It's 1999!

This diary was written with my Japanese and American friends in mind.
SDA = Seventh-Day Adventist

12/31 The end of the 1000's. What better way than to tell this cold/flu bug that we're going to meet some friends and pass out bananas, sandwiches, hot drinks, and sympathetic hearts to the homeless?? Beautiful:)

12/26 Meet an American guy who's lived here in Japan for over 30 years. Showed bitterness towards the country as a whole and the people in it too ("they'll tell you anything you want to hear". Doubts that there is even one sincere Christian in the whole country!?!). Probably marrying and divorcing a couple of times has scarred him deeply. He is searching for God, so i pray i can be a good friend and help lead him to Christ.

12/24 Excellent! Bot a strip of tickets for the public bath, with plans to give them out to the homeless. So today i took 2 guys with me, 66 & 61 years old. The 66 y.o. - did he ever look like a new man!! I gave him a little money to buy a razor and he was masterful in missing large sections of his face, but he beamed so proudly about his smooth face:) He said it had been 2 years and 7 months since he'd been in a bathtub!!

Took both of them to a okonomiyaki restaurant in the evening where they filled up - way up with hot food. I imagine that felt good after usually surviving on unwanted bread etc. In the evening we went out with hot drinks and stuff, and both of these guys had big smiles waiting for us. We sang "Silent Night" in english and japanese for them.

12/23 Finally finished the yearly books!!! YEA! Thanx to a very nice lady who took time from her national holiday too and helped for about 5 hours to get it done right. Then she treated me to a nice lunch at a tofu restaurant. Yum yum:) Almost made me not feel deprived of a day in my life.

12/17 The 2 teachers and i go to a English student's grandparents house kind of out in the countryside. Walking from the bus stop i remark about how it's good to "be out in the country". The two teachers look at me like i'm a little loonier than they thot. Houses are closer together here than in suburbs back home, but for me, i can see some ground that hasn't been paved over so it looks like countryside to me - hahaha. We pick mikans (mandarin oranges) and take back 2 bags each. The homeless will love us for these:)

12/15 Helping people one at a time - that's how things turn for the better. How i can see that just around me!! The taking hot drinks, clothes, blankets, etc. for the homeless at nite after school received the support from the pastor so the church members against it are keeping mostly silent now, but we know they're watching every move so we're trying to be careful. It's very interesting that everyone involved in this project (about 6 of us are heavily involved) is either a non-Christian, new Christian or new to Japan (except me). I'm trying to encourage them as much as possible - to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves".

The other nite i was riding my bicycle to the train station after school, and on a bridge there was a 20ish girl sprawled out sobbing her eyes out. An older guy was trying to talk to her, but she just cried and cried. I went and got the people helping the homeless, and fortunately a girl in the group was able to comfort the girl and finally get her in a taxi to her boyfriend's place. She tried to help her back to her home, but the girl refused to return to her own home. Hope and pray she's OK.

12/5 Within the last 5 days, i've seen the face of Satan twice. Why some people want to get livid, especially church members, is beyond me. I feel like i've aged about a year this week..........

12/1 A teacher from school started giving out leftover food that a student gave us (the student doesn't seem to understand what 'vegetarian' means:) to some homeless. A couple of church members have enthusiastically joined, and now almost every nite a group goes out and gives hot drinks and underwear etc. to the homeless who live along the river. They sleep on park benches under blue vinyl sheets. They don't beg like in the US, so it's hard to know who really needs help and who doesn't. We're just trying to help them all even tho some of the church members (from the top) aren't supportive. It's wonderful to put Christianity into action instead of just reading about it!!

11/30 Riding my bicycle down a little slope by the school to the river, i hit the brakes on some fallen leaves and ぴゅうーーdown. It's probably the worst injury i've ever had in my life from a bicycle accident, although i did have one deep cut on my leg when i was around 14. I feel like a mummy with all this gauze wrapped around my arms. There's a goofy religion here in Japan where some guy died but the religion says he's still alive. Anyway, he became a mummy within about 4 months of death. So i hope that crazy leader (Life Space's) guru guy doesn't find me!!!!

11/26 Got to our little worship meeting very early, and another church member came early too so we had a chance to talk. She was interested when i mentioned Ellen White's vision in A Word to the Little Flock about being in heaven, so i tried to relate it to her. Her reaction was so beautiful, she drank it up and wanted to know more. It was a powerful push to get me back on track in translating SOP material into Japanese. And so what if the Japanese isn't exactly perfect?? Do what i can, and leave the results with God. It sure would be nice tho to find someone who has the same burden as me, someone who will be a reliable partner in this endeavor.

11/23 There was a school staff retreat in 箱根(Hakone), a resort place up near Mt. Fuji. We could see the beautiful snow-capped top from where we stayed. There were lots and lots of meetings, with some excellent pure-vegan food (i hope more Japanese-style food next time), and i got to do 2 hikes. It was interesting to see all the student missionaries and their reactions and attitudes to Japan. It tickled me to see how they left the bathroom slippers by the door when they went out of the bathroom. Most everyone who seemed truly interested in Japan would leave their slippers with the heels at the door so the next person could slip into them easily. This is the normal Japanese way. Others just kicked them off any old way. It made me think that in some cases, even tho they aren't Christian, the Japanese are fulfilling the golden rule better than we are!

11/3 Our school had a good time climbing around 大原 on Culture Day today. We almost made it to the top of 天ケ岳。?! One girl had a little trouble, but after she had lunch she was alright. Only 8 of us went, and we walked and lost our way and walked and rested and walked until 5:30 when we arrived at 鞍馬駅。 Lake Biwa was very pretty from our vantage point on the mountain. I was re-amazed at how carefully Japanese people prepare for stuff. The Japanese people in the group had everything with them, while the 2 new American teachers just basically brought themselves and some sweets. I think everybody had a good time tho.

韓国はよかった。 ビサをうまく取って来ました:):):)  神様に感謝!  南部のChonjuの方に行って、秋祭りがあったきれいな寒い国立公園に行って、8時間のキツイはいきんぐをしてきた。 だから3日のハイキングはお散歩みたい。

うちの人はまた御祖母さんになっちゃいました。 男の子。 おめでとう:) The granma at the place where i live became a granma for the 3rd time today!!! Congratulations!

10/28-11/1 Go to Korea!! I applied for my 5-year religious activities visa and got it (^o^)!! Praise God! I met some American friends by chance at a restaurant and had a nice chat.

After getting the visa i went to a book store to see where a good place is to go hiking and found a place famous for the fall colors about a 3-hour bus ride south of Seoul in Chungup. Then i got off in a little town by the national park and some park rangers helped me find a place to stay. First they took me in a truck to a house where you have just a 10X10 room with a futon. She wanted about $35/nite!!! I was shocked so the park rangers took me closer to town to a hotel. I told them not to bother, but they found a nice hotel room for me for $26! Very strange. Dinner was included but i didn't know it so ate outside. That was the first time i really felt like i'd been taken advantage of while in Korea. They were having a Fall Festival so maybe that's why. It got down to about freezing - brrr!

The next day i hiked around 8 hours over Naejansan. What a rough day! I was pooped but rewarded with some wonderful views and calls from lots of University hikers "Yahoe----------".

80,000Won弱を服に使っちゃった。 おしゃれになったかしら?:) キムチ の臭いがまだからだの毛根まで染み込んでるけど。。。。 Some long needed clothes were bot. I hat to buy for myself, but around $70 was probably needful (3 pairs of pants, 6 pairs of socks, 1 flannel shirt, and one fuzzy jacket).

I met a real nice girl on the flight over. She married a Korean guy she met while in Australia. He's Christian so she says she's Christian too, but doesn't have any idea what that means.... God bless her.

10/25 I went to でんでんタウンtoday to buy a telephone for the school. I was surprised that many of the salespeople in the shops were unfriendly. I always thought that Japanese service was tops, but wondered about it today...... They all told me that a regular phone wouldn't work but i bot one anyway and it works fine.

10/23 There was a neat procession in Kyoto today with lots of people dressed up in period costumes. When i say period, i mean ALL the back to when Kyoto first became the capital - around 800A.D. We waited on some people but they didn't come, so we saw the procession and then walked as fast as we could to おばんざい, a vegetarian buffet-style restaurant that reminded me alot of Country Life. BuT, they had run out of fooooood. So we limped around awhile and finally ate some soba noodles.!

10/18 2 1/2 hours of board meeting! Actually it was a pretty good show as everyone participated and got to say their 2 yens worth. Concentrating hard on what everyone is saying in Japanese for 2 1/2 hours wore me out tho. They agreed to pay my way to Korea:)!

10/11 Had a really fun day today as it was sports day here. You can see the pics i put up.!

9/25 16 of us from the English school went to Nara (the first capital of "Japan") on the national holiday last Thursday. We had a good time seeing the largest bronze Buddha in the world (kinda makes you sick - hey! You over there lighting incense and praying to this humongous piece of scrap. Don't you know this Buddha couldn't keep his head from literally rolling off about 1,000 years ago, and that he melted in a huge fire after that?!?!?!?!) There's lots of work to do over here!!!

After that we fed some of the semi-wild deer that run all over the town, and walked around disturbing the peace (^o^). The train i was supposed to take broke down in the morning so i was a little late which is almost unforgivable in Japan, but i did pretty well on the outing except i didn't use polite enough language for the former director one time... Oh well. I plan to treat everyone the same - so i'm not planning to change my speech to speak UP to supposedly higher people (customers, older people), and i'm not going to speak DOWN to supposedly lower people (kids,subordinates). I know, they may say that "it isn't done like that in Japan". I heard that the first week i came to Country Life Restaurant in 1989. Funny i never heard that in America as an excuse. But as far as possible, i'll go along with the plan. They shot down my idea for some PR for the school, but i'll just try to do the best in the program that everyone thinks is best. They do have quite a bit of knowledge about what works, and i respect their decisions.

Last week i downloaded some neat software from ZDnet. I was looking for a text editor that can open more than Notepad's measly 64K. Wow! Notetag can open up to a 2G file it says! Plus it has lots of cool features for HTML and calculations etc. I highly recommend it. Also a program to print graph paper, a search "ferret" that searches several different search engines for you, a image viewer/editor, and a midi player. The midi player is already trash, but the other ones are in my box of toys:) Lots of games and songs, especially techno and contemporary Christian like Rebecca St. James etc. are occupying my download lines too!

