Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Coffee House

So it's been busy again lately. Last Saturday was Coffee House. Three of the new girls came. It was really great to have more foreginers come. The students really like to practice talking.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the event. It was pretty nice. I think it went well. Saturday was a long day though.
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Two more bug bites...

the creativity bug...

So occasionally I get bit by the creativity bug. It usually comes at rather inconvenient times, but tonight was not so bad. Just kept me up a little later than I had planned.

Well, it looks like I am finally beginning to figure out Adobe Print Shop. I just have the basic program that came on my computer, but once you can work it, turns out it's a really neat program. Best photo editing program I've seen. Not like that's many, but still.

So the idea for this came from a picture I took at Kamakura. These birds were really cute. I liked the picture, but in the original, there was this person's legs in the background and it was starting to distract me. I really wanted to edit them out. But then I was thinking, I could just do a really cool editing and change the whole feel of the picture. The original idea was to put the ocean behind the birds, but then I opted for clouds instead.

I'm actually quite pleased with the final effect. This is the first time I've managed to finish something like this. I wrote the poem after looking at the picture long enough.

The thing I'm happiest about is that it's completely my creation. I took the picture, I edited the picture and I wrote the poem. I'm happy with this nights work. :-D

Monday, January 22, 2007


So today I got to go to Kabuki again. Let me say. I love Kabuki. If you don't know, Kabuki is old fashioned Japanese Theater (think Shakespearean style language and then add in Samurai). It's really wonderful.

I got to go twice in Orientation as part of our cultural studies. Today was the new group's turn to go. But since they were going on a Monday (every one's day off), it was open to other people who wanted to go. I jumped at the chance. My other friend came too. I got to meet her for breakfast at Denny's. (if you are thinking American style Denny's, think again. Same sign, different food.)

I had such a great time today. I got to hang out with a bunch of really cool people and watch possibly the best Kabuki play ever. It was over 4 hours long. But it was so worth it. There were a ton of set changes. You wouldn't believe how beautiful the sets are. Amazing.

They pulled out all the stops for this play. The theater was celebrating some milestone or something, so this was a big deal. There were giant cat monsters, magic rats, dancing cats (so cute) swords, fighting, comedy, and every possible setting. I don't think there was a trick that wasn't used in this play. It was wonderful. (have I mentioned it was wonderful? Didn't think so...)

Kabuki is different from Western Theater. Western Theater is concerned with reality and believability. Kabuki is not at all. It's all about show casing the actor and making beautiful scenes. Once you get over the fact that the plot usually doesn't make any sense (even with translation), it's really a great form of entertainment.

Anyway, the pictures are from the fliers I got at the theater. Enjoy.

After Kabuki I got to go karaoke for like 2 and 1/2 hours. It was a great shop, because it had so much music I knew. I was so happy. It's hard to find songs I know sometimes, but I couldn't sing all the songs I wanted to there. I'll have to find one similar that's close by.

Anyway, it was a good day.

This weekend was really busy. Got up early everyday and stayed out late every night. I'm tired. But it was really good too. Tomorrow I'm sleeping in!

Oyasumi! (night!)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ahhh, what an exciting week! :-D

So this week has been a good week. God has been really amazing! You just don't understand how great it is.

So this week, God provided for me financially, (way more than I expected) and emotionally, and well, it gets hard to count the ways. LOL.

Let's see. The interview went well. I still haven't heard back from the company yet, but I feel very confident in God's Will. This doesn't mean I'm confident I'll get THAT job. I'm just confident I will have A job. I hope that makes sense.

I've been pretty busy this week. Several meetings and such. Normal classes. And today, I went shopping! My bike was fixed by one of my students this week, so I gave it a test run this morning. I went shopping. (a different student gave me a present of traditional New Year's money, because she said I was like her "American Daughter". I didn't have the heart to refuse her.)

The really exciting news is that since coming to Japan I have lost a lot of weight. So many of my clothes are way too big for me now. Well, I wanted a few more sweaters so I could layer better in the cold. It turns out, I can wear Men's XL size clothes now. I went to this shop that is really cheap and bought some great sweaters today. And the wonderful thing about Japan? Men's clothes often look like women's clothes. So, no one can tell I'm wearing men's clothes. It's wonderful.

I bought 6 new pieces of clothing today for less than $50. That's an amazing deal anywhere!

