Wednesday, April 30, 2008

rock the boat... but be careful not to dump anyone out.

We had Joni's farewell party aka Gyouza making party (gyouza=dumplings).
I take pride in knowing that my ability to "rock the boat" has not changed much in my "growing up". Let me explain... the freshman BEST members all gathered to stuff and fold/close the gyouza...
and then I proceeded to cook them and color them green.
In my defense, I was merely being "patriotic" seeing as Green Day is an official day in Japan. Hey, even I was wearing green!

However, very few people would actually touch and/or eat my green gyouza. After a couple batches they pleaded with me to make the gyouza the normal old fashioned way. ha ha ha!! As Bryan O'Donnell explained to me, "The core of Japan and Japanese people is their appreciation for food that is not only pleasing to the taste buds but also the eyes. They are a culture where presentation is everything and you have just rocked them to their core.... which is okay. It needs to happen every now and then."

Glad to know I'm still a boat rocker. ;)
Aw, yes. And the O'Donnells came to visit. It was SO much fun to hang out with Jamie and Bryan as they are entering into language school. Two full years. Wow! I'm so happy to have them back. We've been anticipating their arrival... and being able to play with their baby Jones. He is such a happy active baby.

We took the O'Donnells to Costco where we all got our fair share of American goods.. if only Adoniram Judson could see this. I wonder what he'd say? :D

Ohhh cute, Jones. It's just your height. I think he'll make a great future blogger someday.
Chi came to see Joni one last time so I made sure to hang out as well. :)

Aw, busy life I lead and love. After all the partying and hoopla with whether I had poisoned the gyouza or not, we headed out to go hiking with the Utsunomiya BEST club. It was a lot of fun.

The whole day was fun but my personal favorite memory was from when I was "misbehaving" on the trains and trying to play "chicken" with anyone who would take me on. :) I am all talk however, and no muscle.
See? Boat rocker!

Jennifer and I make our lunch decisions.Jennifer and I have a deep discussion about... okay, so we were really posing.
I love Okutama. This is still in Tokyo, yet, it is the opposite of the hustle and bustle of the city life. I enjoy and welcome the quiet of nature.
New 2nd year, Tomohito, is an adventurous and fun sophomore we've welcomed with open arms. He is a fun moodmaker. Just hanging out... Joni, Joanna, and Jennifer.

Joni, Masaru, Joanna, and Yosuke ~two guys from the Utsu BEST My new favorite picture. It looks like a family shot. :)

Sisters Jennifer, Joni, and Joanna and big brother Mark.
We're pretty tough!

Jennifer, three girls from Utsu BEST, myself and JoniThe Witthofts
Jennifer and I do senior pictures by the rock wall...
my senior pose from April 2007's hiking trip. Do I look different? ha ha!
I love bridges.

Life has been full and fun.

My favorite places in Tokyo...

I stole this from Emily Christensen over at "we talked on the phone".... click here to see her favorite places in Phoenix.

My favorite places in Tokyo...
1. the river walk outside my apartment
2. starbucks at minami-osawa
3. my bedroom
4. jennifer and kyle's living room
5. roods house
6. the shortcut through the rice fields on the way to chuo
7. the park where if the day is clear, you can see mt. fuji
8. tully's in takahatafudo
9. tama zoo
10. kie's old apartment
11. my balcony on a sunny day
12. tama center park
13. tama center during christmas
14. sushiro
15. that hamamatsucho harbor (so many memories)
16. oshima island
17. ...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008



I am taking a break from my recent super serious posts to make some recommendations for all my wonderful blog readers.

One Republic's Album "Dreaming Out Loud"
Click here.

Sarah Moffett's recounting her childhood in thee FABULOUS book, "Growing Up Moffett." This is the best book I have read in a long time. I want to be friends with Sarah Moffett based purely on her sense of humor and sense of "steadiness" through hard times. She is a fabulous writer. You will read her book and feel like you are walking through her childhood with her. She is super talented. It's a book that will have you laughing, crying and wanting to drive to Washington D.C. to find Miss Moffett or at least facebook befriend her. And yes, I am somewhat serious. Click here.

Click here.
Or here.

And for those of you, whose teams aren't doing so well...
Click here to become a fan.

Monday, April 28, 2008

*i'm in the lord's army, yes sir!*

(did anyone else sing that song?)

Man, oh man.
I can feel the lessons flooding in...

Today I read in Deuteronomy how the priests should give a "battle cry" before the people charge into fighting. And during this cry they should tell the people who have things left "undone" they can go back home and satisfy those "promises" (like houses being built, engagements, etc.) but my favorite one is the "way out" for people who lack courage.

Deuteronomy 20:8 says "Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own."

This struck me as interesting. Not only does God give a way out for those who lack courage BUT He does it so that their faint hearts won't discourage the others.

