Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Food, Games, and Conversations

I would like to take this time to fill you in on the past couple of weeks.

              I am starting to get into a routine here which I am so thankful for. With that being said these past few weeks have been very busy. Two Saturdays ago we had a children’s program for kids in the community. We taught them how to make bread, naan, and Miso soup. The kids in my group taught me words for everything that we did that day while I taught them the words in English. It was awesome! I will say though that it was a bit disconcerting watching a seven year old cut carrots with a huge knife and not being able to fully communicate with her. Luckily there were two other Japanese young adults in my grew and they had everything under control. When we finished all the cooking, eating, and question time, we played games. This was the first experience I had of playing Japanese games with kids of this age. We played something like red light green light and another form of rock paper scissors. What a day.
On Sunday I went to St. Mathew’s Cathedral where we were holding the ELCC (the other youth center that I will soon work with) sports day. This day was full of field day-like games i.e. there were many relays. We also were given the privilege to watch some of the older Filipino girls dance to a pop song as well as watch the 4 year olds sing. It was priceless! Present that day were Filipinos, N. Koreans, and I am told Brazilian children. It was definitely a multicultural event.
After the Sports Day I went to St. Mathew’s parish hall for an event about Kani Mission. Kani Mission is a church that is mostly comprised of Filipino families. They do a lot of work for/with immigrants and migrant workers. That day was to bring more awareness about the Mission. We also made stars that are a used as decorations during Christmas. I met Anglicans from all over the diocese. I also met many foreigners that regularly attend the English service at St. Mathews. There were many complications while making the stars. Of course that just made the event all the more entertaining. Many jokes were made about our inability to easily make this craft. In many ways it was pathetic but we had a blast doing it! Sometimes success is measured by the amount of fun created rather than the end result.
That next week I continued with English and pre-k classes. On Thursday I went to the food service for the homeless. We arrived at a building owned by the Catholic Church, in time to help with last minute preparations. Around 6:30 we left for the food service site. The first hour was for pure entertainment. We had a table with Japanese chess and Go, another for Karaoke, and another for a slots and marbles game. I met a university professor of social work who told me that most of the men here live in a dormitory and that this was the only entertainment that they get. After that hour we served food. I was a part of the dish washing station. This night was overall a wonderful experience. I had many conversations about language, culture, and baseball. There was so much love in that place.
This past Saturday we had a Halloween Party for the English classes. I tried my best to dress as a mummy. Sadly gravity took over so the toilet paper that was wrapped around my legs fell to my ankles and become more like leg warmers. Anyway we decorated a few corridors so that the children could have as an authentic of a trick-or-treating experience as they could. The children came in all sorts of costumes. My favorites were Darth Vador, Nemo, a samurai, and a ninja. They were so adorable. We played several games, made popcorn, and even had a scavenger hunt.
After the party I went to a refugee food festival. They had a lecture about refugees here in Japan as well as food from 6 different countries. People of all ages were there. I met many college students involved in the association. It was an enlightening experience. I now have so many more questions to ask about policy and hopefully soon I will be able to fill you in.

Green tea ice cream!!!

making stars

A skeleton and a mummy in the office...oh my!

My trick or treating doorway

My favorite building in Nagoya...I believe it is a Technical College.
Well that about sums up the past few weeks. I hope that you all are well. I also hope that you are engaging in conversations that inspire you.

God's Peace,

Sunday, 16 October 2011

I Have Heard You Calling in the Night

Last weekend was the Diocesan "Study weekend." After church on Sunday (and of course after eating some delicious treats and having tea) we left for Nagano. Nagano happens to be the city where the 1998 Winter Olympics were held, so as you can imagine it is a beautiful place in the mountains. Once we arrived there we immediately entered the conference room. This Diocese has a "study weekend" every year. Each year they focus on a different thing. This year it was on the future of the church, what was being done about the Earthquake, and the hundredth anniversary of the Diocese in 2012.

