Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Three Hour Sermon

Is the name of the book next to me. Sweet, I can read Japanese now! Haha, I jest, of course. However, I can read quite a few Japanese characters now, but I have no clue what they mean. Ok. I cannot put off the small talk for much longer...let me apologize profusely for not updating in quite some time. The internet has been down at the church, and that is the only time I am able to really get on the 'net. SORRY! I hope this post makes it up to you all. Maybe.

Where to begin...hmmm...I cannot remember. Oh well. I think that I will just talk about how things are going. Great is of course the answer. Of course it is because a leg is a leg is a leg. How could it not go great. I am not sure how many strangers wander aimlessly onto my blog, but it cannot be more than zero, so I will refrain from writing about a few things for that reason. If people are curious about what I was going to write, email me. It is nothing bad, but a few people I know read this, so I do not want to offend anybody. Actually, I do not think they even read anymore. Whatever. I do not care. In any case, I am almost ready to come home. More so for the food than anything else. Sorry family.


I might have already talked about APN Friday night, but it was great. As was karaoke. We have another karaoke party scheduled for July 8th, the day before we leave and after our farewell party. Sad day! Ahh! I am not ready.

Every day Adam and I eat in the ICC cafeteria. Needless to say, we get tired of eating there. We miss having a variety of food to choose from: American, Mexican, Italian, Chinese,, you get the point. The food here is delicious, but all the same taste (for the most part) with Japanese flavor. We were tired of eating there, and we wanted some fatty American food so we decided to go McDonalds in Hitachi. Train ride! We looked at the train schedule and realized that a train was leaving in 12 minutes, so we booked it to the train station. When trains are arriving there is this little bell buzzer thing that goes off letting you know that it is coming. You usually have about 30 seconds to a minute. Not much time. We were rounding the corner and still heading for the station when we heard the train bell buzzer thing. We looked at each other and started running...nay, sprinting! We purchased our tickets and could see the train coming. We still had to cross over! We sprinted up the stairs, ran across, and sprinted down, all in under a minute. Just in time. The second we stepped on, the doors closed. We made it! Barely. Neither one of us had our inhalers, so we were a little wheezy, but it was worth it. I am just surprised that I did not trip while running. That would have been a disaster. 12 minutes was probably a record to leave school, walk to station, purchase tickets, cross over, and enter train. We rock.

We had to take that 11:59 train because the next one was at 12:14 and that would not have given us enough time to eat and get back. Two stops later we made it to Hitachi and chowed down, and rushed back to the train station and took the train. We made it back to the school by 1:14 and had readers at 1:15. Awesome. So much fun! It really was. After all of that running around, we were still hungry. Ice cream! The non-magical ice cream maker provides many flavors, tofu being one. It is actually not bad. Sort of thick and sweet. I would not say delicious, but I could definitely eat it if forced. Or just given a free one. Either one would work.

Dinner at Gusto's. Much slower and relaxing. Oh, and it was like 80 degrees and 100% humidity Monday as well, so that was fun. Very.

Tuesday was Curry Chapel and Sports Party Day. Long name for a day. Great success for both. Mr. and Mrs. Snow are here, so it was great to have them help out.

Wednesday night we cooked a ton of food for cell group. We cooked lemon pepper chicken, roasted corn, mashed potatoes with gravy, and salad. Ok, we did not cook the salad. But everything else we cooked on our own. Well, Mrs. Snow made the gravy and Ayaka, one of my readers, came early and helped out as well. We could not have done it without them. We cooked enough food for 25 people, and there was nothing left. It was a hit. Cell group is great. However, I do think that the Japanese non-Christians are struggling learning about the Bible. Some of the messages are a little over the top for someone who has never opened a Bible in their life. I don't know...maybe that is just me. Actually, Adam thinks so too, so maybe it is just us.

Thursday, today, we had ladies tea and it was great. I had to leave early to take the 11:50 train back to ICC because I had 7 classes today. All in a row. No breaks. Yay me.

It was awesome though, because I had a fantastic conversation with one girl named Ayako. She is such a sweetheart. We talked at length about temptation and how Jesus was tempted for 40 days and never gave in, nor did he eat. She told me that it was pretty unbelievable, but for some reason she believed that story. Already off to a great start! She told me that she thinks Jesus has a powerful spirit and that is why he said no all the times the devil tempted him. She also realizes that Jesus is God's son, and knew that in order to make God proud, Jesus had to say no. No matter how much he really wanted to turn that rock into bread. She is very observant. One lesson we were talking about was baptism, and I told her that the only way to heaven is by being a Christian and being baptized. That scared her. I told her that it is written in the Bible, and there is no other way into heaven. I think that opened her eyes and her heart. Later, she told me that she wishes she could have come more. I love her. Please keep her in your prayers.

Michi and I had a talk one day and we were talking while on the train about when Jesus walked on water. She said that it was a "crazy story" and was very hard to believe. But then she said something that I will never forget. She said "you know, these stories are so crazy and unbelievable that they have to be true. I mean, if they wanted more people to believe they would have made up easier stories to believe. These are too good to be made up." But in not as great of English. Awesome! What powerful words coming from a not-yet Christian! God bless her! Keep her in your prayers also.

Things are just getting good, and now it is time to almost leave. I am getting so depressed. We work Monday-Thursday, and a few days we have only worked three days a week. Adam and I work for 10 hours a day while the other three only 9. Not much difference. Anyway, Adam and I have worked 200 hours of Bible study together and that is fantastic. What great numbers! God is so good, and we still have one more week. I have nine readers on Tuesday! Monday is our only day off. This weekend we do not have off because we have FriendsCamp and I am very, very excited. A lot of my readers are going, so I am stoked.

Well, I think that I have written long enough. Oh my gosh! I totally had quesadillas tonight at Coco's!! Coco's is a family restaurant and they have a variety of food and I had honest to goodness tortillas with hot sauce! Wow! A little taste of heaven right here in Hitachi-Taga Japan! God is truly amazing. Just when I needed a taste, He provides. Thank you! Whooo!

Ok, honestly, I am finished. Plus, Holly and Tyler have been patiently awaiting their turn on the ancient computer. I miss you all and love you all. See you!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fresh power!