9/19 Somedays i'm just down. Fortunately, i don't have many days like this (not since India ). Sometimes, like right now, i get a little depressed, but i know the reason, and i'll try to patch things up with my friend:)

Since i have to go to the same church every week, i started up a little circle reading the 1858 G.C. after lunch at the church on Sabbath. Only 2 people came yesterday, but i was excited about it. A lady i met on the internet, who lives in TX, sent me a whole HUGE box of reprints of early SDA pioneer stuff! So i'm having a good time going thru that. Lots of stuff that the younger (and most of the older actually) generation of SDAs doesn't know. The 2 eager young student missionaries that arrived haven't read over 5 Ellen White books between them!!!! So i feel a mission right here under my nose.

9/1 I started being a director of the Seventh-Day Adventist English school here in Osaka(天満橋). We have nearly 100 students registered, so there's enough work to keep busy but not so much as to make me lose more hair:) (wearing a necktie might make me lose more than just hair...). 2 new teachers came from the US last Friday - 20 and 21 years old. I joked about what to cook, but they are serious that they can't! I showed them some green peppers in the grocery store and one said "what do you do with that?"! Should be a fun year. We're already planning an outing for 秋分の日 9/23. 京都か奈良か。 うんんんんんん。 決められない。

こんどの日曜日は四国に行く。 いつも旅の話になるとワクワクする。 でも又いつか仕事したいな〜。 あっ、そうか、遅刻しちゃいそう!

8/27 I'm back from another (yet ANOTHER!!) vacation. Everything from about my belly-button down hurts. Who's fault is this pain???! Yeah, i already know, i like to inflict punishment on myself if it's natural.

8/26 Early in the morning 2 days ago, i rode the rush hour train down to Osaka (that's UNnatural punishment), went all the way to 新居浜 (Niihama) in Shikoku, and saw my friend:) The first 1 1/2 hours was quite strange as i was surrounded with Moonies (統一教会の信者たち) who wanted me to watch the INTRODUCTION 序 section (my friend disappeared during that time). I was more interested in the video about Jerusalem and the one they had on evolution, but to satisfy them, i watched the spiel (長い、一方的な話。 よく売り込みをする人の話を聞かされる時に使う). It sounded pretty nice, but just like the book, if you dig at what they're really trying to say, is that Christianity is past its time, and it's time to start a new religion that that unifies science and religion. That's why the real name is the "Unification Church". Too bad it got the "Moonie" moniker in America. I watched the evolution video too and was surprised as they seemed to support the Biblical account except for they say that the world is 4.6 billion years old (of course they'll have to change when the newest 'expert' changes their mind). Then right at the end they blew me away by saying that sudden changes in vestigal (unused) DNA was able to instantly change like say a mouse to a bat, thus there is no need to look for a missing link. What a farce!!! Then why didn't ALL the mice change to bats???? あほ! This is what they come up with when they throw out parts of the Bible that don't fit their views (like Jesus being the Creator).

Everything after that was GREAT tho! My friend and her roomate and one other took a car ride in the rain, and i got my first glimpse of the bridges connecting Ehime to Hiroshima! The next day my friend and i went to climb the highest mountain in western Japan - Ishizuchi (石鎚山)1982m. When it was getting on to 2 o'clock, and we were still nearly 1km away from the peak, my friend said to go on ahead (^o^). I practically ran all the way even over the steel boards with nothing on the right sided to keep you from falling straight down probably 40m - ちょっと怖かった。 The fog that had enveloped us most of the day suddenly cleared as i reached the top, and i got about a 120degree view from the top of that part of the world - Wow! That made the whole trip worth it! I walked briskly back to see my friend had made friends with an elderly couple. They all were surprised at how quickly i had returned:) My legs wouldn't stop shaking for awhile, but i was on cloud 9 (^O^). After talking awhile after supper, i went to a little Japanese style inn that seemed to just be extra rooms that were left in old style in some ladies' house. I think i was the only guest. I sleep like a log.

From some deep fog i hear a voice going お客さん、6時ですよ (guest, it's 6 o'clock). I had told her i was planning to get up at 6, but was surprised she took it on herself to make sure i DID get up. I grunted and rolled over. About 5 minutes later she said 大丈夫ですか (are you allright?) Her kindness is one reason i enjoy Japan! In the morning, she motioned me past the trough-style sink and into her own living quarters with the modern sink and toilet, and a talking bird who could say おはよう(morning!) and make the buzzer screech sound like when you burn the toast. I got a little feel for what kind of house they run - haha.

My friend meets me with not just my lunch she's made, but breakfast she's bot too! Too kind! I'll miss her. Get on the train for an hour to 今治(Imabari) and get some giggles from the junior high-school set, and then to 波止浜駅 where my adventure begins. A really nice lady at the kiosk at the unmanned station gives me directions to the first bridge 2.4km away. I walk there and rent a bicycle. Around and around the gently sloping green-paved slope marked for bicycles, and, I'M ON THE BRIDGE! Yea!!! My 島波海道 (Island wave sea road) adventure is at it's peak level!! The air is brisk and clean. The water with the small islands and the boats here and there and the water making little whirlpools, this is too good! For some reason they charge a little bit for bicycles to cross the bridges which doesn't float my piece of cake. This road connects lots of small islands between 2 of the main islands of Japan - Honshuu and Shikoku. The total length is 70km (over 42miles), and there are around 7 bridges, including the longest cantilevered bridge in the world. The final bridges just opened in May, and with this being the only way to walk or bicycle to Shikoku, many people are interested in "doing" it. There are few people most of the way, and you get to go right thru little towns. Being on a bicycle, you can smell the earth, stop to see if there's fish in that pond, pick up fallen oranges, and get a really good sunburn. The last 15km i was pretty tired, and i raced the rain during the last 7 km, but i was one super-happy biker when i got to bike drop-off place at 尾道駅前 (Onomichi station). The only thing that got to me, was the fact that renting a bike cost quite a bit more than taking a diesel-puffing bus (3,000\+ vs 2,200\:( I probably looked quite a site on the 4 hour train ride back to Osaka with my burning red arms and legs and my flourescent hawaiian shirt!

8/17 月曜日に和歌山の橋本に行って、友達と五條市の花火を見に行って来た。 仕掛けの花火はすごかった。 昨日、白崎(由良町)の海を見てよかった。 でも海に入る時間がなくて、友達の水着姿が見えなかった (−へー)。

8/12 Right now is summer vacation for most Japanese. I went about a 3 hour train ride away to visit a friend, and we took a car up in the mountains. I was pretty excited about seeing BIG mountains, and thought that we would have a "natural" vacation. Well, the campground was full, and my friend seemed more interested in the town up in the mountains than the mountains themselves:( So we did the average Japanese touristy thing - stay in a ryokan (inn), take a hot bath, walk to the town, buy stuff at the little market, eat in a restaurant, wait in a traffic jam, etc.

I think i figured out why tho. For them, nature doesn't hold much appeal. They want to be around LOTS of people. Then they feel at ease. This is very typical Japanese thinking, but usually the people around me don't think that way because i don't have much in common with them. I LIKE to be in nature. I don't like being crowded, pushed, around lots of puffing chimneys. The more i see of humans and their follies, the sicker i get. I saw a family seated at a little eating place. The mom was drinking beer, the dad was smoking, and the 2 little kids were eating grilled dead cows on a stick - gross. Nothing at all here that was in God's original plan for us. I want to be getting closer to him, not further away.

8/8 Went to some fireworks at the Biwako lake with a friend. We were able to get a seat on a ledge on the water with about a 2 meter drop straight down into the lake and 1 meter width of our ledge. I was OK when i didn't think about the water below (^o^). The fireworks were really good. There were around 10,000 shots! They had some i'd never seen before - a huge smiley face shot up in the sky with different colors for eyes, nose, mouth and round face. It got a good laugh.

The line at the station to get home was horrendous, so we walked to the next station where we got on with no trouble except for a camerman who kept poking me in the ribs with his stand. I didn't knno whether to giggle or get upset. Finally i said it was hurting and he, without saying anything, sloooowly took it down. Aaaaah, a beautiful summer day in Japan.

8/5 Not much sleep last nite. The boat had a gentle swell and a couple of girls were sleeping next to me. That's 2nd class for you. The boat has been seemingly stopped since around 3 or 4. I go outside to see we're anchored in the Shimonoseki, Japan harbor. A little table is set up on deck seemingly just for my breakfast, near the place where the Koreans were wrapping some brand wine bottles furiously in Japanese newspapers and then stuffing them in "Ballantines" boxes yesterday. Is that legal?? Don't ask. Maybe it's really kimchi ripple. The boat finally starts going again and we pull up around 8:30.

The immigration area is a madhouse. The group of Korean sellers of whatever (all seem to be in their 50s), act like magpies, running over and thru everything in their way. They are told to get in a different line which causes cackling for about 10 minutes. It's hilarious to see about 7 of them lined up chest to rump, in the space of 3 normal people. After about an hour and a half i make it thru immigration. Hallelujah! Thank you God! I'm good until Nov. 3.

Then, i rub my eyes. My friend is still waiting for me after she went thru about 1 1/4hours before. That's patience:) She was planning to take the Shinkansen home, but is persuaded that my idea of buying a one-day pass on the slow train is a good idea. We get off in Hiroshima for an hour to enjoy the best okonomiyaki in the world - yummy!! She gets off in Okayama. Time went really quick together with her. May God bless you(^o^).

I meet a friend in Okuyama and we talk awhile. She starts a new job tomorrow, so this is perfect timing. Then on the train, i sit in with a family of 3, and notice one of them is studying English. This is a natural opener and i enjoy talking about various things until Himeji. They mention it too, how fast the time went:)

Then to my station around 12, and i finally totter into home under a 8kg backpack and only around 3 hours of rest in the last 40. Home sweet home.

8/4 Last day! Had a nice trip with some good memories, nice friends made, book typed up, and kimchi eaten. After the internet thing i walk around in the remnants of the typhoon's fury looking for a hot spring to soak in after sending all the postcards i could (cheaper to send to friends in japan from here than when i'm in Japan!)

Finally find a place with a hot spring symbol and even use their word "on chon" and get a kind of waving away motion with the hand. Knowing this is Asia, i think they are probably telling me to come on in, but their faces aren't so friendly, so i start to walk off. They call out after me and i motion that i thought they were waving me off. They laugh and i enjoy an hour getting all cleaned up and sweaty again:)

For lunch i find a nice restaurant where they serve bibimbab with soup and about 7 little plates (3 kimchis!). What a deal for 3 bucks! I want a souvenir, and find a woman in the underground shopping center selling BIG pie shaped bread. I hand her 2 1,000W notes and she hands me one back. It's hard to believe her honesty, and although i don't need it, buy another one:) Make it to the ferry terminal to see a sign that all the 2nd class berths are taken up to 8/8! Glad i came yesterday!! Seems like i'm the only one not carrying boxes of 辛ramen onto the boat - haha.

