Monday, April 28, 2014

Princess Who?

CAJ's Middle School Players put on the play, Princess Who? by Brian D. Taylor.  It's a fun play that sort of touches on many of the fairy tales we have read and listened to when we were younger.  The premise is that a princess wakes up in the forest and doesn't have any idea who she is or where she is from.  She travels through the forest to the different kingdoms and meets various characters who give her clues as to her identity.  
There were two performances, Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, with a parent preview on Thursday after school.  
The director, Raquel Dishner and assistant director, Julie Johnson did a great job with the actors.  Bette Vander Haak created a great set.  There were a number of parents and staff who helped with costuming, hair and make-up.  The performances went very well.  It was a great way to spend 90 minutes.  
Here are some pictures I took when I was attending Saturday's performance.  
The program. 
Waiting for the show to begin
Princess Who, Goldilocks and Snow White.

The seven dwarfs.
From Left to Right: Hippie, Giddy, Whiny, Nosy, Rowdy. The other two dwarfs not pictured were Guilty and Flighty.
Queen of the North was in a tizzy because she couldn't remember the name...(sorry for the blurry picture)
King of the South, Queen of the South, and the three good fairies.
Full cast.
This drama gave the opportunity for some students to shine.  It was interesting to see how the students portrayed the characters, some surprising me how bold they were.  It is great that CAJ gives students opportunities to try new and different things, discovering their God given talents. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Thrift Shop

Thrift shop is like a large garage sale.  Families from the CAJ community can bring their wares and sell them at Thrift Shop.  It is a great opportunity to "get rid of" items if you plan to move soon.  The PTA from CAJ organizes this event two times a year, April and October.  Besides the large garage sale, there is also food sole, students sell snacks to help raise money for their Senior Thailand trip, and it is a great opportunity for the grade 12 students to sell wares related to their Senior Comprehensive project.  
Thrift Shop is one event held at CAJ that a number of people look forward to visiting.  Some look forward to it because they can downsize on material items.  Others look forward to Thrift Shop so they can find good deals.  Many love the food that is served on campus, Korean BBQ, curry, hot dogs, pies of all kinds and occasionally there are specialty foods such as Nepalese curry sold by one of the grade 12 students this year.  Still others just love the atmosphere Thrift Shop brings on the CAJ campus.  I'm sure there are many other reasons as well. 
It takes an army to set up, run and take down, many, many volunteers.  Here are a couple of pictures taken of the garage sale in CAJ's gym.  
This is a fish eye picture.  I thought this and the next two pictures looked kind of cool.
Left side of the gym
Right side of the gym
 Friday, Thrift Shop is open for the CAJ community.  You are supposed to wear a CAJ name tag, which is issued for each parent and staff from CAJ.  The above pictures were taken before the sale began for CAJ community on Friday. 
Saturday is the day that we open Thrift Shop for people from the community.  Interestingly, they begin lining up at least an hour before the door opens.  This year it was beautiful weather, so waiting wasn't a hardship, really. 
I had the privilege of volunteering on Saturday.  I was be at one of the registers and pack the bought goods into bags for the customer.  We would also put in a Japanese tract and seal the bags with blue tape. 
Getting ready for the crowds on Saturday. The tables are where the purchasing and bagging happens. 
Each person that enters gets a 70 L bag where they can put their things in and bring to the register. 
Since I was bagging at the register, these pictures were taken from my view at the register.
Lots of people getting things. 
 As busy is a day like this can be, it is another way for CAJ to impact Japan for Christ.  It helps to be visible to the community.  We pray that somehow through this contact, relationships may be forged or interest in Christianity may be piqued. 

Kanto Plain Middle School Choral Festival

On Thursday, April 24th, I had the opportunity to chaperone CAJ's Middle School Choir to the Kanto Plain Middle School Choral Festival at the Nishimachi International School.  Ms. Owen is the director and Mr. Dishner is the accompanist.  It was a great opportunity to be able to listen to choirs from other schools as well as sit in the midst while all the students were singing a song they learned at their schools and performed together for the first time at the festival.  
CAJ was the first school to arrive.  We were directed to Nishimachi's gym.  
There were some schools by this time and others were warming up.
 As you can see, CAJ was seated on the bleachers.  There were my row mates.  

One of the directors went through voice exercises to warm up.
 Here is a video I took while they were warming up their voices. 

So who participated in the festival, you ask?  (Ok I had a feeling you'd ask that question at some point!)  
First up was the St. Mary's International School 6th Grade Choir.  This was only a portion of the full Middle School choir. 
St Mary's is a boys Catholic School.
 Next up was the Nishimachi International School Middle School Chorus. 
This is a school with both boys and girls, but the chorus is comprised of only girls.
The next group to perform was the Yokohama International School Middle School Chorus.

