30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 3

Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

01 I am afraid of demonic things.
I don’t exactly know how this became a fear, but I think it may have to do with church, of all things. When I was young, probably no older than eight years old, I remember watching a video that was supposed to deter us from participating in Halloween festivities. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember that it was about Satan worshippers and how they kidnapped a young girl to slit her wrists and drink her blood…or something like that. I also remember demon stories my Sunday school teacher shared with us when I was about eleven years old, and I remember asking to be switched to another class for Sundays because the stories freaked me out so badly. A couple of years later, someone I know became possessed at church and we all stopped the normal worship service to pray for her while the leadership did what they could to help her. I remember she wasn’t speaking English and they had to ask one of the other junior high school students to translate for them.

I think all of this may have something to do with the fact that I can’t handle any scary stories, movies, and (sometimes) even mentions of scary stories or happenings. One of my biggest fears in moving to Japan was actually regarding the spiritual state of things here. Someone mentioned that though Japan is not a Christian nation, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not a spiritual one. I’d heard that some people who came here on missions experienced very negative spiritual things, to say the least.

02  I’m afraid of bugs.
I don’t know why or how I came to be this way. They just freak me out.

03  I’m afraid of eating live octopus because it might choke me and kill me.
That’s just not the way I want to go.

 

 

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30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 2

List 10 random fact about yourself that people might not know.

So….I tried to list ten random facts that people might not know yesterday, so I’ll list another ten random facts about myself that people actually might already know.

01  I was born in Oklahoma but moved to California when I was 1.

02  I am afraid of insects and I don’t really know why.

03  My birthday is exactly one week after my father’s. 

04  People have mistaken my brother and me as twins, despite the fact that he’s four years older than I am.

05  I can burp on command. My brother taught me when I was about 6 years old…

06  I can also cry on command.

07  I started wearing glasses when I was 10 years old and contact lenses since age 11.

08  I learned to drive with a Ford Expedition and hopped many a curb in the process. 

09  I started pulling all nighters for school my sophomore year of high school. 

10  My husband taught me how to drive stick, and he’s the reason why I currently own a manual transmission Toyota 86.

 

I think I’ll try to use these challenge updates to share with you about some aspect of my life here in Japan, even if it’s just to tell you about something I’ve done for the day.

Andrew, my MIL and I went to dinner at Osu with the lovely couple who watched our puppy while we were traveling. According to Wikipedia, “Ōsu is a historic area which has many small shops offering everything from Japanese traditional food to handicrafts. A large department store is OSU301. It is popular amongst fashionable young people as well.” It’s also home of one of the world’s best pizza places, as determined by some legitimate Italian guys. It takes us about fifteen minutes to walk to Osu, and for this I consider myself pretty lucky. 

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Above is a picture of a couple of Solo Pizza’s award winning pizzas (though I think only the one on the right actually won an award), and below is a picture of the storefront and little glimpse of what Osu looks like. The bottom picture is not mine–just something I found with a quick Google search.

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More to come with tomorrow’s challenge 🙂 

 

 

30 Day Blogging Challenge

30 Day Blogging Challenge

All right.

As usual (unfortunately), it’s been way, way too long since my last post. I think about this blog frequently, but I just never get around to updating it.

Thank you, Sharon Tseng, for challenging me to this 30 day blogging challenge thing. I think it’ll be a great way for me to get back on top of blogging again.

So before I get to the actual challenge, let me update you on what’s going on right now. My wonderful mother-in-law flew in to Nagoya last Thursday, and we’ve been traveling quite a bit since then. Friday to Saturday we were in Tokyo and stopped by Mt. Fuji on our way home, Monday to Tuesday was Kyoto, and Wednesday through Friday we explored Kagoshima. I’ll be sure to post more photos from all that soon, but for now, here’s the three of us in front of the Silver Pavilion in Kyoto.

On to the challenge!