While standing at the rail looking at all the trash in the water and the myriads of ships in the harbor, a girl comes up and starts talking to me in pretty good English. I talk awhile and then switch into to Japanese. She switches effortlessly in Japanese too without asking me why i speak it or that i speak it well. One of the most natural Japanese i've ever come across. She's really pleasant to talk to and we eat dinner together looking at the lights of Pusan go by. Pretty romantic except for the kimchi smell - hahaha.

8/3 Go to the market to buy some breakfast. It's funny, seems the vendors show their skills by how high they can line up a single nectarine on top of another. Looks neat, but i'm afraid to touch. Finally hold up 4 fingers in front of a granny, but her hubby gives me 5 for 1,000Won. Allright! I considered about going to the market in the morning before breakfast, but brave it anyway. Not a great idea, but am able to walk quickly past the guys chopping up animal parts, wriggling fishes, things i don't want to know etc. Actually, walking past the beautiful sweets selection is probably the hardest!

After eating some fried tofu on bread and a couple of nectarines, i take my first train ride in Korea. It's a slow-goer down to Pusan, but the seats are amazingly plush and the price can't be beat - 2,700Won ($2.20) for around a 3 hour ride. Go to the toursit info center and get the usual. Then find a different center where there is a guy who seems to be dying to practice his English and he helps me out:) Thanx!

A typhoon has swept up the west coast of Korea and still some rain blasts and gusts are hitting Pusan. Ouch. Go to the ferry office and make my reservation for tomorrow. Then i head to the 温泉街(hot spring area) and find a place for 20,000Won($17). Nice room with bath, a/c, clean sheets, tv, and leakage around the windows. Hey, this IS a typhoon. A guy helps me order supper and when i pray over my meal, the mamasan points to the cross around her neck and the votive candles on the tv in her shop below the half-naked girlie pic. It's neat to go out on the roof at nite and smell the kimchi and grilled meat and typhoon air.

8/2 There are lots of internet PC game centers all over Korea. I go into one and ask to use the internet for email. The computer gives a little trouble so the normal 1,000Won/hour fee is reduced to 1,000Won for 2 hours! Hey, some nice Koreans! (outside of church members). Mostly young guys sit around blasting stuff. It's actually cheaper to use the internet here at this shop than at my home in Japan where is costs 20% more per hour just for the telephone charges!! I fill up my water bottle too:)

Warm up the beans and eat in my room instead of on the dead. Wise choice as it starts raining.

8/1 The beaming guy (around 52?) shows up around 8:30 with a 10kg box of tomatos! The new shoes i bot get put to the test with a 8 hour hike. It was great! A guy from church gave me a 10kg box of tomatos, so we had tomatos and bread for breakfast (with peanut butter), tomatos and bread for lunch (with some kakipi--).

The hike itself was up a mountain near Kyongu, we walked to the base from the city in a little over one hour of searing heat. Getting to the top was just like in Japan, and the view with the little temple roofs dotting the landscape and the rice fileds spreading out before you was peaceful. We paid a little money (around 50 cents?) to see an old place where the nobles of the Shilla kingdom over 1,300 years ago floated glasses of wine in a little stone waterway, and in the middle of this odd-shape loop was a flat place where they danced. The whole culture in Korea back then was VERY primitive compared to what i saw in Italy of the Grecian civilization which was almost 1,000 years earlier! For supper? Whhhhhyyyyy, i had some beans and potato chips and doughnuts on top of a old burial mound (kofun). Oh yeah, and i had a few tomatos then too (^o^).

7/31 Try to find the SDA church. Make a bad choice with the tourist info center. Am told that they are to "help with touristry things and i'm just asking about a church" so they wouldn't help me!!! A policeman hails a taxicab for me who finds the place for me after asking some lady walking on the side of the road.

A really beaming guy makes me feel comfortable in church. I don't understand a thing, but it's nice just being around like-minded people:) Over the curry rice and kimchi lunch, 3 old guys talk to me in Japanese. They tell me that they haven't used it since the war ended. The pastor lets me stay in the children's sabbath-school room - yea!

I walk around the old historical area, sit under a tree for 2 hours while it rains, and then go into town in the evening to buy steamed sweet potatos and instant ramen. Fighting hunger i walk and walk, looking for a good place to eat when - すごい! Right before my eyes appears a old burial mound in the middle of a neighborhood with its winding back-streets. I climb the little hill to find the spots that make trips. Looking out over this old city of 1,500 years, sharing this grave with a family, with the sun going down emblazoning the sky - aaaahhhhh. The moon comes up. I look longingly at a mountain that lies about 6k or so away from the city.

7/31 Leave Traveller's A. While waiting for the bus to Kyongju, i sit and eat breakfast. Some guy runs up to me and asks for some food. He doesn't look like he's hurting, but why should i refuse, so i give him some. I watch him eat and then he goes outside where he's been charging up his portable phone and unplugs it from the juice machine's outlet. He then comes to me and tells me he's a computer engineer for Thompson Electric. Figures why he's strange.

The tourist info center in Kyongju isn't anymore helpful than the one in Seoul, basically zero except for a pamphlet. I find a hostel written up in Lonely Planet as a great place. The owner is upset that i've chosen the cheapest room of the 3 listed. The sheets are dirty, the fan doesn't work, he doesn't offer me a key, demands pre-payment, and then tells me that Koreans "aren't very friendly you know". What a jerk. I have a ill stomach that fortunately doesn't overflow, listen to drivel by the other guests in the lounge, get a little sick at heart at how stupid people are, and then manage to drift off to sleep.

7/28 Go to the huge market where wannabe rock stars are given a stage in front of a tower that houses lots of little stalls in a chic atmosphere. I wind up buying some new Champion tennis shoes at a outside stall. I don't feel like haggling so when he of his own accord comes down from 25,000W to 22,000W, i just try them on and leave him my old boots. No more India dust on my feet. It's been over a year since i wore tenneez. Forgot how light they were!

7/25 To the SDA food and book center (ABC store). They tell me the Country Life restaurant that was behind their store is closed now. The really funny thing is that person didn't tell me that there was another restaurant in the same place that was run by SDAs where i could get a good vegetarian meal. I shook my head in wonderment at their unfriendliness from my point of view. I can't imagine being treated like that in Japan or anywhere in America except maybe in New England. I corner another person and ask about a vegetarian restaurant and they tell me about the old Country Life place. Good and Hot!! They have satellite TV on showing the Egypt-Bolivia soccer match??!

Meet a couple of Japanese young guys who are really nice! One mentions that he just came back from England and is seriously considering about doing volunteer work and/or working for the church. I sense he is very close to the kingdom of God. You're in my prayers man!!

7/24 First time to the "English" church. Like the "Japanese" one on campus, it's mostly Korean with some of the main things translated into English. I'm surprised at the musicians and choir director running around on stage with the mikes during the main sermon....... Not too much realization of the majesty of God there. They serve curry rice and kimchi afterwards and then i get on a bus that's going to a national park about 3 hours away to see a baptizm of 9 kids.

It's my first time away from Seoul in the 5 times or so that i've come to Korea. The countryside is pretty much like Japan's except more junk laying around and a bit rockier. We get soaked on but the baptizm goes off well. I'm surprised at how they treat THINGS. For example, the baptizmal certificates are in a nice red-velvet holder - laid out sort of in the rain, noone seems to mind. It's refreshing to see. Kind of like the American style of not caring too much how things look, yet the Japanese in me looks down on their "sloppiness". We would be "much more careful" in Japan. Make it look nice, even if the contents really have no meaning.

I amaze myself on the ride back home. In just about 3 hours, i can read over half of the Hangul characters!!!! I can check it by the Roman letters on the street signs. It's really quite simple. How did i accomplish it? Treated the letters at first like the Japanese katakana which all have a vowel attached like "sa", "ki", "tsu", "ne", "yo" (in other words, no just "k" letter). That helped me get started, but i soon found that Hangul does have "s", "n", "p", and maybe one or two more letters that are just consonants without a vowel attached. When i figured that out the rest was history!

7/23 韓国に行って来る。 まだ決めてないけど、たぶん2週間くらいそちに居ると思う(戦争に巻き込まれないなら)。 できれば、帰りに、Pusanからフェリーで長崎まで、青春18で佐賀の友達のとこに寄って、尾道で降り、島波海道を歩いて四国に行こうかなと考えている。 To Seoul! Stay at Traveller's A which i would recommend to anyone going to Seoul. It's convenient to everything, clean, cheap, free internet (for short times like email etc.) and has a wonderful mamasan who can't speak hardly any English. I stay in a dorm room that can hold 6, but usually only has 3, and i even have a private room 1 nite. All for \1,200 ($10)/nite. Great! I stay a week.

Why don't i go do the sightsseing stuff? Don't know. People come and go and i just stay. They let me use the computer during the daytime when everyone is away so i get the whole book "A Word to the "Little Flock"" on the computer in 2 days and mostly ready for the internet in one more. YEA! Praise God. So the time wasn't wasted. For a change of space i usually go out in the evenings in search of food that isn't too Kimchi. Went to a veggie restaurant run by some SDAs and got a full meal for 2,000won (=$1.70) The fried dumplings alone would've cost more than 2wice that in Japan, but 3 side dishes come with it - spicy kimchi, tongue melter kimchi, and atomic kimchi. My stomach can't process all this plutonium in a short time. Maybe i'll try real Korean food again in about a week. Until then, i'll just eat rice or buy the ramen and not put the powder on it!

7/22 The dentist. This bite isn't right.

7/21 A friend comes over and we cook up some food and goof off on the internet. Her friend from the job she recently quit saw the email we just sent and gives us a ring. She's one of those i went "strolling" with a couple of weeks ago. They have a good chat and i enjoy just being in the same sphere.

7/20 Go meet a friend in Kyoto on this national holiday "sea day" and play with her computer and go hiking. Seems we are super lucky, as the trail is wet, but the rain avoids us:) We seem to take a wrong turn somewhere (that's what we get for following the signs!!) and wind up back down the mountain in a hurry. But it's a hot day and maybe just as well. About 100m from her house it starts to pour - lucky!!

It rains a few dogs and cats while i'm in the train going home, but fortunately clear skies break out just as i leave the station. Great! What in the world is somebody doing by tagging my bicycle for parking in a "no-parking" zone on a holiday?? Just glad my bicycle is still alive:)

7/19 Help a handicapped woman get to the airport. Her and her friends are off chasing some singer all the way to Okinawa. Received another Big-Bird object. Guess i remind her friend of the yellow friend. Maybe its my nose - ha!