I am rejuvenated! Who-hoo! I really am not sure why. It is almost 2 am. Wait for it...wait for it is officially 2 am. Cool. So, we stayed up all night last night waiting for the sunrise. According to the always correct internet, sunrise was at 4:21 am. We left Bryan's house right at 4, and got to the beach by 4:10. Nothing. It was a little light, so we stood and waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing. No sun in sight. Then, it began to rain. It was so foggy, the sun was hidden! We were upset! The rainy season is definitely upon us. No worries. I am in Japan! Yata! We finally left the beach around 4:50 and went home to sleep. Ah, precious, precious sleep. 5:15 was late...or was it early to go to sleep. Bryan and Dan went to bed way before we did, so when we got back to the house, the guys went up to their room, while we got our beds ready. Holly and Tyler slept on the couches in the cool living room, while I slept on futon in the side room. No air. No pillow. I did not care. I crashed. I did not remember anything until Holly went and woke me up at 1:30. 8 hours of sleep was not enough. Apparently I was the only one still sleeping. The rain was coming down harder as the three of us walked to the train station to hit the 2:32 train. We left the house at 1:57 and barely made it. Awesome. Also, apparently during the morning I had folded my semi-wet t-shirt and created a crude pillow. My neck is still a little stiff.

We were all starving as we made our way back to the church, so I cooked chicken stir fry. We ate, showered, and talked until 5 when we had to meet Judith and go to Hitachi for APN. Sweet! I love singing. My voice is terrible, but I sing anyway. Just like the Martina McBride song says. Love her.

We went to Ito Yokado shopping mall. There were nine of us: 5 LST, Judith, Michi, Yuka, and Yugurie. I think that is the correct spelling of his name. Trying to spell Japanese words and names phonetically does not really get you anywhere. We took some more of those awesome photo booth pictures and went shopping for a little while until we had to go to the church. Michi helped me find a slip, so yay! I finally have one! I can wear my skirt! Excited, I am.

We then went to the dollar store and pretty much wiped the store clean. What a bunch of foreigners buying up everything in site. Only because it is Japan. Also, we were blessed to have Michi there, for she helped translate characters on items we were buying so that we did not buy something and have it say something like "death is upon you!" or "all who buy this will be tortured by clowns for seven and a half years." You know, stuff like that.

15 minute or so walk to the church. The rain had subsided. Finally. APN was wonderful. Instruments were included, surprisingly, and the entire evening sounded great. I love worship songs. Bryan taught me a few chords on the guitar, so I am now not completely guitar illiterate. I know know G, A, C, and Eminor. I am not too sure what I can do with cords, but I know guitar chords! I can spell CAGEminor, that's what I can do! Rock on!

After APN, Bryan took me, Michi, Tyler, and Holly back to Taga, but not before going to Mos Burger! It is the Japanese equivalent of fast food. Pretty good. According to Michi, they only use the finest ingredients. I ordered a vegetable cheeseburger, and it was delicious, if not small. A few bites and it was down. It was filling though, I will give Mos Burger that much.

That was it. Also, last night we totally got kicked out of McDonalds and the mall. McDonalds closes at 9, so we got there about 5 minutes before they closed and ate our food in the food court. The mall was pretty dead, but none of the stores were getting ready to close. At our mall we have gates for every store, but here they just leave everything out and put a net around the perimeter. Strange, yet awesome. What a trusting country! All of a sudden, a security guard goes "Japanese japanese japanese" to use and we are pretty sure he was telling us to leave. I had just finished my Mega Teriyaki, when we were ushered out into the vastness of Hitachi and had to finish our lovely American meal in the not yet rainy skies. Beautiful and wonderful.

We have had many experiences while here. All of them amazing. All of them. We have only 9 days of reading sessions left...crazy! I do not want to leave! Before coming, I bought gifts for Sugao and Judith as a thank you present, but did not realize that I needed to bring something for the people over at ICC. Adam called his grandparents, who make these really cool wooden crosses, and they are sending them over for Jun and Mio Uzawa. The most awesome people...ever. They are so sweet and kind. Love them! Now, we are prepared, and we do not feel like jerks for not giving them anything.

Here are links to the photo albums that I have put up while here. I will probably not put anymore up while here. It is time consuming and just difficult here. I cannot read Japanese.

That should be enough to satisfy everybody until I get home to put up the rest. Well, that is about all. I need to go to sleep and get ready for the awesomeness that is karaoke. Night, all!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

3rd album, and more

Here ya go guys! I put up another photo ablum, so enjoy. For some reason, I can only upload pictures at the campus and not at church, so I am limited for when I can upload. Plus, the computer here is pretty slow. It does take a while!

With that being said, how is everybody? Hopefully wonderful. I am doing great. This is our fourth week of reading sessions, and we are all pretty tired. Exhausted. Going to Tokyo last weekend did not help either. Oh well. You only live once. I am not complaining. I mean, how can I complain!

Last night, Wednesday, was cell group. There were not that many people there, but we still had a great time. Hanna invited me to spend the night with her next Wednesday, so I said yes. Plus, she lives 5 minutes away from ICC so I can sleep in later! Score. Apparently Sara stays with Hanna on Wednesdays, so we are going to have a party! Haha, yeah right. Hanna and Sara have made reservations someplace and are taking me and Adam out to dinner. They wanted to have dinner with us one night before we leave. A farewell dinner, as Hanna called it.

So, I need some info. I am lost without my entertainment news. What is the big song now, you know that one that they play on the radio over and over and people are getting tired of it? I need to know. How are the movies? It is driving me crazy not being able to go and watch new movies, and or rent them. Grr! Oh well. A small sacrifice to pay.

Well, my mission here is complete. I completed the puzzle cube twice yesterday, but both times were an accident. I will do it once more. I jest of course about my mission being complete. For as long as we are here, His mission will not be complete.

I think that is about all today. I am tired, very tired. Oh! Tonight, we are going to stay at Bryan and Dan`s HUGE house and stay up all night and go to the beach and watch the sunrise. Amazing. Beautiful. I cannot wait. Then, we will sleep until we wake up. On Fridays we do not have reading sessions, so the only thing we have to do that day is go to APN (Accapella Praise Night) at Hitachi church at 7. Let the sleeping begin! I will probably wake up at 6:30, go to APN then come back to the church and sleep until karaoke starts on Saturday.

