Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I am really enjoying the EBC class that I am a part of. My reader is very knowledgeable and has an astounding vocabulary. He has already taught me many things and I know that our relationship will be a blessing to me. I hope that I can be a good example and a helpful teacher. It still humbles me to think of how much wisdom and life experience that he has and I am trying to teach him. There are so many people I have met that are full of a different wisdom and knowledge than I have ever been introduced to and I can’t help but be changed by meeting them. From the dedication exhibited by my Japanese
coworkers to the women who sacrifice their time and energy to teach a thick headed rock like me, Japanese, I have learned from all of them and hopefully will continue to do so. God has blessed me with so many opportunities.
September 16th was the school undokai (sports festival). Imagine elementary track and field day on steroids and you have one-fifth of an undokai. The rest is made up of dancing and shouting and opening and closing ceremonies. I really enjoyed watching my first undokai and was lucky enough to participate in one event. I was passing out ribbons for fourth place. When suddenly the PTA ladies that I was working with stood up and beckoned me to come with them. From my experience these situations rarely turn out well. Sometimes I am asked to give a speech or sing a solo of some song or something that I am entirely uncomfortable doing. I looked around nervously and one of the teachers shooed me along. I just knew I was going to be asked to address the crowd and tell them about the difference between quantum and molecular physics (I would have to make something up quick). I readied myself with some of my biggest and best vocabulary words (little, red, you, nice, train, apple, dog, you know impressive words like these) and I prepared to storm to the microphone and rant and rave for at least 45 seconds. However I was steered away from the microphone and into a long line of parents. I was on the red team they told me. Great!! I love the red team. I stood waiting for an explanation of what the competition was and what my part in it would be. I waited longer. I could see that this was going to be one of those faith experiences. I looked around and saw six lines. Apparently each pair of lines were on the same team. They rolled out these huge balls (about 4 ft in diameter) and I immediately envisioned Indiana Jones fleeing from a giant boulder in the heart of a forgotten temple. I stood watching and waiting. The line of parents across from me looked at the ball expectantly. I heard a whistle blow and the ball came hurtling through the corridor of parents, each one giving it a slap to keep it rolling as it past. It came closer and I cocked my arm to give it a good wallop, however the man directly to my right gave it such a hard smack that it flew right past my swinging arm without any contact. My arm continued on its course only to meet with the arm of the man next to me. I pretended like it didn’t happen. It wasn’t very effective so I moved on to plan B and apologized. It was then that I realized the race wasn’t over. The people at the end of the line were pushing the ball around a cone and then picking it up over their heads. We began passing it back over our heads until it reached the starting point. It was a blast. The red team won. But wait, someone was saying something over the loudspeaker. I don’t know what was said but I like to pretend that one of our team members was suspended for using performance enhancing drugs (or it was a practice round). We played once more and the red team met a bitter defeat at the hands of the blue team. I wept unabashedly, tears gushing, rolling down my cheeks, my breathing came in ragged gasps. Some first graders comforted me off to the side while the other events continued. Once I had regained my composure I went back to my post of handing out ribbons to the fourth placers. After the undokai was finished and cleaned up the teachers went to a really nice restaurant and relaxed.
The next Monday was a holiday and I went with some friends to a hiking trail in
This past Sunday and Monday I went on a church retreat to a small camp north of
Friday, September 7, 2007
Where do I begin? As a runner and a huge track fan I love to watch huge track meets. I was privileged to travel to
The next day I went to the Japanese version of the DMV. I was there to attempt (for a second time) to obtain a Japanese driver’s license. My first time was an utter failure. The instructor ripped me apart (although in Japanese so I didn’t really understand until a friend translated). I was disappointed and felt like a failure. After I considered the circumstances I lightened up quite a bit. I don’t speak Japanese and since the test was administered in Japanese it is no wonder I didn’t fully understand what was expected of me. In addition to that I had not driven a car for 3 months and was still trying to get use to the Japanese driving system. Because of this previous experience it was no wonder that I was very nervous for my second attempt. I passed!! It was a great feeling!!
As I am typing this, I am at school. It is Friday morning but there are no students here. Is it because it a snow day? A national holiday? Nope, it is because there is a typhoon pounding the city. However, teachers are required to go to school. I rode my scooter to school in a typhoon that has recorded winds of over 75 mph. I don’t think that it was quite that windy when I left this morning but it was still scary. The rain was pounding my face shield on my helmet and the wind was blowing me all over the place. I was happy to arrive safely.
Sunday will be my first time to participate in EBC. I am in a one on one Bible study and I am anxious to meet my student. Please pray that I will be an effective instrument.