After that i get a little serious and go to the school to learn how to do the books. Seems like they do everything 3 or 4 times when once or at the most 2wice would be sufficient. But i'll follow the way for awhile until i get a good grasp of what's going on, and they feel comfortable with me there. Get a computer please!

7/16 Go to 心斎橋again and meet a different friend. We go to an Italian buffet that's right nice. They even have dessert. I help her with a letter to a nice old lady she met when she was in England. I was able to get a image of a lady with a beautiful heart who's spent most of her life sacrificing it for others. May God reward her abundantly.

7/15 The dentist.

7/14 Go to 心斎橋and go with a friend to "Field of Farms" for a veggie pig-out. They even had olives! It reminded me quite a bit of Country-Life and i got a little nostalgic sick. Then my friend and i walked around Denden town to see all the computer junk:) Lots of stuff to see.

7/11 Meet up with the co-worker's of a friend and we go to 箕面to have a short stroll up to the falls and to see the monkeys. They know i like to HIKE, so they are a little worried that it won't be "up to my standards" to call a hike, and they're mostly right, but it's very nice to take a stroll in the cool of the day, and the way back i took a little bit of a "off the beaten path" trail back so i had fun. Did some rock-hopping in the river which i LOVE to do, and the last jump made my heart come up in my mouth as i slipped a bit and without that extra effort, would've been in the drink. Maybe my back-pack made me misjudge it.

Before going, in our emails we joked about hiking with the 3 beautiful girls from the company, and i joked with them, but the last joke was on me. They weren't joking! Some people have all the fun (^o^).

7/10 After church (i've been told i need to go to the church that has the English school EVERY week), i get on the train, and, and, the person next to me is reading the church's bulletin!!!! I talk to her and learn that she's been a SDA for just a year or 2. She lives not so far from me. (^-^)

7/9 Meet a friend in 梅田and we go to a Sri Lankan restaurant. It's good! We then walk around the largest bookstore in Japan, ジュンク堂.

7/5 Called in the morning by the pastor to say that i'd been officially elected to be the assistant director of the English language school at the church!!! Wow! A big prayer has been answered here. He says that their prayers have been answered too, so i'll go forward with the doors that God has opened. I just pray that i can do a good job with it as it's a big responsibility and i'm not the one to be so great at working with organizations. Probably this is somehow God's plan to polish off some rough spots out of my character so that i can learn to take orders and work with a group. Already i've acquiesed to wearing -gasp- neckties:( But i'll wear fake ties with a zipper loop on them - haha.

7/4 Went to Hashimoto to see a friend. We ate たこ焼き without the octopus. Instead we put in cheese, green onion, mushroom, corn, ginger and maybe some other things i can't remember. Yummy! Several high-school students ate with us, so we had a lively time:) After that we took a walk by the river to see how high the water came up during the recent floods. When a lot of water gets together it sure has lots of power! In the evening we shot off some fireworks. It reminded me a little of when i used to shoot them off on the 4th back when i was a kid in America.

7/2 I help with a friend's computer again today. It's fun to help somebody and get good food to boot!

7/1 You might notice now that i put a UFO on the index page. It probably doesn't mean anything in America, but here in Japan the name "Nostradamus" is probably more widely known than other other at least among 10-30 year-olds. Is he known in America? I remember only hearing about him one time when i was growing up. Anyway, he says (according to translators) that "a king of terror will come from the skies in the 7th month of 1999". No, i know he's not a true prophet, but Satan knows pretty well how many things will arise, so something may happen this month.

6/27 今日、友達がバプテスマを受けた (^0^)。 3人の若者(20代の前半)が受けて、感動した。 教会はうちのと違うけど、イエスキリストを信じるようになったのが素晴らしい。 バプテスマ式の後、鴨川の川原で一人で昼を取った。 最近の豪雨で川が溢れ、いつものと違う面を見せてくれた。 見て、あっ、ラフティングしたいな〜と思った。 いつも楽しいそうな顔をしてるかもちゃんが、その濁流を恐れ、ただ川原で水が流れるのを眺めてただけ。 橋の下のホームレスのダンボル箱の家がめちゃくちゃになっちゃったし、 大変。 My friend got baptized today!!!! Hallelujah!!! Her parents and roommate came too and seemed quite impressed. She gave a short testimony about how she became a Christian and then was baptized. It made me very happy

The pastor finally replied to my comments about some of the things i commented on. He still doesn't think that i believe salvation is only thru Jesus. I thought that was a basic given, and everything else was built on top of that. I guess i have to explain it clearly to him that yes, our only hope of salvation is not thru our own works, but only thru Jesus. His excuse for keeping Sunday was of course without any Bible texts. I said the Pope tried to change God's day to Sunday, but he said that the "early apostles had the custom of meeting on Sunday". What about most churches current custom of having a prayer meeting on Wednesday nites????! He's very busy, and i appreciate his taking time, but why does he preach about some "custom" and not what God wrote with his own finger in stone is beyond me. In the sermon today he talked about many good things, but near the end said that the lost will experience pain and suffering in hell forever. Gross! What a nasty God he believes in! That God doesn't requre you to do anything after you believe in Him, but if you don't believe, you burn for thousands and millions of years!?!?!?!?! Crazy!!!

6/22 Finally sent off the FAX to the pastor of the church where my friend is getting baptized next Sunday. Spent over 5 hours on it, talking about the state of the dead, importance of keeping the commandments, and Jesus - the High Priest. This pastor wouldn't even shake my hand the last time i went to his church, and my friend who's getting baptized called after that saying "don't bother giving me any more stuff as it's different from what i'm learning at church". Of course, i can't let it lie. It's my responsibility to do the best i can do, and if i don't teach and warn, then their sins will be partly my responsibility in the day of judgement. My friend is getting baptized next Sunday, and i'm VERY happy about that, but wish she would study the WORD for herself. Well, one step at a time. The pastor definitely has a large responsibility. I hope he allows the Holy Spirit to work on him and let him see how God wants him to act.

Went with a friend to でんでんタウン (the electronics area in Osaka) where we looked at all the new stuff, and she wound up buying a computer over the telephone. We saw the actual model though, so i think it was worthwhile to go. She's wondering what to do with her non-studious daughter. I thought she was really strong and could do just about anything, but when i said "let's meet at the station down in Osaka" she acted scared. ha! She seems very interested in the Bible, but i didn't push it. Hopefully we can study it together some day.

6/21 Got a call at 10:05. Seems i was supposed to meet in front of a house at 10:00 to go bamboo shoot hunting (竹の子掘り). I only remember that they talked about going, not that they decided on a time. Anyway, they came and picked me up and we went out into the hills and proceeded to ravish the bamboo stands.

英語の生徒と6人で竹の子掘りに近くの山に行って来た。 ちょっと取り過ぎたと思うけど、皆と一緒にそとに居て、ピクニックを広げて、蚊に輸血してあげて、楽しかった。 It was lots of fun, and i enjoyed being with several friends and having a picnic out under the bamboo, but i felt a little sad that we dug up just about every baby bamboo we could find. It reminded me a little of those who complain about the rain forests in Brazil being destroyed, and then do the same thing in their own backyard. We also picked up some Biwa fruit that was falling off on the ground. WOW! That stuff's really sweet! Wonder if it'd grow in the States?

6/20 After getting soaked with rain last nite, a former English student came to visit me today. He and his brother came to see me in America when i was back there 2 years ago. It was really good to see him again. His family has really helped me out a lot, and i enjoy talking with them. After hiking, we came back and put some CD music on the computer. He then proceeded to erase all my speed records in a car race game. It reminded me a little of how quick my reflexes were when i was 16~20. My curry rice went over pretty well it seems.:)

6/18 Right now i'm listening to music i ripped off a CD and put on the hard disk on the computer. Now i don't need the CD to listen to that neat song anymore! I'm always amazed at all the stuff you can get for free off the internet! Thank you everybody for making my life a little more enjoyable!

For some silly reason i'm growing my fingernails long right now. I grew my hair long about 5 or 6 years ago just to try it, and recently i thought "why not try it with the fingernails?" Yeah, it's a little bit of a hassle sometimes, but it's kind of fun to experience different things as long as there's nothing wrong with the action. This body only has at the most about another 40 years to experience anything, so why not experience as much as possible? New things are often learned by just experiencing something new and different. I've already learned to by careful picking body parts - haha.

6/15 What!!? Another day in 京都(Kyoto)?!?! 3 times in 4 days! Wow! I should've bot a commuter pass. Met some friends and went to lunch. 友達と5人で三条辺りでレストランに入って、「肉抜き」ピラフを450円で満腹した。 いや、その後、ミスドに行って、豆腐ドナツを食べた yum. Met my friend's boyfriend - really nice guy. Seems like i've been meeting quite a few guys who are interesting and friendly lately:)

Of course, there was that guy who insisted on speaking to me in English at church the other day. Even when i replied in Japanese he continued on in English. When i'm in Japan, treat me like i'm in Japan!! Why should i have to be reminded about working?

日本語がしゃべれないなら話しは別やけど、僕の言ってる事わかってる上で英語を続けるのは失礼。 自分の国の言葉に自信がないからそうやるの? いや、たぶん単に英語が好きやろうけど、知らない人としゃべる時に、いる国のことばを使った方がいいでしょう? 友達になってから時々しゃべってもいいけど。。。 普通は、しゃべりたいなら友達を作るか、学校に行ってお金を払うか、海外に行くかどれか。 僕にとって英語は仕事。 友達じゃないなら勝手に仕事をさせないで下さい。 友達になってからなっ (^ム^)。

6/13 Went to 京都 again! 南禅寺から永観堂、哲学の道で銀閣寺。 そこで昼食。 あとは白川通りを沿って、詩仙堂まで。 詩仙堂を見てから更に道を歩いて、去年比叡山を登った時の道に出て、懐かしかった。。。。。。。 I bot some Pringles in the morning and had fun watching the carp (鯉)open their mouths big and suck on them (or anything else that might enter). They know that food is to be had somewhere, so the more they pop their mouths out and suck, the better their chances of something going in:) Really fun to watch. It's a little like a cross between volleyball, football, and water polo?????! The pigeons got their share of Pringles too. During lunch break, a stray cat that was very friendly or overly hungry came up to us. She seemed to be able to eat Pringles too. Didn't seem all that interested in the rice balls.. The last creatures we made junk food junkies out of were near the end of the walk, we saw some carp and turtles in a little Japanese style garden. The turtles would grab a big chip, and then take it in the water to eat it - why? Did they want to take it to their dining table? Are they used to drowning bugs and stuff so they think everything has to be taken underwater before it can be eaten? Are they shy about eating in public? Do things taste better washed down? hmmm?

