Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017

So, today was a day in which I had to accomplish quite a bit in order to be ready to fly out on Wednesday, June 28th, well, sort of to be ready for North America.
I had to go and renew my Japanese driver's license.  Here in Japan, your driver's license doesn't expire until a month after your birthday.
The whole renewal process is not terribly complicated.  They have distinct numbers and arrows on the floor to help you figure out where you have to go from one window to the next.  The whole process was about 45 minutes until the part where I had to attend a lecture.  That took 2 hours, to the minute.  They did have a 20 minute break after an hour of lecture.  The last 40 minutes consisted of more lecture, but the last 25 minutes was a video they had English subtitles for.  Amazingly, the whole time, except the last 25 minutes was all in Japanese.  I did not understand pretty much anything, although I could figure out what he probably was talking about based on the pictures he showed or his motions.  At the end of the 2 hours, my drivers license was ready for me to pick up.
The next step was getting an international driver's license.  Since my British Columbia driver's license expired, I wasn't sure I could get it renewed and issued in time for me to rent a car, so I took precautions and got an International Driver's license.  That took no more than 10 minutes, which included getting a picture taken at the booth just outside the Driver's License Center.  After arriving at shortly after 11 am, we were finished by 14:30.
A coffee at Starbucks to celebrate was in order and Rie and I went out to dinner, a delicious dinner.  It was something we have been planning for a while and today was a good day to go.  We went to Kisoji, which has shabu-shabu, but also what they call sukiyaki.  Shabu-shabu is when you cook your food at your own table, in hot water.  Sukiyaki, is similar in that you have a hot plate on your table and heat up the pot, but you put in a soy/sugar sauce and baste your food in that.  It was delicious!

First course shrimp and tofu/egg mixture.

Second course, shrimp, sea bream and octopus.

River fish, edamame and ginger. The sauce on the right was a vinegar.

Different noodles, different mushrooms, different onions, tofu and chrysanthemum leaves were used to baste in the sauce. 

This was basting in the soy sugar sauce.

This is the beef. 

Rie basting our food.

After you baste the meat or vegetables, you can dip it in either the raw egg (left) or put it on the rice (center).  The tomatoes were delicious as well (right).  

We finished our dinner with a dessert with matcha tea.  I had vanilla ice cream and Rie had Japanese sweets.
Both Rie and I were filled to the brim!  It was a delicious meal!  Thank you Rie for finding this restaurant!  I have had another blessed day accomplishing some important tasks but the bonus is being able to have a friend accompany me!   :)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Neighborhood gardens and Mt. Fuji

Most Saturdays I take Hana for a walk down to the Yanasegawa.  I walking pace is slow, so I am able to take a few pictures and do some reflecting on what is happening in the world and in my life.
I find the growing seasons here, in Tokyo area, something I am getting used to each year.  For example, Brussels sprouts are usually found in December and January.  Corn-on-the-cob is usually purchased in June.  Today as Hana and I were walking, I took some pictures of the neighborhood gardens.  You see that now isn't a time when much is growing, but in the next month or so, the owners of the land will begin to till the soils and prepare for planting.

Field at the neighborhood High School

Found some little blue wild flowers

Fields are looking rather bare right now.  

Close up of Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji in the distance.

Found someone using a rototiller. 

Folks taking pictures of wildlife.

Mirror, Hana and I.
 It has been sunny weather the last weeks, but the air is quite cold, usually going below freezing at night, but warm (usually close to 10ᵒC during the day, although we have had some temperatures going as high as 18ᵒC!).  I am enjoying the sunshine and the weekends that allow me to slow down, reflect and thank God for what he is doing.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Guam Cross Country Meet

Waaaaaay baaaaaaaack in October 2016, I was the female chaperone with the Christian Academy in Japan's (CAJ) Cross Country team.  CAJ was invited to the Asian Pacific Invitational Cross Country Championship, which is held in Guam.  We arrived quite late on the Wednesday evening, by about 11:00 pm - midnight.  We were able to sleep in the next day and it was a low key day, which is good for the runners.  Most of the day was spent driving students to the the malls, shopping at the malls, or monitoring students at the pool.  Students did have orientation to the race route that afternoon, because there wouldn't be time to do that the next morning before the race.
Waiting at the station

Collecting the luggage at the baggage claim
The pool
The Friday morning was an early one, with the boys having to be ready for warm-ups at the track by 5:15 am.  It was still dark, as the first race begins shortly after the sun rises.  That is when the humidity kicks in and it becomes so warm that running it too late in the day, isn't such a great idea.
Morning of the first race

A bit of humidity...

Girls starting line


Dinner at Capricciosa Ristorante
Night view from my room
The last day, is the relay race.  The teams run in pairs, one female and one male, each person running the circuit twice.  The males began, running the circuit once, passing off to the females, who pass it to their male partner and finishing the race on the beach is the female partner.
Rainbow the morning of the second race

Getting ready to start the relay

Praying before running

Running through the water

Frolicking in the water after the relay race
The Saturday evening is a banquet at the John F. Kennedy High School.  After the banquet, there is an awards ceremony recognizing all the top runners and top teams.

Awards ceremony

Individual achievements
It was a great time getting to know some of our High School students.  Each evening we had devotions in the coaches' room, focusing us on running the race God has placed before us.  I am thankful I was able to be a part of this trip and help our cross country team.