List 10 random facts about yourself.
01 I’m allergic to dogs, but am a happy owner of a Pembroke Welsh Corgi (http://redhairedshanksthecorgi.tumblr.com/)
02 My husband just pointed out that I’m “allergic to more than that.” That said, I’m also allergic to horses, cats, melons, bananas, avocados, and slightly allergic to some nuts. I’m also allergic to grass, dust, and various trees and plants. I visited an allergist in college once…


03 I may have kinda sorta memorized the first five seasons of The Big Bang Theory. Our TV doesn’t play anything but DVDs/Blurays, and I like to play the seasons that we have on disc while I’m cooking, cleaning, and basically doing any chores around our home. Andrew once popped in a random disc for me when I was in the kitchen and I was able to pinpoint exactly which season and which disc he put in…
04 I have a pink and white motorcycle helmet.
05 I have yet to fully move out of my parents’ house. I left a lot of my stuff in my old room when I went to college, and then I ended up moving back to my parents’ place for a bit after I graduated. When I got married, we lived in a small apartment and my plan was to move out once we moved to a bigger place. We’ve since moved to a bigger place, but we’re also in a different country, so….yea.
06 I am a barista and I try to create latte art. Key word: try
07 My favorite anime character is Roronoa Zoro, and my dog is named after another character from the same anime.
08 I ride my bicycle half an hour to get to work. When I first moved to Japan, someone mentioned that a certain destination was “only a 40-minute bike ride away,” and it surprised me…but now I understand. Also, my bicycle is hot pink (bottom right corner)
09 People here keep mistaking me for being Japanese…….
10 I’m running out of things, it’s really late, and I’m really tired. Let’s see…I always thought I’d end up marrying a Korean American guy, but ended up marrying a half Japanese, half white (English+Irish+German+???) guy.

The end! I’ll try to post again tomorrow 🙂

It’s about time…

It’s been way, way, waaaayy too long since I’ve updated. 

I kept thinking about all the things that I wanted to update you on, and about how I wanted to post so many pictures…and the more I thought about it, the more I kept putting it off. So for now, I figured I’d just update you on what’s going on right now and how I’m feeling and doing now.

I’m still working at Heart & Soul Cafe on Tuesdays through Fridays, and it’s still just as wonderful as ever. The cafe really has become a safe and comfortable space for me, and I always enjoy seeing my coworkers and our customers. It’s also pretty dang fun trying my hand at latte art.

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Pretty dang good, right? Ha…I wish I could take credit for these, but they were done by a barista who’s come in to train us a couple of times. 

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This is pretty much all I can do right now, and I’m not even consistent. Hopefully I’ll eventually get better…

Though I’m still at the cafe most days of the week, I’ve cut my hours significantly because of our new puppy. 

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Here’s a recent picture of our pup. He’s growing really fast, and it’s definitely been a challenge. I love him, but I really didn’t fully grasp what was in store for us in getting an eight-week-old puppy. In a nutshell, it’s been tough. But he’s cute, so that makes things a little better 😛 

Getting a puppy and cutting my hours at the cafe has actually really been a blessing in disguise. At first I was pretty bummed about not being able to spend as much time at the cafe, but I’ve come to realize that there is a lot more I can do with the extra time I have. For example…I hadn’t been able to really meet up with any sisters, and I’ve really been trying to take advantage of my time–and it’s been great. I love the girls I’ve met here, and getting to know them has both challenged and encouraged me immensely. 

Taking time off has also reminded me of the fact that at one point, I wanted to have lunch with students from a nearby university every week. One of the seminary staff members had been hanging out with them regularly, and I thought it would be awesome if I could join and develop relationships with the students as well. Somewhere along the line, I began to feel that the cafe was my priority and I forgot about my hopes for meeting the students. But fewer hours at the cafe coupled with a new friend who expressed interest in these lunches  helped to remind me, and I’ll hopefully start hanging out with them when school is back in session come April. 

It’s past midnight now and I really want to go to sleep, so I’ll update you more in a future post. I really need to buckle down and get better about blogging….and responding to emails. I’m so, so sorry if you’ve emailed me and I haven’t responded yet. I’m seriously the absolute worst with responding to emails… sigh. Please know that your emails mean a lot to me, especially because I’ve really been missing home and everything about it a lot lately. 

I’ll be posting again soon 🙂 

 

お久しぶりですね (ohisashiburi desu ne)

…in other words, long time no see! I wish I could say that I totally knew how to type that all out in Japanese and that I’ve mastered the language in the three months I’ve been here, but…I just knew how to say it and googled the Romaji to find the Japanese characters.

Speaking of–I can’t believe it’s already been almost three months! And it’s been a whopping five months since I’ve updated this thing at all. But from here on out, I’m going to post more frequently (hopefully at least once a week), so please, hold me to it! Last time I said I’d post about our home-hunting trip once I’d gotten back to the States…and here I am, four months after we found our place and three months after we actually moved. But I’ve harped on enough about how long it’s been since I’ve posted–let’s get to the good stuff.