The boyfriend of one person in the party is a nice guy. My friend is very attentive to what i say and is VERY easy to get along with. I look forward to heaven when i can ALWAYS be around nice people (^o^). I just hope she believes in GOD someday so i can see her in heaven too!

6/12 Went to the 京都(Kyoto) SDA church for the first time. It took about 2 hours to get there. 初めての京都のセベンスデーアドベンチスト教会に行って、特別に青年の集まりがあったので活気に溢れていた。 仏教大学の近くにある。 And i happened to see the person who is looking over my translated Great Controversy for me. She doesn't usually go there either but - ばったり。 The young people from the Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara area came. I guess there were about 30 people counting 5 of us foreigners. It was good to see so many young people living for God, but sometimes i wondered if they were more interested in doing something for the organization as i heard nothing about Jesus or the Holy Spirit:( I met another friend there who was just baptized a couple of years ago and seemed to be the most "on fire". Her questions and comments seemed to have more thought and depth to them than the others.

6/7 I used to wonder why the girls seemed to go for everybody else except me, but strangely, in the past 3 years, a couple of people said they liked me as a guy, and although i didn't respond the way they wanted, it blew away all those old feelings. Now i'm satisfied with myself, the way i am, right here. Whatever God's plan is for me - i'll follow. I'm blessed with a Tremendous number of friends, and i hope i can return some small portion of the tons of friendship i've received from everyone (^o^) ! After saying all this,,,,,my life could change in totally unexpected ways tomorrow!

I don't know how many times in the last few years or so that i was in a situation where i wondered if "this is the reason i was born"? For this moment. To be here for this person, or to be doing this particular thing. Like the frogs, trees, stars, etc. do what they were made to do - i want to be doing what i was made to do! And right now i know i'm doing it--exactly--nearly the best i can. I'm translating a book called the Great Controversy into Japanese and it's changing me slowly in ways for the better:) You can see the English version (and a link to the Japanese translated part) at:

Yesterday i went hiking with a friend. Only the 2nd time to meet her, but with all the email between us, it seemed like meeting an old friend. She is like most city-folk, needs to get out and MOVE YOUR BODY! It was good to sweat it up a bit on 小塩山 (Mt. Oshio). Since the rainy season started last week, the humidity has gone up to nearly 100% i think! Oh yeah, i noticed a 50s something guy with a little odd movements in the bus. Didn't think about it until i saw him again after getting on the train and then stopping to change. He sat down by started up a conversation. That's only the 2nd time since i came back from India last October that a stranger has approached me. He was nice:) I was flabbergasted to see a, a, a, BIBLE in his hands!! He said his wife was Christian and he went drinking at a relatives' place the nite before and was returning while his wife was at church. Maybe God has some kind of plan going on here.......

5/27  野外礼拝はよかった。 やっぱり自然の中だったらもっとはっきり神様の恵み、力、が感じれると思う。 教会の後、前一緒に Country Life で働いてた友達に会って(2年半ぶり)、いろいろ面白い話ができてよかった。 その後、自転車でJR星田から京阪高善寺まで行ってきた。 自転車大好き (^ム^)。

今日、英語の生徒のおうちに行って、インターネットのつなぎかたを教えた。 なんと、二つのプロバイダーに加入してるんだって! 最初のとこにつながらへんかったから違うとこにしようと思ったらしい。。。 幸いにつなげられた:) 2分で (゚ー゚)。

5/25 I finally made a schedule of getting the Japanese 1858 G.C. translated this year. I have lots of free time, but since there isn't anyone to push me to keep a schedule, i fall into the trap of spending time on other things and not doing what is my most important work right now. Fortunately God has provided a beautiful place with a wonderful family (the mom anyway), and a nice computer so i just need to get to it! I did finally finish the 8th chapter yesterday. The first 3 chapters are already on the internet at:
It won't do you any good tho if you don't have Japanese fonts.

I hope i can use somebody's scanner so i can get the Word to the Little Flock on too this year:) The more i read these, the less my appetite for TV & movies. I know theatre doesn't create good character, but i like to laugh and see beautiful things..... Sometimes i wonder if i shouldn't live in some cave somewhere away from everyone and everything. But how could i fulfill my mission of telling others about Jesus?

Last Sabbath we had church out under the trees. The sermon was on nature too and it made me feel like how it probably was back when Jesus gave his outdoor talks. Being surrounded by things made by God rather than man tends to lead the thoughts to Him (^o^). Then i peered across the river and could see the mass that is Osaka...... It's the 5th largest metro area in the world for population - 16million. I read one time that approximately 1% of the entire world's GNP comes out of this metro area! SUGOI!!! But somehow it doesn't seem to have the liveliness it had when i first came 10 years ago. My Japanese friend who moved to Kyushuu said the same thing about Osaka looking "worn out".

5/23 Stayed over at a friend's place last nite. It's nice to have friends you can talk about anything with! I just wish they were Christian! I went to a different friend's church in Kyoto that i've been to a few times before. The pastor didn't even shake hands with me, and 2 guys i've talked to before shunned me so i guess they've gotten the idea that i'm "bad news" for their church. Just read the Bible guys, and believe what it says. If Jesus called the dead people "asleep", why do you call them "up in heaven"???? Why do you say 9 of the 10 commandments are good to keep, but when pressed, you say we don't have to keep any of them?????

I met a couple of friends there. One guy said he just completed the last set of lessons from the Voice of Prophecy. There are about 4 or 5 courses and he's finished them all in 1/2 a year! He's still searching - i think for a heart to believe. After church i walked to 加茂神社and then to the train and back to my where my bicycle was waiting. My friend has decided to fulfill her dream and quit her job and go to America for 2 years to study at a community college! I think she REALLY wants to find THE RIGHT ONE to start a family:) I'm rooting for 'ya!

5/21 I had a slow start getting used to Japan this time after 3 1/2 weeks in the US. Usually i'm VERY happy about coming back to Japan, but i could really feel how EASY it is to live in America. I guess the main thing besides the lack of open spaces, high prices, and closed hearts, is the unwillingness to say what you really think (-_-). But, after a few weeks that becomes 'the norm' again and i'm enjoying it again now.

My favorite actress 西田ひかるちゃん, was on TV last nite and it was just fun to see her - her happiness at just being alive. Her attitude, friendliness, charitable spirit, and yes - her perfect English, help make me happy. (Did i say she's pretty too?)

Our English class has a 30minute Bible break, and today we studied Matthew 4:1~11 (the temptation). They asked a couple of questions, but were pretty quiet as usual. A couple of them said they didn't understand anything, and we've covered the 3 in the Godhead before, but did it again. Most of them agreed that Jesus was an actual historical figure, but they couldn't grasp the fact that the whole world was created around 5,750~6,000 years ago. Of course when i said that Jesus was the one who created everything around 4,000 years before he appears in Matthew, everyone just looked at me silly. One lady said "what about those who say that everything is billions of years old? It ALWAYS comes back into my face -- this country has been so evolutionized that they can't fathom anything different. To evangelize here, first the ground must be prepared. That means showing how evolution is アホ, it's Satan's tool to get people off the right track. Oh yeah, then that started a discussion about Satan - "he's just a term for evil isn't he?" No, he's real, he's alive, our ancestors gave him the rights to this planet around 6,000 years ago, and he's the most perfect thing ever created by Jesus - and has lived over 6,000 years! This made me probably sound like a fool, but if they don't see these things in the Bible as literal, what is their faith based on? Sad to say, many, many Christians don't believe these basic facts either, which makes it much easier for Satan to carry out his plans....

5/18 I meet a friend in Osaka who's just come back from a heart-breaking trip to England. I feel sad for her so i listened and tried to encourage her. I know how important it is to have a friend to listen to you sometimes when you're feeling like everything is hopeless. The subway sandwich by Osaka castle was yummy!

After much wailing over my insufficient English-Japanese dictionary, i finally broke down and bot a new one. This one has over 93,000 entries so it SHOULD do the job. I wish tho, that they would translate some of the words like into spoken Japanese and not just the formal stuff..... Seems tho, like i'm already relying too much on this new dictionary. Gotta remember that in the final run, i have to use MY judgement (of course i pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance).

5/16 Last nite i watched a show on TV, i think it was originally from Korea, about how weeds can be very pretty, hardy, but usually overlooked by humans or considered a pest to be gotten rid of. Well, just a few minutes ago, after breakfast (1:00pm!), i walked up to a little park near here and paid close attention to the flowers, grass, weeds, bugs, birds, etc. What a riot! I had things flying up on me, ladybugs playing 'possum in my hands, it seemed like everything was just exploding with activity and life.

It really helped pick up my spirits, because ever since i turned down an offer to drink tea with everyone after church yesterday, i've been feeling kinda lonely. I see programs on TV where some tribal people in Iriyan (?) Indonesia live and raise families in homes way up in the trees. In some senses they seemed almost like animals - eating grubs and painting junk on their bodies and wearing just a leaf as a covering for their genitals, but the way they took care of their families and treated each other with something like love and respect (order?) made me a little jealous. I often compare my life journey to some bubble flowing down a stream..........

5/14 A friend at church agreed to look over the first 3 chapters of the Great Controversy that i've translated into Japanese!! Another good friend (American) gave me a boost when he talked about how to get people interested in this work and reading it. It felt GREAT to have people give you some moral support. Sometimes i seem so alone in all this.................

I've translated the first 7 chapters of the Great Controversy into Japanese, and typed up the first 2. I'd slowly like to put it out on the internet too, and maybe somebody would get interested and help me smooth out the wording into more natural Japanese. I've avoided slang in translating it, but i'm trying to make it into language that common people use today in Japan. It's pretty hard since this is a vertical society where you're supposed to talk different (different words) depending on the "rank" of the person you're talking to. Also, they don't use pronouns often, so putting the word for "he" and "them" in for example makes it sound awkward. It's true tho, that 1 1/2 - 2 pages of English becomes 1 page of Japanese.

Some people in the church here are getting riled up over "Y2K". It's interesting to see how Satan can get most people to just 'sleep' or 'play' church, and the ones he can't, he gets them sidetracked so they'll use up their energy on non-important things.

