Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just one of many things I want to say.


Wow, recently, so many great things have been happening. I have so many great stories and things I want to share. Unfortunately I have almost no time to write them down. (or it's so cold I'm afraid my fingers will fall off if I type! Ok, it's not that cold, but it feels like it sometimes.)

Anyway. It's the holiday season. That translates to, Insanely busy. But this year has been better than others. I'm learning how to appreciate the holidays a bit more. I am by no means a holiday person, but I don't hate them either.

But this is also closer and closer to the time of year when my future is going to radically change. I've been watching fellow friends, in the similar situation and their reactions. It's interesting to say the least. Japan has captured quite a few hearts it seems.

I was talking with some of my students about my future this week. They are a great class and I really love them. I was talking about how I often have to wait til the last minute to find out what God has planned for me, so I'm not so stressed out yet. I know God will provide for me, because He always has.
It was fun because I was pointing out all the blessings that God has given me lately, and how He just provides all the things I need, and sometimes don't need. And then one of my students really encouraged me by pointing out that all the things He has been giving me are all things that I need in JAPAN, and not Texas. I got a new bicycle, which would be a bit silly to ship back to Texas, and I don't really need. I would need a car to get anything done. And I was just given the most perfect coat ever. (my parents gave me money to buy clothes, and I ended up getting a much needed new coat from Land's End. It's wonderful, and even shipped internationally in less than a week! VERY flattering and just all around perfect. I'll post a picture as soon as I get one.) She also pointed out that I certainly don't need that down coat in Texas. I laughed and agreed with her. It's very comforting thought. Even though I don't always recognize it, God is always preparing for me and taking care of me. I am still no closer to knowing what I will be doing in the future, but somehow I feel much more secure than before. God is good. (of course, there is always the possibility He will send me somewhere other than Texas. I might need that coat in say... Alaska. hahaha Still leaves the issue of the bike though....)

Anyway, here are some recent pictures. We made a Christmas tree in one of my classes, it's really cute. And a couple of weeks ago, we went to a Messiah concert. A couple of us girls dressed up (Japanese people don't really dress up so much for concerts, but we still want any excuse to dress up.) My dress is the bridesmaid dress I wore like 7 years for my friends wedding. It's seriously too big. I had to pin it in the back, and then cover it up with a Japanese style coat (called haori). The funny thing was my friend wore the same kind of coat over her dress too! Anyway, it was a really nice evening of beautiful music, laughter, good food... It was one of those few (Cinderella/princess) experiences. Very nice. But like all good things, the night ended, and we went back to work.

I still have lots of things I want to post here, but they will have to wait for another time. Maybe I will find time to catch up soon (as long as I remember all the cool things I wanted to say...)
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Random musings (notice: not really interesting at all...)



So yesterday all the missionaries in our area (it's called Kanto if you really want to know.) met for our monthly English Bible Study/devotion/worship thing (and a couple of guys who just came in from Taiwan were there too.) In the Fall our group gets pretty big because we have the working missionaries and the orientation missionaries as well. This year the group has come together pretty quickly to a big friendly family like atmosphere. (which translates to nothing EVER starting on time. Good thing many of our time conscious co-workers have finished their terms of services.)

Well, there is a point to the rambling. Well, ok, not really. Just a stupid story. So I have this thing. It's hard to explain. It's kinda like a scarf. It's all made of fur (it was a present from one of my students). So this guy picks it up and looks at it and says "what IS this?" And then he smells it. Then he announces "This smells weird. What is it?" This then prompts the scarf to be passed around the whole room so everyone can smell the "weird smell." (No one else thought it was weird, or at least no one else SAID it.) But it was commented a couple of times that it just smelled like me.

This has got me thinking. I've seen friends with boyfriends, and watched how they like to smell their boyfriends clothes, because they smell like a boyfriend. I guess smell is really powerful. But it's baffling to me, because I don't smell people. I mean I smell things all the time. But I can't distinguish people's individual smells.

So the whole thing is rather strange for me. So I was just kinda wondering how many people "smell" other people. Is this normal and I'm just the weird one?

Ok, like I said, this was just a stupid processing post. Not so interesting.

In other news, here are some random pictures. I like the one from some thread I bought. The "almighty spun thread."

There are also pictures of someone randomly drying their laundry at the train station. (I was actually testing out to see if I could get more than 4 pictures up with the new update to Picasa, but it looks like it's still only 4....)

Ok, time to go get ready to go to the Messiah concert!
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Friday, December 05, 2008

The railway museum!

