Monday, January 14, 2008
Yesterday was the first time I got to meet with the band this year. They were absent for two weeks. Sing had a pretty bad cold, and it looks like they were having problems with the amps too. So I learned how much I depend on them to help me through the week. This is my major social outlet. All the other missionaries live at least an hour away, so I have no friends who are close by. So when the band doesn't play, I find myself very lonely. Haha. But it was a good break for thinking and stuff.
Anyway, yesterday I was really happy to see everyone again. I think I need some new hobbies. Haha.
On a side note, I finally got around to editing some pictures. I took another class trip this fall. Here's the link to the album. Some really nice nature pictures there. Enjoy!
Friday, January 11, 2008
Don't get me wrong. I still very much love Japan. I'm so glad to be here. But I'm winding down. Last year around this time, I was praying to stay in the same job for one more year. I thought I could do this forever. This year I'm wondering if it really was a good idea to stay another year. Well, I don't really doubt that so much. But I do wonder what I'm going to look like at the end.
It kinda feels like there is a huge lead rock in the pit of my soul. It just sits there. For now I can still stand and function. But sooner or later I'll cave into the pressure it puts on me.
So I'm waiting. I'm waiting for God to show me what to do next. I keep thinking about my future. What will I do after this? Return to America? Stay in Japan? What kind of job can I do after this? How should I be preparing for my future now?
So many questions. But I keep hearing one answer. Stand. huh? Stand? Yeah, stand. I think my job right now is to stand. I know I can't control my future. That is God's territory. I don't sweat the big stuff. Heck, I probably rarely sweat the small stuff. (the stuff in the middle worries me sometimes though...) So for now, I'm standing where God has placed me, waiting to see what happens next. If I fall down because I am tired, or the weight pulls me down, my job is to stand up again. Just stand.
I guess if anything this is my new theme for now. Stand.
Sorry, I guess this post was kind of cryptic and weird. I don't usually write things like this here, but that's where I am tonight. Tired, but relying on my stubbornness not to fall. Actually, I prefer honest representation anyway. Life here is not always wonderful. But I wouldn't choose any other way. Even if I'm not quite sure what the heck I'm doing.
Tonight reminds me of how young and inexperienced I am. I really have no idea what I'm doing. I'm making things up as I go along. But it's all the quick fix type of things. I'm good at that. But the lasting, long term stuff. Man. That's where you need quality. And that's where I'm lacking a whole lot.
Pray for me. It's not a crisis or anything. But I'm tired and afraid of falling. Sometimes I know we have to fall. I'm ok with that, as long as I'm falling into the arms of my God. So please pray for me as I stand and wait. Wait for the arms of my Savior to wrap around me and restore me. Yes, I'm definitely looking forward to the restoration. That will be nice.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Anyway. Today I am working late to write a report on my year for the annual church meeting. I'm not terribly excited about writing reports (thankfully I can write it in English and someone else translates for me) but one thing it does do is shows me what I've done with my year.
Sometimes I sit and think, what is it exactly that I do here? Sometimes it's hard to find an answer. Even though I know I feel really busy, sometimes I wonder if it's really true. You know, I could just be a huge wuss or something. Many times I have no idea how to answer the question of what I do. So, with the help of last year's calendar (I have a horrible memory), I finally completed a list of all the major things I did last year. I was kinda surprised at how long it was. So, I decided to share with you a part of my report. This is all the major events of last year:
- Regular teaching and preparation (8 adult classes, 13 children’s classes, 4 Bible Studies)
- Sunday English Bible Study (around 6 regular students)
- One English School event per month
- Coffee House (2)
- Gingerbread House (2)
- English Cooking House
- English School Open House
- Movie event (Passion of the Christ)
- English worship
- Halloween Fair
- Thanksgiving meal
- Christmas Party
- Served as Assistant Director to VYM
- Attended weekly meetings with VYM director
- Attended weekly prayer meetings in Iidabashi
- Co-led August English Prayer Retreat (VYM)
- Attended Japanese classes
- Attended monthly leadership meetings for VYM
- Attended Sunday School Children’s Camp
- Attended monthly English worship (Kanto area)
- Visited my family in America for two weeks (March)
- Attended Kanto Area Youth Group meetings (3 times)
- Helped with Yoshiko’s Summer English camp
- Attended Discover Tokyo Day
- Went on a class trip to Ikaho
- Attended Trash Box Jam street lives and events (weekly)
- Visited Niigata to support co-missionaries there
- Started designing new fliers for the outside sign to make the school more attractive to new students
This year I'm planning on going to Kyoto in March with one of the girls I met at the band. This will probably be the closest thing I've had to a road trip ever. (we are going by train.) It will be very exciting because she doesn't speak English. This will be a wonderful chance to get to know her and share with her about me. Please pray for the preparation of this trip. I'm a little nervous, but I'm really looking forward to it.