Oh man! I don't want to be "sent home". :D I want to find with God's strength the courage to face all the unknown "battles" before me. I don't want to be such a fainthearted girl in life, that I am excused from fighting. I am not worthy to stand next to the many men and women who fight alongside me and have fought before me... but I sure do want to try.

With all that said, I think I'm going to have an "attitude"/"courage" check.

The fourth grader girl with all guts, spunk, gumption and courage to take on life still lies within. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

new girl in town...

When I was in 4th grade my family moved to a new town...

I really enjoyed being the new girl. I really enjoyed the adventure of meeting new people and having an adventure of my own. There was such a thrill for me in unpacking my boxes and setting up my new rooms, such a fun time to put up my Backstreet Boys posters, make my bed (for probably the first and last time in that room) and begin to explore the surroundings of my new niche.

In that time, I enjoyed our huge backyard, where I laid on the grass and stared at the clouds. I enjoyed the huge parking lot that my brothers and I would tear up in the winter time, them in our truck and me behind being pulled in a sled.
Sure, it was sad to leave my friends and neighborhood... but the opportunities that awaited little me, were endless.

I'm lost in thought tonight as I receive emails from travel agents, future teammates, and people in America...

soon I will be the new girl again. Soon I will be moving away from Japan, moving away from a place where I have found my niche, and having an adventure again.

I am trying to find the courage and the gumption that this little girl posessed but instead I am met with tears. I love adventure and I love all the things that I have been experiencing...

I guess, I am just longing for a home. A place where open arms and my longings cease...

I wonder if this is part of what Jesus meant when He said we should have the faith of little children. If I had the courage of my childhood, I would greet this change with open arms and see the endless opportunities God is giving me.

Be near to me,
Be near to me,
at the quiet streams
and in the green pastures.
Be near to me.

Cover over me,
Cover over me,
at the quiet streams
and in the green pastures.
Cover over me.

But in the dark
and in the cold,
when I don't know which way
to go....
still I'll quiet my heart
and know...

That You are God,
That You are God,
in the dark
and in the cold,
when I don't know
which way to go....
at the quiet streams
and in the green pastures.

I will know that You are God.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Burrrrrriers!!!!!!!!!!!

My best friend from college, Kelli and her husband Marcus came to visit Japan. It was SO much fun to have some familiar faces around my area of Tokyo. :) So natural to be together again.
Thanks for coming Kelli and Marcus.
The first night they arrived I took them to my favorite Japanese restaurant, a hole in the wall that serves OKONOMIYAKI! Even Kie was able to join Joni and I in welcoming the Burriers to Japan. The next day we set out to explore the local areas I frequent...
(Marcus's "Dance of the Umbrella" before setting out)
the monorail with Kelli
the shrine at Takahatafudo... with the last of the cherry blossoms.
lunch at Chuo University

My roommate Saaya and I made Kel and Marcus try all sorts of Japanese snacks... some were yummy, some were yucky.
Marcus loves the fish snacks. Ohhhh cute. He's giving his snack a kiss.
Kelli wasn't as happy as Marcus about the yucky snacks.
And then we served them takoyaki or fried octopus. It's seriously good. The Burriers even enjoyed it.
I took them to Shinjuku and we found the "LOVE" sign.
Kelli, Marcus and I explored the subway system. I get super confused on the Tokyo Metro so we got turned around a couple of times... I may not be a good guide but I am a fun guide. :D
We went to the Imperial Palace...
I took a picture of my sandal and the fact that I was wearing flops. I love my rainbows. Hooray for good weather.
The famous double arched bridge.
The poor National Diet staff... they can only enter through this little door. Marcus is super sad for them. :(
We took pirikura with Saaya.We ate an amazing amount of ice cream.... how cute are these two?
Model pose in Harajuku
Joni, Kelli and I in Shibuya.
We saw several Buddhist weddings at the Meiji Jinjya (shrine).
Joni took a picture of Kelli, Marcus, and I in crowded Harajuku. Craziness on a Sunday afternoon.
On our last night together... nice Marcus, nice.
Our last night was spent surprising Mark Rood for his birthday. (the guy in the lower left hand side is our visitor Todd Harrison).
So glad I have amazing friends.
No matter how much time or space has separated us, God has knit Kelli's and my heart together to walk through this life together.
It was awesome to sit down together and talk about where we are in life~ very different places~ and yet, the same feelings and lessons are being etched out in our hearts.
Thanks for coming Kelli and Marcus!!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

American hamburgers

This year's BEST club BBQ playing english telephone games

the place we had the BBQ at is located on such a beautiful river. the sun was shining so we were blessed to have such a great spring day.
yummy food
the three guys who are always a delight to see; our two oldest members; Takayasu and Mikkun with Ty's brother Masashi
BBQ models...
The Roods gave us a ride home so Joni and I got to visit a bit more with the kids...
me and my favorite 7 year old, Abbie.
yaya and joni
BBQing is hard work, huh Kaykay?