Railway Museum



Last week I went with my class to see the nearby Railway museum. It was lot's of fun! Here are some pictures.

Trains are very popular in Japan, so this museum is a really big deal. This is the same museum that I wrote about earlier when the Crown Prince came to visit. Very exciting stuff.

(click the picture to see all the pictures I took!)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

more additions to a list of things I can never be thankful enough for.


Well, today was a day filled with lots and lots of unexpected surprises. I started the day with a nice talk with the deaconess at my church about future ministry options for my church and the area. Very exciting. I was given a new skirt that actually fit. I got news that site training (when I teach the next missionary all about their new job) will be moved up a week (so that it doesn't conflict with the last week of classes). All very good stuff. Even had a nice day teaching kids about "Away in a Manger." It's actually really exciting, because I have enough Japanese this year to really explain what the song means. So several kids got to hear about the story of Jesus' birth (and I get to do it all week!)

But I guess the biggest surprise of the day was when my students came to my night class. I have four students in this class, all men. This is my highest class. They are all really cute. I like them.

Last month, my bicycle (donated by the church) busted a tire. New tires are a little costly, and I didn't have the money to repair is. Now this bicycle has been giving me trouble the whole time I've been here. One of the students in the class, who I like to think of as my Japanese grandfather, has on several occasions fixed the bicycle for me. (he also brings me beautiful roses from his garden!)

So this time the bicycle seemed done for. I actually had to walk to the hospital yesterday (little less than an hour actually, and I did choose to walk, I could have taken a bus.) But a bicycle makes things like shopping, and getting places so much easier.

So tonight he came to class and showed me a piece of paper. Turns out the four members of the class got together to buy me a new bicycle!! They even put my name on it! And registered it with the police! (you are supposed to register your bike in Japan, kinda like you do with cars. The picture of the bright red sticker is the registration number.) So if I loose my bike, or it's stolen, they can trace it back to me if it's ever found. It's such a wonderful present!

I can't even begin to express how excited I am about this. I took it for a test ride tonight, and I think I rode around 8 miles maybe. Hehe. It was lots of fun.

These are of course pictures of my wonderful new "mama-chali" (mother's chariot) as they call your basic bikes here in Japan. It's a nice deep, burnt red. It's got a nice pedal-powered light, and brakes that work! haha. It's really great!

If you look at the last picture, it's what was written on the bike manual. I find the English rather funny.

So that's my exciting story for the day. God just keeps blessing me so much. And the funny thing is, for every blessing like this that you can see, there are so many more that can never be seen or even fully expressed or realized. I'm always in awe of how much God takes care of me.

Thanks so much.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Still alive


Well, it's been a while, and believe me, I have a whole lot to say. But I think tonight it's going to be a quick post to hopefully ease me back into things.

Anyway, here's some pictures I took today. The first is near the hospital I went to today. I got an MRI because I've been having lots of headaches and I decided I should finally get them looked at. It was an interesting experience. Always fun to do medical procedures in a foreign language. But apparently my Japanese is passable enough. It's good when the staff look at me and expect me to speak NO Japanese, so when I can use some, they breathe this sigh of relief that they can still speak to me in Japanese, albeit very simple Japanese. Anyway, have to wait two weeks before I get the results. I'll update you if there's anything interesting to say.


In other interesting news, tonight was a special convergence of the moon, Venus and Jupiter. I went out and tried taking some pictures and they actually turned out decently. The bright one is Venus, and the one near the top is Jupiter. And the moon is really cool as a sliver of a crescent. believe me, the pictures don't do the sight justice.

I just wanted to put up the pictures because I knew if I didn't do it today, it would never get done. I have lots more pictures and stories I'd like to share, but it'll have to happen later.
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Friday, October 10, 2008

Stories from class.


Today in my adult class, we had some interesting stories. The first picture is about a cat who is a station master at a rural small train station. This cat's name is Tama. Here is a picture of her at her job. She even wears a hat! Apparently this is a small local line. Sometimes these stations will have no attendants during the day. This cat seemed to want the job, and became a local celebrity. Soon news was all over Japan, and this cat has become a popular sight seeing attraction. I was told today that the cat has caused about 39 million dollars to pour into the local economy there. Talk about good for business.