I feel terrible about not sharing news about Japan as much as I did last year. So, as an incentive, I am going to make a list. I love lists. Not only do I always wrtie one, I usually forget to take it with me when I go to places that require the use of a list eg. grocery store, Wal-Mart, book store, hospital, cafeteria. Ok, you get the point. Enjoy:

1. Japanese people do not throw away shopping bage; instead they keep them and reuse them until they can no longer be used.
2. They have got to be the most organized people I have ever known.
3. Very, very sweet people.
4. Their r`s sound like d`s.
5. The sun rises way too early.
6. I can only take about 97 more pictures with my camera. We are only half way done.
7. I think I want to live here one day.
8. The ocean makes a beautiful sound at night.
9. I am tired of the song itsy bitsy spider.
10. Ah che mute a hoy!
11. Lists are fun.
12. I have to go to chapel now, so no more of this list.
13. Sorry.
14. Please forgive me.
15. I love you all
16. ...nope, that is it.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rickshaw rides are ganster! Haha

So, we had to be at Ueno station at 10 am Saturday, so Adam was on guard to wake us all up. 8:15 was the time. By 7:45 Holly and I had showered and were basically back in bed when Adam came knocking. For some reason we both got up early. Let me descirbe a Japanese hotel. First, Holly and I got the Japanese style room while the others each got a Western style room. Mine and Holly's room was the tatami mats and a futon. Yeah, that is it. It was apparently a double room too. Hmm. I guess two girls would be fine on the futon, but not two guys. Too small. Anyway, the others got beds. Actual beds. Nice. Apparently they were hard as a rock, so I think Holly and I win. Inside the rooms is just a bed and or futon. That is about it. There is a little locker to put your stuff in and a light switch. The hotel was three floors. The showers were on the first, as well as the women's restrooms. The guys restrooms were on the second floor, and on the third floor was the unisex bathroom. That's right. Urinals to the left, stalls to the right. Eyes forward. I did not use. There are no sinks in the rooms, so you have to brush your teeth and everything basically in the hallway. Not much privacy. A little strange. It was all cool though.

We left the hotel at around 9 and went to McDonalds for breakfast. Fantastic. In America, I only eat McDonalds if I absolutely have to, but in Japan it is just so good. We got into Ueno station right at 10. Takeshi was going to be a little late, so just hung out there with Bryan. Finally, we were on our way to Asakusa. Who-hoo! The giant temple full of tiny shopping stores. I mean seriously, you cannot fit more than four or five people in the little stores, and if somebody has on a out.

Takeshi has a friend that operates the rickshaw rides in Tokyo. They. Are. Awesome! Adam and I wanted to ride, so we got in and we got ten minutes for about 3000 yen. Not bad. During the ride the guy would stop and tell us about the historic buildings and shops. Very informative. It was great! Next, was Bryan and Tyler. After the fantastic ride we went into the market to do some shopping. We split up, with Bryan, Shane and Takeshi going one way, and me, Adam, Holly and Tyler going another. We shopped for so long. It was sooo hot! We finally finished around 2:30, so we decided to head to the Emperor's Palace.

Sweet! By this time, five of us had been walking for close to 24 hours, so we were exhausted. Our feet were killing! We finally made it to the palace after walking for about 15 minutes. Probably more. You cannot see the actual palace, but the gardens are beautiful! Magnificent. The Tokyo skyline in the background. A moat surrounds the palace and it was just amazing. I mean, we passed by these huge gates that samurai's once guarded in order to protect the Emperor. How cool is that? We rested a bit at the gardens, so we decided to call it a day. It was about 5. We were hungry so we went to eat dinner at this fantastic curry shop and took the 6:15 train home. We finally got into Taga around 9:40. What a long two days. Even now, Monday night, I am still exhausted from the trip. However, I would not trade it for the world. My ankles are so swollen, my heels feel as if razor blades are running under them, and my toe nails just hurt. Ouch.

Sunday was great. I had two readers and then we had our Hawaiian party. Great turnout. After the party we went to the store and spent like 10,000 yen on groceries and headed to the onsen. Oh. My. Goodness. I forgot how relaxing it was! We did not want to leave. We got back to the church around 11:30 and I called dad and went to sleep. Best night of sleep ever...until I woke up at 8.

Today was also great. I have not had a bad day. Michi and Sara wanted me and Adam to try tofu ice cream. Adam gave me strawberry vanilla instead. Thank you. Maybe one day I will try. I heard it was sweet.

Adam and I got to the train station and saw some readers who were also waiting. We asked then where they were going and they said they were going to Taga to study Bible with Hanna and Sara. Just then Hanna showed up, so we rode the train together. Awesome! Later, Adam and I cooked dinner and afterwards we all played phase ten and had a starburst fight. It was great. Starburst are fun. Yehaw!

So, that was the short version of my adventures. I have so many memories that will not be saved only for the grandkids; they will be told to all who want to hear. I look back, and miss America, but then I turn my head and this fits too. It is hard to get homesick when you feel so at home. I really do feel at home. Such generous, caring people. They either love foreigners, or just love all people. I'm shooting for the latter. What a beautiful country that desperately needs to be ministered to. So many seekers, not enough Christians. Shame.

Well, that is all for now. I think this is a new record- two posts in two days. Yata!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

From Roppongi to Minowa in a taxi

So, let me apologize! Grr! I am such a bad person. You see, the thing is, I am very busy. I wish that I had time to blog everyday. I don't. Sorry! I have been trying to do it every few days, but almost a week is crazy! Anyway, how is everybody doing? I am fantastic! Emotionally magnificent.

So, I have had some great reading sessions as of late, and some great conversations. Many times, I have to end the conversation early due to time, and that stinks. Grr! I get a little upset, but I cannot leave the next person waiting. Basically, Wednesday and Thursday were great. Great, great. Friday and Saturday were adventures.

