Questions

Hey everyone!

So we had an event on Sunday to talk about Japan and the Gospel. We received some questions and we promised to answer the leftover ones on the blog.  We’ll do it in two installments, I think.

*What kind of food do you eat there?

We eat a lot of rice or meals with rice in it. One thing that we’ve really found that we like is called furikake, which is a type of seaweed and sesame seed seasoning that we sprinkle on top of rice.

We also like Japanese curry and noodle dishes which Japan has a lot of.  Of course, sushi is popular in Japan, and we go about once a month for sushi.

Unfortunately, we can’t get Mexican food in Japan that easily.  So, we definitely miss things like corn tortillas and beans… and coffee creamer!

2-japanese-curry

Japanese Curry

sprinkle-on-rice-furikake

Furikake

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Are your Bibles in English or Nipponese/Japanese?  (Nihongo is how you say Japanese (language) in Japanese)

Our Bibles are in English, but we do have Bibles in Japanese too.  Sometimes we access it on our phones.  The bilingual Japanese and English Bibles are very big and heavy, so we don’t tend to use those.

One interesting point is that the translations of the Bible in Japanese are very difficult to understand.  The language is very antiquated, from what we’ve heard from Japanese.  Even sharing some verses with friends, sometimes they cannot understand it until I paraphrase it in Japanese.  One great church that we’ve heard of is slowly translating the Bible into modern Japanese language so that the general public can understand.

 

*What is the youth interested in?

Youth are interested in a variety of things, just as youth in America are.  Some really popular things that the Japanese young people seem to enjoy are manga (Japanese-style comics), dance (particularly hip-hop, they love to dance in groups), and karaoke (which in Japan, is done in rented rooms for small groups of 5-20 people).

Of course, the Japanese youth also spend a lot of time studying, as they have to take entrance exams to get into the high schools that they want to attend and the colleges that they want to attend.  There is a lot of pressure, and Japanese students often attend “cram schools” which are intensive tutoring/study classes after school hours, in the evenings.

*What is one way the Lord has surprised you during your time in Japan?

This was a hard question to answer. I sat around thinking about it for a while. One thing that surprised me was that He laid it on a friend’s heart who had skills in a certain area to offer help for us. About two weeks later, we really realized how much we were going to need their help, and knowing that the Lord had sent them to us ahead of time without our asking was a way that reminded us that He knew the difficult things that would be coming our way.

 

*What’s the best (and worst) food you have eaten in Japan?

The best food I’ve eaten in Japan… hmmm… there are lots of really great food in Japan.  Okonomiyaki, yakiudon, sukiyaki… all of them are great!  But probably my favorite has been a ramen dish that comes from a shop called Ippudo Ramen.  I think what differentiates it from other styles of ramen is the pork broth and garlic flavoring.  It’s absolutely wonderful.

The worst food– this one’s easy!  It’s uni– sea urchin sushi.  It didn’t even make it fully into my mouth– I very ungraciously took it out and wiped my tongue.  It was embarrassing, and I felt like a 2 year old, but honestly, it was just like a reflex.  It tasted like a sewer!

 

sushi_koyo_diamond_bar_uni

Uni- sea urchin

ippudo_akamaru_modern_ramen

Ippudo Ramen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More questions to come next week… stay tuned!  And if you have more questions or follow up questions– or if any of you readers– if your kids have questions, you can write them in the comments below and we’ll be sure to get them answered!

Selah; C’est la vie

So, I’ve finally met some of you readers!  Granted, I knew a few of you who read, because I get comments or emails later about it.  But I met some new friends over this weekend who mentioned things I wrote about and I was surprised– and very encouraged.

Even if I’m just writing out to cyberspace, it’s an outlet for me.  But it’s a bit of a relief to know people actually read.  Kinda like that person who talks to himself– you just don’t want to be him, you know?

Anyway, you’ve probably gathered that we’ve gone through some rough and tough turf lately.  Lots of challenges.  Lots of unknowns.  Lots of prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer as more and more junk got piled up to our eyes.

Lots of prayer and lots of anxious thoughts.

Selah.

I recently realized I have a very specific imagination. Sometimes that’s a plus. There are times that my specific imagination and thinking down the road serves me. It helps in planning events.  It helps in coming up with new solutions. In guessing the plot line specifics to many movies I watch. I try to keep my speculations to myself since that tends to annoy people. 

And there are times this imagination and “fore-thought” doesn’t help at all.  There are times that my anxious thoughts can lead to “what if” scenarios that take me to more “what ifs” and more “and then such and such”. Those “what ifs” zero in on the problem at 440% zoom and the very notion of the possibility of a solution doesn’t even occur to me.