Next was the Saint Maur International School Middle School Chorus.  They were a small group, but did well.  
They stood in a semi-circle on stage. 
CAJ was next.  What was interesting is our students had a teal colored polo shirt.  Quite a different color scheme from many of the other groups, so our students were fairly easy to spot.  :)
CAJ Middle School Choir!
Next school was Seisen International Middle School Choir.  
Seisen is a girls Catholic School.
Next group was the Yokota Middle School Choir.  
Yokota is located on the Yokota Air Base. 
After Yokota, the Yokosuka Middle School Choir was next.  
Yokosuka Middle School is located on Yokosuka Naval Base. 
International School of the Sacred Heart or more commonly known as ISSH was next.  It was one of the largest choirs there. 
ISSH is an all girls school. 

The last group on stage was the full Middle School Choir from St. Mary's International School.  They had a lot of boys on that stage.  
The students sang the song Why We Sing.  It was quite an experience to sit in the middle of the choir while the students sang.  
I really was impressed how well behaved the students were during the whole time.  I also was so impressed how well they listened to the other groups sing.  
It has been a blessing to experience this festival and how voices are used to praise God! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter and Festival!

He is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!  Those were words we repeated during our worship service this Easter morning.  Pastor Daniel talked about the various accounts of Jesus' resurrection.  We sang Easter songs, Low in the Grave Christ Lay, and Christ the Lord is Risen Today among others.  It was a nice service.
I decided to take the train to church instead of bicycling today.  That meant I walked from the Kotesashi station about a kilometer to church.  On the way I noticed that they were beginning to set up for a festival of sorts.  It looked like the stores had booths or tables out on the street.  The traffic was blocked off.  There was a part of the street where they had live entertainment.  It was maybe 2 blocks long, but neat to walk through after church this morning. 
Found the YMCA!  Not that I'd need it...
One end of the blocked off street.

Here's one of the entertainers.  You can't see him, he's waving that huge red and white flag.
They were a part of the show.

Guess who set this part up?
Firetrucks are interesting no matter what country!
After picking up something to eat, I hopped on the train back home.  I decided to pick up a couple of things at a grocery store, Ozam.  Every once in a while I run across items that remind me of different places, where I have lived.  This is one of those items.  
 I remember Orangina is one of those drinks that was pretty special when I lived in Coté d'Ivoire.  I bought one.  
It has been a good weekend, a time of remembering Christ's death on the cross and celebrating Christ's resurrection!  He is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!

Friday, April 18, 2014


Today is Saturday after Good Friday, before Easter Sunday.  Yesterday when I was writing emails, my greeting was "Good Friday".  I had a conversation with one of my Science classes about why today is called, "Good Friday."  We talked about how it was, "good" that Jesus was willing to die for us to save us from our sins. 
This week I reflected on Maundy Thursday services I attended in the past.  I remember vividly leaving the Maundy Thursday service in silence, sometimes hearing the sound of nails being driven into the cross.  That sound in combination with the silence would stay with me on Good Friday, the Saturday, until Easter Sunday morning.  I would sense a heaviness from that Thursday evening until Sunday morning.  This was one weekend in the year, I wanted to hurry up and get to Sunday.
This is my second Lent/Easter I will be in Japan.  It is a little different, yet those and these new experiences remind me of the tremendous gift of Christ's sacrifice for me, and it is available for you! 

Tomorrow is coming!  He is Risen!  

The Cross is Empty
The Tomb is Empty!
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

YouTube video of Keith and Kristyn Getty In Christ Alone 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Spring Day

Today was a beautiful day here.  The weather was great and the scenery on my walk with Hana was pretty.  Here are pictures I took today.  Enjoy God's creation!  
Fields are planted with new cabbage
Fields are prepared for vegetables
Some are well on their way to maturing
Pretty in Pink
Some Pansies
A variety
Bright Red
My walking companion
See the egret?
Snow white
Wild flowers
Large school of fish
Taken from the other side of the river
Going for a swim
Deep Red
Love this tree.
Growing past the fence.
It was a great walk with Hana.  I love the opportunity to walk along the river and view nature.  Occasionally Hana prompts a conversation with another person.  Today it was me taking pictures of nature.  A lady began talking to me about some of the plants.  I don't know what she was sharing, but I did pick out a few words and I think she was talking about how this one plant can be used.  I hope that you have an opportunity to enjoy God's creation!