Saturday, December 19, 2009

Leaving Karuizawa

     Alright, so here's a post that's a little more up-to-date.  Starting from where I left off with my last post:  I was able to shingle that whole side of the roof that my addition is on, and then started on the roof on the opposite side of the cabin.  I had to completely rebuild a large portion of the roof on that side, and then put a new layer of plywood over everything and then shingle away.  We've had some snow that has tried to slow me down a couple of times, but I've been able to fend it off with a broom.  I also got the windows and front door installed on my addition.

     Well, I finally got around to trying sushi the other day, obviously it hasn't been on the very top of my priority list.  Cliff took me to a revolving sushi restaurant, a very interesting and popular place.  You sit at a table and there is a conveyor belt that runs by with all different kinds of sushi on it, and you just grab whatever looks good...or interesting...or edible....   I started with some raw shrimp and raw salmon, and they were good.  Then some raw eel, which was ok.  I eventually met my match with the raw tuna and then the nato (a slimy Japanese bean paste) both of which I had a hard time getting down, and neither of which I could finish.  I think the texture gets to you more than the taste! (sorry, I forgot my camera so don't have any pictures).  Overall it was a good experience, but I don't think I'll be having any sushi cravings after I return home.

     I'm in Tokyo now for the few days before I head to Chicago and will spend a day there debriefing before I head back home to Bloomington.  It was a sad day leaving Karuizawa, but at the same time I am looking forward to getting back home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's December!

[Can we just pretend like I posted this two weeks ago? It's a little behind.]

Well a lot has been accomplished on my cabin extension project since my last post. The subfloor is done, the walls are up and sheeted and wrapped, the new roof is up and sheeted and the old metal roof has been stripped away and is sheeted as well. I'm ready to put on some shingles to keep everythingdry now. We've had some cold days and
some warm days, some dry days and some wet days but thanks be to God for warm clothes, tarps, and skin that
can dry! The cabin is starting to take shape into a nice place to be used, whether by a Japanese pastor and family to stay at for vacation, or a missionary to live at while studying at the language school, or short-termers to stay at while they do street evangelism, or whatever else God might have in mind for it.

The Japanese love nature because they think God is in it. We Christian's love nature because we know God created it. Nevertheless, this equates to lots of hiking trails in the area to explore, which makes me happy. And so, one Saturday, Tim, a missionary studying Japanese at the school, and I who both love mountain biking, found the time to go. We started our trek up the hill first thing in the morning and made it a whole day adventure. Most of the morning we were on hiking trails, not exactly suitable for bikes, but fun to attempt none the less. On the way back home, we took an old highway that hugs the side of the mountains and is famous for its 183 curves
within just a few miles, each curve labeled with a sign. Great for a bikeride because it's downhill the whole way...well...unless you start from the we did. I don't think it's ever taken me that long to count to 183. But, a steady 3 hours later we made it. Oh the joy to see that C=183 sign! I had a lot of fun and also had my first onsen (hot spring) experience that day which I'll write about later.

Over the past couple weeks I've been spending a lot of time alone, and a lot of time in silence. And it has really created a lot of opportunity for my mind to unwind, and all the things that I usually suppress with all the distractions of TV, radio, internet, people, busy-ness and just life, come to the surface. It has really been good for me and I have learned a lot about myself and think the Holy Spirit's gentle guiding can be felt so much easier.
There are so many distractions back home, and so many things we can keep throwing into our minds, and yet rarely give our minds the chance to switch from input mode to output mode. Silence is a good thing and I encourage you to seek it out. (It'd take me several pages to really be clear about what God has been teaching me about silence, but I'm trying to keep this short so it's read-able!)

I'm going to try to make another post before I leave. So there may be another one within the next few days.