Anyway. I guess you might be wondering about the ramen comment in the title. haha. I was eating some instant ramen tonight as I worked. It was good. But suddenly I was thinking of how my views of ramen had changed since coming to Japan.
When I lived in America, I don't think I ever paid more than like 30 cents for ramen. (I don't know, how much is cup ramen now days? 1 dollar?) Anyway, ramen is super cheap food in America. I had a roommate once who lived off of the stuff. I prefer to fry it up and eat it. But I never ate too much ramen in America. So I was shocked in Japan the first time I saw a whole restaurant devoted to ramen. And, to top it off, some of the ramen was like 8 bucks! Who pays that much for ramen?!? I mean, really? It's ramen! right? Wrong. That stuff you eat in America is nothing compared to real ramen. I mean, this stuff is good. Esp in winter. It keeps you warm for a long time. (I had to get used to making noise when you eat it, because of chopsticks, but other than that) There are so many varieties of ramen. Different types of noodles, different types of soups, different types of toppings. It's amazing. Ramen is great. And even instant ramen is way better here than in America. It's also a bit more expensive (cheapest I can get is like 88yen) but it's still good. It's good when you want a cheap meal to fill you up on a cold night. So today, knowing I have little time to eat (it's Wed, my busiest day) I bought some instant ramen from 7/11. This meant I had to pay close to a dollar fifty for it. (My American mind thinks this is really expensive for ramen. My Japanese mind thinks this is really cheap for a whole meal.) This was the first time I've tried this brand. It was really good. I don't eat ramen very often, it could be easy to get tired of it, but when I do, I'm usually happy with the results. Yes, very good ramen. It was a really big bowel too. So I'm happy to be filled up for so little. (I really am full!)
Anyway, no pictures because I'm still at the church, but you did get an update and a random conversation about ramen. Can't ask for much more than that right? (come on, humor me...)
I do still promise more pictures and a video of my kids singing Away in a Manger soon. (we'll see if my computer can handle the video editing software yet...)
(another random revelation: I can use spell check on this computer, which is suprising because it's still in Japanese. But apparently, spellcheck doesn't think ramen is a word! It showed a lot of spelling errors this time. I was surprised. I thought ramen would be in the dictionary by now... Haha)
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Well, it's a bit late, but Happy New Year. I managed to catch a cold for New Years and today is the first day it's finally finished. I actually started back to work last Friday, but it was a bit early for most of my students, so today will be my first full day back in the swing of things.
Today I finally managed to send out my newsletter. Newsletters are hard to write. They stress me out sometimes. But it's finished and sent.
Not much has happened since the last post. I'm still trying to get my computer to work the correct way, so I'm still not able to access some of my pictures, but I will put some new ones up soon. For now, these are some pictures back from summer that I've never put up.
First is of one of my kids events. This year we changed from me telling a Bible story in English and having it translated, to just telling the story in Japanese. It's much easier this way!
In Japam, trains are a big thing. I use trains every week. They are ususally quite convient. I really only miss having a car when I want to do a whole lot of shopping at once. I've had to learn you can only buy what you can carry in most cases. (sometimes there's shipping options...)
Anyway, near my house we have this cute little thing that's not quite a train. It's a shuttle. It's much smaller than normal trains and runs up pretty high off the ground. So here are some pictures of the train coming at the main station.
And a random frustration... Because I live in Japan, a lot of my webpages default to the Japanese version. For e-mail this is ususally ok, because after I sign in, it usually takes me back to English. But lately, I can't get the blog out of Japanese! This is annoying because there is no spell check in the Japanese version. But if I don't try to do too much, I can still post with realitivly few problems.
Anyway, the good news is that I'm back to feeling better. The past few weeks weren't very fun. Possibly because I was sick and that makes me grumpy. But I'm feeling much more cheerful today. The sun is out, things are looking like they will all work out. It's good. Like a sun rise after a long night.
Ah, one more fun thing. I got to see the sun setting behind Mt. Fuji this week! It was really pretty. On clear days you can sometimes see Mt. Fuji from Tokyo. But ususally there's too much haze and stuff. But in winter and esp New Years, the sky's clear up. (New Years is because many of the buisness are shut down, so there's less pollution) There's not a good place where I live to see Fuji, but sometimes when I ride the trains I'll pass by a clear area and can catch a glimpse. That happened to me on Saturday. It was a nice bonus to my day! I was gonna take a picture, but my cell phone couldn't pick it up. Sorry!
Ok, that's all for now. Time to get ready for teaching!