Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Day at a Time

So, with the exception of my post about the aftermath of the earthquake/tsunamis, I haven't posted in my blog for over a month.  Epic, epic fail.  -_-;;  And it's definitely not for lack of doing anything!  I've actually kinda been doing tons of pretty cool stuff, so I have a lot to blog about.  Since I'm on spring break from today (Thursday) until next Tuesday, I figured I should try to get caught up.  Let's see how well my planner and pictures will help me remember what I've been doing all month...  There will probably be days missing if I either can't remember or didn't do anything noteworthy.  I think you'll get over it.


If I remember correctly, Becky had her last class in Nagoya on this day, so we didn't have our usual afternoon meeting until Thursday.  As a result, I spent my day chilling at home, reading and chatting on Skype, and going out to do some shopping later in the afternoon (I would've gone earlier but it had been raining, and while rain would never stop me in America, in Japan I get around by bike, so...).  I ate dinner at McDonald's, hoping that the new Manhattan Burger had started, but it hadn't, so I think I had the Salt & Lemon Icon Chicken sandwich, which was pretty fantastic.  And then Becky and I had gospel choir, and our friend Nori-chan came too.  After gospel choir, Carol called, inviting us to dessert with our friend Julia.  We went to Gusto, a family restaurant.  I got a chocolate banana sundae.  There was some kind of Kix-like cereal underneath the ice cream, because apparently cereal belongs in parfaits in Japan.

...and then I decided that I was hungry and ordered a vegetable doria, which was delicious.  Yay for late-night meals?


Carol, Becky and I went out for lunch, which, I found out later, was apparently to celebrate Becky's one year anniversary of returning to Japan after seminary.  We went to the little French restaurant that's near us.  Everything I've eaten there has been amazing.  This was sausage doria or something like that.  Doria at family restaurants is good and all...but nothing compared to this.

And then I had classes and ran a couple of quick errands.  While I was out, I got my first Manhattan Burger at McDonald's (I've had it twice altogether).  In addition to the burger, it has pastrami, mozzarella (?) cheese, and sour cream sauce.  It's super good.  Too bad it's already gone and I don't know if it'll ever make a comeback...

In the evening we had movie night, where we watched Will Smith's Pursuit of Happyness.  Such a good movie~  ;__;


We had our monthly event, a Ladies Tea, on this day.  Over the days previous to this, we'd been making various preparations for it, like getting decorations together, starting to bake, etc.  Joan Stoller, our fellow missionary who lives near Nagoya, came to speak about her hobby, pottery, and the concept of God as a potter and us as the clay.  Thanks especially to Carol, the decorations and food were wonderful, and Joan's message was wonderful!  Everyone who came had a great time.

Julia and Ana, who were indispensable in getting all the food ready that morning!

Joan's collection of salt and pepper shakers.  Yep, these are all salt and pepper shakers.

Just a small part of Joan's pottery collection.

Carol hard at work!

A complete plate.  Everything was really good!

Joan speaking.

We had a roomfull of people!  It was a huge success!  We got great feedback from people too!

So the event was over at 3pm, and I spent most of the rest of my day reading, watching tv, and trying not to fall asleep ridiculously early.  And I cooked potatoes in the microwave and topped them with broccoli, ham and cheese. It was delicious.

And that's it for this post!  I might post again later today~

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Real Crisis

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated my blog.  I was already starting to fall behind when the world started going crazy, and now I'm way, way behind.  I do intend to catch up eventually, but I've been pretty busy recently, so maybe sometime this coming week I can pick up where my last entry left off.

This post is going to be different.  In this post, I want to talk about an issue that is currently very close to my heart.  I want to talk about the recent disasters in Japan.

First off, I think you all should realize this by now, but I am totally, completely fine.  I live hundreds of miles south of the Tohoku region where all of this has been taking place, so I haven't felt any of the effects of the earthquake or tsunamis at all, really.  It's almost embarrassing how well I've been doing in the week since the earthquake hit Japan.

Tens of thousands of people aren't fine, though.  I don't have all the numbers and statistics, and it's been a few days since I've had time to watch the news (which is apparently quite different than the news you guys are seeing in North America, but I'll address that in a minute), but I do know that, even now, the situation is very serious.  The evacuation centers and shelters are still lacking in supplies, power and water haven't been restored in many places, and earlier this week the temperature plummeted, making conditions even worse.  Lives continue to be lost.  The crisis is not over; it's just beginning.  My heart breaks when I think about what the people in northern Japan are going through right now, and watching the news makes me want to cry.  I don't think any natural disaster has ever affected me quite this strongly before.

Which leads me to what's making me even more upset right now: Apparently, from what I have heard, the American media is spreading some ridiculous panic about the situation of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.  Instead of focusing on the people who are still in desperate need of help, the media is fearmongering and blowing the nuclear power situation way out of proportion.  It's sickening.  

I am not even the slightest bit worried about radiation or a nuclear meltdown or anything like that, and to be very clear, I'm not leaving Japan unless NAB (my missions organization) or the government makes me.  God put me here, and I believe that this is where I should be, doing exactly what I'm doing.  I'm no scientist, and I know the media has been pretty crazy in the States, so you don't have to just take my word for it that the nuclear power plant isn't anything to worry about.  Here are several articles I've read in the past few days. (I apologize for the swear word early on in this article, but please don't be deterred; it's really very good)

So there you have it.  I've been going about my normal life, with all of this in the back of my mind.  If you want to care about the things I care about, please continue to pray for Japan.  I pulled from a couple of sources to make a prayer guide for a prayer service we had last night here at the Center, so here are specific ways you can pray.  I wouldn't call this a comprehensive list necessarily, but it's a start.

