Saturday, January 24, 2015


Every couple of months or so, I have what I call a DEARAW (Drop Everything And Relax At Winnie's).  I am trying to provide a time and space for MS staff at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) to gather together in a different setting and for a purely social purpose.  Yesterday, Friday, January 23rd, was a staff work day; a day to prepare report cards for the semester.  I thought it may be a good opportunity for teachers to spend some relaxing time after the day at my apartment.  There was also a Senior Talent Show in the evening, so this time could provide a nice reprieve between working on report cards and attending the talent show. 
On the previous occasions, my theme tended to be anything with nuts, since CAJ's campus is nut free.  I made peanut butter cookies, had peanut M&M's, regular peanuts or almonds in a bowl, and other snack type things.  
This time however, I thought I would try something different.  Many of the staff are not familiar with some of my 1950's Dutch cultural heritage.  (My parents immigrated to Canada in 1952.)  This time I thought I would make oiliebollen, which is like a Dutch cake donut. 
Here's how they are made:  
Yeast and warm milk.
First you warm up some milk and add yeast and let it do its chemical reaction thing. 
Flour, salt, apples and raisin mixture.
Next mix together, flour, salt, raisins and cut up apples.  I knew there were some of the staff that do not like the fruit, so I made a separate batch that did not have apples and raisins. 
Eggs and milk mixture.
In another bowl, mix together eggs and milk and add the eggs and milk mixture to the flour mixture.  After that you add the milk and yeast mixture.  The batch I made was very large, so it took some arm power to mix it all well.  Once it is well mixed, you let it sit for an hour. 
First ones out of the deep fryer.
While the dough is rising, you do need to heat up the oil.  This is the part where my apartment gained its new oil fragrance, which remains the next few days.  I do not have a deep fryer and was able to borrow one from a friend.  Thanks, Rie! 
I was also able to borrow an ice cream scoop (Thanks, Martha!) and used that to scoop up the dough and deep fry them.  Just before you eat them, you sprinkle on icing sugar. 
There were some left over...
As people came through the door, I would deep fry whatever their preference was, with or without raisins and apples.  By the end of the evening, I still had a quite a bit of dough left.  You cannot store the dough, so I continued to deep fry more oiliebollen until the dough was gone.  I let them get cold and put them in ziplock bags to store in the freezer. 
Over all, I believe it was a success.  Those who tried them, said they were delicious.  I was so glad to be able to share a bit of my heritage with the CAJ staff.  I am very grateful for all the work they do for our students.  I am blessed to see how God uses these staff members to make an impact on CAJ's students.  I work in a great place!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Sabbath

One thing I mentioned to the Middle School teachers this week, is to remember to have a sabbath this weekend.  It can become difficult sometimes in our busy lives.  I know as I'm writing this, there are a number of things I could/should be doing, but I am trying to rest from my labours.  This is what I did today.
This morning, I attended the 8:30 am service at Tokyo Union Church.  I was scheduled to be the lector reader.  The passage I had to read was 1 Samuel 3: 1 - 10 about God calling Samuel.  The New Testament reading was from John 1: 43 - 51, about Nathaniel's calling.  The sermon focused on our calling to invite others to, "Come and see." 
At the end of the service, we had an evacuation drill.  Probably a good thing to do when living in a place where earthquakes are quite possible.  I didn't take any pictures.
Once I reached home, I bicycled over to the VanderHaak's to take Hana for a walk.  I haven't walked with Hana for a couple of weeks, so it was about time I did that again.  I took some pictures as we walked down by the river.
I was surprised to see some families having a bar-b-que down by the river. 
 Here is the entrance to the park where Hana and I usually walk. There were a few people walking. 
 I saw some chickens who were seeking out food in the garden. 
This couple were busy doing exercises.  The man in the light blue jacket was actually doing what sumo wrestlers do before they begin their match.  He certainly didn't look the same size as the typical sumo wrestler.  The lady in the cream coloured jacket was stepping up and down on the curb. 
There's a nice little pond.
Can you see the ducks?  They were close. 
Our path from the park.

Right along the river. 

There is my walking partner, Hana and her shadow.

Hana and my shadow.

Japan tends to be quite conscientious about erosion.  Many of the hillsides and rivers have reinforcements so that there is minimal erosion.  See the various places where there are reinforcements placed so that they control the erosion.  

 Two ducks swimming on the river.

The sun was out today, it was a nice day. 

She's looking quite happy. 

Surprisingly she is ahead, much of the time she's stopped to sniff something.  
There is the photography club.
Most days that I walk along the river, there are people with cameras and long lenses taking pictures of wild life at the river.  

If you look closely, you can see the rope, that is how they define the parking spaces in the gravel parking lot.  Pretty clever, eh? 
Looking down river from the bridge that we cross to do our U-turn.

Want some firewood?  Ok, not sure it's up for grabs.
Here is a family that were flying a kite. 

Our route.

I have this app on my iPhone that tracks my walking/running routes.  I can listen to music, which I was listening to Kayte Grace's new album, but when you stop, you hear, "pausing workout," which happened quite regularly, since Hana wanted to stop to sniff.  We were moving at a fairly slow pace, 14.53 minutes per kilometer. 
By the time we arrived back, Brian and Bette invited me for lunch, which I couldn't refuse, since it was chicken fajitas.  It was delicious!
This upcoming Friday, I've invited the Middle School teachers over to my place.  I thought it may be fun for us to make oiliebollen (dutch donuts).  Since it is the first time I'm making them here in Japan, I thought I'd do a trial run this afternoon.
The dough with raisins and apples.

Deep frying them. 

Finished product.
 I am finishing the evening off by writing this blog post as I'm watching the movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I plan to head to bed in the next hour or so. 
It has been a good day, starting with worship this morning, being in God's creation, spending time with friends and being able to do some things I normally don't do during the week.  I thank God for weekends and Sabbath days.