First of all, I never thought that I would ever go to Tokyo, let alone twice, so I am truly blessed. Anyway, we left the church around 7:30 Friday morning to hop onto a bus that would take us to Tokyo. Sweet! We got on there and I read basically an entire book (300 plus pages) by the time we got into Tokyo (about 3 hours). Wow. Oh, we were able to see Mt. Fuji on the way! Great!! We got into Tokyo around 10:30 and we were at Ueno Station, so we decided to look for a hotel. The night before, Adam and I got on the computer and checked out hotels, but we got tired of trying to read Japanese so we gave up and were just going to wing it. In the station are tourists maps, so we grabbed one and noticed a ton of hotels nearby. 45 minutes to an hour later still no hotel. They were all pretty expensive. We decided to give up, so we headed to Ueno Park so we could go to the zoo. I do not think that I have ever been to a zoo, and if I had, I cannot remember. Anyway, we walked into Ueno Park and there were a ton of people there. Homeless people as well. We were about to go eat pizza (first time since we have been here. Yata!) when this crazy dude walked up to us and carried on a conversation for like 30 minutes. His English was great and he has got to hold the record for initiating and holding a conversation for the longest time. Ever. This dude was amazing. Finally, we were able to get rid of him, so we ate our delicious pizzas (yes, more than one), and made our way to the zoo. 600 Yen. Not bad at all. Once there, it was pretty awesome. WE GOT TO SEE LING LING THE FAMOUS GIANT PANDA! Yippee!! That was great. We also saw lions, tigers, bears, oh my! Zebras, gorillas, monkeys, bush babies, giraffes, toucans, polar bears, Japanese birds, elephants, this miniature deer that was awesome, hippos, pygmy hippos (too cute!), rhinos, crocodiles, king cobra, and pretty much everything else that you can think of. It was terrific. We realized that it was about 4:30, so we figured we needed to find that hotel pretty quickly. We got out of Ueno Park and went underground into the subway station nearby. We finally found a tourist help desk, and they helped us find a cheap hotel nearby. She gave us a map and we headed to Minowa station. Once out the station, we were met with a crowd of people, and we were already lost. We had gone right instead of left, so we wound up walking for about 45 minutes until we finally found it: The New Kayo Hotel. We got three single rooms (2700 yen each), and one double room (4800 yen) and cleaned up a bit. I was bunking with Holly.

Around 6, we headed for Tokyo Tower. We had about 3 stops to go from our station, so when we got out of the subway it was pitch black outside. We got into the tower and it was awesome. Tokyo is beautiful! Amazing. Around 9 we were all pretty much starving, so we headed back to the subway and headed for Roppongi to splurge at Hard Rock Cafe. We got there around 9:30 and did not get a table until about 10. It felt good to sit. We were able to get free refills, so we all ordered drinks, at 500 yen apiece. Adam and I ordered a coke and it was the best coke that I have ever had. Amazing. I gulped it down and asked for another. I ordered this chicken pasta cheese dinner and it was delicious. We were debating about dessert, so we went ahead and got this ginormous chocolate fundge brownie sundae and it was fantastic. The thing was huge!! HUGE!! four of us split it. We got the bill and for the five of us it was like 14080 yen. Wow. Mine alone was close to 30 U.S. dollars. It was worth it. We left Hard Rock about midnight and were wiped out. We bought our subway ticket to go back to the hotel, but when we went down the trains were not running. Uh oh.

We went to the guard and he said that subways do not run up after midnight. Great. We were in southwest Tokyo and our hotel was way away in northeast Tokyo. The only other option was a cab. Here it is, Friday night, almost 12:30 and we are in crazy crowded Roppongi. A long way from home.

I have always felt safe in Japan, very safe, but Roppongi is so crowded that it just seemed a little shady to me. It reminds me of Times Square in New York City. Full of bars, restaurants, and clubs. And many many people. Foreigners and Japanese. We were waiting for a taxi, and we pretty much knew that they would not let five people ride in a taxi together, so when the first one came up Adam went with Holly and Tyler. Shane and I waited for a few more minutes and got into the next one. I told the dude where we were going and he looked a little confused, but he took off anyway. The others were still in the taxi, idleing. I'm pretty sure I misspelled that. Anyway, at every stop our driver would turn on the light and look at his map until he seemed confident where he was going. We had a long way to go so Shane and I just hung out in the back not speaking as out non-English speaking cab driver took us through Tokyo. Finally, about 20 minutes later we made it. The streets were clear, and our cabbie drove like 70 kph, so it was great. We paid 5870 for the ride. The others were still not there. We went into our rooms, and about 10 minutes later the others showed up. It was close to 2 a.m. and we had to be at Ueno station at 10 to meet Bryan and Takeshi. Sleep tight.

So, that was Friday. A day full of memories and plenty of stories. "This one time, I was in Tokyo and we were lost for about an hour." "If you are ever in Tokyo, make sure you look at the subway schedule, or you will be taking the expensive way home." By the way, if we had taken the subway home it would have been 290 yen. The taxi was wayyy more. Oh well. We got home to the hotel safe and sound.

I am tired so I will write about our Saturday day tomorrow. I hope that everybody had a great Father's day! I miss you dad! Love you all! Until then...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


It is taking me some time to upload pictures onto facebook because I have so little of it. Here is a new album: Please enjoy. Let me know if it works. I will write more later. God Bless you all. Love you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

All Deliberate Speed

Ok, so apparently I am doing this thing that whatever song I am listening to is the title of the blog post. Today, it is also Mae. Love them. Anyway, how is everything? I hope fine. I have been pretty out of the American loop, but it looks like the entire nation is in an uproar over Paris Hilton. I don't get it. She broke the law, she should get punished. Plain and simple. Gah, I don't understand. I mean, who exactly is she? Her mommy and daddy are rich so she is popular on principle? Hmm, yeah, whatever. Also, some other things have happened but I do not really care. Oh! I got onto to watch the season finale of C.S.I. but I cannot view it because I am not in America. Gah! Oh well. I cannot complain. You know, I am finding it really difficult to complain about anything. I mean, here I am, in a beautiful country, surrounded by great friends, doing His work...what can I complain about? Nothing. Sure, things are difficult here, but it is ok. I am living in Japan!! Come on, how great is that. Ok, enough.

Sunday and Monday were great. I really cannot remember what happened, but they were great. Monday was a pretty busy day, and then I got back to the church and after dinner I went outside and just broke down. Yesterday was June 11, two years to the day that Jacob died. It really hit me that night. I just cried and cried. Holly came outside and sat with me for a while, and then after I was finished crying I went back into the church. The guys left a little after that. That was my breakdown, and honestly, it felt really good to cry.