I'm also working on a 5-part Bible study in Japanese. I've written it, now i need to put 3 more lessons in the computer, get a mail box, and do some serious advertising. How? Hmmm. I'm motivated, but not to the point i'd like to be. It REALLY helps to have someone else to be with to push and guide each other (^o^).

5/12 A friend called me this morning and after borrowing a car i went down to Osaka and helped her move. It felt good to have a specific goal to do , something special that needed to get done TODAY. This friend moved to within about a 3 minute walk from an other friend so i dropped in on her and her kid and surprised them. In the evening a bunch of us went out to a Chinese restaurant and i ate my fill (^o^).

5/9 I went to a little Sunday church near here (same one i TRIED to enter last Sunday) and had the pastor there confirm what i've thought to myself. Around 10 of us seated ourselves around the dinner table following the sermon. After talking awhile, the pastor said "you're not like the other American missionaries who i've seen in Japan. They stay for 10 years or so, don't speak the language, and go home a failure. Even your waistline is more Japanese style":) I didn't hide the fact that i was SDA, and i talked a little while at the dinner table about how the "rich man and Lazarus" story was a parable and not like the pastor had said during the sermon - literal fact because Jesus spoke it. But i did it in a low-key manner, trying to keep the fine balance between giving the truth, and not arousing bitter "he's a know-it-all" feelings.

The conversation turned to meat-eating (lack of it), and i mentioned that it was mostly for health reasons. I added that most everyone who eats meat seems to have forgotten that you're not supposed to eat the blood with it. Several heads nodded in agreement. The pastor seemed to sense a threat i guess, because he hastily added "i prefer to follow what Paul said about everything being clean to eat". Everyone i met, even the little kids, were very friendly, and the singing was rousing, not like the funeral dirges usualy heard in SDA churches of today. I plan to go again sometime.

It's Mother's Day over here so i buy a little thing of flowers for the mamasan where i stay, and a pack of strawberries too. It's not too smart to put the strawberries in your bicycle basket first and then your backpack on top:(

5/8 Go to church in Sakai. See a friend there who got married recently and didn't tell me. She knows i'm against it because he isn't Christian. Don't know what she's thinking. There's a lovely old lady, the first i've ever met, who agrees with me that なっと (natto)-(fermented soy beans) isn't healthy. Anything fermented isn't healthy. Every Japanese has been brain-washed into believing that natto is one of the healthiest foods around.....Then i find out that this woman is really a Korean who's lived in Japan most of her life - haha. It figures.

5/7 Meet a friend (only the 2nd time ever) and show her where to use the internet and then we walk to a place near Tani9 that serves Indian dishes. It's pretty good but expensive and geared to Japanese-ie: small portions, not spicy, and high price. Sure is pretty to look at tho. My friend is quite pretty too! Hope she does well in school to become a midwife.

5/5 EVERYTHING goes right on the computer today - yea!! I start entering The Great Controversy (大争闘) in Japanese today and everything just goes like clockwork (^o^). My Japanese is just flowing out perfectly today too. What in the world's going on?? Now i need to find a site here that'll let me put it out on the internet - tada (free). I've only got the first 2 chapters done, but i'm pretty proud and happy about it.

Actually, recently i've been wondering what's the use of me trying anything. It doesn't seem like much impact occurs and what would change if i was gone - like i mean pushing up daisies?! Seems like it doesn't matter much of what anything happens. I know that's not a good attitude, and so today, to see things go SO well and get something accomplished really makes my day!!! "Do the best with what your hand finds to do" goes thru my head. Probably God has given me this time so i can do something like work on the book!

The TV show in the evening makes me upset. First they talk about how life started from amino acids millions of years ago. Then they show medical "advances" (mostly in America....) where fetuses are being used, and human chromosomes are being put into pigs etc. Then they show how Russia has been making biological weapons for many years even after signing treaties banning them. Russia fell, and soon America will fill up her cup of wrath too. God doesn't put up long with killing babies or homosexuality let alone this new scientific "inter-specie breeding". "Amalgamation of man and beast" is one of the biggest reasons God caused the flood!

5/3 Meet a friend and go hiking to "Ponpon yama". I've known this friend since she was 18, and she's 25 now - very interesting to see the changes in her, get a feel for her life story, and have companionship with someone who's known me for such a long time and is probably seeing changes in different ways in me too:)

A little kid on the trail made this day so precious. First, i passed a kid with his dad and the kid said in Japanese: "oh, an American!" I raised my hand up in the air and turned and smiled at him. Within about 20 minutes another little kid said in Japanese to his dad: "oh, a foreigner!" I heard him say something to his dad in English but couldn't catch it. They passed us when we stopped for a drink break, and the kid looked at me and said "Jijii" (old geezer). I laughed and made like i was going to grab him causing him to hold his dad's leg pretty tight - haha. The only fresh water on the trail was at the temple so i drank some water from the spring (for some reason in Japan, all the temples have a 'water purification' place at the gate of the temple, and the water is always a small stream coming from a dragon's mouth...). It's customary on mountain trails to say "konnichiwa" (hello) when meeting people, but since today is a holiday you use all your energy just trying to sound nice to people that you'd ignore if you saw them at a shopping center. My friend doesn't like my attitude so i work up a cheerful voice and greet everybody. After about 50 people in 10 minutes my friend sees why i'm not thrilled about doing that 'custom' today. It's fun to hear the different responses tho, so i keep it up.

We come up on the little kid with his mom & dad again. This time he asks me in good English "Do you know Santa Claus?" I tell him "Sure. I'm Santa Claus", and then explain that it's a joke. He then asks me lots of questions in very good English: "What's your name? Which color do you like? Which flower do you like? Which clock do you like? etc. The last 500meters hike to the top of the mountain (678meters tall) goes by very quickly and i hate to say goodbye to him. He says "see you" and then in Japanese "let's meet again". I hope so. I really hope so. I look forward to the day in heaven when i can say with confidence "we'll meet again. I make it back home tired and with a relatively clear mind. Thank God for nature!!

5/2 I go to a little Bible church on my bicycle and open the door to see a lady standing there looking like she just opened a door too planning to go somewhere else. I ask her in Japanese if it's OK to join them and she gives me a blank look. I ask again slowly and she ask me what i'm talking about. I can hear them singing hymns so know i'm in the right place to ask one more time using my hands for emphasis. When i get the blank stare again i just turn and walk back out. I'll try again maybe next week.

The family i'm with has a big family get together today since this is Golden Week vacation. I bot a little water-powered rocket for one of the grandkids and us adults have a kick sending it up (and into the absent neighbor's yard!!) The Bar-B-Q has an extra-special lot of vegetables just for me:) For some reason, the grilling part itself is one of the worst jobs i've ever seen, but have a good time in the outdoors talking and eating. I weigh myself in the evening and have gained 1.6kilos in 1 day! This must be some kind of record for me! Or is it because of the air pressure? - hahaha. But i have felt good recently and am up over 49kilos now - yea!

5/1 I make it to the main Osaka Center church after missing it for about 2 months. I'm surprised to see the pastor's wife marking a list of who all come. I think that's a great way to keep track of people. If there was something for me to do there i wouldn't mind going every week... I see a postcard from the Japanese wife of a European guy who used to be a pastor. He was the one who said in all seriousness that he teaches kids in his neighborhood: "REAL English, not like what you AMERICANS speak!!!!" After that i didn't pay any attention to anything he said. Actually, he struck me as quite a loser in life who wanted to redeem himself in something but couldn't ever quite get anything done right. Anyway, he went from a $9/hour laborer to head of some factory the company is starting up in Thailand. Hope he does well. Especially for his friendly wife's sake. Sayonara.

I eat sansai udon, a onigiri (rice triangle), and a block of tofu for lunch out by the river. The contrast with where i was last week in McMinnville, TN is striking. There are cars going in all different directions on about 3 different levels with high-rise buildings all around. After lunch i wade thru the people to take a look at the new book store which is the largest one in Japan. WoW! They have everything! I see several books talking about either how the Japanese did some good things in fighting WWII, or some books saying how they don't need to get sucked into some WESTERN scheme of world domination. This stuff wasn't around just 2 years ago. I wonder if Japanese thinking is undergoing a transformation. I know in school they're taught that Japan did bad in WWII (not TOO bad), and i think this new thinking is some kind of backlash to that. Probably there's also some kind of urge to kick out at SOMETHING when everything in your country seems to be going wrong. And what better target than the self-proclaimed NUMBER ONE country - America? I can see where if America makes one little mistake in dealing in Asia how Japan could easily swing against it. Pray that the leaders use good judgement.

My bicycle has been sitting in an apartment's lot for a month, and when i get to it,,,, it's not there! I panic a bit and then take one more look around the whole lot. There it is, with the sign on it saying that if the owner doesn't come, it will be disposed of. Whew! Thank God i'm in time! I carry the cowboy boots i bot in America to my friend who's overjoyed at getting them:) It's fun to see happy people (^o^). Sad to hear tho that she plans to get a divorce:( Why can't people love others for life? I guess i'm not such a good one to be getting wise on this subject... It's really tough tho in Japan because the kid only gets about $250-350/month and the mom gets nothing. I pray she can get a good job but this is the worst of times to be looking for a job with the unemployment rate at a record 4.8%.

4/29 Wake up with what feels like an anvil resting on my head. Things just don't feel 'right'. Hmm... Rice, raisins, peanuts, half an apple, apple cookies and peanut butter make up breakfast. After washing clothes i unpack and wait for my friend. She comes and we go shopping and then cook up some fried rice with kimchi. The 'mamasan' where i stay made a cake and gave me a slice with a little "Happy Birthday" flag stuck in it (^-^).

We go hiking a bit and she takes a bunch of pics to show a friend in America what Japanese 'woods' look like. After returning, i help her sign up for a Hotmail account while i download Winamp and some music and Getsmart. I'm surprised that i haven't seemed to have forgotten much Japanese. It seemed like i'd forgotten everything while i was in America so it felt good to be able to communicate in Japanese without too much problem. It seems kind of foreign though, not like it used to when going back to America seemed kind of foreign.

4/28 There are 3 empty seats between me and the girl sitting on the other end of the row so i lay down and promptly go to sleep. Oh, i see now how some people can take long trips and go straight into meetings etc. They fly in pamper-class where they can stretch out and get rested. Usually it's crowded in economy so you can't really get much sleep. just before the plane touches down i move over and talk to the girl awhile. She's been to N.Y. to see a friend. First time to be outside of Japan. She still seems pretty excited about it.