Please pray for…

People who have lost loved ones, and people who are trapped and injured.  Casualty reports are still coming in, and it’s difficult to know how many have been injured or killed, but the number is certainly in the thousands, if not the ten thousands.

People whose family and friends are still missing, or who may not have been able to contact each other yet because of poor phone and cell phone service.  Pray for the continued rescue effort, and that communications can quickly be restored.

The tens of thousands of people staying at evacuation centers and hospitals.  Many have little food and water and no electricity.  The temperatures have dropped since the beginning of the week, making conditions even more difficult.

The power plants and water facilities to be able to resume their work, and pray for those who do not have these essential supplies. 

Grocery stores, convenience stores, etc.  There have been reports of people panic buying and stockpiling food and other everyday items.  Pray that people will think rationally and only buy what they need and leave the rest for others, and for the relief effort.  (Note: I've heard that situation has improved in recent days.)

Rescuers and relief workers, for safety, wisdom, and compassion.

The Christians of Japan, that we would be able to mobilize relief efforts and provide for people's needs, both physical and spiritual.

So please, don't worry about me.  Instead, worry about (and more than that, pray for) the people who are still suffering as a result of the earthquakes and tsunamis, and if you find it in your heart to help, please donate to the Red Cross or another relief organization of your choice.  We here at the Center have been sending donations from our students and friends to CRASH, a Japanese Christian relief organization.  Due to the current state of things, donating money is really the best thing anyone can do.

Thank you all for your concern for me.  I'm really touched by how many people have been thinking of and praying for me in these recent days.  Now I'm asking you to direct those prayers to those who need them the most.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Staying Afloat

So I haven't done anything really ~major~ since my last blog post, but it has been a little while, so I may as well try to stay caught up, right??


Meeting at Mr. Donuts, went grocery shopping and then to dinner afterwards.

Caesar salad.

I think this was some kind of hamburger doria?  It was super good.

No gospel choir after that, so I think I just went home and chilled, did some lesson planning and stuff?  So it was a pretty quiet day.


Did some shopping in the afternoon.  I finally checked out a second hand store that I've walked by a million times.  I got a shirt, a scarf and a pair of Converse for less than 30 bucks.  I'll be visiting again for sure.  Also bought a couple of cd's.  After that, I had classes...and I think that's about it.


Japanese class in the morning, short meeting in the afternoon, went to dinner.  My Thursday night class cancelled for the second week in a row (it's test season), so I did some stuff for the Center and watched a little tv.


Becky had lunch plans, so I had some awesome stew at Carol's house for lunch.  And then I had my regular classes.  One of my high school girls is graduating and will be going to college in Tokyo in April.  I really love the class I have with her and one other teenage girl, so I'm going to miss her.  </3  But she's really smart, so I know she'll do great in Tokyo!

After class, Becky was out with a friend, so I went to go see Ashita no Joe, a boxing movie based on a manga.  (It happens to star an actor I like, okay.)  It was pretty decent, even though the way they talked- i.e. fast and without enunciating- made it kind of hard for me to understand what they were saying.  But I enjoyed it!  And then I came home and Becky and her friend (a friend of ours from gospel choir) were home, so we chatted for a while.  It was a pretty nice day.  :)


a.k.a. Chili Making Day.  Earlier in the day, Noriko came over to give Becky something, and then Becky roped her into helping brown some meat for our chili.  After that, the three of us went to lunch.  Then Becky had other plans, so I met up with Carol, and we worked on changing our decorations from Valentine's to general spring/Saint Patrick's Day.  And then we worked on making coleslaw (aka cutting up lots of veggies), and when Becky came home she helped too.  I only cut myself a little bit in the process of slicing a million carrots haha.  The chili wasn't too hard; we basically opened up a ton of cans and dumped them into giant pots along with the meat Noriko and Becky had browned earlier that day.  Later that night, our friends and students, Akifumi-san and Rieko-san, came over to let us borrow something, and stayed to help us decorate for the next night.  Super nice of them!


Church obviously, and then after church was young adults.  We had a "pasta buffet."  The different kinds of pasta sauces/flavors you can get in packages here are amazing!  Everything was really good.

lol hi, my name is Amber and I take pictures of food instead of people.

So we ate, had our Bible study and prayer time, and then Becky and I had to leave just a little early to get ready for that night's Crossroad.  If you were wondering what all the chili was for, it was for chili night!

The room setup.  There were little cups of coleslaw on the tables.

It was over rice, so it was really chili donburi haha.  It was really good!

We had some really great helpers~

And our guest speakers, the Mizukamis.  Aurelio gave his testimony and Laurie translated, and then they sang Casting Crown's "Who Am I" in English and Portuguese (he's Brazilian).  It was so good!

So we had tea time afterwards, and later while we were cleaning up, Noriko, who had been busy earlier, came to eat chili haha.  So I ended up chatting with her for a while, and then Carol, Becky, and Paul Ewing and Izumi-sensei (both there for a meeting) joined us, so it was pretty fun.  :D

So yeah, this isn't the most exciting blog post ever haha, but this is what I've been doing!  This week has been pretty uneventful so far as well, so I'll wait a little longer to post about it~  It's March now, and I do have a few exciting things coming up!