer Camp for the Sunday School. About 13 kids went. 6 of them were my English school students. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures. Yeah, I got a new camera and I went picture taking crazy. I took almost 400 pictures in 2 days. Don't worry, I didn't put them all in the slide show. Hehe.

So here's a picture album of my first camp of the summer. (one down, two to go.)

Sunday School Summer Camp!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Next stop, Hollywood?

Well, I've taken it in my head to become a cameraman lately. My new camera has rather decent video abilities, and well... We all know I like new toys. So I've been playing with the video lately.

And what exactly do I video you may ask? Well none other than my favorite pasttime... Trash Box Jam of course!

So I've been filming them for a while now, but the old camera wasn't so great, so I never really shared the videos with anyone. But the new videos are better (and require less editing), so the idea hit me this week to start uploading them to YouTube so anyone who would like to see the band can. So here is the premiere video!

It's called Dream and Truth, and you can check it out here!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Random Animal Pictures! Oh yeah, and an update...

So yeah. I realize I haven't updated in a while. My camera had died and I didn't have any new pictures, and it seems rather strange to always be putting up old ones.

So here's your update.

No, the earthquake is not near me. We felt it here though. But I live near Tokyo, so if you read about a disaster in Japan, check to see if the place is near Tokyo. If it's not, then I'm probably ok. :-)

Things have been getting busy again here. This week we had a Typhoon (there was enough wind and rain here to cancel the band on Saturday night.) and the Monday was the earthquake. Fun stuff.

Monday was a holiday here in Japan. It's Umi no Hi, which is translated Ocean Day. Wait, sometimes it's translated Marine Day too I think. I'm not sure. But it was a holiday. Monday is usually my day off anyway, and most national holiday's in Japan fall on Monday's. So Usually I don't notice the holidays here (except the band will play on holidays as well, so I get an extra band day... Horray!) But this Monday we had a BBQ for the young adults of the area. It is actually quite a large area, but as there are not so many churches, you have to include the whole area to get a decent sized group.

I was lucky enough that we had the meeting here at my church. (it also meant I HAD to attend! LOL) About 40 people came. That is huge for Japanese churches! It was good. I'll put up some pictures as soon as I get them. When that happens I'll write more about it.
After the BBQ, Jenae and I went to the band. But thanks to a church member, I was able to get a new digital camera! So we went shopping for the camera on Monday.

I'm so happy with the new camera. It's the same brand and model as the old one, but just upgraded. I got a new memory card too, 2GB. But now I don't have enough space on my computer for all the pictures and videos. So I'm going to have to buy a new hard drive this week. Until then I don't have the space to download the new pictures. So you will have to wait just a little longer.

So, on to other topics. I've learned that I talk to much I think. LOL. I mentioned that I had a blog to several people, and now they all want to read it. My students want to read it for English practice and stuff like that. But somehow it's more embarrassing when people you see every week read your blog. Well, I guess I'll get over it!

Welcome to my blog mina-san~! I hope you enjoy it! Yoroshiku!

So there are two weeks left of class before summer vacation. Summer vacation will still be really busy, but it'll be a change of pace, and that is always good. I like things to change. It will be nice to have a month that is different from my normal teaching schedule. I think the summer will be a good balance.

There will be three camps that I am helping out with (one I'm the leader! Yikes!), I'll get to go see fireworks, and I'll still have a week and half of uninterrupted vacation. Plus a few days between camps and such. I think it's a great balance of doing stuff so I'm not totally bored, and having rest time. I'm looking forward to it.

Anyway, here are three random animal pictures from the farm we went to last year for Sunday School camp. I guess getting ready for this year's camp made me think about last years. Anyway, I should start being able to give you some newer pictures soon!

I'll try to keep posting more often!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 30, 2007

God's timing.

So, God is really cool. He always has the best timing ever.

Today I stayed home, mainly to rest, and get some emotional healing. This is from things I've had since I was way little. Things I've believed about myself. Like I am not beautiful. I have no value if I am not useful. If people saw the real me, they would run away.

All these things have shaped my life, how I live it, how I react to things.

The book I was talking about before talks about these things.

So today, I just wanted to spend some time with God and listen to who He said I was. I took some time to rest, take a nap, read some things, and just spend the day with God. It's been nice and refreshing.
So, I just got up from my nap, and when I looked, I had a letter. This is the reason I am going to write now.

This girl has been my friend since jr. high school. She is the most loyal person I know. She is also one of the most injured people by life I know. If I had been through the things she has, I would have shut down long ago. but she keeps going. And she can still love the people around her. That's amazing.

What amazes me the most is that she loves me. I know I have not been a good friend to her. It's easy to say that I live so far away, and the things here take my time. But she always forgives me. She is always ready to have a close relationship with me.

