Saturday, October 26, 2013

Catapults and Thrift Shop

This week, many at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) were praying for good weather today, Friday, October 25th.  Earlier in the week there were two typhoons heading our way, predicted to be in our area by Friday.  Friday was to be our Science Event, which was going to happen outside for at least part of it, and Thrift Shop.  As the week moved on, the weather predictions had one typhoon missing us and the other typhoon was downgraded to more of a rain event.  That would still have effected the events scheduled, but it was starting to look better.  
Friday was a half day of school and for about half of the half day, was the Science Event for the Middle School students.  Weeks ago, students had to choose whether to build a spaghetti bridge, mousetrap car, or a catapult.  They were given certain specifications and could make modifications along the way.  It was a lot of work, but I believe the students also were able to learn.  
I was working at the catapult competition, so I was not able to see the mouse trap or spaghetti bridge competitions.  There were also high school students who were sharing something about science in the building to those who came past their stations.  There were a lot of great projects!  
Going for distance

Shooting for accuracy

Getting these catapults set up to shoot bean bags.
As you can tell there was a sort of rain/mist but it was not a downpour, so it all turned out great!  
Friday and Saturday was Thrift Shop at CAJ.  It's like a large garage sale!  Friday, those who are a part of the CAJ family are able to go and purchase items and/or food.  Saturday, the community is able to come in an purchase items.  One thing I have found is that an event such as Thrift Shop requires many, many hands in order for it to go smoothly.  It is also a great opportunity for CAJ to interact with the Higashi Kurume community.  I helped on Saturday morning, at the registers, packing the purchased items.  It was busy and time went by quickly.  
This is where I worked on Saturday, other side of the table bagging goods. Sorry for the blurry picture.

The gym towards the end of the selling time.  

CAJ Seniors selling food and Nozomi selling jewelry in the foyer in the gym.
Over the years, CAJ has provided many great opportunities for service.   God has blessed me by being a part of this community. 

Monday, October 21, 2013


I have just arrive back at home after spending the weekend in Guangzhou, China at a Standards-Based Assessment Summit.  Jacquie and I flew out of Narita to Guangzhou on Friday.  Friday evening we just spent our time at the hotel, enjoying the amenities they had to offer.  We had a HUGE dinner but it was good.  
Steamed fish, tofu, mixed veggies, that was only a part of the dinner!
Saturday's session was primarily giving information on Standards based reporting and what it could look like.  
American International School of Guangzhou's library where we met.
We went downtown Saturday evening.  We ate at an American style restaurant.  
Chicken salad, sure tasted good!
Jacquie came eat too! :)
Sunday, the session were mostly focused on where your school was in the process of implementing Standards Based Assessment and Reporting.  Jacquie and I ended up discussing our plans for what we would like to do when we get back to CAJ.  
Sunday evening we ventured downtown again but this time to Beijing Street.  It certainly had a lot of people and there were a variety of foods available and many little shops.  There was also a part where they showed what the street looked like in the different dynasties.  Interesting.  
Beijing Street
The old street was covered with plexiglass.  
It was really interesting being in Guangzhou.  It was a good summit, where I was able to walk away for a number of ideas and resources.  Even though it was a short visit, it was a great adventure, walking through some of the busy downtown street of Guangzhou.  When I went away and came back, I realize how blessed I am to be working in Japan, at the Christian Academy in Japan.  :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Typhoon Wipha

It was an unusual event, at least so I've been told.  There are few days when CAJ is closed because of weather.  We have just had our second day where school was closed.  A few weeks ago, a typhoon went right over the Kanto Plain (Tokyo is located on the Kanto Plain) and last night and today Typhoon Wipha went over us.  It began yesterday morning with the rain.  It continued to rain heavily until early this morning, but during the night the winds also picked up.  After the rain stopped, the winds continued until shortly after noon.  At that point, I hopped on my bicycle and ran an errand, taking these pictures along the way.  Here's an article about Typhoon Wipha:  Japan Today.  There are 17 people who died and still a number of people missing.  
Usually this is fairly clean, but there were some branches and leaves all along the bicycle/walk path.
I live near some hospitals and sometimes ride through because there is less traffic.  
I was surprised by the amount of branches and leaves on the road by the hospital. 

As I was sitting in my house listening to the rain and wind last night, I kept thinking about the passage in Matthew 7 about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.  I kept singing the song in my head.  It was the one I learned when I was very young.  It reminded me to make sure I was on a firm foundation.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Meds and lush land.