So yeah, that's the exciting news. I'll be busy for the next couple of days as well. Tomorrow is the beginning of a new prayer meeting, which I am really exited about. Then I'll get to hang out with some friends for the rest of the day. Sunday is the normal church, Bible Study then go out routine. The Monday I get to meet a friend, then I get to go to Kabuki. Horray for Kabuki. (traditional Japanese Theater. All the actors are male. It's really great, and they will have English headphones we can rent for translation.) Looks like it's going to be an exciting weekend!

And finally, these are just some random pictures. The first two were taken on my cell phone and are fairly recent. The last two are pretty old.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Just another update.

So here are some pictures that are in one of my web albums. They are explained there, but I thought I would post some of my favorites here.

Anyway, this past week has been crazy. There was a funeral this week at church. Quite an interesting experience. And it ended up disrupting some of my classes. We had to move one of my classes to a different room. We also ended up cleaning up my classroom on my day off. Made the week a bit busy.

I also had three of the new girls observing my classes this week. It's training for them to see how other teachers teach. I hope they got something valuable out of the experience. But it was nice to see them. We had a good time. Two were the same girls from New Years. We seem to be becoming good friends. It's exciting. I'll meet them again today. They are going to listen to the band with me again tonight. Hehe, I think I've created some more groupies.

I also had a pleasant surprise this week. I got a job interview for Monday. It's a bit of a relief, because I was beginning to get a bit antsy. Usually I don't mind not knowing, but it feels like it's getting kinda close to when I need to be making concrete decisions. Prayers for my future would be greatly appreciated.

In other good news. I finished my newsletter today. Tomorrow's gonna be a busy day, and Monday I have the job interview and then another meeting right after. Tues is back to class. Fun stuff.

Thanks for all the comments Sara! I did get your e-mail, but it was sent to Yahoo, and I don't check that one as often. I'll try to reply soon!

Ok, I think that's all for today folks!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Just another day.

Well, it's back to working again now. Yesterday's classes went fine. Two students forgot to show up, but that's to be expected. Today I will be the only one working. The office is being changed. I will no longer have a full time office worker anymore. So that means there will be some changes happening. I hope it goes well.

Here are a few random pictures. I found them yesterday on a friend's website, so I downloaded them. The first is from this summer's Kanto Church Camp. We stayed in a very nice Japanese style "hotel". Everyone had these yukata, or cotton robes to wear to bed. This is a bunch of us girls after going to the public bath. I was just excited the yukata mostly fit on me.

Next picture is us in a train station as we are going to prayer retreat. Just thought maybe I should put up some pictures that included my face too. I don't often take pictures of myself so they are hard to get. ;-)

Anyway, it's time for me to be responsible and get some stuff done. It's really annoying to be responsible... LOL.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back to School.

Well, it's that time again. Time to go back to work. Break was nice. Got more rest than I thought I would. Spent some time with some great people. I kinda wish it would go on a little longer, but then again, I'm kinda glad to have the structure of working back in my life.
So since today was a post about going back to school, I thought I'd show some school pictures. These are pictures of Todai, or Tokyo University. I went to one of the campuses to take my Japanese test. It was really cool to say I go to go to Todai, as it is the most prestigious university in the country. I was kinda surprised at how old it was though. The classrooms were really small and a bit run down, but then again, it is a really old university. I'll get the results of my Japanese test sometime in Feb.
Anyway, it's off to work now! I hope everyone had a happy holidays!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Web Albums

I must be really motivated today. Third post. Anyway, here is the promised link for my web albums. Enjoy the pictures.

Random information

I know what you are thinking, what a strange picture. But this picture is for the purpose of explaining some things. So, let's start at the top. You see three things there. These are handy things in the winter called "hokairo." Now hokairo are really cool, or rather, warm. They heat up when exposed to air and you can put them in your pockets or hold them to keep warm in the winter. This is very important when there is no central heating (or when you are standing outside all night long.) Japan has some wonderful stuff. There are two kinds in the picture. The small white one is a "sticky" version. (an unopened package is next to it.) This sticky type you put on your clothes and it keeps you warm. This is a mini version. The orange one sticking out of the blue checkered cover is a normal version (also mini). This one you just hold. I have a cute cover to put them in that keeps in the heat and feels fuzzy. I love the stuff you find in Japan!!!