What if.

Paralyzing words.

As I’ve been reading through some of the Israelites’ famous 40 year travels, I’m astounded by their lack of vision and lack of trust in the Lord.  Lack of remembrance of all the Lord had done.

Talk about a log in my eye.

I’m not sure when or where the thought came, though it must be from the Lord, because it’s way smarter than me.  But I’ve been challenged to stop considering “what if this happens” and start thinking “But what if the Lord does such a thing?”  “What if the Lord rescues us in this way?”

In a sense, to become creative in hope about the Lord’s abilities BASED ON the things that I’ve seen Him do.

This reflects on the character of God: who He is, what He’s done.  It challenges me to recall the times He’s done absolutely impossible things in impossible situations. This type of “what if” question makes me consider how absolutely powerful God is.  When there was no way, God parted seas.  When about to drown, God calmed storms.  When hope of healing was long gone, men and women made whole.  Families broken, God healed. No food for the crowds, God provided basket upon basket of leftovers.

I have a hard time wrapping my brain around how to change my way of thinking.  But I know it starts with remembering what my God has done for me already.  And it challenges me to cast my eyes to heaven in waiting and wonder.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” Psalm 46:1-3

This gives confidence to quell those “what ifs” that arise as giants against me.  What if the earth gives way?  I don’t care, God is my very present help in trouble.

“And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?'” Numbers 14: 11

If we cannot conquer the “what ifs”, they will conquer us.  They will ruin our potential, ruin our faith, I think.

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 (emphasis mine)

I better stop before I keep going, because these Scriptures are everywhere.  But I turn my heart and eyes to the Lord.  What if He does something so incredible that I can’t even conceive of right now?  What if the plot becomes so twisted that it makes the novel even more riveting to read? What if it’s so completely astounding that people see it and get saved?  What if it encourages others?  What if God uses this horrible thing to help me comfort someone else?

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” Psalm 50:14-15

Selah.

 

Status: Delayed

Post coming soon.

Delays are currently due to:

Jet Lag

Lack of Sleep

Heaps of emails, texts, messages (on all sorts of programs), phone calls and otherwise go-betweens between us and everyone else in the world

A Cold

A Fun Toddler Outside of Her Norms right now

And Great Times with so many people we love.

Which makes it all worth it.

 

But the posts are written in my head, so they’ll be out there soon! Your patience is appreciated!  Please don’t give up on me yet!

 

In Pursuit of Rewards

After a while, I feel like I can’t stop. Over the last few months, it seems like I’ve been running on adrenaline of deadlines and meetings and preparations and correspondence. 

Today’s biggest culprit is not so much the adrenaline but the cup of coffee I had at 5pm. 

I knew better but enjoyed it anyway.

So about 5 or so weeks ago I got a weird shaped thing that you occasionally get in the mail here. It’s small and blue and peels open and reminds me of old-school pay-day checks, but trendier. Typically it signifies important information. 

Score! An offer I heard about a year ago when signing up for our internet contract and wasn’t sure that I was going to qualify for was going through. Great! Claim your cash back reward!

Well. Holy Cow Batman.

Multiple emails in Japanese, setting up a new cash card account (in order to claim the reward), paperwork being mailed back and forth, checks with the embassy to make sure I’m filing taxes in the US (oh yes I am!!), help from a friend on 3 separate occasions… And today my doorbell rang and Bing! A card was delivered to my door. Thank you very much. 

Said friend came to help me set it up (I feel strangely comforted when they get confused about instructions in their own language), I called the original company back to tell them I followed their instructions and now wanted to see about the transfer. 

Well since it’s now the 3rd party, they’re not sure where things stand and wait three days or investigate it to see if the transfer has gone through. It depends if I did it correctly, blah blah blah. 

Did that make sense? Because that’s about how clear I am in my next step to claim this reward that might have already expired by now. 

Oh well. 

I’m sure I will have another story after this weekend when another friend and I attempt to set up some travel health insurance. We already spent over an hour and several phone calls to the company the other day. 

There are two morals to this story: 

1) Life in another country requires an extraordinary amount of time to get things accomplished. Imagine waiting in line at the DMV and finding out at the counter you’re missing a piece of paperwork. Well, now apply that time frame to virtually all you need to accomplish. I’m not complaining, I’m just telling you the facts. 

But the bright shiny moment is:

2) I am so, so, so very grateful to my Japanese friends who are so very generous and gracious to help me figure things out. They are absolutely wonderful. And I’m glad there is more than one friend, since these things (and there are many) take so much time.  I often feel like a child, but I’m so grateful.