Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A First Time for Everything!

Well I just finished celebrating my first birthday in Japan. Through out all of my celebrating I realized I was having a lot of first time experiences.

Friday I went to dinner with my sister, my two fabulous co-workers/roommates, and a friend who came down from Mito. After dinner I had my first 3 HOUR experience at karaoke!! I had been to karaoke before, but usually only for an hour or an hour and a half. LEt me just say, 3 hours STILl isn't enough! Maybe the group made it exceptionally fun, but if we hadn't of all been so tired I could have gone even longer.

THEN Saturday the real fun began! I woke up and got ready for the day, and my sister and Kendon came over to cook me breakfast. It was amazing! Rachel had gotten bacon, and cinnamon rolls from a friend on base. (Normally you can't find these delicacies in Japan.) After a great breakfast we cleaned up, watched a movie, and then headed to meet more friends at the station. After letting breakfast digest we then went and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe.

This was my FIRST time to eat a Hard Rock cafe, and in JAPAN! I was really excited, and the food didn't disappoint. I was able to get me an American sized hamburger!

After lunch we then walked over to the BLUE MAN BUILDING!! Where the BLUE MAN GROUP was performing. This was my first time to see them. The show was not what I was SOO MUCH BETTER! I laughed so much, in fact there were times I think I was the only person laughing just because of how ridiculous these guys look! The guys don't say anything, but their eyes and facial expressions are PRICELESS!

Then the best is yet to come. After the show the show everyone cleared out, except our group and a couple other smaller groups. After seeing the show, and what they did with some of the people in the audience I was beginning to get a little nervous. ESPECIALLY since I was the birthday girl! As it turned out there was no need to be nervous. One of the members came out to take a picture with us.

After we finished taking our group picture with him we left and visited outside the studio while some people took potty breaks. While we were waiting and visiting the Blue Man came outside. It was really great because it was just our group and a lot of us were able to take pictures with him. I was watching him interact and take pictures with everyone when he came over and stared at me. It was quite freaky at first. The guys NEVER smile, and look at you like they've NEVER seen a white person before. SO here is the sequence of pictures of him coming up to me....then he looks at me....and then...wait for it....he leans in....AND KISSES ME ON THE CHEEK! It was SOOO crazy! I think I am still in a little shock.

Then I rode the rest of the HOUR train ride home with a BIG BLUE KISS on my cheek. It was actually a lot of fun! I almost didn't want to wash it, but the paint was really nasty and oily, and I knew it would stain whatever it touched. So to preserve my momentus occasion I have pictures and my ticket stub, which I pressed against my cheek to document the kiss yet again. So that was the last of my first...MY FIRST KISS! If you want to get SUPER technical it wouldn't be my first kiss, but from someone other than family, truth or dare, then I think it qualifies as a first kiss.

Alright, well I hope that will tide you over for now. I will try to post again soon. I have a lot of other pictures and stories to share.

Matane! (that means see you later!)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blessed to be back!

I really don't know where to begin this blog. While today was actually very uneventful, it has heightened many emotions. Today we didn't have classes, so it was just a lot of sitting at my desk. Thankfully I had things to do. Next Monday I speak in chapel, so I worked on typing up my chapel speech so I could give it to my translator. They prefer to have them at least a week in advance. While doing so I started thinking about what I felt I should share. For those who know me, know what a daunting task that can be for me. I am never good at making decisions, especially ones that effect a significant amount of people. I started thinking of my time at home, and some of the wonderful time I spent outside admiring God's beautiful creation. This reminded me of the story about geese that I had heard years ago. So I talked about how the geese fly in a "V" formation and all the benefits it has for the whole group. Here are the main highlights about the geese...

*By flying in the “V” formation the geese use the uplift from others to make flying 71% easier.
*If one goose leaves the “V” the resistance and drag is so great, he hurriedly returns to the group.
*When the lead goose gets tired he falls back into the “V” and lets another goose take the lead.
*If a goose gets sick or wounded at anytime, two geese will go down with it until it heals, and then they fly back to the group together.
*The geese constantly honk to encourage each other to press on and keep flying.

