Sunday, December 19, 2010

How long it has been since I posted anything at all.

It's getting close to Christmas. Only 5 days to go. 6 days until I get to fly away to Washington, land of green and rain and a little bit more warmth. I am lonesome for the ocean and the mountains and the evergreen trees. I miss the lakes and the hills and the drizzling rain. I am looking forward to some lovely days in Washington with my family and seeing some friends.

I'm getting used to the cold, though. It seems too cold to even snow these days. It's too cold to be outside for very long too. But, I'm getting used to it, I think.

Janie, Kate, and I discovered a very enjoyable pasttime. There is a skating rink at a park near here where we went out in our boots and discovered a game that is a mix of hockey and soccer using our feet. We laughed as Kate skid across the ice on her stomach and Janie commented, "I think that felt cooler than it looked!" Cold weather does provide some new enjoyment.

All in all, this winter is proving to be pretty good.
See you soon Washington!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

today I ran...

I ran 4 miles. It's been a while but it felt good. The prairie path is a nice place to run: flat, through trees, sounds of trains, and many people around. At the end of my run I found a park called "triangle park." When I was little, in Japan, there was this park we used to call triangle park because of its shape. Fond memories drew me into the park to the swings. I closed my eyes to see if I could still feel the sensation of flying. It's not quite as vivid as when you're little. I think getting older and bigger makes gravity seem a lot more real.
Parks are interesting things now. The ground of this park was made out of some kind of squishy rubber. All the play equipment was made out of varieties of colors of plastic and metals. There were hoops to climb through and walls to climb up and a slide that looked like it was from the space era. "what happened to the good old wooden jungle gym?" I wondered. Everything is just too safe. The kids fall down on this squishy rubber and they don't even have to pull little pieces of gravel out of their gash on the knee. And slivers, when will they ever get slivers? That is a mom's specialty...pulling out slivers. Safe is good, I suppose. I don't think I would want my little girl falling through two wooden planks on a hanging bridge and break her nose (like Carrie did). Nor would I want my son splitting open his head on a rock (like Kenji). But, at the same time, it builds such character. :)
Safety is good.
Those were my thoughts at the park as I swang!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


My first week in Wheaton has just finished. I've had a lot of adventures for one week. Many more to come, I hope.

Monday was a trip to the Japanese market, Mitsuwa where Rob, Meghan, and I indulged in some miso ramen. Very authentic. I stocked up on some Japanese essentials at the grocery store.

Tuesday I had my pre-employment physical at Marionjoy. Unfortunately at the "pee on demand" section of the physical my bladder failed to give. The nurse was required to stand in the bathroom and was pacing around waiting for the sound of trickling that did not come. "Shall I run some water for you." "yes, please," I responded, trying not to laugh. I waited some more and she finally said, "you can try again in a little after drinking some water." I agreed to this sensible plan since my bladder was no closer to letting out a stream of urine after 5 minutes of listening to running water. I drank 4 cups of water, visited the HR lady, got a tour of the hospital, received a TB test, and then attempted to "pee on demand" again. She immediately started the water for me and after a short delay I had what she was waiting for: a half a cup of warm, yellow liquid. But I felt very proud of that liquid. After a pleasant walk to downtown Wheaton, some lunch at a deli, and discovering the whereabouts of the post office and bank, we went grocery shopping. The evening was "French Tuesday" where I joined some of Meghan and Robb's friends in eating tater tots and talking.

Thursday's adventures included Little India. The district of Chicago that is... very Indian. I went to an Indian worship service where Jesus is worshiped in traditional Indian manner. It was quite beautiful to see a group of Indian men and women and children worshiping the Lord in chants and music so close to their culture. I love that God is the God of all nations. I enjoyed a Jewish lunch along with some new friends from the "friendship center." The Jewish district is a few blocks from Little India. The most interesting thing was going into an Indian grocery store. I do not often go into a grocery store where I am absolutely clueless what 50% of the merchandise is and can only guess at what 90% of the merchandise is used for. The smells were pungent and unparalleled.
That evening I joined some other students and former students for a dinner and game night. The couple whose house we went to are going as missionaries to Japan in a year. It was fun to talk with them and tell them about Japan as I know it. I love meeting people with the same heart and desire to see Japan come to know Jesus.

Friday was a trip to IKEA which is nice and close. I have to get used to the toll roads though. I got an ipass which allows me to speed on through the toll booths and it deducts money from my pass account. I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. Dorothy drove us to IKEA and I counted change for the tolls. We loitered around IKEA for a while and purchased some organizational items for the office. After some yardwork in the afternoon we sat down to watch "Lark Rise to Candleford." A BBC series, now out on DVD, that is quite entertaining. We watched 4 episodes with a break for dinner thrown in there.

Saturday we went to the farmer's market. I got a stock of fruits and vegetables. Among these was eight-ball-zucchini which we stuffed with feta, spinach, tomatoes, basil, and onions and baked for dinner. Rob, Ian and I created a wood pile in the back with the wood that was stored in the garage. This created a nice walkway in the garage and opens a little more room for bikes. That's the other thing I've been enjoying: riding my bike!