Under the cat is a sign telling her working hours. During the summer she works 9-5. Winter is 10-4:30 and Sunday's are her day off. This picture was given to me by one of my students who loves cats.
Next is a picture of one of my more talented students. This student has been taking art classes, and he is quite good. When I showed pictures from Texas, he copied two pictures and combined them to make his own picture of the Texas sunset. Quite amazing. And I must say, I'm VERY jealous of his ability. haha (below are the two pictures he used as inspiration... He ended up not using the pump jack because it was a bit difficult to draw...)
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another Video

videoSo here's another video from the night I'll henceforth call "The Best Birthday Ever." After the band, my fellow missionaries came down and went all night Karaoke with me. (mostly co-workers from Tokyo, but one girl did come down from Niigata. Now that's some serious karaoke love!) Yes, I love all night Karaoke. It is wonderful. I took some videos. If I had known they were going to turn out so well, I would have taken more, but this is all you get. It was a lot of fun and the people were wonderful. Just a disclaimer, I totally made up the nicknames at the end of the video. So you can sue me if you don't like them. ;-) (just claiming responsibility...) There are some pictures up at my web albums page too if you want to head over there to check them out.

Ahh... Good times.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

posting spree!



Guess I'm just in a blogging mood today!

There have been a lot of butterflies in my garden lately. I really like butterflies. Here's one who's been hanging around lately.


In other news... It's around that time of the year when I'm trying to transition my students to the idea of getting a new teacher. A lot of the students are aware of the way the program works, but some of my new students, and younger ones don't know that the teacher is supposed to change every two years. Of course it doesn't help that I've been here 4, so there are many students who don't remember a previous teacher, or who have never had a different teacher. At first I was a little surprised to figure out that not everyone knew I wasn't going to continue teaching, but I guess if I don't tell them, they won't know. haha. So I've been telling moms and some of the kids too.

Well, one of my kids overheard it today as we were talking about getting a new teacher. The moms were asking when we would know who the new teacher would be. I told them it probably wouldn't be decided until January or Feb. Then my student pipes up and says (in Japanese) "It's better if they just don't decide." I laughed and told him that they needed to decide or he wouldn't have a teacher. And he said "Amber's fine." haha. I like kids. I didn't even know this kid liked me or not. It's a nice affirmation. But I also know, it's good for them to get new teachers too. It's a bitter sweet time...

My Birthday Song!

Here is the video of the Birthday Song that was sung to me at the band. It's the Autumn song. So I really like it. (they have 3 or 4 different original birthday songs!) I was lucky to have someone film it for me. (You can see the back of my hat...) In the end I had to edit the video in order for it to upload. Hopefully it will upload this time. Maybe one day I'll translate the lyrics and post them up too.
video

Blessed beyond belief.





Last Sunday was my birthday. And I must say, it had to have been the best birthday ever. I have never felt so blessed ever. God is good to me. I got tons of presents, had some fun pictures taken, got cake, flowers, went all night karaoke, was given a guitar, got to see the band, got a special birthday song... the list goes on and on. It was a really, really good day. And I'm super thankful for everyone who helped to make it that way.

These are some pictures of one of the girls who helped make it such a wonderful day. Her name is Etsuko. She spent a lot of time with me, and I really appreciate all her efforts to make it a special day for me.

These pictures are from photo booths that are popular here in Japan. You take about 6 pictures or so and choose different backgrounds and then you get to decorate them. It's a lot of fun, and not so expensive. You get a sheet of stickers to share, and then you can also buy digital copies. Etsuko bought the set and sent me copies of them.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Anniversary!


Today is my 4th Anniversary in Japan! Wow time flies. It's been long enough that I've started having difficulty remembering how many years it's been. (yeah, I'm just bad with concepts like time to begin with.)

It's really amazing to think that I've lived here for so long. This is long enough to get a college degree. (in all honestly, it felt like I've been in a kinda "hand-on" grad school.) This was long enough that my nephew (who was an infant when I left) will be starting Kindergarten soon. Long enough for a niece to be born. (she's about to turn two I believe, and I've only seen her twice!) Long enough to miss the death of two dogs.

Long enough to fall in love with an entire country. Long enough to have my heart broken by the deep pain and suffering I see here, but is so often covered up and ignored. Long enough for my heart to heal and be desensitized to things like that.

Long enough to loose over 60 pounds. Long enough to be able to speak conversational Japanese and read just enough to get by. (being illiterate isn't as hard as you would think...)

Long enough to see co-workers come and go. Long enough to see students come and go. Long enough to watch kids grow up...

But not nearly long enough...

I'm still in love with Japan. I love Japanese food. I love the fashions. I love the history and the romance. I love the style. I love the traditional arts. I love the people.

