Monday, 27 April 2009

29 Years Later

Friday night worked out well. I had spent most of the day praying and sorting things out in my head, with regard to what I am about to divulge publicly.

To put it simply, I now have a girlfriend. Big news for anyone that knows me, and not something I take at all lightly. I'm at a point in my life where it is pretty serious, as decisions like this will affect me, and her, long-term.

I won't go into details, as this is merely my blog, but things are really good right now. God is, and always will be, in the centre of this relationship. If it is his will, things will progress as they should. If everything is done properly, there will be so much contentment, peace and joy.

I got barely any sleep on Friday night. On Saturday, Mika, Eddi and I picked up Laurel from K-town and the four of us drove out towards Nakamura. We stopped at a beach on the way and then fed a couple of horses nearby. We went to a batting cage in Nakamura, which was pretty cool, as I had never really swung a baseball bat before.

After some grocery shopping and donuts, we came back home. I didn't get an opportunity to talk to my family that night, but I did see them last night and told them about recent events. They are happy for me. :)

So, in case it isn't obvious, my new girlfriend is Mika. We just got closer and closer and realised that we both wanted the same thing. So now we are in a relationship and looking towards a bright future together, where we work out our vision and long-term Kingdom-building plans (that's Godspeak for doing his work).

I went to bed early on Saturday night, having had so little sleep this past week. It was refreshing, even though I woke up with a headache on Sunday. The service at church was good, though. We had the same guest speaker from Wednesday night. Heimo-san also prayed for people after the lunch we shared together.

Following that, Mika and I talked to our pastor and we had him pray for us. A very good start to any relationship, ne.

We took Eddi to the park, by which time it was actually getting quite late in the afternoon. We stopped at the hospital to visit Mika's grandfather, before coming back to Taisho (church is in Kubokawa, as is the hospital). I talked to mum, dad, Amy and Simon on Skype before going to Mika's place for dinner.

We watched a movie together last night, at my house, and spent time talking and praying together.

So things are really good, on a personal level. I wouldn't usually talk about such private issues, but I am happy to write this stuff in my blog. It's all a part of the Japanese experience. As a Christian, my experiences and the way I relate to the world are probably different. But it is great, because life is full of so many blessings that secular-minded people would simply overlook.

There is much joy to be had in Christ.



Friday, 24 April 2009

Hamburgers Are For Winners

It has been 11 days since I last posted an entry here. Boy, how the weeks fly by. Some days seem to take a long time to get through, but in retrospect, each week seems to go by pretty fast. I've been in Japan for nine months, and it's almost May already!

Let's take a look at the last week and a half in review:

The rest of last week was the standard fare: school and time spent in the office twi- erm, preparing and... stuff.

On Saturday, we attended the Genki Musical. Every year, JETs from around the prefecture put together a play, performed in the regional dialect of Tosa-ben. They did a really good job with Makino and the Beanstalk, this year's production. Pre-reading the script in English really helped, too, as I was able to follow it and enjoy it.

We Shimanto-ites went out for dinner afterwards, which was very nice.

On Sunday, I didn't feel too good (headache, despite having decent sleep), so didn't go to church. I spent a lot of time resting and some time on my computer.

It poured with rain on Monday, so I had to forgo the usual evening run. However, Mika and I ran on Tuesday instead, as it was a beautiful day.

On Wednesday, there was a guest speaker at our church in K-town: a man from Sweden, who had been involved with missions here in Japan and had helped to plant the church. Mika interpreted his message into Japanese. It was really good to see 15-20 people attending the meeting, and it was a very encouraging time (the message was mostly about hearing the voice of God and the power that he gives to each of us).

I stayed up very late that night. I'll skip over the details for now, but I ended up getting around three hours of sleep. :x

On Thursday -- wait, that was yesterday. Ok, so we are almost up to date now. ;)

Yesterday it was a nice day, too. I felt pretty tired and was glad to have a small break between classes. Fourth and fifth periods land before and after lunch, respectively, and I had those free; which gave me a few hours of time to just rest and not do anything significant.

Mika and I went for another run. So intead of running on Monday and Wednesday, this week we have run on Tuesday and Thursday.

Last night was nice. I was up until almost 2am (yet another late night), but it was worthwhile. ^^

So yeah, I'm being a little vague here, but for good reason. Some things you can type for all the world to see; and sometimes you just have to be discreet, allowing your readers to just imagine what they will. Suffice to say, I have been spending less and less time logging into World of Warcraft and more time trying to get my priorities straight.

God is good.