I guess because she has always been there, it's so easy to take her for granted. To not realize the value of someone who is so familiar.
So today I got a letter from her. She must have wrote this letter last week, but I got it today.

In this letter were all the words I needed to hear. She told me that she loved me and that I was a beautiful person. She wrote five pages to me.

I think this is maybe the first time my heart has let me hear the things she has been telling me all these years. I don't know if I have ever really listened before when a girl friend told me I was beautiful or important. Somehow, I felt it didn't count, because they were my friends, of course, they HAD to say those things. Right? I mean that's what friends do.

So the words had no meaning for me. They never reached my heart. I never really heard them.

But today, for the first time. My heart heard them. My heart heard all the words that all my dear and wonderful friends have been telling me.

So I want to tell you too. I know I could have written you a letter, but I wanted you to know, in a public way, that I thank you so much for being my friend. Thank you so much for telling me over and over again the things I needed to hear. Thank you for always forgiving me. Thank you for always loving me. I can't believe I've been blind for so long! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So, here are some more pictures! I love you. I love you today more than I ever have before. Thank you. I love you.
Posted by Picasa

Random pictures.

So, I was looking through some of the pictures on my computer, and I found some pictures that had been sent to me from friends here. I realized that I normally only put up picures that I have taken, so here are some pictures that include me in them. Most of them are from my first year here, so I've changed a bit since then...

So yeah. This week has been amazingly long, yet way too short. Long as in I feel emotonally drained. Although, I am feeling much better. And too short as in I feel like I never have enough time to get everything done and Wham! it's already the end of the week. And I'm left a bit dazed wondering where in the world the week went to.

Today I'm taking a bit of a break. I decided to not go to the ususal prayer meeting today. Instead of waking up early and traveling, I am going to stay at home and have some personal time with God. I think I really need it. Maybe I might be able to get some laundry done as well. But already, just not having to wake up to an alarm and get on a train has made a world of difference.

I've been reading this book this week. It's called "Captivating" by John and Staci Eldridge. It's a good book. If you have ever heard of "Wild at Heart" it's by the same author and his wife.. It's a book about being a woman, and what that means. Why women get hurt, and what their reactions are. And what the heart of every woman wants... I read this book a year ago, and it didn't do so much for me. It was the wrong timing. But I picked it up again this week, and Bam! it hit home and it hit hard. It's a good book.

Anyway, think of the pictures as kind of a "doorprize". I hope you have a nice week!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Weekend huh?

Wow, it's already the weekend again, isn't it? Time flies. I can't believe June is already almost over.

This week marked the halfway point for this sememster. Only 10 more weeks to go! Of teaching that is.

Today has been a busy day. I went to prayer meeting in Tokyo this morning, and then left in time to come back for "Cooking in English."

I taught about 11 students how to cook Hamburger Gravy in English. It went pretty well. And everyone were good cooks! It was really good. After we made banana splits.

I have a bit of a break before I head out again, back to Tokyo to meet a friend and listen to the band. I'll probably take a nap before I go. Hmmmm... naps... good.... ;-)

So, funny thing about being from West Texas and then coming to Japan. So in West Texas, we've been living in a drout for how long? 5, 10 years? Not sure. Just seems normal to me to live in a drought. But we never rationed water or anything like that. Just lived with it. No rain. No problem. (well, not for those of us who weren't farmers...) Although we did pray in church every Sunday for rain. haha.

So here in Japan, "rainy season" has started. But this year, there is not enough rain. (It's only rained like twice in the past two weeks I guess. Something like that. My memory is terrible.) But, there HAS been rain. (I know in Texas we go for months and months without rain!!!) But already my students are freaking out. Saying that if there isn't more rain soon, they'll start having to ration water. Yeah, I guess things are different in Japan. Different land, more people. I guess it's a bigger problem. But it's still hard to imagine rationing water when the ground is still wet!!! Some things I may never get used to.

Anyway. The picture is something I made. It's the first 3 verses of Psalm 19. It's a beautiful psalm. But it's in Japanese (that's why you can't read it.) I made it to give to friends and stuff. I just need to find a printer that works now. Or get around to making mine work. I'm way too lazy.

So that's the long and short of today. I'm tired so I think it's nap time!
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Oh the randomness!

So here are a few more pictures from right before the live (I arrived early because I didn't know where the place was and I had to meet people to show me how to get there.)

The first picture is two of the fan-girls. How cute!