Today, Tuesday, was a great day. I had 6 readers with only one break. Lunch was swell. Who still says swell? I do! Haha. Ok, that was totally lame. Anyway, today was Adam's party- The Wacky Olympics. Yata (yay in Japanese)!! We had about 40 people there, so that was pretty fantastic. First, we divided the people into six "countries." They had to come up with a country, or team name and then a cheer in about a minute. We got some great answers. We had 6 teams, and we had three competitions, so we had two teams per competition. We had the javelin throw, eating contest, and invisible ball game. I was in charge of the eating competition. Adam went out and bought these Super Extreme Sour Sour Patch kids candy before he left. So, the bags had been with him for quite some time. Now, they were not as sour as we thought. Anyway, there were five people to a team and they had to eat two at the same time without making a face. The team that finished the fastest and without making a face won. After everything, we had the finals, and the teams had to eat six at one time! Awesome! We got some pretty cool faces during that time. Team 1 won. Yata! Haha. The javelin throw were these Nerf dart things that actually went pretty far. The three winning teams lined up for the finals, but this time we distracted them and stood in their way to divert the javelin. We did this so the same teams did not win twice. Awesome. Worked great. After the javelin throw we did the invisible ball game finals. The game is exactly as it sounds. Shane was the leader so we had about 15 people lined up to play. Shane would pretend to have a basketball, beach ball, tennis ball, small bouncy ball...etc and the others had to pay attention to what was being throw and to whom it was being thrown to. Ha...haha...hahahahahaha. It was hilarious. Sometimes we would throw in 3 or four balls and that knocked out people pretty quickly. Awesome. Also, you had to think of a creative way to catch and hit the invisible ball. Ayaka won so her team won! Yay! It was a great party, and it was a beautiful day today. Lovely day for a party.

Well, that is about it. I am really loving all of my readers, even the ones who know very little English. I find them fun and challenging. Basically, I cannot ask them questions and they cannot ask me questions so we just read. I pull out a Japanese Bible and have them read it in Japanese and then in English. I am having some really great conversations and I am anxious to see the Lord slowly working in them. Today, one of my readers Hanna and I were talking about how a cow is one and cattle are plural. Somehow we started talking about buffalo so I had to go downstairs on the computer and show her pictures of buffalo. Then, she wanted to know what rattlesnakes look like, then longhorns, then poisonious spiders. Basically our session ended with us looking at bugs on the internet. It was great. Later, Sara found out that we were going to Tokyo so she offered us some great suggestions about what to see and do. Thanks, Sara! Both of those girls rock. They are both Christians, "Sisters in Christ" as Hanna says. Also, apparently Sara's dad is famous! Her family live on a different island, and last Friday he came to ICC to do a lecture. Apparently he is the Japanese version of Patch Adams, according to Sugao. He works with psychiatry patients, so that was cool.

Whew. That was a lot. I finally finished reading my book The Irresistible Revolution and it was ok for the most part. A few parts I really enjoyed, but mostly it was ok. I would like to share some thing from the book that I enjoyed. Please, if you do not want to read... don't. I will say my goodbyes here! See you!

From the book: "We are not just called to be candles. Candles make for nice Christmas services and a nice peace vigil. They can remind us that God's light dwells within us and that we are to shine that light in this dark world. But we are not just called to be candles. We are called to be fire. Candles can be snuffed out by the slightest wind or by the smallest child on their birthday. But it is harder to put out a fire. We are to be fire, to weave our lives together so that the Spirit's inferno of love spreads across the earth. We are a bride, not a harem...
If you have the gift of frustration and the deep sense that the world is a mess, thank God for that, not everyone has that gift of vision. It also means that you have a responsibility to lead us to new ways. Recognizing something is wrong is the first step toward changing the world. So for those of us who have nearly given up on the church, may we take comfort in the words of St. Augustine: 'The church is a whore, but she is my mother.'...I once heard a pastor say, 'The church is like Noah's ark. It stinks, but if you get out of it, you'll drown.' We are the church. If she were perfect, we'd mess her up as soon as we joined. So may we have some grace, even with those Christians and pastors who make us nauseated and put us to sleep...
Maybe we are a little crazy. After all, we believe in things we don't see. The Scriptures say that faith is 'being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' We believe poverty can end even though it is around us. We believe in peace even though we hear only rumors of wars. And since we are people of expectation, we are so convinced that another world is coming that we start living as if it were already here. So may we begin living as if poverty were over, and we will see it come to pass. May we begin beating our swords into plowshares now, and the kingdom will begin to be not simply something we hope for when we die but something we see on earth as it is in heaven, the kingdom that is among us and within us. I pray that we will have the integrity of the early church, which, in the same breath that it denounced their empire in Rome, was able to invite people into the Way- little communities scattered throughout the empire. We have a tremendous responsibility to provide an alternative to the children who see military service as their only hope for college, to young people who see the market economy as their only hope for providence. May we spend our lives making the Jesus way of life accessible to people. The world is thirsty. All creation is groaning. Christianity as it is has not satisfied the souls of those who hunger for another way of life...
Welcome to the irresistable revolution, a new and ancient was of life that is so attractive, who would settle for anything else? Welcome to the revolution of little people, guerrilla peacemakers, and dancing prophets, the revolution that loves and laughs. The revolution begins inside each of us, and through little acts of love, it will take over the world. Let us begin to be Christians again. Jesus, give us the courage.

So, I know that was long, but when I read that, it had pretty much been on my heart for some time. It was amazing how much the last chapeter of that mediocre book affected me. Wow.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

This time is the last time...

Or not. It is just the title of the song I am currently listening to. Has anybody heard of the band Mae? Oiy! I found the question mark. My week is complete. So, where did I leave off...