Monday, 13 April 2009

Enkai and Trifle

The new academic year started last week. We were introduced to new teachers at our respective schools. There are five new teachers at Tokawa chuu, and I'm not sure how many at Shouwa. But there is a new English teacher there, Nakaoka sensei.

So Tuesday was all about the start of the new year. There were no classes but I had to attend two assemblies. The one in the morning was more casual and was just an introduction of the new staff to existing students. In the afternoon, everyone wore formal attire (I'd worn a suit all day, actually), and we had an opening ceremony for the new first years -- of which there are a mere six.

Of course, Monday, Wednesday and Friday were all days spent in the office, "working". I always work hard when I have no school. >.>

Thursday saw classes at Shouwa chuu, but they were mostly introductions and questions. There are 11 new students there.

As an office, we had hanami on Friday. Hanami is having a picnic lunch beneath sakura trees. It was nice to sit outside and eat a prepared obento.

On Friday night I attended an enkai with Tokawa chuu teachers. We ate at a yaki-niku (Japanese barbecue) place. Afterwards was the obligatory karaoke. Good times.

On Saturday, Michael and I packed up our air pistols and corresponding gear and headed into the hills to do a bit of shooting practice. We continued on to Nakamura to do some shopping and he ordered a proper shoulder strap for his gun and extra clips. I got some groceries; including the necessities for making a trifle.

Back home, I made a trifle for our dessert evening that same night. Michael, Mika, Laurel, Narae and I ate at Yamagoya before heading to my place to watch Rat Race. Mika had to leave early so missed out on dessert, which we ate after the movie. It was mostly my trifle and some icecream that Mikey had brought.

I spent most of Sunday at home. Nothing productive.

Went to church last night with Mika and Eddie. Taniguchi sensei (our pastor) gave us each hard-boiled eggs with cute Easter labels. I ate mine at breakfast this morning.

After church, I grabbed the rest of my trifle and shared it with Eddi and Mika at their place. I chilled there until quite late. But it happens. ;)

Monday. Tired. Whole day to look forward to in the office. Some interesting activities coming up, though. Aside from school, of course.




Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Osaka Holiday - April 2009

I've been putting off this blog entry for a few days. Last Monday, Michael and I drove up to Osaka to stay for three days. We stayed in Kobe for one night, also, and then drove back down here on Friday.

Since then, I have not been motivated enough to write an entry. So don't expect anything inspiring or entertaining.

On the night that we arrived, we checked into our Hostel in Shin-Osaka and took the train to Osaka central (Umeda station), where we had a brief look around. We would travel a lot on either the subway or local train system over the next few days.

Tuesday morning was spent around Osaka proper. We ventured further out from the station than we had the night before but nothing really eventful took place.

After lunch, we met my friend Eri - a Kansai university student who had boarded with my brother's girlfriend's parents back in New Zealand earlier this year. It was the first time I had met her in person. The three of us went to Osaka Castle. There was a lot of history depicted inside, in various artifacts and folding screen paintings that showed battles between various noble families.

大阪城 (Osaka Castle)

A Gold Tiger Statue

Tim, Michael and Sakura (tree)

On Wednesday, we went to the Osaka Zoo. It was pretty cool. Lots of nice animal enclosures and a good selection of animals. The elephant enclosure was especially cool. You walked through a jungle-type area and then all around the two large areas that the elephants were in, being able to see them from various angles.

Elegant Giraffes

Vicious Tigers

Ferocious Wolves

And Monstrous Elephants

That afternoon, we ventured around "Denden Town". It was the Akihabara of Osaka (minus the pr0n). We looked in a lot of gaming and electronics places and spent some time in an airgun place. We both purchased air pistols, as well as all the knecessary knick knacks (BB pellets, extra clips, gas, etc.).

I got myself a Beretta M9. It's pretty sweet. Haven't had much opportunity to test it yet, but we will have plenty of opportunity to shoot each other during the Summer.

Thursday saw us travelling some more. We went to Himeji and visited the Museum of History and then the famous Himeji Castle. Amazing place and well worth visiting, the White Heron of Himeji.

The White Heron - Splendiferous

The Sakura Were Blooming - Beautiful

Another Nice Angle - Artistic

Driving to Kobe and then finding our final place of rest was a mission. Navigating anywhere in Japan is a nightmare unto itself. Then, when you finally get near your destination you have to keep stopping to ask for directions. Because in Japan, every location tries to avoid you. They really have made it hard to find anything. I guess the words "street address" don't exist in Japanese. :/

Well, we made it back to Taisho on Friday in one piece. And that was our Spring Holiday.

Have a look at all of my photos and video here. Enjoy! ^.^