Shortly after we arrived we watched a video on the "Let Us Walk Together" project. It is a program that was started by the Anglican church here in response to the earthquake and tsunami. It's goals are to rebuild the lives and communities of the victims of the disaster. Here are just a couple of it's projects:

A Japanese language class has started in Shizugawa in order to help the foreigners of that area. Many Filipino women were unable to understand the public warnings of the oncoming tsunami. Because of that many of them in the region are learning Japanese. They hope that they will soon be able to pass a test and become care takers.

Another project is to raise support for the Madoka Arahama. This is a workshop for people who have learning disabilities. Their goals are to assist the users in becoming socially and financially independent. They used to have a tea salon selling hand-made sweets and crafts. Unfortunately the tsunami wiped out the store and its supplies. The organization has a new place to create their crafts.However they need money to continue with the daily goings on in the workshop. The Let Us Walk Together project is bringing awareness of this organization by selling the crafts here in Japan and across the globe.

When we began discussing about the future of the church, they had a panel of 5 different churches. All of the churches are struggling with losing members. Most of what they shared were different ways that the church is reaching out to the communities and asking how the church can fulfill the communities needs. It was overwhelming the various ministries that were coming out of just asking that question. What is the churches role outside of the services on Sunday mornings?

We split up into groups to discuss individual churches on that panel. I went with St. John's Anglican church of Nagoya. this church spent several years going door to door literally asking the community what they need from St. John's. Some of the elderly wanted a place to go to so that they weren't alone all day. This turned into a weekly tea time which spurred another group that got together to reflect on their lives during the war. Many of the younger generations joined in on these story times so that they could understand the reality of it. There is another weekly gathering where people bring food or crafts that that enjoy making and sell these items. Mainly this gathering is there so that people can share their gifts and talents with another, as well as build fellowship. I could go about all the other things going on in that church but I don't want to overwhelm you.

That weekend I got to be in a room full of individuals from various backgrounds who had one come faith. We laughed, we ate, we shared stories, we talked of the wonderful community of the church and how we grateful we are to be apart of it. I was overwhelmed with joy and reminded why it is that I am here. I was also reminded of the beauty of God's people. I am still processing that weekend, so much has already come from it. Thank you for reading this and thank you for your continued support.

God's Peace,

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Oishi is Japanese for delicious. It was one of the first words I have learned in Japanese. The reason being is that all the food I have eaten is so incredibly delicious!This past weekend we had a bazaar at the Youth Center. All of the profit goes to victims of the tsunami and to the Filipino children at St. Luke's Youth Center.  It was a huge ordeal. The parish hall of sorts was filled with seven different tables of food. We had food from India, Korea, Philippines, Japan, England (Fairy Cakes which are very similar to cup cakes), and delicious chocolate chip cookies from the States (made my yours truly). I tried to buy something from everywhere. It was all sooo good!

Saturday night I went out to eat with more of my brother's friends. We had okonomiyaki which they kept describing as a pancake(to me its like an omelet). You get to put anything you want in it such as fish, meats, vegetables, and pretty much anything else. I had octopus, squid, and pork (with veggies) in mine. I was super nervous about the octupus but it turns out that it to be so good!

Last week I also started working with the pre-k classes. The kids are absolutely adorable! They don't quite understand that I cannot speak Japanese. They talk and talk and talk to me and then wait for me to say something in response...which of course they are sorely disappointed. Sometimes I manage to communicate with them. I have been learning several words in Japanese since working with these kiddos. The teachers have been very helpful in this area. When I don't understand something I repeat it until another teacher translates it for me. Many times they laugh at my mispronunciation. Yesterday I thought a kid was saying "yoda, yoda" turns out it was something like "yada" (not sure how to spell it) which means "no no...you can't get me." It's always entertaining working with these kids. They are so sweet and full of energy!

Today I am going to go sign up for Japanese language classes. I will also be working at the homeless shelter for the first time. It should be a good day! Here are some of the pictures from this past week. Enjoy!


Friends from all over...China, Uzbekistan, and Japan

Cookies I made for the bazaar.

Kids corner at the bazaar

cotton candy for sale

Food from Korea...FANTASTIC!

Selling items for the bazaar.

The fair trade room of the bazaar.