Immigration man silently stamps my passport and hands it back to me - Yea!! Customs is a real breeze also as the man asks in halting English what i plan to do in Japan and what i have to declare. I say i have some cowboy boots as a gift that i'm not sure if i have to declare or not. He waves me out the door (^-^). When i get out, i see a white lady waiting for someone. I ask here if she's the "Denmark nurse". She gives me a funny look, fumbles for words, and says n,o,no,. I tell her about a guy on the plane who talked about how much he was looking forward to meet her and she changed her tune to "YES". "But, i'm not supposed to meet you" she said. I said he's waiting anxiously for his bags and will be out shortly. Her beaming was just a beautiful sight to behold. Her beaming gaze lighted up my path all the way to the escalator.

Coming from India in October, i remember thinking Japan looked close to heaven. Now, after coming from America, it looks pretty grungy and awfully crowed!! Interesting how attitudes change depending on experiences..... On the train at Kyobashi i shove in the train as the doors are closing. There's a couple with a large suitcase there. Feeling a little smug about how far i've come today, i ask them where they just came from. Imagine my surprise when they say "Orlando"! Seems they were on the same plane with me from Dallas! This couple is like most of the other couples i saw on the plane - the woman talks while the man just remains silent. The couple sitting across the aisle from me didn't talk the entire flight that i could tell!! What's the point in being with somebody if they're just going to sit there worse than a goldfish??!!!! Maybe i just don't understand the way "men" are supposed to act.

The mom at the house where i stay (mamasan) picks me up at the station. It's great to see her (^-^). We spend some time talking around the kitchen table but i fade fast and go to bed early.

4/27 My brother wakes me up at 6:00 and we make it to the airport by 7:20. He stays with me clear to the gate and it really reminds me of when mom used to do that (dad couldn't because it always made him teary-eyed). The man sitting next to me is pretty friendly. The last of my postcards get off to friends in Japan while i'm waiting at the Dallas airport.

3/28 I go down to the city today (i live up on a hill so really everywhere is "down") to see a friend i stood up last December. Actually i had forgotten about making that appointment. I'm really in the doghouse so try to make amends. We go to her friends' house where i'm treated to a typical Japanese lunch - smacking lips sound - . Her friend is also an English teacher so we start out in English but the conversation slowly turns into Japanese:)

After lunch we go to a nearby park and walk around a pond lined with - you guessed it - blooming cherry trees. Everywhere! Some blossoms are already falling into the water creating a beautiful kalaidescope. Some kid is having fun chasing a big white duck. I turn to talk to my friend and suddenly i hear the boy just-a-bawling. There's 2 ?I?o?^???I?“ (50-60-70 year old nasty women) types yelling at the kid's grandpa to "not let the kid harm the ducks!!" I step in between the arguing parties and ask the kid if he meant to harm the duck. Sniffiling, he shook his head from side-to-side so i waved them off. Then i turned toward the 2 obatallions and listened to their story and told them to "just stop it". They got riled at me saying that since they'd been at the park longer than me that i didn't have any authority to tell them what to do.

I was pretty proud of myself later, because if this same incident has happened just last year, i probably would have gotten super angry. But i didn't feel anger hardly at all this time. It still seems strange that these women are worried more about some duck that was playing with the boy (when it got tired of playing it waddled back to the pond) than they are about the boy, a human, himself. Mixed up priorities me thinks.

3/26 My friend comes from Kyoto and i meet her in downtown Osaka. While waiting for her an elderly guy starts telling me about things during the war and asking me about my country. This is one of the reasons i enjoy Japan so much. It's really interesting to talk to people of totally different backgrounds and get different perspectives on history, life.

My friend and i crawl over a wall near “V???´ to be under the row of blooming cherry trees lining the river. A drunk guy comes up to us so we move further down. She has rice triangles again and i've brought some kimchi so we have a pretty good feast. As always, the time is too short. Soon we're walking thru downtown Osaka (i'm pushing my bicycle) and i pay for my airline ticket and she waves goodbye at the OCAT terminal. She's planning to go to Thailand and if she can - Laos and Nepal too. Must be great to be unemployed! Oh yeah, i guess i'm sort of included in that category too - haha.

I meet my handicapped friend and the mutual friend who introduced us. We go to denden town (electronics area) to buy some games for her iMac. While we're walking, a voice says "Danny!" I'm surprised to see a friend in cowboy boots walking my way. WOW! It's a big city but a small world i guess:) We finally buy SimCity 2000 but i see that there isn't a whole lot of software out there for Macs.

3/24 My friend who married a French guy came over and i fixed up a delicious meal of Indian curry


After that we went hiking up behind the house and over to the suspension bridge. I make a wrong turn but it doesn't seem to bother her at all - real pleasant. When we get back we drink some herbal tea and have a relaxing conversation. The mom of the house lets me take her to the train station in the family car and i drive back under the row of blooming cherry trees. The headlights shine on the white blossoms and make everything quite ethereal - nice.

3/22 This is the first day of spring??? (a national holiday in Japan!) Then why in the world is it snowing????!!!!!!!!!!!

A friend is supposed to come over with her daughter, but it's just too, too cold! I teach English to the 2 kids kind of near my house today. They have a friend over who stayed in America for 2 years, so she can speak English quite well too. It turns into a giggle-fest and i get quite tickled too - hahahahahahhahaha. Isn't there something special about young girls that makes them so silly? It's refreshing to be around sometimes to just see people feeling good for no apparent reason.

3/17 The day i've been waiting for!! A hike with one of my best friends:)

We haven't really planned on where to go, the plum trees should be in bloom so we kind of make a mental plan of winding up in Shiga at Ishiyamadera (temple famous for plum blossoms). We head out around 10:30 and traipse down the streets and finally enter a bamboo forest. Funny thing is, there are lots of clothes hung on a low fence like the homeless do after they wash clothes. It's a little spooky in a deserted, dark bamboo forest, but we don't see anybody - just tons of umbrellas.???

My friend talks about things happening in her life and the time passes away rapidly. We sit for lunch on a bench up on a mountain and enjoy onigiri (rice triangles) and corn chips. Everything tastes great outdoors! (especially with a good friend:) We finally get to the temple around 4:45 after a hike of probably around 13km thru the mountains, only to find that the doors are closed:( We jump up on walls surrounding it to take a peek over into the courtyard, but don't see any plum blossoms. It's OK though. We've had an excellent day. After another boiled tofu supper prepared by her mom, we get the computer set up so it can fax and i return home. A WONDERFUL day!!

3/16 A handicapped girl who i help sometimes called so i went over to her house today thinking we were just going to talk and goof off on the internet - like friends. Her mom ordered sushi for lunch and i couldn't answer logically why i eat eggs but not fish eggs so i tried "ikura" (fish roe) for the first time. It was VERY salty and had, of course, a fishy smell (what did i expect!). Then we went to a store and bot some computer mags with CDs so she could have fun trying out some new software. When i left she handed me money which was surprising to say the least! I thanked God for making up for the other English students who canceled yesterday because of the flu or something:)

3/15 Quite an unusual weekend. A guy i've met a couple of times invited me to his house for the weekend so i went. The view from the top of the mountain at nite was tremendous - "million dollar view" as they say. The Kansai international airport looked like a string of pearls with the rows of lights glistening in the water. I kinda expected that tho. The thriller was the Naruto bridge lit up at nite. I've never been to Awaji island, and the long bridge that connects the southern tip of the island to Shikoku goes over what is probably the most famous ocean whirlpool in the world (??). With the crisp cold wind it really cleared my head of any fogs it may have had from not enough sleep.

3/9 Another normal day - get up around 9:30, translate some of the 1858 Great Controversy, fix & eat breakfast around 11:30, play some computer games and mess around with HTML stuff, do some exercises, teach English one hour, fix & eat supper, watch a little TV, look at email and surf a little on the internet, try to find answers for my friend who is thinking about becoming a Christian, put some more of my Japanese Bible study in the computer, take a shower and bath and go to bed around 12:30.

3/6 Met a friend and her friend and we went to church in Tsuruhashi. It's the first time i remember hearing a pastor say that the people in old testament times had a "beginner's faith" while people in the new testament have a "advanced faith". Hmm...I don't recall anyone in the NT being called "a person after God's own heart" like David. I don't know anyone who "walked with God" so that he didn't see death like Enoch. He said people in OT times had a very simple choice - they could obey and be blessed or disobey and be cursed. Hmm...Sounds like someone needs to do some more reading of Ecclesiastes. But then this is the pastor who several weeks ago said that some stars at the edge of the universe are going faster than the speed of light... I get a very strong feeling that the pastors aren't very familiar with the Bible or Ellen White's writings so they speak fanciful things. The support for his position yesterday were 2 quotes from Bible 'scholars'. I hope my friends didn't think too deeply about what he said.

After church, we went to Osaka castle to see the plum blossoms which were in full bloom along with the full bloom of Osakans enjoying the scenery:) We goofed around knocking the little birdie with some badminton racquets and throwing a frisbee around. They were a little surprised at my being aable to move so well. I was a little disappointed that i couldn't move a little faster - haha. It felt really good to move the body!

3/4 Started teaching back at a place where i used to teach for 3 years. It'd been 1 year and 9 months since seeing some of them - 'ah!, ***still has a happy smile(^-^), ***has wrinkles!, ***is a little chubbier. They were probably thinking the same thing about me. It was interesting to see how people pretty much have the same personality for many years (most of their life?) it seems. It was really fun to be with them again.

We decided to start a 30 minute Bible class for anyone who wants to come starting next week. One person said they are sincerely thinking about getting baptized! Praise God! (^O^) Another person said about the same thing!!! It seems that they are waiting for an "opportunity". No time like the present i say.

I talk to a Mexican guy who goes to the church where my friend who wants to be a pastor, but isn't a Christian yet, is going. He said "all you have to do is accept Christ". I agreed that the gate to heaven is thru Christ only and that when you accept Christ as your Savior, you enter the gate at that moment. I didn't go into any more details about what is required of the Christian pilgrim on the road on the way to heaven. Christ explained only as far as his hearers could understand (except in parables where they didn't have a clue).

3/2 Learned a little more about how people think today. Yesterday was the normal evening for English class, but last week we decided to change the class to Tuesday evenings. One woman came anyway while i was gone. I had a pretty good idea who it was so went to her house today. She wasn't upset, just said that she waited around 20 minutes for me yesterday and then went back home. I said we changed the class to Tuesday and she said she was going to Hawaii tomorrow, so she couldn't make it to the class today. Soon tho, she realized that she had made a mistake in going on Monday, and hastily said, "I'll be there this evening". I'm glad she came, but still wonder why she couldn't come if it was my fault, but could come if it was her fault??????????????????