I don't really miss America. I don't miss my car. I don't miss the noisiness. I don't miss the politics. I don't miss understanding what everyone is talking about around me. I don't miss the unhealthiness.

I do miss my friends and family. I miss watching my niece and nephew grow up. I miss the future that will never happen. I miss shopping for clothes. ;-)

But I don't regret any of it.

Here are some pictures. The pictures of me were taken by my student Masahiko. He was very excited to see me in Yukatta. Please pray for Masahiko. He studies the Bible very diligently and he is a good student. But I would love to see him believe what he reads and become a Christian and my brother.

The other pictures are of my cute returnee class. They have all lived in other countries (three in America, one in Malaysia) and are great with English. We wrote a fun story in class the other day about a Skiing Egg. They are so cute!
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Thinking about gifts

As some of you might know, my birthday is this week (Sunday). As a result, I have already started receiving presents. It's fun and exciting, because, I like presents! haha.

But I was walking tonight and thinking about many different things. I remembered that I had been given two pieces of fruit last week. I couldn't eat it the day I was given it because I had been fasting that day. But now I haven't gotten around to eating them, and it might be too late.

It got me thinking about gifts in general. Like how we can take gifts for granted. Or not appreciate them. Or just not use them and allow them to rot and waste away. I am guilty on on counts.

God gives us many gifts. Some are blessings, something merely to enjoy, like sunny days, or flowers. But God also gives us gifts to use. The gift of teaching, the gift of healing, the gift of trust. There are so many gifts He gives us. But like my fruit, if we don't use them, they will rot away and we will loose them.

How sad. I can't imagine a greater loss. God gives everyone gifts. So many precious gifts. My goal this year is to not take my gifts for granted, but to be truly thankful for them, and use them for the uses they were meant for.

Random pictures: Me after the Trash Box Jam live last week. And one of the few pictures I had taken at prayer retreat this summer. A nice Japanese style garden where I prayed and studied.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Lesson on Perspective

Last week I was given a present from one of my students. Of course I was really happy. I like presents. But this present was a little unique.

There are two ways I could look at this present. This present is a small pink crocheted flower. Well, at least that is what it is supposed to be. If you look at it closely you can tell it's a flower. It's kinda misshapen. And a little funny looking.

But I love it.

The reason is because it was made by a 6 year old little girl. But I don't love it just because this little girl is cute. (she is super super cute by the way) I can also see how talented she is. The flower isn't close to perfect. But I know where she came from. I'm the one who taught her how to make this flower, back in July. Just one day she came for an event and learned how to make it. (She was also the fastest to learn how to crochet that day as well) So I'm not so much impressed at what she can do now, (which is pretty impressive considering she's 6!) but at how much potential she has. She still remembers how to crochet something I taught her 2 months ago! I think that's pretty amazing in itself. (this knowing that I probably wouldn't be able to do something like that myself. I forget details quickly.)

So I guess this reminds me of how God loves us. When he looks at us, he doesn't only look at the product (although that is important.) But he also looks at all the factors. Where we started, how far we've come, and how far we can go, how much effort we put into it, etc. So I can give God, the most horrible looking, misshapen flower, and he might love it more than a perfect one given by someone who didn't put love into making it. It's the difference of perspective. Kinda like how God accepted Abel's offerings, but rejected Cain's. Not because of what was offered, but because of the motivation behind it.

It's a bit of a relief to know that God will accept me and my offerings as long as I love him. I don't have to be perfect. Like a child I can offer up funny looking flowers to God, and he will treasure them. Of course, just like the little girl, I have room to improve. Someday, she will be able to make perfect flowers, and I will be even happier to receive that. But for now, the funny looking flower has a place of honor on my cell phone.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reflections...

Today I'm sitting on the train on my way to the other side of Tokyo. (I'm on my cell phone right now. I'll paste this to my blog later.) It's still about another 30mins before I arrive at my destination and I find myself with plenty of time to reflect.

Today is cleaning day. No, not my house, though it really needs it. Next week 4 new volunteer missionaries will arrive in Japan. Just like I did years ago, they will spend 6 months in Tokyo learning Japanese and other important things before beginning 2 years of teaching English and ministry. So today we are preparing for their arrival in an annual tradition of house cleaning.

