This is one of a series of emails I sent while preparing and living overseas in Japan, from April 2008 to April 2009. They are mostly for my own benefit, but also for anyone who may care to read them. Enjoy 🙂
I just wanted to give a quick update and let you know how things are going for me so far this week in Japan. Let’s see, I last updated by email on Saturday, so I’ll tell you about Sunday.
Sunday, Samantha and I both went up to the Kawanaka Church, which is the main church building. It’s called Kawanaka, because that’s the street name on which it’s located. For the most part, everyone here refers to it as Kawanaka…so I think I’m going to do that same and try to save on some confusion. 🙂 We went to Kawanaka, where I got to meet most of the church membership. It’s not a huge church, but the building is small and makes it feel like there are many more people. They are so nice though. I felt like I was breaking every cultural rule out there, and yet they all smiled and bowed and nodded to me just the same. Pastor Tony had me get up and sing a solo. I was going to sing How Great Thou Art…thinking it a pretty easy one to have music for…but we couldn’t find a hymnal anywhere! So, I had to go through a book real fast and pick out O the Wonderful Cross. It all worked out, but the communication difficulties were amusing. One good thing is that music speaks beyond language, which is probably why it’s the only thing other than ourselves that we’ll take to heaven with us.
After church, Samantha showed me another grocery store near Kawanaka, and when we got back to the church to wait for the train, the Broaddus’ came in and invited us to come have lunch with them. Brian and Yoko have two very energetic daughters, Naomi (6) and Sara (3). Sara follows Samantha around like a shadow, and it seems that Naomi and I are going to be very good friends. After lunch, Yoko helped Samantha prepare for her Japanese exam and I babysat the girls. The first picture link at the bottom of this email will show you the fruit of that time spent. They are fun. 🙂
Monday was pretty busy as I signed my contract of service at Kawanaka in front of the church leadership. So, I am now permanently stuck for a year! It’s so much fun though…but I was intimidated being in front of the Japanese membership and trying to answer their questions through Taka, the Christian Ministries Director, and Tony. Tony has a wry sense of humor too, that is going to take some getting used to, and he sprinkles puns in whenever he can. Most are groaners. 🙂 It’s going to be a great year…hah. On Monday, I also took the train by myself twice! Samantha and I had dinner at the Haug’s (Pastor’s family) that night…real Japanese food that I kind of liked. 🙂 I’m getting used to it. Tony’s daughter, Tiffany, is up on spring break from high school in Chang Mai, Thailand. She is so much fun…a goofball. During the silence after one of Tony’s jokes, she pulled out the “awkward turtle” (those of you in Connect should know what this is…the others, just ask someone in Connect…hah)…and I knew that we’d get along just fine!
Today, we had our teacher’s meeting, and then Brian and I went through the teaching material and methods. We also discussed my students and the lives they lead. As I learn more about them, I’ll share with you all. Right now, I’m still learning names. I had two classes today that I observed. The first, Brian taught…and they were 2nd/3rd grade girls, three of them. They are so adorable! Rinka, is one of them and she has some attention problems. Despite that, she is an avid learner and picks up English so quickly! She probably understands the English better than either of the other girls, and she’s younger than them. The other girls are Ayumi and Mizuho. Ayumi came late to the material, so she’s still behind a little from the other girls. Mizuho is so sweet and quiet…I’m so excited to get to teach these little ones.
The second class I observed was taught by Samantha. It includes Nakayama-san, who lives here at the Center with us. She’s one of the church leadership and so sweet. Brian calls her Anna, and she laughs whenever she hears it. The other ladies are older as well, and they are Reiko-san and Tomoko-san. We had a visitor too, a 21 yr old girl named Mika. I’m not 100% sure, but I think she might be a Christian. She brought a Bible with her, and she seemed to already know the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s hard to tell who are believers or not here. Anyways, she liked class a lot and is going to come back. I’m hoping that I can spend a lot of time getting to know her. She seems like a lot of fun.
Well, that’s all for tonight. I’ve included links to photo albums for you all to check out. The second one has pictures of the Center here and some other things so you can see where I am living. It’s not anything like the conditions in CN…much more clean and organized. 🙂 Also, I want to remind you, I will make sure that I send out, at least, weekly updates by email…but so that I don’t weigh down your mailboxes, I am keeping a daily blog. The web address is: Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement and wonderful emails. I really appreciate them. Much love in Him,
Links to photo albums have expired and been removed.