Basically, the week was good. Thursday was a trip though, and the day I just happened to leave my camera at the church. So, Thursday's we wear out LST shirts, so Adam and I were walking to the school like always, but some how we forgot to take our shortcut, so we had to enter the school at the main entrance. That is fine, but there is a security guard shack there. We walked through the entrance just fine and then we nodded our heads at the skinny guard, but...he stopped us! Uh oh. We both looked at each other and were a little freaked. With broken English, he basically wanted to know who we were, what we were doing, what building we were doing it in, and who was in charge. We answered all of his questions, so he seemed comfortable to let us into the campus. We were a little freaked. We continued our walk to Kiara-con. We have reading sessions at 9:25, 10:15 and 11:00 before chapel. Chapel is at 11:50, so we always have to go. Wednesday, they wanted us to sing with them in the "choir" but the song was in Japanese, so of course we could not. However, Thursday they wanted to include us, so they sang an English song during chapel. They wanted us to join, and that was fine, but we had to wear these crimson choir robes and that was awesome!! Seriously, we looked pretty hot. We sang the one song and sat in the front row in our cute wittle robes and sat through the Japanese sermon.

Thursday it began to rain. Hard. Adam and I walked in from lunch right at 1, and had a reading session at 1:15, and the minute we walked into the building the rain began to pour. I had just taken the poncho out of my bag that morning, so we were rain gear-less. We finished out our day, and by the time it was time to leave it was already dark, but it was not raining. We borrowed an umbrella just in case. We got to the train station and when we got off at Taga, five minutes after being on the train, it was pouring. We still had a five minute walk to the church, so we hunched under the umbrella and tried not to get soaked. Awesome. Has anybody ever shared an umbrella? Let's just say that whatever arm is not under there is really going to get wet. It rained the whole night.

And so begins the rainy season.
So, Friday and Saturdays are our days off, but that really does not mean anything. Friday we slept late, and went to Hitachi for a late-late lunch. We ate McDonalds! Whooo! We went to the 100 Yen shop and then around the mall for a bit. The mall is huge. We went to the fourth floor to the arcade games and we went into a photo booth to take pictures. The picture booths are awesome! You get in there and there is just a green screen behind you. There is a screen in front of you and you get to pick up to six different backgrounds. We went crazy! It was awesome. After you take the pictures, you go on the outside and you get to decorate the pictures. Cool! The outcome is at the top of the screen. Maybe click on it to get it bigger. I don't know. We came back to Taga and just had game night. It was a great day.
Saturday, again, our day off, started early. We left the church at 9:30 to go to the Children's Home. Wow. What an experience. The kids there, about 60, are not really orphans, but more like wards of the state. For some reason or another their parents are unable to take care of them so they stay at the Children's Home until their parents are able to care for them again. We showed up today and the kids immediately just ran up to us and jumped on us and it was beautiful, but very un Japanese like. In Japan, they do not show physical contact very much at all, so when these kids latched onto us, we were surprised. This one little girl, probably around 4, stayed in my arms and lap the entire time. I let this one boy have my camera for the day and he took some fantastic pictures. We sang a few Sunday school songs, and then we acted out the parable of the lost coin in Luke and then let the kids act it out. Fantastic! We played fruit basket turnover and duck duck goose and just had an absolute blast. When it was time for us to leave, they hung onto us and I did not want to leave! They were so sad to see us leave, and they had just met us! Please, keep these children in your prayers that they can soon return to their homes and know what it means to have a loving, caring family. The kids range from 2-18 years old. Wow. Thank you God, for that wonderful opportunity.
Later, we went to Bryan and Dan's house for a tea ceremony. The English Club at Ibaraki Christian High School is led by Jun, who is a church member here at Taga and an English teacher at ICHS. They made us curry and pancakes (for dessert) and then we had a tea ceremony. Awesome! It was great. We spent all day there and had a good time.
So, that was a run down of our weekend. It was great. Next weekend: Tokyo! Whoo-whooo! Excited!!!!
Well, that is about all for now. I hope to put some more pictures up on facebook soon, so wait for that. Until then, see you!!!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

It's been a long time

First of all, let me express my deepest apologies for not writing in my blog more often. I have been very busy, and time is of the essence. With that being said, I would like to make it up to you all by taking you to some pictures. Go to and that is my facebook page. On there, I posted about 60 pictures so far, and if possible, you can probably see more photos others have tagged of me. Let me know how it works out.

So, Monday was a busy day. I had about 5 readers, all new, and it was fun. The day started out rough for Adam, who received some bad news earlier that morning. A family that he was close to in Midland suffered a tragedy, resulting in the loss of one of their sons. The eldest son was driving, and got into an accident causing the car he was driving to flip. His sister crushed both of her legs and got rushed to the ER while the 13 year old was killed. His parents and the boy driving were not physically hurt, but they will be hurting for quite some time. Please keep this family and Adam in your prayers as they are all going through a tough time. I pray that the Lord gives them the strength to get through each day. Monday was a tough day for Adam, and it showed.

Tuesday was also a great day. Tuesdays are pretty awesome because it is curry day! Yay! Chapel is not mandatory, so as an incentive, the SCA (Student Christian Assocciation) makes curry and gives it away for free on Tuesdays. Awesome. I am loving curry. It is slammin'. I did not have too many readers, but lots of people show up for curry day, so we just hung out in the office in the Kiara-con. On one of the tables, there are these mind games, and this one I cannot complete. Grr! It is driving me crazy. I took apart the horn things, I rebuilt the triangle, Kaori helped me rebuild the box thing, and I mastered the sticks. However, I cannot for the life of me do this puzzle. It is a 3x3 cube, and similar to a Rubix Cube. However, it unravels into one long piece and you have to manipulate the pieces so it connects into the cube. It is so much harder than it sounds. I worked on it for so long yesterday and even today, and still no luck! While I was working one of the puzzles, one of Adam's reader had the cube and was just talking with us, when I looked down and it was put together! She had no idea. I asked her to show me how she did it, but Manaho had no clue! She just did it. Awesome. So, that is my goal- to complete the cube.

Adam and I walked back to the church and when we got there I made dinner for everybody and we had our nightly team devo.

Wednesday, today, was a good day. I only had two readers, but my day was still busy. Basically, I just hung out at campus and met some cool people.

When Adam and I walked into the room we work in, it was boiling hot. Adam had his first two reading sessions outside because it was a gorgeous day. Mio, the lady who is basically in charge there, told me to go ahead and use the air conditioner. Sweet action Jackson! Much, much better.

We have to go to chapel so maybe our readers will go to chapel, but it is crazy. It is all in Japanese and it is about 30 minutes long. For Sundays, at least there is a translation of what is being said. Today, I looked at Adam who was sitting next to me and he was pretty much dozing off. After chapel, we have lunch, so we ate again in the cafeteria.

