Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve here in Tokyo as I write this.  I have just come back from being at church.  I signed up to help usher for the 4 pm service, which focuses mostly on children, telling the Christmas story for them.
Spotlight is on the readers. 

There were a quite a few people there for the 4 pm service.  I was in charge of taking care of balcony.  At first I thought it wouldn't be very busy, but it filled up.  It was a nice service.
I had about an hour and a half before I had to get ready to usher for the 7 pm service.  Many people are still working during the 4 pm and 7 pm services, so I thought since I'm not working, I could volunteer.
I had been wanting to try out this burger place not far from church on Sundays but there is usually quite a line up and I'm not that patient to wait that long.  Tonight I thought I'd walk by and see if there was a line up.  It turns out, no line and I could get a seat right away.  I ordered the double cheeseburger with wedges.
The big triangular paper is used to put your burger in when you eat it.  
Interesting decor 
The burger was okay, but I was kind of disappointed.  I found the hamburger was spiced up and I'm not a huge fan of strong spices in the hamburger.  It's fine though.
The 7 pm and the 9 pm services have a little different feel than the 4 pm service, with the sanctuary choir singing, organ playing and the pastors wearing their robes.  During all three services we light the candles.  It looks pretty and sounds pretty great also.  Enjoy the sound.  There is a green screen for a few seconds at the beginning, but the sound comes through well.
 I am blessed to be able to worship with a diverse congregation.  They were good Christmas eve services.  I hope you are able to take time to worship Christ's birth and what his birth means for us today.  
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


DEARAW, you say.  What is that?  Drop Everything And Relax At Winnie's.  One of the things I try to do, is provide a place for the Middle School staff to come and relax after school.  I usually plan these events in advance, sometimes on days when there are evening events at school.  For those who live close or live farther away, it is a place to come for some fellowship and food between the school day and the evening event.

Last Friday, December 4th, there was the High School Christmas Concert at Christian Academy in Japan.  I decided I would make some rice and peanut sauce, along with salads and some fruit.  There were about 11 staff that ended up coming over.  The highlight was the apple/peeler/corer I had out.  It was a fun evening to end a busy week.

I sure have bare walls, eh?

It was a fun evening and there were a number of compliments about the peanut sauce and rice, salads and being able to use the apple/peeler/corer.

I am grateful for a great staff and enjoy being able to provide these fellowship opportunities.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Takeyama Beach Company

I do not own a cabin at Takayama Beach Company, but I love going up to the VanderHaak's cabin.  It is a great respite.  I also love the beach, watching the waves come in and the sound of the waves very relaxing.  

My days usually start with a run or a walk down the beach.  Sometimes I come back and walk Hana.  The rest of the day can take a variety of different paths.  That's the beauty of being at the cabin, you can relax and let the day flow along.  One day, a few of us went on a walk to the "Horse temple."  Another day, I just sat in the cabin and wrote a paper for my course.  We also had an American Thanksgiving dinner with those who were at Tak that weekend.

There have been a number of trees taken down because of a pine beetle infestation.  This has opened up the view from Cabin 9 (VanderHaak's cabin).  One day the sun was shining and thought this was a very beautiful picture.
I was able to spend some time with Hana.  I am a dog lover and have been ever since I was little.  I grew up with dogs on the farm.  I am VERY grateful that the VanderHaak's give me opportunities to dog sit Hana and go to their place and take her for a walk pretty much anytime I can.
This was taken from the side of the hill.  You can see there is currently construction and the road has been re-routed so work on the berm by can happen.  You can see the construction in a couple of pictures below.

The reason we had days off from school, was for American Thanksgiving.  We do have a half day on the Thursday, which is when we travel up to Tak, so the dinner happens on Friday.  This year the numbers were lower but the food was excellent!  Bette spends many hours preparing a variety of pies for this meal.  They are all sooooooo delicious, that it's hard to only have one piece.  The strategy is to take small pieces so you can taste a few of the pies.  :)

I am VERY grateful for the VanderHaak's hospitality and the invitation to come along on weekends such as these.  It gives me a chance to slow down and recharge some.  I also enjoy my runs/walks through the villages and especially along the beaches.  I find these weekends prompt me to marvel at God's creation.