Second picture is strange I know. But there is a reason! So this guy bought this iced drink at the coffee shop. It is really like a cookies and cream slushie type thing. (there is crushed up ice in the mix instead of ice cream) But everyone was kinda freaked out by the color! He kept telling everyone that even though the color was funny, it tasted really good. I was a bit confused, (the color seemed normal to me.) But then he explained that this was a very unusual color for a drink in Japan. (I'm not sure why... I've seen ice cream that color...) But everyone pretty much had the same reaction. You had to convince them all to try it. It was a rather funny difference in culture.

Then we have the "littlest fan." One of the girls was giving this kitten to another girl. The exchanged happened at the live house. I was surprised that the kitten was allowed in the building! But there was apparently no problem! She was definately a popular attraction! Her name is "Sora" which means sky. I took this picture, and the little boy thought it was great, because of the "sparkles." That's another point of Japanese culture. They like sparkles and cute things! The last picture is people peering in at the cat.
Posted by Picasa

Overdue update

Sorry! I really do always mean to update, but when I have time, it seems like I'm just too tired or I have other things that need to be done (like praying...) So anyway... Here's the latest update.

We had a BAPTISM! Horray! He has been coming to our church for a long time, and he finally got Baptized on Pentecost! It was great! I even had three of my students come to watch. They said they were very moved by it. I hoping to be able to see some of them get baptized too soon!

Life has been keeping me busy. I guess that's true for everyone though. I've finally adjusted to my new schedule and I'm not so tired all the time anymore, so that is really good news. Now I just have to learn to continue to manage my time better. Haha.

I recently had the chance to go to Trash Box Jam's live. This was the first time I'd been able to go to their live (this was their third one.) I was so excited! Here are a few pictures. Mako is hiding and practicing before the performance.

The next picture you can see Mako and Sing. Sing is wearing a Texas shirt! He found it at a recycle shop somewhere. How cool is that? :-D

Anyway, the live was great. My camera has finally crashed (it died that night), so I borrowed one of the other girl's cameras. But she hasn't given me the pictures yet. I'll put them up on the website as soon as I get them. Some were pretty good. (although, I know that no one is quite as interested in them as I am. hahaha.)

So I'm not sure if there will be a lot more pictures on the blog. Maybe old ones that I haven't used yet... Don't know. Of course there is always my cell phone, but those aren't great quality pictures. But I guess you have to take what you can get.

I don't know when I'll have the chance to get a new camera. There are always things that I need to buy and stuff. Oh well.

Anyway. I'm doing good. Sorry, this is a kinda short update. But I love you!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dead Tired

So, I'd really like to keep this updated for everyone, but well... I can't seem to escape from life at the moment.

Today was the last day of my work week, and the busiest. Lately, I am always tired. I've figured out it's because we've added 4 classes to my schedule (I work the same hours, just with more classes packed in.) At first I was really confused, because I was working the same 8 hour days. But today I finally realized just how much energy it takes to teach a class. I mean, I knew it took energy to teach kids and all, but adults? I mean, half the time I am sitting down! So I just assumed I wasn't using so much energy. But actually I am. Wow.

So here's what my Friday's look like:

Today, I woke up at about 7AM. I spent some time reading my Bible and praying (I've been trying to do this every morning lately, it helps a lot.) then I showered and tried to leave my house by 8:30. Didn't happen. Made it out by 8:50 probably.

Walk to train station (5min) in the rain. Climb the stairs and watch train leave as I reach the top. Wait ten mins for next train. Put on my MP3 player and listen to music. Take off my raincoat because it's hot. Go to big train station and transfer. Buy a drink and a sandwich because I have time. Get on train. Transfer. Get on really, really, really crowded train.(couldn't fall down if I tried, honestly! I didn't know you could put so many people in one space.) Keep thinking, it's only three stops!. LOL. Get off at another train station. Loose my watch. (It's ok, it was a walmart watch, $7. But it was cute, so I'm a bit sad.) Get on subway. Ride 9 mins. Get off train. Be surprised by friend getting off the same train. Exit train station. Walk to the Center (where I learn Japanese, and do other things work related) together. 10 mins.

One way travel complete! Horray.

Begin Japanese class. It's fun.

Leave first because I have to rush to get back home in time for work.

It's still raining. Walk to train station. Subway has a problem Wait 5-10 mins. Train moves, and stops, and moves and stops. Transfer at appropriate station. Wait for next train. Get on train. This time I don't have to make as many transfers. Get to "home" station. It's too late to take the small train I wanted. Grab McDonalds and eat (double mac with cheese and egg! yum!) while waiting the 15 mins for next train. Get on train 12:45. Go one stop. Get off train, exit staion. Run, walk, run, walk fast to make it to class on time.

