Christian life and Adversity

God has been teaching me to learn to stand on my own two feet and be open to new challenges. He’s said, “Look at all I’ve taught you, given you. Look at how I’ve stood by your side no matter what. What do you have to fear?” Mainly I’ve learned this through his Word – and in our church study of Joshua. (And I guess the similar lesson in just about any other story in the Bible). It is interesting how being a Christian in America (at least for me) became so easy that I never challenged myself. In Japan the Christians face bigger challenges like the conformist culture, and traditionalist values that force them to either take Christianity seriously or not at all. Many parents will not approve of their kids believing in God. My pastor’s wife’s mom passed away last month. She took me to visit her a few days before she passed away. She told me how for years and years she disapproved of her becoming a Christian, for dating and then marrying Pastor Kawasaki. She said how for years and years it was so difficult. Just 20 years ago, the grandma finally accepted the Lord and slowly began to change her mind about Christian life, and Pastor. At the end of her life, the Pastor was her favorite and when he came she smiled the most. The pastor’s wife, Chieko told me how she had taken care of her for the past 20 years. Wow. So not only did the mom disapprove of her biggest life decisions, but Chieko was willing to care for her for those years. Talk about difficult.

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Pottery festival and Tsutsuji (Evergreen Azaleas) flower viewing

Today I joined my co-worker Maki, her sister Emi on yet another adventure. This trip, I invited my friend Darryl in on the fun. What a fun day we had! First to the Pottery festival. The town is well-known for pottery, and this is the event that brings out all the shops together. We had ice cream (not pictured) and pizza. Look how they cooked it! We walked around and saw really unique pottery. Darryl found the city mascot, a fox. Then we took a bus to the top of a mountain to see the Tsutsuji flowers in bloom! Gorgeous, I tell you! We worked up an appetite and stopped at this family restaurant, an udon shop. I had kimchi udon for the first time. It was intense! They give you a massive mug of water and a bib – it is THAT intense (even for me). We had fun talking about each other’s cultures, the city, and each other’s hobbies. I can’t wait to hang out with them again sometime.

Hitachi Seaside Park (国営ひたち海浜公園)

It’s Golden Week!!!

Ever since I’ve come to Japan (Mito), there have been about 10 things every single person asks if I’ve done, or recommends I do. THIS is one of the last I have to cross off of my list – visiting the Hitachi Seaside Park during the Spring blossoming. WOW! Can I tell you just how incredible it was. The park is very wide. It sits right on the edge of the sea (seaside, get it?). And there are over a million of this blue flower planted in this area. During this time in spring, the flowers blossom and turn into a “sea”. Continue reading

“Daitai” and “Chanto” – Understanding Japanese work ethic

In my last post I discussed starting a part-time job at a restaurant and a presentation at town hall. The presentation went really well. The only difficulty was that although the audience was made up of Intermediate to Advanced English learners, my topic has some really complex English words. I knew this beforehand and I budgeted an extra 30 minutes longer than my practice speech so that I could speak slowly, articulate, and explain big words. (Think a lot of hand gesturing) They probably did not get all of it, but we were able to engage in a fascinating discussion about where the world is headed environmentally, and whether or not the current problems are too big to tackle. I ended up Continue reading

Dad’s in town, basketball with friends

I can’t sleep. I’m elated and overwhelmed by the fun day I’ve had. Writing as I am snuggled up in my warm bed on yet another winter cold night. It is Sunday. My dad is in town on business! Today we spent the day together. We met at 8 at the train station, had breakfast at Denny’s, and walked to church (along the lake). We had so much to talk about you wouldn’t believe it’s only been a month and a half since I was home visiting. Continue reading

Massive mall – shopping with friends

Hey-o! This week we had an extra day off! (I don’t know why) So, let me catch you up…Sunday night, two of my foreigner friends and I went bowling and had sushi. We all rode our bikes there – which was about a 40 minute ride. Mind you, we are in the 30 degrees (f) nowadays. We had fun! It has been a while since I’ve had sushi, believe it or not. Tuesday night we had an office end of the year dinner. It is a tradition to talk about the bad things during the year and leave them behind. Then, you discuss the good possibilities of the next year. Which, I don’t remember hearing a lot about. Continue reading