While Adam was having his first reading session, this lady came up to me and began speaking to me. Her English is decent, but not completely fluent. Anyway, she was telling me about her stay in India 20 years when she and her sister worked with Mother Theresa there. Great story. Next thing I know, she just takes off mid sentence into the next room. Later, after Adam was finished with one of his sessions, we were outside talking when the lady comes up behind me and hangs a sweater across my shoulders. The sweater is a small, and is much too small, but she goes "Maybe fits, but you can only wear in winter." The sweater is not much of a sweater, it is more of a long sleeve cotton shirt, and she was wearing the exact same one only in a different color. It is really pretty, sort of like a chocolate color, but I cannot wear it. I gave it to Adam to give to his girlfriend, Brittany. I am pretty sure that she can wear it. She spoke to us some more about her stay in Oklahoma about 10 years ago, and then she sang us a song. Hmm. She is 48 years old. Then, after Adam and I walked back into the Kiara-con after lunch, she was in the study room eating and was talking about Americans versus Japanese in weight. Interesting. The lady is tiny, and in no way fat, but she said that Japanese people would call her fat. Wha' (question mark) In America, she was not called fat, so she likes Americans. All in all, it was an interesting couple of conversations.

Wednesdays we leave ICC early because we have the Taga Cell Group. Basically, Wednesday night devo. Tonight, there were 18 people in all there and that was fantastic. Great turnout. Before the cell group, we had dinner at the restaurant next to the rahman shop. I had soba noodles and they were delicious. Oishi! It is hard to spell out Japanese words phonetically.

Now, it is now. I am waiting on a call from Kelsey, our regional representative. I sure hope he calls soon. I am exhausted. My legs are a little sore from walking everyday. However, the mornings and evenings have been beautiful, so we have nice walks. God is such a beautiful artist.

Next time I write in my blog, maybe I will share some of my thoughts that I was going to do for devo tonight, but with cell group, I did not get to. Next time.

Tomorrow, Thursday, is LST T-shirt day. The one day a week where we get to wear t-shirts during reading sessions. Yahoo!

Well, that is about it. I will try my hardest to update more often, but there are three of us trying to use the computer, and I do not have time during the day to get on like I did last year. Before I go, I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Sorry I cannot be there, but I will make it up to you when I return. I promise. I hope that you have a fantastic day. Love you and miss you.

Until then...bye.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I got to hug Johnny Depp!

Well, not literally, but figuratively. How is everything (question mark). I will get to Johnny Depp later, but I have a lot to tell. Last time I left off Saturday morning. Now, it is Sunday night. So, let me begin Saturday afternoon.

Basically, we had no plans for the whole day, so the three of us just ate left overs and had no plans. We are already getting cabin fever, so we decided to go for a walk. We wanted to go to the beach, but was not sure how to get there. We did not care, we left anyway. Before, we stopped for some ice cream, so I got this watermelon popsicle and it was delicious, but the seeds were these little chocolate pieces. Very good! Great combination. We started out on our trek. We knew that the ocean would not be towards the mountains, so we headed in the other direction. We had our cameras out and were taking plenty of pictures, you know, being tourists. After about 10 minutes I saw a sign that said "Kawarango Port" so we knew we were getting close. A few minutes later, there was the Pacific Ocean staring at us. Beautiful. There we were- the Pacific Ocean in all her glory. We got so excited, so we headed out to the beach. There were older people looking for sea glass and seashells, people surfing, and dudes walking tiny shaved poodles. It was pretty chilly, but only when the wind blew. We walked a little way and found a great spot. A thousand pictures later, we decided to spell "LST" in rocks, and then draw our names in the sand around it. Cool. The girls were taking pictures, so I went to put my feet in the water. I tried to avoid getting my capris wet, but it is pretty difficult while waves come crashing toward you.

We spent a good 30-45 minutes out there, then decided to head back out to the church. We stopped at the market to get a CC Lemon and Mitsuya Cider. Both great drinks, by the way. We got back to the church about 2:30 and we still had not heard from the guys.

Around 3, Bryan called and wanted to know if we wanted to go to Hitachi city with them, so we said yes. We were getting ready when he called back and asked instead if we wanted to go to Joyful Honda nad see the new Pirates movie. Yes, was of course the answer. However, it was not going to be that simple.

Bryan had to show Adam and Shane how to walk from his house to the train station, so we were to meet them all there at the station and we were all going to walk back to Bryan and Dan's house. It is a good 20-25 minute walk. It actually did not seem to be that long. We got to the house and Miyako was there. She is a Christian and she teaches Dan and Bryan Japanese. She was doing some homework so we all were talking and pretty much forcing her to go to the movie with us. She decided to come along.

Bryan drove Adam, Shane and Holly and Dan took Tyler, Miyako and me to Takahagi to the Joyful Honda mall. While in the car, I had to give a quick synopsis of Pirates 2 to Tyler and Miyako because they had never seen it. After that, I talked to Miyako and she is the sweetest person I have ever met! While talking, I found out that she had visited Lubbock not too long ago. She knew what Sugar Brown's was (a small coffee shop in Lubbock that has lots of Chrisitian concerts and such). What a small world. Another Christian, Yuka, goes to Abilene Christian University, and she went to visit Yuka, and went to Lubbock because she has a few friends in the AIM program. I told her that next time she must visit us. She is planning on going to Grad School at ACU, so she will not be too far away.

We get to the Joyful Honda mall and see the movie theatre. Awesome. Outside, there were these huge Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow posters lining the entrance to the theatre. He was looking very lovely, so I decided to hug the poster which was encased in a few inches of plexiglass. It was great. Miyako thought it was funny, so she took a picture.

We go inside and buy our tickets. In Japan, when you buy tickets to the movies, it is like going to a sporting event. They give you an assigned seat, so you must buy the tickets of your entire party all together. Pretty cool. Our movie did not start until 8:30, so we decided to go into the mall. It was huge! We walked around a bit, and we found the coolest store ever: The Lego Store. Yes, a store dedicated to Lego's. I bought a Harry Potter- made-out-of-Lego's keychain. Sweet!

Had dinner and ice cream. Watched Johnny Depp on the big screen for the third time, and that movie gets better and better with each viewing. Hold on, after you hand the usher your ticket, and before you go into your theatre, there were these huge Pirates movie posters, so of course I had to have a picture under huge Captain Jack. Team photo time!

