Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Parents visit Japan! and other writings

In May I was teaching my 6th graders, the phrase, "What are you doing? ----I'm _____ing".

It got me thinking: what am I doing? It's been about three weeks since my parents left after visiting Japan. The afternoon after they left was predictably tough. It was great having them here. They got to do some pretty cool stuff here and most of all, we were able to spend a lot of time together. But after sending them off, not even sure when I'd see them next, it made me wonder, what am I doing here? Sometimes that answer is as tough as learning a 2nd language.

The afternoon my parents left, I went to a Tully's coffee shop near my apartment to study Japanese and get my mind off things. There were just a few other customers in the coffee shop and one of the workers was going around and greeting people and making conversation, maybe she thought we looked lonely :)

At this time I really didn't feel like talking, especially small talk. She spoke only Japanese and asked what I was studying, she then asked what my favorite Japanese word was, I told her "tadaima" which is what Japanese people say routinely when they come home. The young worker asked why. I just said because home is so far away. I probably should have picked a different word, but it was just one of those days. (I don't think it's really Tadaima but it worked well enough. Also, one of my friends has a music album titled Tadaima)

In the last couple weeks, things have been better. Not to say there aren't plenty of challenging times as well. God continues working on my stubborn heart, I'm a different person than I was a year ago. Thankfully, God is so patient and full of grace.The local church and the people I've got to know on this adventure have been a big part of it all.

The highlight of the week after my parents left was going to school and being with my students. Kids, especially foreign kids, really have a way of brightening your spirits. Just last Friday, I was teaching a 3rd grade class wearing shorts (it's allowed in the summer) and one of the little girls sitting in the front row started massaging the hair on my legs (I have much more hair than most Japanese men), the Japanese teacher asked what she was doing, as I tried to just ignore it, she answered in a matter of fact way, "kimochi ii" which means "it feels good". The teacher laughed and I just ran away. Some of these kids are way too comfortable with me...

A long time ago a little girl told me something that sounded important but I didn't understand so I asked the little girl to tell what she told me to one of my teacher. The teacher heard the statement, laughed really hard, and said the little girl said "Her mom likes you very much."

I've really enjoyed getting to know the kids better. I love asking them if they have brothers and sisters and then asking how their siblings are. They always say they're mean and annoying, which makes me laugh, especially when those same siblings seem like some of the nicest kids. Can't say I wouldn't answered any differently, but for good reason...Samantha used to be a little devil :)

****Last week, I was invited to go on a trip to Cambodia in August to help with a elementary school set up by the church here in Mito, Japan. I answered what anyone would answer, "of course". I'm really excited! After Cambodia, Austin Powell and I will go to Thailand for vacation. I will make sure to take plenty of pictures and let you all know more about it. God is at work in all of this.

At Hard Rock Tokyo

James Trott made a surprise appearance in Japan :)

With my Vice Principal, Principal and Inoue Sensei, who speaks perfect English, love them all, especially those two on the far right

Keiko (my Japanese teacher) and Kazu. We ate Sashimi and fish caught outside by Naru (background) at his beachfront home. Keiko is amazing.

A really close Japanese Friend of mine got baptized two weeks ago. Love Takumi. God is merciful.