With that said, I talked about how we should be like the geese. How we should encourage each other and share each other's burdens. Although as I write this I am thinking of all the people who are currently encouraging and uplifting me, even though they probably have NOO idea that they are doing it. I have the MOST amazing family. I'm not just talking immediate family, but also extended.

My grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. (on both sides, sorry just a pic of the Denton side) are all Christians and can show you love like you've never experienced. On top of my blood family I have multiple church families. The nearest and dearest to my heart are the members of Vanderveer St. Church of Christ in Burnet TX. I know so many of them pray for me and let me know they're thinking of me by saying hello on Facebook. The love and support they have and continue to show my family is overwhelming, and humbling. Next I have amazing friends scattered all around the world, with most of them residing in OK, TX, or now here in Japan. Saturday it was so great to meet fellow English teachers in Japan whom are also Christians. Thank you all! Your Christian examples, and lives of faith are an inspiration to me, and a big part of the reason I am in Japan teaching/ministering. (Forgive me if I offend anyone for saying ministering)

Thinking about all the incredible people in my life makes me realize how ridiculously blessed I am. I don't understand it. Why has God chosen me to bless this much? I feel like I should be doing so much more than I am. Thank you God for this opportunity, and PLEASE help me share the love and blessings you have SOO richly poured on me!

Friday, August 27, 2010


I know I have mentioned a few things about my roommates, but I don't think I have mentioned how blessed I am to have two AMAZING roommates. Both are very different in several ways, and God is teaching me things through both of them.

Amber Andrusak is not only my newest roommate, but also my newest friend. We quickly became friends on the way home from the airport and the few days we shared getting over our jet-lag. We share many mutual friends, because her hometown (Salina, Kansas), is my birthplace. We determined our family left a year before her family moved there. So we just missed each other, but have had fun talking about some of the same people we know, which is actually how she found out about the teaching position at YJG. We get along great because we share some of the same mentalities, and we are only 2 years apart in age. We both remind each other of good friends, which we both see as a good sign. We also share the LOVE of COFFEE, and on most mornings share a cup of Joe together!

Bridgette Jones is special because she has been here for 4 years so she has become a mentor, advisor, and most of all friend. I had met Bridgette the Christmas I came to visit my sister in Japan, which made things really nice for when I had to make my quick transition from the states to Japan in May. Bridgette is from North Carolina and is great with Southern hospitality! We have had many dinner parties with friends, co-workers, and students. Bridgette and I also share the love of musicals. In the few months we've been in Japan together we've seen the Sound of Music, and DreamGirls together. Unfortunately I don't have any pics of us together because I didn't have my new camera then, so she has them on hers.

You will be hearing and seeing more of them throughout the year!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Students + Fireworks + Beach = AMAZING DAY

Thursday we had two students, Saria and Mana come to the house for lunch. I made chicken, spaghetti, and a salad. Oishi des! After the food was put away and dishes cleaned we played Uno attack, Doubto (the Japanese name for B.S.) and Cranium!

They were SOOO much fun! I love having students over, and I think it was fun for Amber to meet some students.

After the games Amber and I didn't know how to nicely tell the students we had plans to go to Zushi beach for a firework show, so we invited them to come with us. The fireworks were AMAZING! As always pictures can't do them justice. On the way home Amber and I were hungry so we stopped at a convenient store to grab some "traditional" Japanese specialties. I introduced Amber to bento boxes (like a TV dinner only not frozen and with fresh fried rice, and a shrimp stir fry type thing. , onigiri (triangular ball of rice with fish inside), and tofu rice rolls.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So as some of you know, I have been in the US for my summer vacation. I am now back in Japan, and happy to be here. I am working on getting unpacked and settled in. First thing this morning is going to the grocery store. Last night when we got home all we had in the house was rice, tuna, and some condiments.

After some scrambled eggs, grapefruit, and apple juice my new roomate, Amber, and I headed out for a mini tour. While we were out shopping we began to get hungry so I took her to a Japanese restaurant for her first Japanese meal. Here is what I ordered...