It's a strange mix of feelings I find myself with. This isn't the first time I've helped clean this very house for girls who might possibly replace me. The last time was two years ago when my original term of service was about to end. There were 4 new people coming that year as well. At that time I wanted to extend, but we weren't sure there would be enough room for me still. So at that time I felt maybe a sense of slight resentment for these unknown girls who had the power to take away my job,my students. But God provided as always and that year a new position was created and I've been blessed to extend not only one but two years past my original contract.

Now I'm satisfied with my time in VYM and I'm ready to move to the next stage of my life. So I find myself on a train on my way to clean a house with the very girls whom I cleaned it for two extensions ago. Now they are also the ones preparing for the possibilities of replacement or extension. My resentment for these girls has been transformed into community and love. It's amazing how God gently shows us the better way sometimes.

So now, this time, I'm merely experiencing bitter sweet acceptance instead of sullen rebellion. It's good to know how far I've come. Today I'm looking forward to a day of laughter and fellowship (even if we are cleaning). Maybe in another two years I'll be anticipating an event such as this with true joy, the evidence of my relationship with my Father. I'm so thankful for all the ways I've changed and grown these past two years.

Now if I could only learn to clean my own house...

Monday, September 15, 2008

What does it mean to be Christian? Lessons from a non-Christian.

I just got home from a conversation with Sing. It was really good. But my head is spinning a bit trying to process it all. But God is really funny. When I came to Japan, I thought I was here to tell Japanese people about Jesus. But God turned it around on me first. He had the Japanese teach me about Jesus. God is good to me.

So, what does it mean to be Christian? What does that look like? Tonight, that question was answered for me from the perspective of a non-Christian. He told me this.

I am a Christian. That means I am going to heaven. I should be happy right? So he is jealous of me.

So I guess to him, that's what it means to be Christian. Live like you are going to heaven. If he can't see that I'm happy about it, then why would he want to go? I guess he's got a point. If I want to go to a concert, or some event that I really like, I'll think about it for a long time. And I'll look forward to it. Everyone around me knows I'm about to go someplace I love. It shows in everything I do. So why doesn't it show that I love heaven? I'm going there right? So why am I not happy? He accused me of thinking too much and making things too complicated.

He's got a point. One of the most given commands in the Bible is "rejoice." (followed closely by "don't be afraid") So why have I spent so much of my life in fear and worry and just plain unhappiness? I've been missing a key point.

It's kinda sad it's taken me so long to realize these things. This is actually the end of a conversation I had with Sing two years ago. Tonight he finally explained why he thought I wasn't a good missionary. I'm not happy. Well, I've become more happy recently, but I guess I didn't know I was happy.

In the previous post I was looking for purpose, the goal that would allow me to make it through any trials that come my way. When I asked Sing about that tonight, he told me that wasn't the problem. I already have the answer.

Recently I had the thought that you can't change the world, but you can change how you see it. I think the way I see the world, and how I see what it means to live as a Christian, has changed, just a little.

The fear before the next step.

So this is my last year of missionary service. In March I will leave this job and find gainful employment elsewhere. I know I still have some time, but I've been thinking about the future lately, and realizing how terrified and ill equipped I am for it.

Up until now, while lonely, I've never really been on my own. In college I had the financial support of my parents. Now I am supported by my missionary program. While I live alone, I'm not on my own. There are people to help me and take care of me when I need it. In March that will be over.

I have already decided I am not returning to America at the end of my service. I love Japan. I want to stay here. That has never been a question in my mind since arriving here. But the only way to make money in Japan for me is to teach English. (I have a very large student loan debt hanging over my head that makes the move away from church work necessary...) While I don't hate teaching English, I don't love it either. Now, of course, having the perfect job is not the prerequisite for happiness. Nor am I naive enough (any longer) to think that I am entitled to the perfect job. The problem comes when I realize that I will still be living alone.

Now of course I live alone now. But I have a job I mostly enjoy, and a sense of purpose to guide me through that. ( I also have a band that get's me out of my house every weekend and social time) But I fear the thought of living alone, having a job I don't like, and just surviving here. What's the point? What's my reason for living? The band can't support me in a situation like that. (I think right now the band is a substitute for family for me.) But I'm moving past the point where that level of support is going to carry me through. I need something more. I need a purpose.

I see other people who live alone, and what it is that motivates them. For some it is their music. Maybe it's art. But while I love both of those things, they aren't what drive me. I want something more. Something bigger. Something that will keep me moving forward, even when I want to stop. Something to fight for.

Am I still being naive? I don't know. But these are the thoughts that are coming to me now as I'm looking forward. I've prayed about this, and now I'm waiting for God to show me His plan.