Next you see the baby blue pillow looking thing. This is actually a bottle warmer. In the winter you can buy hot drinks in plastic bottles. This came free with a bottle of hot tea I bought. If you put it over the bottle, it keeps the drink hot longer. Very nice. But today we didn't use it for drinks. When we wanted to play football today, we had the problem of no football. In the beginning, we used the Frisbee until it broke. So we had to find an alternative. So I took this bag, stuffed my gloves and a headband inside and pulled the string tight. And so you have an instant mini-football! It worked really well actually. We played with this until it was time to go.

And finally you will notice another picture of my cell phone. I seem to look like I like large things hanging from my phone. The two new girls and I had gone out to a mall like place for lunch after church. I went home early to clean and prepare and I left my cell phone with them. (remember I have other large things hanging from my cell phone, all gifts) They were of course amused with my collection of straps, so as a joke, they bought me another one. They put it on and then returned the phone. I was very surprised when I picked up the phone and found extra stuff on it! So now I have a very large, gold sequined heart hanging from my cell phone. This is very much not my style. But it was pretty funny joke. We'll see how much longer I'll tolerate all these huge things on my cell phone. It might be time for a "style change."

That's the funny thing about "my style". A lot of the really extravagant fashion stuff I have are actually gifts from other people. Because I appreciate the thought and the people who gave them to me, I usually use or wear what is given to me. But in most cases, this is all stuff that I wouldn't have ever bought myself. It's just people's opinions of my style. So because I wear them, it re-enforces people's opinions, and I get more, similar gifts. Eventually I become used to it and it really does become my style. It's a very strange phenomenon. So "my" style actually becomes other people's impression of my style. But in the end, I suppose it doesn't matter. I like 90% of what I get, so it's all good. The good news is that it's so much easier for me to wear strange or goofy fashions in Japan than in Texas.

And in other random news, people in Japan are very kind to me. For instance, I get a lot of free food. The reason I'm writing this is because just now my doorbell rang. This girl I met at a convince store (her family operates it) had just brought me a bag of food. If she doesn't see me in a long time, she will bring over just expired food from the store. Today it was a bunch of sandwiches and rice balls. It's really nice. Now I have food for tomorrow!

New Year Already?

I can't believe it's already a new year. Where did the time go? It's really crazy. But anyway, Happy New Year!

This year, I spent New Year's with the band again. They start playing much later, this year was around 11 PM. There is a special New Year's song and a countdown with a toast. Then more playing. It was pretty cold, close to freezing, so we wore lots of layers. I had a grand total of seven shirts and 3 pants! I was pretty warm actually.

Two of the new girls also came this year. This is their first New Year's in Japan. We had a really great time. We get along pretty well. I think they were really happy to be there. They got along with the group really well.

This is a picture of the first sunrise of the new year. I didn't take a picture of the actual sun rise, but here it is reflecting off of some buildings. The pictures are much nicer when I take them during the day! LOL.

Here are two of the girls. This is after the all nighter. The band plays until around 3:30 and around 4 or so, we all walked to a large shrine. It's tradition for Japanese people to go to a shrine and pray on New Years. The other two missionaries and I of course didn't pray in the shrine. But it's good to watch at least once so we can know what happens. There are also food stands set up there. It's like a carnival. So we ate some fun Japanese food too.

Then we walked back to the station. The girls said good bye there and went home. They had to ride the train for over and hour to get back to their house. They had been with me since Sunday Morning when they went to church with me. After church, we had lunch and then we took naps until 8:00. So they were pretty tired by the end of it all.

I stayed with the band a bit longer. We watched the sun rise and then went to a field and played around. We tossed a Frisbee until it broke, some people played badmition and a couple of people tried unsuccessfully to fly a kite. Then we played some make-shift football. We finished at close to 10 AM. After that, I grabbed some breakfast at McDonalds with two of the people. We ended up talking (in Japanese!) for 2 hours! Then I walked home. I didn't get home until 1pm!!! Crazy! By that time I had a terrible headache and very sore feet. I slept until 7Pm. still woke up with the headache, so I broke down and took some advil. I feel so much better now!

All in all, it was a very good day.

In other news, I updated blogger, and now I can't post my pictures directly from Picassa anymore. It's slightly annoying. Hopefully the problem with be fixed soon. But the good news is that I now have a Picassa Webs Album account. This means I can put up lots of pictures for your viewing pleasure. I will eventually get around to putting up a link for you.

Anyway, that's what happened today. Hopefully I will get around to doing some past updates.