After eating our jet lag was starting to kick in, so what better way to solve jet lag than a massage. There is a REALLY GREAT Thai Massage place near our school and house so I took here there and we got massages. They were SOO great! After the massages we came back to the house to do a little more unpacking and then we both turned in early.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Back in the States

Gomenisai...that's I'm sorry. Which I am for not posting in such a long time. Needless to say the weeks leading up to me leaving Japan were rather busy, and I neglected posting things. While I'm home I will try to back track and share some stories from while I was there. I will be back in the states until August 23rd. It's been a great visit so far, but I am already ready to go back.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My last 3 weeks...

I am SOO sorry I haven't blogged in a while I have been rather busy with school. It is crazy how much work it is to be a teacher in a culture that thinks you should work 60 hours a week. Thankfully being a foreigner I am not held the 12 hour work days.

So here are the last three weeks in a nut shell.

Three weeks ago:
I missed a day of school because my little headaches that I had been having all week turned into a migraine. :( I contributed it to culture shock. A day with my sister helped cure me of that.

Two weeks ago:
Thursday and Friday (the 10 & 11) our school had a sports festival. It was absolutely incredible!!! I took video with my sister's camera and when I figure out how to load video (and when I get her camera) I will load pictures and video of some of the girls events.

Saturday I went to acupuncture with my sister which was AMAZING and helped with the migraines. Then we had a FANTASIC lunch at California Pizza Kitchen for my roomates birthday. A whole lot of friends came to celebrate, and it was great getting to meet more of her friends, which are becoming our friends. (Pictures of this are on Facebook)
After lunch we went to coldstone and enjoyed some desert. Can you tell my roomate DOESN't like Japanese food??? Then most of the group left and my roomate, sister, co-worker and I went to The Sound of Music. The musical was great, except for the fact that is was ALL in Japanese. Thankfully it was a story line I knew, so I wasn't too confused. I actually think the Japanese kids were cuter than the American kids in the movie.

Great day at church! A singing group from California Baptist College came to the church my sister goes to, which I also placed membership, so I guess now I can say our church. After church i came back and cleaned and relaxed till my sister came over for dinner and a movie. :)

It is SUCH a blessing having her here. It is great making up for all the time we were apart during college, and her first 3 years in Japan.

Last week:
The California singing group came to our school. The girls LOVED them! They also came and sang a song at the end of one of my classes, which was so great to see and hear the group in such a small little room. I also had a pretty rough week at school. The weather has been this hot humid mixture, which is worse than I have ever experienced in my life. By the time I have walked the 15 minuted to school my shirt is wet with sweat, and any make-up I was stupid enough to put on is now GONE!! Hopefully my hair and body will get used to all of it soon. Oh I also got to experience the disappointment of students NOT behaving or doing assignments. I don't feel like going into huge detail, but lets just say I had 12 students not turn in a MAJOR assignment so the got detention. Of the 12, 8 came to detention the first day. Then we told the other's if they didn't come Friday they would have detention ALL next week. Guess how many came!?!?! ONE, so 3 girls will get to be with me EVERY day after school this week. I really think it is more punishment for me than for them, but such is life as a teacher.

Saturday I cleaned and got ready for a barbeque we had for one of my classes. Apparently before I came these girls invited themselves over to our house to eat, so when I did arrive I helped plan a day Bridgette (my roomate, and co-worker) and I could have them over. It turned out to be SOOO much fun! Even though some of the girls don't speak a lot of English they all TRIED to speak English. Just the time to get together outside of school, when we are all more relaxed and able to have fun and joke around was SO nice. When I walked them to the station to head home they all gave me a big hug bye, and thanked me and told me they loved me. For those who may not know...that is HUGE in Japan. Most of the Japanese people are not affectionate, and most of them don't even tell their parents they love them. So I went to bed with a heavy and thankful heart, because I know why God has brought me here.

Well that is all I feel up to tonight. I will tell about my day today another time. Have a Happy Fathers day! Blessings and Love to all.