If anything, it's comforting to have words to put to the problem. Now I can trust and wait for God to guide me and teach me. While I'm still afraid, I'm less uneasy now than I was before.

God is good to me.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Omiyagi


So Japan has a tradition of buying gifts for people you know whenever you go on a trip. These gifts are usually food, and are called "omiyagi." Almost all train stations, air ports, and convenience stores, as well as specialty shops in major places were people travel, carry omiyagi. It is a huge business. It's always best to find omiyagi of a local product, or something that area is famous for.

Students often bring omiyagi to class to share. Today a student brought some omiyagi from near her home town. What was funny was the kind of omiyagi. If you look at the box (it might be hard to read...) it says "Francis Xavier" Then it reads (in English):

Francis Xavier gave happiness to many people and taught our country the light of civilization and God's teachings. In commemoration of him, (I can't read this word and I forgot it but it probably means eat or enjoy or something...) a confectionery, please from sweet shop.

Francis Xavier was the first missionary that came to Japan. It's rather strange to see omiyagi made in commemoration of him. The box was really nice too. It was covered in nice fake velvet. And everyone remarked that the box reminded them of the Bible. Haha. But it seems strange to me, for people who probably don't know who Francis Xavier is, to be buying omiyagi in his name. I wonder what he would think....

VBS!

This summer we had our first VBS at my church (that I'm aware of anyway.) It was only three days, and only two hours a day. It went quite well I think.

We did the every thing by scratch. It worked out, because we had about 12 kids come. So we could do everything together as one big group. Our theme was Heroes. We studied about three Bible Heroes, Moses, David and Esther. There was also song time and crafts, and play time. The last day we made lunch and ate together too. It was a nice combination. I only took pictures of the last day, but here they are!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

more pictures



Here are a few more yukata pictures from the live. The top one is me with three other missionaries I know who came with me and then the members of the band. I was really glad they came. We weren't planning on taking a picture, but the members told us to. Haha. It was funny.

There is also a picture of the band members in yukata. Personally I really like the yukata for men. It's more common to see girls wearing yukata, but I like the way they look on guys. I think more guys should wear them! haha. Yeah, I'm weird.
And randomly, some cute bunny pictures. There was a special live outside during the summer. We met this guy who had two bunnies and the girls made friends with the bunnies very quickly. Here is Neko-chan with the two bunnies. They were really cute.
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catching up


Well, I survived the summer. It's been a while, so I'm going to try to play catch up a bit with my blog.

This summer was very similar to my other summers in Japan. Hot, muggy and busy. I had a few days to relax, but for the most part I was off doing many different things this summer.

The highlight of the summer would be getting my very own yukata. A yukata is a traditional type of kimono that is worn in the summer. Back in the old days, when they wore kimono all the time, yukata was much cooler to wear. (now, it's a bit hot if you compare it to wearing short sleeves and shorts...)

Summer is great for watching people get dressed up in yukata for festivals and fireworks. Although I've lost quite a bit of weight since coming to Japan, I'm still rather large, so I can't buy a pre-made yukata. (one size fit's all). So I asked a church member who likes to sew, if she could make one for me. I bought the fabric and she made it for me by hand!!!! in one week!!!! She is amazing! (she also takes care of the flowers around my house.) The she taught me how to put it on, and even lent me an obi (the belt part) to wear with it. Here is the final product. I wore it to the Trash Box Jam summer live. It's becoming a tradition to wear yukata (or a swimsuit) to this live. If you wear one you get a special prize. This year it was a custom made pick. Very cool.

In other news, this summer I started walking for exercise. I try to walk a little over an hour 2-4 days a week (weather permitting). Since I started, I've lost 4 kilograms! (a little less than 10lbs I'm guessing... I'm bad at converting.) I would like to loose another 10 kilos by April. Of course the next problem is going to be finding a way to buy new clothes that fit! haha.

This summer was crazy with rain and storms. The newspapers called it "guerrilla rain." Apparently Tokyo had the most lightening in 50 years this summer. The up side was no typhoons so far this year. The down side was lots of headaches and the band was canceled several times. sad. This week the weather has been changing. Today was nice because there was very little humidity! It was wonderful. Except for the headache of course. I get headaches every time the weather changes. I think it's because of my sinuses, but I'm not sure. I'm going to go to a doctor this month to get it checked out. I'm definitely tired of headaches.

Well, I think that's all for today. I will try to put up some more pictures and stuff from this summer. There are several fun stories I would like to share.

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