Each year employees at CAJ are required to have a physical done.  One of the days before teaching begins, there is a group of medical folks that come to school, set up their instruments and each of us goes through the process of handing in a urine and stool sample, have blood drawn, blood pressure taken, height and weight taken, an EKG, an eye test, a hearing test, a chest X-ray, and I can't remember what else.  It is all done very efficiently.  A few weeks later, we get a print out of the results with and letter grade beside each item reported on.  Well, when I received mine, I had a couple of things I knew were going to be concerns and that I would have to deal with them now.  Since arriving in Japan, I haven't had too much concern about my health.  I have been bicycling and exercising fairly regularly, but I knew that the diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol may be an issue.  So, I decided I had better take care of that.  Dr. Ishibashi does speak English and also is the family doctor for a number people who work at CAJ.  I did have a consult visit at school with Dr. Ishibashi and he recommended that I arrange an office visit.  I did so and had Nobuko (she works in the Academic Office) come with me in case there is any Japanese translation needed. The result of the visit was 3 prescriptions, one for diabetes, one for high cholesterol and one for high blood pressure.  Later in the day I went to a pharmacy (Nobuko did some research and found one that had English speakers) and I dropped off my prescriptions and had them filled.  This is what I got back...
I take one pill once in the morning after breakfast.  
I take one pill once in the morning and once after dinner.
I take one pill after dinner. 
The white papers are actually an envelop that contained the pills still in blister packs and wrapped with a rubber band.  When I picked up the pills the pharmacist did tell me how to take the pills, in English, but of course by the time I got home, I wasn't sure which pill was which, so I did a little investigating and knew that since I was given 3 weeks of pills, the one with 42 pills would be the one taken 2 times a day.  The other ones I figured out by where the stamp was to the right of where the medication and dosage was written.  I also did a google translate to figure out "after dinner" just to be sure.  By the way, the ランデラーデニー is how they write my name in Japanese.  It's pronounced something like "randeraa deinii."  The "i" is like a long e sound like the ea in tea.  :)  I have to listen very carefully when they call my name, because sometimes I don't recognize it.  
Saturday, I went to help out at the cross country meet in Tama, for the last time this season.  It was the finals for all the levels.  It was beautiful weather, sunny and not so humid.  I took a couple of pictures.  
I hadn't realized that my brother invested in a farm in Tokyo!
Looks pretty fertile, eh? 
The soil looks dark, which I usually associate with fertile!
Tama River
Next week the top cross country runners from CAJ fly to Guam for the final competition, so unless I just take a bicycle ride down, I probably won't be down this way too soon again.  
Saturday afternoon I spent some time with Norm Overway.  He is taking a 3 week tour here in Japan.  I  was able to show him CAJ and have dinner with him.  It was nice to catch up.  Last March, his daughter, Laurie came out for a visit as well.  
It was a great week and God has blessed me by having the opportunity to be here in Japan, working in a great place like CAJ, with great supportive colleagues.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The sun after a typhoon

The last couple of weeks, we have had a couple of typhoons not to far away.  The one thing I noticed is how bright the sun is the day after the typhoon.  It is quite brilliant!  Here is a picture of the sun on my morning bicycle ride to school, the day after tropical cyclone 18 came over us.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It was an interesting week...

Boy am I glad God had weekends put into the weekly routines.  The past couple of weeks have been busy, with a number of different things going on at school.  Much of the activity was good, but by the time I came to Friday evening, I was glad and my body responded by taking the opportunity to sleep.  Yup, got in almost 10 hours of sleep!  
This week the CAJ Middle School standards-based reporting went online, meaning parents would be able to see their child's progress based on the standards we are teaching and assessing.  If you want to know more about that feel free to comment and I will send you an email.  It was a lot of work for our Tech folks, and for the teachers to have their reporting uploaded online, so parents could view the progress.  It is a lot of information to put online.  
Every Wednesday CAJ has chapel.  Aaron is in charge of arranging the chapel band and lining up speakers.  This past Wednesday, we had Alfie Silas and Lena Marie Klingvall come sing and speak at chapel. It was inspiring.  If you want more information you can click on these links:  Lena Marie and Alfie Silas.  Here are some pictures after chapel.  

I know you can't really see them because they both are actually not very tall in stature.  A number of students did go up to Lena Marie and Alfie to talk with them.  
The gingko nuts have arrived again.  We have a gingko tree beside the auditorium along the path to the cafeteria.  If you know anything about gingko nuts, they really give an unpleasant odor when stepped on.  This week the gingko nuts were falling quite plentifully and they were getting stepped on, really they can be hard to miss.  :)  
See how many there are!  
Close up of a couple
Friday morning I went down to the Asabu area in Tokyo for the Kanto Plain Area Middle School Principal's meeting.  It was my first meeting with other Middle School Principals.  I did come last May to be introduced as the new CAJ Middle School Principal.  The meeting was at the New Sanno Hotel, which actually is somehow related to the US Naval Joint Services.  It was an interesting meeting, introducing ourselves and talking about electives and scheduling classes.  
After the meeting, I took a 15 minute walk from the hotel to the Chinese Embassy to pick up my passport and Jacquie's passport that had our Chinese visas.  Later this month, we will be traveling to Guongzhou, China to attend a Standards-Based Reporting Summit at the American International School.  I hopped on the train to go back to CAJ, when on the Seibu line going to Higashi-Kurume, an old man saw me sat next to me and started talking to me in broken English, French and Japanese.  He seemed fairly happy, but I couldn't be 100% sure.  One of the things he mentioned was World War 2, MacArthur, and how nice Canadians were.  I was glad when Higashi-Kurume station had arrived.  Our interaction did draw the attention of others in the car.  He also kept patting me on my arm and apologizing.  :)  
Wednesday was a nice enough day and I went over to the VanderHaak's to take Hana for a walk.  I usually take her along the river and back, although some parts we walk on a road where there are a lot of garden plots.  Many times when Hana and I walk past, there are people working in the gardens. 
Not a great picture taken through mesh, but these are pretty large plants.  I don't know what they are called.

This time I was struck by how bent over this one lady was.  I snuck a picture of her as we were walking by.  
I have to admit, she was working and this may not be the way she stands all the time.  
Yes it was busy, but God did give me a good night of sleep and a restful Saturday.  Since is was raining, I did not bicycle to Tama to help out at the cross country meet, so I stayed home and did some relaxing.  What is nice is that tomorrow is Sunday and I am getting ready for a spiritual boost for the new work week!