Monday, September 22, 2014

Residual Summer blog post

I know that summer is almost coming to close officially, with the fall equinox happening this week.  I do have a couple of pictures that I was unable to post earlier because they were part of a wedding video for my niece, Kimberley and her husband, Orisi (now my nephew!).
My and the bow. 
The finished bow, well, sort of.  We still had to do some adjustments. 
Some of you may not know, but I'm the antithesis of crafty!  I don't do crafty.  I have known to enjoy doing certain things here and there, but generally, I don't search for or seek out crafts to do.  I will help though.  That's what happened in the pictures above.  My sister-in-law Myrna, my niece Nicole and I spent one afternoon/evening working on making the big bows for Kim and Orisi's wedding.  Yup, I learned how to make a huge bow!  The turquoise material had a lot of sparkles in it and I was full of sparkles by the end of this craft.  It was kind of fun learning how to do put them together.  We actually watched a YouTube video that showed us how to put these bows together.

The second thing I was able to do, was to be in the video that was shown at the wedding.  In my brother's family, they have what appears to be a tradition; putting together a video that will be shown at the event, in this case Kim and Orisi's wedding.  I won't go into the scene, but it has to do with Kim driving, construction on the gravel road and her dad right behind her.  I was the flag person in this scene.  I had a reflector jacket, hard hat, sunglasses, stop sign and a wig.  It was fun to do.
Can you recognize me?
Kim and Orisi did get married the end of August.  The wedding was fun.  I'm glad I was able to be a small part of it, even though I was here in Japan during the event.  Thanks, for including me, Nick's family!  
Thank you all for following me along on this journey this summer.  I had a great summer, with a number of adventures and visits!  Thank you to all of you who showed great hospitality this summer and allowed me to crash at your place, to use your vehicles, take me in for meals, go on excursions with me or meet me for coffee.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart and may God bless you richly for the wonderful way you reflect Christ in your actions. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cross Country

Living in Matsukawa Place has its advantages.  I am close to school and I have a smaller place.  These two advantages can also be considered disadvantages.  My previous two places were three bedroom houses and now I live in a one bedroom apartment.  I have to be creative and thoughtful on how and where I put things.  Since I live right beside school, I do not need to ride my bicycle to commute to work.  That means I'm not exercising as much, although I try to get to the school's gym to work out, but I've found I'm not as consistent since bicycling isn't a must and well, the gym isn't always available or by a certain time at night, I just don't feel like going to exercise. 
So, being able to bicycle to Tama Hills for the cross country meet, is a welcome opportunity.  I did have to navigate a bit of a different route since I'm now coming from Higashi Kurume instead of Kiyose, but that wasn't eventful.  It is about a 17 km ride one way, with a steep hill at Tama Hills.  It felt great and I look forward to next week.  I also hope to be able to take my mountain bicycle rather than my Japanese bicycle. 
This year the Kanto Plain International schools purchased a new system to determine finishing times for the runners.  The students have to tie in a chip on their shoe laces and when they finish, run over these mats that pick up the chip's information which is recorded on computers.  It's a pretty slick system.  Bette V. and I have helped in past years and our job has become significantly easier.  When the whistle blows, we throw a chip on the mat and then pick it up to indicate the start of a race on the computer.  We check the computer to make sure it has recorded that.  As the runners run across the mats, we'll check to see if their chip was read. 
Mats the participants run over to have the chips read.
Computers that collect the chip informtion
Chip tied into the shoe laces. 
Ready to start!
CAJ High School Team
Coming to the finish!
Keep running until you're past the mats!
Well done!
To top off the ride, we were able to stop at the store on the way down the hill and pick up some American food!  I was able to have some Kraft Mac and Cheese and Cheetos.  I know, where did that come from!  I found that sometimes I have a craving for certain foods and it wasn't even something I loved when I lived in America! 
It was a beautiful day, not so hot and not terribly cold.  Once I returned, I was able to get some homework completed, clean up the apartment (advantage to having a smaller place) and do laundry.  I am glad we have weekends!  Now to get some more sleep! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

I have been attending Tokyo Union Church down in Shibuya.  Each week, when I walk out the front door, I see the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream across the street.  Today I gave in and crossed the street to get a scoop of ice cream.  I know, not good for a person like me. 
When I walked in, there was the usual greetings you receive from the employees.  What was surprising is the person who helped me, immediately pulled out the English version of the menu and began speaking to me in English!  there was a new flavour, American Dream that had chocolate, caramel and waffle cone in it.  Yup, I figured for my indulgence for the week, I'd take a scoop of that in a cup. 

I have to admit, it has been a long time since I've been to a Ben & Jerry's.  I don't have any special relationship with Ben & Jerry's, but I think because I'm in Japan, and Ben & Jerry's is from the US, it looks appealing. 
I found the decor quite interesting.  Love the holstein cow patterns on the stools. 
One thing I did get to read, was that Ben & Jerry's appear to be conscientious about being environmentally sound, according to the posters and video they have on the walls.  They are committed to Fair Trade.  There are other things they mentioned on the walls of the shop.  You can google them and find out more about all their involvement in organizations related to the environment.  I enjoyed sitting there eating my one scoop of ice cream.  :) 
Isn't this just an interesting way to show a video?  The video was showing the many ways in which they were involved in helping make "the world a better place." 

Matsukawa Place

Some of you are aware of my movements from place to place over the last months.  This summer while I was in North America, my possessions were moved from Shasta, to where I am living now, Matsukawa Place. 
Entrance to Matsukawa Place.
I live on the second floor of Matsukawa Place. 
My bedroom window.
The balcony outside my living room. 
I know it's been over a month since I've moved in and I am finally creating this post.  I found this move interesting because the previous moves I was moving from house to house, and there was quite a bit of room for a single person to have, in a 3 bedroom house.  Now, however, I have moved to a one bedroom apartment.  I was quite surprised at how much "stuff" I accumulated in a little over a year!  Hence, the reason it has taken a little longer to get myself situated. With less space, I have to be more creative on where I put things and figure out my patterns of living in this space. 

Front door
Entry way.
Toilet room.

Shower room. 
I need a night table or two, for my iPad, iPhone and my desk fan. Right now I'm using dining room chairs.
Living room and dining room.  Great couch for naps!
Kitchen, note the American size oven!
It is becoming my home and I am getting used to having things in certain places, but sometimes I still have to go sifting through the drawers and things to find something.  I've noticed that I don't have much to put on the walls.  I'll be getting some things yet.
I live right beside CAJ and sometimes when I'm sitting in my livingroom with the windows open, I can hear people talking as they are walking down the street.  I have to get used to the trains.  At the other places, I could hear the trains during the evening or early morning, but now that I live almost beside the tracks, I can hear them quite well. 
I always feel blessed that I have a place to live, a job to go to that I like, and good people to be with, both here in Japan and North America!
Feeling blessed!