This last Christmas, I spent a good portion of time slaving over my tiny oven, baking 8 cookies at a time for my neighbors and other Japanese contacts. After that came another significant and messy time decorating said cookies for delivery.
It was a lot of work, but fun.
I had been praying a lot about how to make more contact with my neighbors and get to know them more. I figured the cookies couldn’t hurt and if it was something unexpected for them, we could blame it on being foreigners.
We delivered the cookies together as a family, and some individually as the case led. Of course, we received a lot of gracious thank yous and could tell that the receivers felt genuinely blessed. In many cases we also received gifts back. But generally that seemed to be the end of the road there.
A couple of weeks later, we happened to go out to the local sushi restaurant for a cheap meal out. Our neighbors also happened to come in that same evening and sit in the same section as us. We waved and as we left that evening, they again thanked us for the cookies (per the Japanese etiquette of thanking at least 2+ times for a gift received). The wife/mother mentioned that her college-age daughter in particular was really enchanted with them. So I offered to show her how to make them.
And so began a series of written notes passed back and forth between our mailboxes, resulting in an afternoon spent making and decorating cookies with a girl I’d never met before. We had a great time and discovered that the family loves Mexican food in particular (you don’t hear that a lot in Japan!).
We are waiting now to hear back as to a good time to make and eat Mexican food together. I’m excited about this opportunity to get to know this wonderful family better and share Life with them!