Rob and I rode our bikes to church today (Meghan is at a wedding in Georgia). I went to Church of the Resurrection, also known as Rez. It was a very lovely service. This evening I was craving anko. I drove to Super H Mart- the Korean market and looked around so I would know what was available since it is much closer than Mitsuwa. There is quite a bit available there that I can use for Japanese cooking. I got mini anman that can be steamed or mic'ed. This satisfied my craving for tonight. :)

Well, here comes a new week! Tomorrow starts the official graduate school!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

pictures of my new room

from the entry way

dressing area

sleeping area

studying area

it's a lovely, comfortable, large room!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Driving through towns upon cities through the United States I have begun to ponder about American culture. No, not just American culture but society, humankind, life, morality...

We past through Osburn, that first day. We stopped to find a banking center and a post office. The kind clerks at each stop on Mullen Rd made me think, though briefly, that perhaps I could be quite happy to live there. Then Bozeman had a pleasant restaurant with friendly service and, looking around, seemed filled with pleasant very-Montana-ish people. I'm not quite sure what Montana-ish people are supposed to look like. But that restaurant was filled with my idea of them. People who seemed fit to live in any climate and do any sort of work required by that climate. Billings had pleasant enough people, very busy, but pleasant.

Then there was Gillette. I think all young men are trained to open doors for women in Wyoming. There was no end of gentlemanly treatment.

As we continued towards Sturgis the motorcycles increased. Entering into that town I noted the chaos and oppression that overwhelmed. Large men with large beards and large bikes rode around the town looking at scantly garbed women trying to gain men's attention. Bikini clad girls stood about washing bikes and showing off their bodies to the men who lusted and the town women who wished and decided to start a workout program the next day. On the streets lined vendors selling clothing which even the dancers of Cesarea Philippi would blush to wear. I came away feeling the need to be shoved back into reality. That is no reality, though the world might try to tell you, "face reality. such is the world today." No, those people seem to be living in a haze and should return to true reality. Once they return to reality they will realize that reality of what truly brings joy, contentment, life, and peace is not what they just experienced. What I saw there was like a nightmare.

On we traveled through the towns as the motorcycles became fewer and we could breathe again. Motorcycles are like hornets, buzzing around and around the car with a mind of their own. Yet at each small town, there they were: more bikers in their leather gear. In Murdo I stopped to get gas and try to find some lunch. Fried chicken and huge burgers were not the most appetizing ideas of a lunch for two women driving a Subaru from Washington. Maybe, perhaps, for the large men on bikes. They did seem to be enjoying the selection of foods offered to them. The man behind the counter was nice enough as I lifted onto my tiptoes to count the change to buy my grapes, cucumbers, and a banana.

In Jackson the young clerk was cheerful and the farmer who was filling gas in his large truck smiled and laughed at my attempt to follow hand gestures given me outside the car. He was pulling a large farm equipment of some sort with his giant pickup. People smiled a little more kindly here and motorcycles still abounded.

La Crosse...a strange little town it felt upon driving in. Half deserted, half inhabited. Like a ghost town that was resettled sometime later. Old buildings lined the streets lit up in some areas by bars and restaurants. People milled around going in and out of shops or standing on the sidewalk talking and laughing. Like a town trying to impersonate the entertainment district of a large city. A man in the hotel lobby said he was looking forward to 11:00 so he could go out for the night. "To where?" I thought.

My heart is still heavy. I've seen a lot of the US on this trip and the only part I'm proud of is the ladies at the banking center in Osburn, the postman at the post office of that same town on Mullen street, and the young man who purposefully opened the door for me in Gillete. What is this country? What would I show a foreigner who came to this country? How would I explain the different scenes? Are we proud to export this culture to so many places around the world? I do not know...

All I know is I can return to the reality of this:
"In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
In Jesus' words I can rest.

Monday, August 9, 2010

today I sat...

...while I should've been packing. I sat drinking a smoothie I made from berries and beet greens and carrots, eating a きな粉棒 (kinako-bo), and reflecting on an email grandma sent dad (that happened to lay printed on the counter. I was not snooping). The email had a quote from Richard Wurmbrand, a pastor and courageous man of faith. He said "a disciple of Christ should not deliver monologues in prayer, but should expect to receive answers to his questions." I know I have received many an answer to my questions. But I realize I am often too quick to make prayer into a monologue. How often do I speak to God and move on before taking the time to let Him speak to me. I want to change that. I want to quiet my heart enough to let God speak to me as often as I speak to Him. He probably is speaking, I just get too busy and noisy that I do not take the time to listen.

He spoke to me often in Japan this last month. He led me and guided me and spoke to me so clearly in my heart that I could've almost thought it was audible. When one is walking so close to God and is so filled with the presence of Jesus, His voice is a pleasure and a daily treat.

The smoothie was very good by the way.
steam some carrots and beet greens and kale
blend with berries, ice, soy milk, and some juice from an orange.
enjoy with or without a きな粉棒!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


When I do well and want praise...when I do wrong and want to defend myself...
My continual plea is for humility and quietness of heart...
A gentle and quiet spirit...that's what I pray for. To glorify God, not to be justified before man.

"Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is for me to have no trouble; never to be fretted or vexed or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all around and above is trouble. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ's redemptive work on Calvary's Cross, manifest in those of His own who are definitely subjected to the Holy Spirit." -Andrew Murray.