I have so much to share with you all! It seems natural that I’d star at the beginning, but I decided I’m going to tell you about my new job first since I’ve alluded to it on Instagram and Facebook. In a nutshell, I’m volunteering four days of the week at a place called Heart & Soul Cafe. It’s located near Nagoya Station and is run by Christ Bible Institute (CBI).  Here’s a description of the cafe from CBI’s website–

CBI Japan is seeking to establish a “safe space” for young people in the downtown Nagoya area called “The Heart & Soul Cafe.” This will be a place where young people can come to receive tutoring, practice various languages with native speakers, have fun in a safe environment, get to know others, receive counseling and learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will include an English school, multi-media, and educational resources aimed at improving the lives of young people in downtown Nagoya.

The church we attend, All Nations Fellowship, is technically not affiliated with CBI…but a lot of the leadership and members are either students or staff at CBI. One of our associate pastors also happens to be  the manager of the cafe. Long story short, Andrew and I found out that they needed help, so we volunteered. Unfortunately, Andrew’s work schedule makes it hard for him to volunteer behind the counter, but he’s been able to attend Friday night events they hold at the cafe.

So far I’ve only worked a few days due to a couple of closures, but it’s already been an awesome experience. Before we moved, Andrew and I found some outdated information online about Heart & Soul Cafe and were under the impression that it was more of a classroom where they happened to serve hot drinks. Not only did we find that it’s more than just a classroom, we found that the staff cares a lot about the quality of their drinks. That said, I’ve been learning a lot more about coffee making than I thought I would, and I’m grateful for it. But aside from the technical aspects of the cafe, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who are serious about their work here, whether it’s volunteering at the cafe, studying at CBI, or other missions (and non-missions) work they’re involved with.

Some of my fellow volunteers and staff

Some of my fellow volunteers and staff

The view from the entrance

The view from the entrance

The view from behind the counter. That's Dr. Michael Oh (founder of CBI, among other things) at the table.

The view from behind the counter. That’s Dr. Michael Oh (founder of CBI, among other things) at the table.

One of the recurring events held at the cafe-- open mic night.

One of the recurring events held at the cafe– open mic night.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to serve and learn in this capacity, and am looking forward to what God has in store for us through this ministry. That in mind, please pray for me that I wouldn’t get too comfortable and get myself stuck in a Christian bubble, and that I would make every effort to do His kingdom work in whatever way I can.

66 days

I’ve been meaning to update this thing for a while now–my last post was pretty dinky. It’s been harder to update than I thought it would be. Initially I set out to blog about my experience in quitting my job and moving to Japan, but not much has really happened since I quit. I’ve just been taking Japanese lessons, meeting up with people, and taking care of other miscellanies (like getting my wisdom teeth pulled).

I thought I wouldn’t have anything to post for a while, but today it hit me that I really don’t have a whole lot of time left before the big move.

Sixty six days means ten Saturdays left. Of those ten Saturdays, between birthdays, bridal showers, weddings, family trips and other things, I have four free Saturdays. For some reason, this fact is making me feel a bit melancholy. I don’t quite know what it is, but I guess it makes it seem like my time left is even more limited.

I’ve been counting down a lot in these last few months. My last day of work was April 12th, and now my last day in the States will be August 25th. I realize it’s only two events I’ve been counting down toward…but they were and will be big events.

April 12th marked the end of six years working at my first job, and it also meant I was finally moving on from UCI after seven and a half years.

August 25th will be the first time in my memory that I’m moving any more than thirty miles away from what I’ve grown to call “home.”

This whole thing has definitely been putting me through an emotional roller coaster. I’m excited about moving and acclimating to some place new, but then I’m nervous about leaving things and especially people behind. Then I remember that it’s only going to be a year and a half, and I feel a bit silly for being so dramatic about this all.

I don’t know what my point was supposed to be in rambling all this here. I guess I’m just now beginning to wrap my mind around moving, and this is part of the process of preparing for Japan. It’s also been serving as a huge reminder that my true and final home and resting place is not going to be anywhere we can travel by car or plane. Wherever I travel, I will always be a stranger and I should live in accordance with my heavenly citizenship. I hope and pray that I can love and minister to those around me wherever I am as is most glorifying to God.

On a different note, my husband and I will be going on a home-hunting trip to Japan soon. I don’t know if I’ll update again before then, but I’ll be sure to update once we come back 🙂

And as always, because blogs are always more interesting with photos…Here’s a collage I posted on Instagram/Facebook on the day I got my teeth removed.
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I promise the next time I update I’ll have nicer pictures…

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Eleven Saturdays left before we leave.

…and now my mind is blank. 

I was planning on typing out so much more here but all my thoughts seem to have dissipated.