Bryan drove us back to the church and we crashed.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday...worship service was great. Church potluck was amazing. Mr. Siato was lovely, and Mrs. Kiminagi was her same ol' self. After worship Bryan took me and Adam to Yamaya to get refreshments for the party.

Bunko Party time!!! So, the party started at 4:30, and by 4:15 there were already 20 people there. I was greeting people and helping them do nametags and such, while the others got more tables and chairs. All in all, there were 40 people there. Impressive! For us only advertising for since Friday, that was fantastic. We played about 8 games of Bunko, and then I gave out prizes for the person with the most wins, losses, and Bunkos. We got the kindergarten cleaned up, but nobody was leaving. So, I gave the winner the card game Phase 10, and the person with the most losses got UNO! I love UNO. We sat down and played games. It was great. What a wonderful time for our readers to sit and mingle with Christians. A great time for fellowship.

Sugao basically had to kick us out of the kindergarten, so we picked up and moved the games inside the church building. Finally, I think that everybody left around 8:30. Wow. What a wonderful party. 40 people! That is great. I bought a huge bag of Skittles and put them in a jar, and when people entered the room they had to guess how many Skittles were in there. There were 403 and this one girl guessed 400. Very close. She won!! Yay! Sorry, I am pretty tired.

We ate dinner at Gusto's, and now I am here. I has been a great two days. Tomorrow, my day begins early. Take the 8:57 train and my first reading session is at 9:25. Fun, fun.

I have only had one day of reading sessions, so so far I have only really talked with four of my readers. My first tow were extremely difficult because their English is very, very basic. No small talk because they just did not understand. My third one was a sweet high school girl, and my last one on Friday was a young Christian whose whole family is Christian, and she is an English major, but she is soooo shy. I ask her a question and she understands, but it takes her a few minutes to answer. Patience is a virtue, I must say.

Well, that is about all. Holly has been waiting to use the computer, so I must get off. Manatay (see you later).

Friday, June 01, 2007

This keyboard is bugging me out

Well, it is Saturday morning, and I actually slept until a little after 9. I reached my goal. So, let me tell you all about my Friday...

I took the 8:57 train into Omika and met Adam there. The walk seems to be less and less each time we do it. Does not seem like 10 minutes. Adams first reader was at 9:25 and mine at 11, so I just hung around until he was finished. After his first one, we went walking around the campus a little. 11 came and went. Readers came and went. Lunch time!

So, Adam and I have to eat in the cafeteria, but none of our readers do. They told us that all we had to do was point at the pictures and that is how we order. We walked in and just began laughing. Then the Japanese students began laughing at us. We had no idea what to do. Finally, we became brave and pointed at this stuff which looked like chicken and got some rice as well. We paid for our meal then walked around holding our trays and looked for a place to sit. Finally, we found two spots at the end of some table. We sat down to enjoy our food. We looked around and noticed all the guys and girls do not sit together. It was like they were afraid of the other. Adam and I were sitting together, and it seemed like people were talking about us. They probably were. I do not care.

After lunch, we had a two and a half hour break. We were pretty bored, so we went into the English building, and somebody told us to go inside this one classroom. We walked in and it looked like it was the place to be. There were about 10 foreigners in there with about 25 Japanese students. The teacher, Patrick, is an American and let us hang out there. It was a lot of fun. Adam went and got on the computers while I played this English game with some girls. First, you write a dimple sentence, then you pass the sentence off and draw a picture about the sentence. Then you pass the picture off and write a sentence about the picture. It was fun. Then we did it with vocabulary words. My word was adapt, so I wrote I have to adapt to Japanese life. When it went around the table, it came out as bunny rabbit. No idea how that happened, but it did. Awesome. So, I think that it is like the game telephone, only on paper. It was a lot of fun.

Time for readers! Yay! Adam had his second reader, and I had a break, so I just studied my workbook for a while. I had three more readers, and he had two more. At 6:40 we were over. Long day! We took the long walk back to the station and headed home to Taga.

We got to Taga about 7:15 and Shane and Holly were still reading. We were all pretty hungry so we made reservations at Woodys. Woodys is an Italian place, and it is delicious. The plates are about 750 Yen, but you can seriously eat off of it for 3 days. And I thought the portions at Carinos were large.

After walking back from Woodys, the guys left with Bryan and Dan, and then Sugao and Numiah left. Numiah teaches English here and is from Fiji. It is fun to talk to him.

I was pretty beat. It was a long day, but we had fun. Hanging out in Patricks English class was great. Adam and I figured that we would be in there for quite some time.

Today, is Saturday and our first day off. Yay! Today, we have no big plans. We are going to try to get over the last bit of jet lag, unpack and organize things and just rest. We might get on the train and go to Hitachi or even the beach. Fun! Today, we are just going to take it slow.

Tomorrow is church, potluck lunch, and my Bunco party. I have no reading sessions, so I will go to the store and buy refreshments for the party. We are expecting quite a few people to show up! I am very excited.

So far, things have been awesome. The team split has been easier to deal with then I thought it would, but we have only had one day of reading sessions so far. Keep us all in your prayers. The weather here has been pretty chilly as of late. I only brought short sleeved shirts, so if I need a light jacket then it must be pretty cool. Today, however, it is bright and sunny, so it looks like the Japanese weather that I have grown to love: hot and humid. Who-hoo. I am so thankful to be back here and seeing past readers. I only have one of my readers from last year because I am not reading at the church. It is great though, because I love my readers. I connect with the high school girls that I have and the college girls seem to be pretty open and accepting of hearing about Christianity. It is wonderful. I feel something special happening already, and I am excited about finding out what it is.

Before I leave, I would like to display the wackyness of the computer:
The at symbol:¨¨
The apostrophe: À
The question mark: É
Quotation marks: È
If I accidently hit the buttons next to the space bar: the whole thing is in Japanese.
If I hit shift and period: "
If I hit shift and comma: '
So, I found the quotation marks and the apostrophe, so that helps. I have yet to find the question mark, but hopefully I can soon.

That is about all for now. Things are wonderful and our team bond is so strong. It is amazing, and I am very glad that God put us together like he did. Continue to keep us in your prayers.