Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday wasn't so black.

Our school isn't really, fully 100% American, but we do follow a western style of education and we follow the US/Canada school calendar.  We do not necessarily follow all the American holidays, but do adhere to some, such as Christmas and Easter.  We sort of follow Canadian Thanksgiving, the second Monday in October.  It falls at the same time as our Fall break... a coincidence?  Maybe not so much.  We also sort of follow American Thanksgiving, although we do have classes for 1/2 day on the Thanksgiving day, and then have the Friday off.  That's where we are right now.
This year, I have been invited by the VanderHaak's to come up to Tak for the American Thanksgiving weekend.  It is up north by Shichigahama.  It is a great place to relax and well, do some homework too.
Here you can see some of the colours on the trees.
Some mountains in the background also.
This morning after I got up, I took a walk/run down to the beach.  The sun had risen some already and it was a beautiful day.
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When I went to the other beach, I saw that things had changed quite a bit since the last time I was here.  There was a lot of construction on a berm along the beach.
Working on the berm
 The path made for pedestrians and vehicles on the left.
I love the "Sorry!" 
I understand that the piece of land between the berm and the road is going to be made into a park.  I saw this at the entrance to the construction site.   
Isn't that an interesting bell?
As you walk towards the fishing village, you can still see some of the foundations of where the houses were before the 3/11 tsunami.  
Foundation is still there.
 Now there is a lot of construction and the roads have changed some. 
A new road to the fishing village
This bird/chicken was checking me out as I walked by
 There are a lot of weeds that have grown in places where houses stood before. 
Looking towards the beach
Weeds among the foundations
One of the great things about being here, is when you're sitting on the couch or laying in bed in the cabin, you can still hear the sound of the ocean.  I find it relaxing.  Yup.  Enjoy this little video...

I am glad for breaks as they give me time to re-energize.  I hope you will have the opportunity to experience a change of pace during this season as we head towards celebrating Christ's birth and look forward to his second coming.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hodge Podge of Events

It has been a while since my last entry.  I think it was just busy with a variety of things.  Here are some things I've been doing.
Class is called Collaborative Leadership
I have been busy with online courses I've been taking from Dordt College.  Every other week we have had online sessions.  We finished the first major project at the end of October, and I've been looking at completing the second major project, which will be due in December.  We also have a group collaboration assignment along with readings to complete.
Kindergarten class with Mrs. Matsuoka
Class with Mrs. Turner
I had the privilege of reading to the Kindergarten class on Friday, November 14th.  I chose to read the book, Percival Pig Finds His Manners, written by a friend, Bobbie Gilbert Kogok.  The class had just completed a unit on manners, so it was fun to read it to them.
Lots of hand motions at this table.
Another table.
Two of the chaperones and the tour guide along with a couple of the students.

Most of the group from ACS.
On the evening of November 14th, I took the train to Aomono-Yokocho station and met up with some students and teachers from Abbotsford Christian School (ACS). They had been at Kanazawa visiting with their sister school.  I knew a couple of them, so I made arrangements to have dinner with the whole group.  It was fun to see them and get to meet some new people. 
The auditorium where the ballet performance was being held.
On November 15th, I went to watch one of our students perform at a ballet event.  The performers were from about kindergarten age all the way to high school and older.  The first part was more traditional ballet.  After the intermission, there was a live orchestra on the stage.  Many of the music pieces and characters were from Disney productions and there were a couple of Mario and Luigi characters.  It was fun and quite enjoyable.
An interesting building in the shape of a triangle
Interesting posters, eh?
As I walk to church in Harajuku, (fashion district) I find some interesting stores and signs.  At this intersection, there is this tiny triangular store, it's called Condomania.  Guess what they sell?  Yup, condoms.  Their posters say, "Preserve the love, wear a condom."  Enough said.
View out of the 2nd floor window where I had a seat to eat lunch.

Looks just like the ones in the US and Canada!
One of the food items I tend to crave are good hamburgers.  They do have McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy's.  Out of the three, Wendy's is my preference.  There aren't too many Wendy's restaurants in Japan, but I did find one in Roppongi.  It's not terribly far from where I go to church.  I haven't gone there yet, but this past Sunday, I thought I'd make train trip.
Cutting the cake
Well done, Kim. (and Michael :)
Passing the cake to the real cutter of the cake...
Yup, Jeannie knows how to cut cake!
Michael and Kim Essenburg are Christian Reformed World Missionaries that will be making a move to Okinawa to work at the Christian School there.  The Christian Reformed Japan Missions met on Friday evening, November 21st for a farewell event.
Map of our bicycle route
Starbucks stop before returning on our bicycle run. 
My first gingerbread latte this season
Lots of daikon hanging there. 
Tea fields forever...oh those were strawberry not tea...  :) 
More tea
Isn't this a "cute," little railroad crossing?
A bamboo forest beside a construction site.
Today, Saturday, November 22nd, Ruth and I went on a 53 km bicycle ride.   It was a beautiful sunshiny day.  The air was a little chilly at the start, but before too long, I had taken off my sweatshirt and was bicycling in a t-shirt.
That brings us to today.  I guess a lot of different things were going on the last few weeks.  Next week is American Thanksgiving, so a short week at school and then up to Tak, to the cabin by the ocean.  I am looking forward to sometime at the beach.  What have you been doing?  How will you spend American Thanksgiving? 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dig Pink!

CAJ's Junior Varsity and Varsity women's volleyball teams have an event called Dig Pink, each fall season.  The teams raise money for an organization called Side-Out Foundation that raises money for Breast Cancer research and education.  If you are interested in more information here is their website: Side-Out Foundation.  CAJ's Dig Pink event was held on Monday, October 27th.  The team members sold cupcakes and bags, painted fingernails and had face painting. 
Bags that were sold
Cupcake sale
Our girls wearing their pink shirts
See the pink crowd!
A great audience!
Here are some of the students cheering on the CAJ volleyball team. 

CAJ does focus on service and helping others.  Dig Pink is another way CAJ is equipping students to impact the world for Christ.