Arrive at church! Wait, no one is there! This is strange (they went to the tax office!). I have 7 mins before class. Just barely. Hope none of my students were early. Open the door, prepare for class. Students arrive. Teach class. Well, really, just talk with students. Oh, and I taught them the Squirrel Dance song. it's cute. After class, teach Bible study.

During break, eat lunch with students (they are about to study Japanese Bible) and type up worship service for tomorrow. (Usually I go home and eat or whatever. Today was special.) 4:00, start teaching kids classes. 3 classes come and go. It's fun. I like these kids. One private, one class of kids who used to live in America, and one class of 6th graders. good kids.

Dinner break. I did more preparation for tomorrow. (there will be a prayer meeting, then English Worship, then an English event tomorrow). Last class is at 8:10. Had observers. It was good. Maybe they will join. Or, they might want to start a new class. then I will be even busier on Fridays.

Answered the phone in Japanese. That's amazing! Really, it is.

Cooked vegetable cream soup for tomorrow's lunch. (I'm making lunch for the people who are coming tomorrow, because it's kinda far to come out here, and they are really helping me out.)

Arrive home, 12:30ish. Hey, it's stopped raining! Horray!

Yeah, so I'm tired.

I have no clue why I wrote all that out, but I did, so present for you! :-D

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Wow, lately things have been really crazy. I know I'm sleeping, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

It's almost summer here and you can tell. There's rain, lots of flowers, birds and bugs (sometimes in your house...) Oh yeah, and weeds. I need to do something about those...

I'm trying to make an effort to manage my time correctly. As in, make time to clean, do laundry and basic maint. Somehow, it doesn't seem to be working.

But I have been able to have good quiet time with God everyday this week, and that has definitely improved my outlook on life. I feel much more at peace lately. (still tired, but it's at least peaceful.) I have also taken up drawing some again, and doing some independent Japanese study. Oh yeah, that reminds me. I start Japanese class again tomorrow. It will be a group lesson this time. With some of my friends too. I'm really looking forward to it. But it's in the morning, so that's going to make my Friday's long now too. So I'll have three long days in a row, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fun fun fun. Good thing Monday's my day off. It's my recovery day.

All in all, I'm feeling much more positive about things. I guess it just takes me a while to get to where I'm going, but eventually I'll get there. :-D

Anyway, this week, and last, have been nice because my students have been bringing me presents! Last week I got roses (check out the pictures from my cell phone). They smelled really nice. One of my students grows them in his garden, and these were the first to bloom! This is the same guy who fixed my bike for me. He reminds me of a grandpa looking out for me. He's really cute!

This week, he brought me more roses. And then, a woman from a different class also brought me roses and flowers. (her's are a bit smaller, but just as pretty!) And then a different woman from the same class brought me matcha (powdered green tea) powder! I really love the matcha powder. And it's actually pretty expensive I think. It was ground at her mother's house. It's also really healthy, so if I drink some everyday it's really good for me. Hehe!

So yeah, presents are good. It makes me feel loved by my students. This Sunday we will probably go to a rose festival after Bible Study if the weather is good. We'll ride our bicycles there. I'm looking forward to it.

Ok, so that's the update!

Thursday, May 03, 2007


In case you don't know what the title says, it translates as "Flower Viewing." This is a special time in Japan when everyone goes out to look at the cherry blossoms and eat and drink with friends. There are usually lots of hanami parties all the time in this season. But Cherry blossom season is really short, ususally only two or three weeks. So you have to plan carefully.

Last year I totally missed hanami because I went home during my spring break. This year I was afraid the same thing would happen. But I was lucky, and the day after I came back, I was able to go hanami with my friend Jenae.

We went to one of the most famous places for hanami, Ueno park. Here are four of the pictures that I took. The rest are on my web albums.

Here is Jenae eating takoyaki (fried balls of octopus). It's really yummy.

We walked around a while looking at all the trees and eating some of the food. And then we decided to go in a boat together on a small pond. We rented a paddle boat for 30 mins. It was our first time in a paddle boat, and we found out that we were both a big bigger than was comfortable for a paddle boat. But it was fun anyway. :-D

The next two pictures are from inside the boat. We had a lot of fun just paddling around. When they tried to give us a boat, they first tried to give us a pink one. We looked at each other and said "no way." So we asked the guy for a different color. He thought we were a bit crazy I think. But in the end we got a yellow boat. We were both so happy to not be in a pink boat. We would paddle around and then say something like "this is so much better in a yellow boat." Then funny thing - you can't even see the boat color from the inside!

But we still would have known. It was a lot of fun.

After boating, we walked around more. We took lots of pictures of flowers and stuff. I really think you should check out the rest of the pictures. The link should be somewhere on this blog.

Yeah, it was a good time. :-D
Posted by Picasa