Friday, October 23, 2015

MS Field Day and Thrift Shop

Today is the day, Christian Academy in Japan has its Fall Thrift Shop day!  It is also the day the Middle School had their field day!  It was a fun day with lots of activities.  Here are a couple of pictures of the day.

As you can tell, it is a
Making Korean BBQ
My purchase at Thrift Shop this year.  
It always lots of excitement.  I decided to volunteer on Friday afternoon at the cashier.  It is a much slower pace than it is on Saturday mornings.  Tomorrow is my last bicycle ride to watch Cross Country at Tama Hills.  I hope you all have a blessed weekend!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Kyu Asakura House

Today after church my friend, Junko and I went for a walk to Shibuya, to visit the Kyu Asakura House.  It is an important piece of property that the Japanese Government has declared this house to have a particular significance in terms of cultural history.

Entrance just past the gate
Guest entrance to the house
Path to the homeowners entrance
While we were there, they had a Haiku reading in the conference room.  We were not allowed in there.  All the rooms we saw had tatami.  You could tell which rooms were for guests and which rooms were for servants by the decorations used on the sliding doors or inside the rooms.  I thought regardless of the purpose of the room, it was really neat to see the decorative sliding doors on the wooden slots.  
The gardens surrounding most of the house were quite serene.  Both Junko and I couldn't believe how quiet and calming the gardens were even though were were right in the middle of a very busy part of Tokyo.  
This was taken from inside of the house. 
Also taken from inside of the house.
Entrance to the garden from the outside 
I love the large lanterns, but also the amazing tile on the roof. 

Another large lantern
This is the storehouse (Dozo).  They usually aren't attached to houses, but this one is. 
Yes, the air conditioner doesn't really fit in the picture along with the orange cones...
A canal we passed on our way back to the Shibuya Station on our way home.  
I am always grateful that I can go to places such as this one.  It makes me appreciate the Japanese culture and gain a little more of an understanding of where I am living.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Over the years, I've been asked, "Why does Canada celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October?"  I did some research and in 1957, the Canadian government declared the second Monday in October as Thanksgiving Day.  Thanksgiving was celebrated on a variety of days prior to that declaration.  The second question I usually get is, "What is the story related to Thanksgiving in Canada?"  The original Canadian thanksgiving went back to 1578 when Martin Frobisher, a British explorer who was on his third journey, looking for the Northwest Passage as well as finding a place to settle.  This journey in 1578, was quite adventurous, having lost a ship with a lot of supplies and facing unexpected storms.  When they finally arrived at the appointed place in Frobisher Bay (yes, it was named after him) in what is now known as Nunavut, a pastor strongly encouraged them to be thankful having made the trip through many dangerous situations.  In response, they had a service of thanks with communion.
When I think back on what our family did for Thanksgiving, I remember going to Thanksgiving service at church on Thanksgiving morning.  The afternoon didn't have any specific events.  I do not remember having turkey dinners on Thanksgiving day when I was young.  That seemed to have happened much later.
So, bringing you back up to the present day and what I did to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving in Japan.  Today is also a Japanese holiday, Sports Day.  Some of the schools have festivals today.  At Christian Academy in Japan, we have our Fall Break today, no school for us. Today, Bruce, Roberta, Ruth and I went for a bicycle ride.  It was not a new route, but it was a beautiful day for a ride.

Our rest stop was Starbucks.  Sitting on the patio drinking a coffee.

Roberta coming up alongside me.  She was mid-word when I took this picture.  :)

Bruce waiting for the train on a walking/bicycle train crossing.

My camera's shutter cover doesn't always open properly and unfortunately I didn't check to make sure it was open, but the flower looks good!  
Selfie while bicycling.  Not bad, eh?

Recognize this river?  I used to bicycle along it when I lived in Kiyose.
My odometer reads 55.525 km bicycled today.
When I bicycle, I tend to think.  Today, I was thinking about all the blessings God has given us and the paper I have to write for my class I am taking online from Dordt College.  We had a beautiful day for a bicycle ride, a great opportunity for the four of us to ride together (doesn't happen too often) and we were able to enjoy God's creation here in Japan on Canadian Thanksgiving!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

SWOW (School WithOut Walls)

This week the High School students at Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ) experienced School WithOut Walls (SWOW) week.  Each of the High School grades had special out of the classroom activities.  Grades 10 - 12 were off campus for all or part of the week and grade 9 had activities either on campus or went for day trips.
So you probably wonder, what does that have to do with Middle School?  The SWOW activities require a number of staff to make it work.  Some of the Middle School and Elementary teachers are leaders or they prepare meals.  The grade 11 students go on a wilderness camp.  The class is divided into smaller groups and each of the groups begin in a different location.  Over the course of four days, the group, led by students, have to find their way to a common point where the bus picks them up on Friday and bring them back to CAJ.  One of our grade 7 teachers, Sachie, was a leader for one of the grade 11 groups.  Sachie is also the cooperating teacher for our student teacher, Hanna from Wheaton College.  Since Hanna took on a full teaching load beginning this past week, she was able to teach Sachie's classes while Sachie was at Wilderness camp.  Hanna is able to teach the class on her own, but for most of the time, either Sachie or I, her supervisor, sit in the class with her.  Since Sachie was at Wilderness Camp, that meant I spent much of my time each day this week, in Room 204.  I really enjoyed watching her teach and watching her develop relationships with our students.  I also had the privilege of getting to know Hanna a little better.
Hanna teaching about the climate zones. 
My view from the desk I was sitting at this week.   
So, I spent most of my SWOW week sitting in Room 204 with grade 7 students through Bible, English and Social Studies classes.  High School students had great experiences this past week, many of them they will not forget these for a very long time.  What a great opportunity these High School students had to see God's world from a different perspective.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Event Supervision

At Christian Academy in Japan (CAJ), many of our sporting events happen on Saturdays, at least that is usually true for Middle School events.  When CAJ hosts these events, there is an event supervisor, usually someone from the Leadership Team, to be there in case of emergencies or if there are issues.  Today it was my turn to be event supervisor.  We were hosting a Middle School soccer scrimmage against one of Higashi Kurume's club teams.  Our team did not fair very well, but I believe it was a good experience for our MS soccer team.
Coach talking with the players.
Working the defense
The other event today was SAT testing.  We had about 120 students come, some from CAJ but also there were a number of students who traveled here from China.  We had five classrooms with students.
Admission Policies!  No Cell Phones!  
Diligently completing the tests

Parents waiting in the Atrium

SAT paperwork that needs to be completed
Since I live right beside CAJ, I am able to pop home for a little bit during the events.  It allows me to do my laundry, wash my dishes, get some breakfast or do some house cleaning.  Everything went smoothly today.  
Now I'm ready for the rest of the weekend!  I thank God that he included a day of rest in the course of a week.  Next week will be a busy week with School Without Walls (SWOW).  The week provides great activities for our students.  Pray the weather stays nice and that all involved remain healthy.