The dad at the home where i stay got 139 points on the Lose Your Marbles game. I beat my own record with a 126 score, but 139??! (sOs)

2/24 Today i finally completed the Japanese Bible course i started a little over a year ago:) It's only 5 lessons long, and there's no excuse for it taking this long to complete, but i'm still happy that it's written. Now i have to get it in the computer, maybe on the internet, get it proofread, and put some PR push behind it to get people interested in it!

2/22 I met a friend in Umeda today. He's a Christian, and is pretty interested in Christian things so i was able to talk pretty freely. He's one of the most difficult friends i have to know how to deal with as his reactions in conversation are VERY different from everyone else i know. He knows he's 'different'. I was sad to hear that he doesn't have any parents, brothers, or sisters. I'll try to keep being his friend.

The 500 yen all you can eat lunch was what i wanted after starving during my cold!

2/20 I drag myself out of bed and take my resume to church to give the pastor. My coughing spells hit during the sermon making me wish i hadn't come. The pastor not being there didn't help any either. Afterwards, i got some orange juice and went over to Osaka castle to see the beautiful plum blossoms:)

2/18 Stayed in bed until after 3pm. This is one of the worst head colds i've had in a looong time. I sweat so much last nite i set a new record for endurance swimming i think. Everyone recommends medicine but i pooh-pooh them. Hope i don't sweat so much tonite. The pastor of the church i want to help teach English at says if i plan to stay awhile in Japan, they have only one problem with me teaching there - the people at church don't know what kind of person i am. I promise to go to his church more, mix with the members, and write a resume.

2/17 New bicycle day! Well not really new... The dad of the house is pretty excited about me getting a bicycle in front of some grocery store because it's closed today. We take the car there to see about 6 bicycles kinda in a heap around one tree. I pick the one that seems the sturdiest and we take it back home to find out the back tire doesn't have a pin to put air in the rear tire. BUT, we still have the old, 1 pedal bicycle don't we?! So we spend about 3 hours taking off the rear wheel of the old bike and putting it on the new. The mom of the house shakes her head as she sees 2 mechanicaless guys looking blankly at an intricate piece of machinery. She fears the worst, but we prove we are really men after all with a super-smooth riding steed:)

2/14 I make it to my friend's church in Kyoto after 1- missing the first train by 1 minute, 2- missing the connecting train by 1 minute, 3- missing the connecting subway in Kyoto by 1 minute, and 4- missing the second connecting subway by 4 minutes. It took nearly 2 hours to go somewhere that CAN be made in 1:10. Oh well. The discussion around the lunch table was the most stimulating i've had in a while. Both guys want to be pastors, one is Korean and is studying divinity at a college in Kobe, the other isn't even Christian yet, but has taken some Voice of Prophecy lessons on the Bible so is prepared. I'm surprised the Christian is the one most against God having commandments we need to keep. He says the account in Genesis of God making the days doesn't really define the Sabbath day as it just mentions 'evening' and 'day' and not nite. I look at him and get a little angry at his obstinance.

I've been invited to a friend's house again to help with the computer so i take a friend from church and make it thru some narrow back roads, about a 10 minute walk from the station. I amaze myself that i made it straight to the place. Everyone else is too:) The tofu is just as good as last week. I help them basically with how to surf the internet.

2/10 My friend passed his high-school entrance examination!!! He sent me emails saying how much he was praying to God about this. I'm praying for you too man!!!!!

2/6 A friend and i go to the SDA church in Tsuruhashi. I tell the pastor i'd like to help with a small English language school in exchange for help with a visa. He seems interested in the idea. After lunch, some people get together to read Patriarchs and Prophets by Ellen White (“u?{?e?A). There are 2 members in the reading circle who are Korean so my Japanese doesn't sound so terrible. It's about Sodom and Gomorrah. They say they're going to discuss it after reading, but some lady takes over and starts talking about everyday stuff. After 1/2 hour i excuse myself. They ask if something is wrong, and i say that i thot we were going to talk about the book. Funny, the lady who talked the most seemed the most offended. She said "I WAS talking about the book". Goodbye. The Koreans in the group tried to get the conversation back on track. I really admire them. As for the Japanese SDA? Sincere, on-fire ones seem to be maybe 1 in 20.

I go to Kyoto where i meet a friend. We go hiking up the main hill where you can look out over the city. On the way, we pass a really splendid looking new temple. Find out later that it's some kind of new religion almost like the Aum Shinrikyo that did the sarin gas attack in Tokyo 4 years ago. The TV says that Aum is gaining strength/members again! My friend's mom makes boiled tofu with vegetables. Kyoto is famous for this dish and i eat my fill - uuuummmmmmmmmm. We get the computer cables all connected and viola! It all works!

2/1 My friend goes to pick up the computer i reserved for her but finds it too big to carry home so she'll get her mom to bring the car tomorrow. I saw a guy take one home and i think my friend can do anything, but i guess there are some things that girls aren't good at - like lifting big heavy boxes.

1/29 I reserve a computer just like mine for my friend. It's got a Celeron333 chip, 2mb video, 16-bit sound, speakers, 3.2G HDD, floppy, 56K modem, Windows 98, several ports including 2 USB, all for only 89,000yen. What a deal! I waste the better part of the day running around computer stores again today:) I meet a SDA friend i haven't seen for a long time and we spend a long time getting caught up on each other's lives. She used to like me a lot. I'm glad her brother's out of jail, but there are still lots of problems it seems... She has pretty much consented to be married to a handicapped guy who isn't Christian:( I try to tell her God won't be happy with that kind of decision. She knows, but....she's lonely and she wants a normal family. Many people are out there like her. What is God doing for them? Help them be strong Lord.

1/26 My friend who's thinking about buying a computer comes over today. I make her favorite dish - spicy hot anything. The spices brought from India give her a taste of the real thing. The only non-real thing i put in is the dry-frozen tofu. It matches pretty well tho:) We play some games on the computer, listen to music, and she decides she wants one like this too. She's going to quit her job in a couple of weeks tho, so i don't know about it, but she says she can use the internet to help find a new job (and to plan her next trip - haha).

1/23 I meet a friend, her cousin, and her cousin's boyfriend. She says her cousin is a real ”美人”, but i think my friend is prettier:) The guy has a sports car and i get a feel for how expensive and time-consuming it is to go anywhere by car. We walk thru the plum-blossom garden in Osaka castle to see the yellow blossoms, eat Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake/pizza), and then to a bar because my friend wants to 'meet foreign guys' - haha. I have cranberry juice in a black, depressing place.

1/17 On my way back, i drop in on a friend who lives near Nagoya. We go to her sister's house where there has been a new family addition and a new house addition. Everybody treats me REAL nice. It's a great feeling to have people happy to meet you, take time to be with you, and make ?¨?E?¬?e (rice balls) for you - yum! My friend is listening to the translation of some American guy's self-help tape. It's something about setting goals and accomplishing them. It's all common sense, but like she says - "noone ever taught us stuff like this in school". It's true, important stuff seems to be have to be picked up by pieces over a lifetime, and by the time you've found some truth, it's half past your life. This is one of the first trips in a while where i didn't make any friends on the train:(

1/16 I finally make it to the church. The distances in Yokohama are quite different from Osaka. I'm used to being able to walk around Osaka, but Yokohama is much more spread out. The Kamenooka church is pretty big. After church i ask a guy at the bus stand how to get to Yokohama station. He doesn't know so i head out and catch a bus about 10 minutes walk away. When i get off, there is a tap on my shoulder, it's the same guy! He's very pleasant, and we happen to both be going to Yokohama on the same train so spend about 10 minutes cheerfully. I give him the book of John. He says "I'm Buddhist". I say "It's yours". So he takes it.

I wander around down by the harbor and lie down on the cold grass looking up at the blue sky and taking a peek once in a while at the couple hugging each other a few yards away. Their kid keeps plopping on top of them. It's really a cute sight. Surely God is happy to see a happy family that loves each other:) I meet a friend who has the same problem that many Christian girls do in Japan - what to do about marriage?

She liked a non-Christian guy a couple of years ago and her Christian friends advised "God wants you to be happy, and marriage is the happiest thing you can do, so get married".????????? I told her God wants us to be agreed on serving Him when we decide to unite our lives with someone else. She didn't marry him. Her folks are probably giving her pressure too. She likes another guy now, but he's not Christian either. She really thinks tho, that she can be a witness to him to get him to come to God. I'm praying for her!

1/15 I use the Seishun 18 kippu and take about 9 hours to get to Yokohama. My friend meets me and we walk around Yokohama Landmark Tower (the tallest building in Japan, with the fastest elevator in the world) looking out over the bay, talking. She's so easy to talk to. She's really emotional with almost crying one second and laughing the next. I think she misses the U.S. and Osaka also as she just moved to Yokohama last year. She had some interesting experiences during her home-stays in California last year. She really impresses me. No, she says her dad won't let me stay at his home, so she gives me some money to stay in a hotel. I'm VERY impressed. I spend it on a 'capsule' hotel. These are basically bunk beds with little radios, TVs etc. in them, with a public toilet and shower room. It can be a little noisy but for 3,900jpy it's not too bad:)

1/11 Back from Korea! YEA! Another 90 days! They questioned me pretty hard about not having a return ticket to America and saying that i was a translator, but they let me in! Feels good!

1/10 The high is -10C! Brrrr! Pass the kimchi! The people here let me have the room free as i go to the airport to greet a teacher coming over from Japan. YEA!

1/6 I head straight for the airport about 4 hours away by train. In Seoul, by taking a different train to the SDA school and hospital complex, i see a different side of Seoul. I looks a little dirtier than when i came back from India in October - hahaha. The school lets me have a big guest room. They are desperate for an English teacher for this term which lasts another 7 weeks. They started the classes and a teacher that was supposed to come backed out at the last minute. I think about it for a couple of hours and offer 'Yes'. 2 hours later i get the message that they've found someone in California who's offered to come over now instead of waiting until March as planned. Whewwwwww! A close one. No, i really want to help, but i also really want to be in Japan:)

I buy some noodles, tofu, seaweed, salted corn, spicy miso, and turn on the TV to see what Korea is like from the tube. Kinda like mostly American style with some Japanese style thrown in is how it hit me.

1/5 My friend in Kurashiki greets me very warmly and we have a nice dinner of - curry. She is one person who's had a big influence on my life, and i'd do almost anything to help her out. Her artistic talent is quite good and i'm impressed with 'tile men and women'. Her 500,000 yen computer floors me. You can put together a system that works just as well for less than 200,000 yen. Oh well, i guess she's doing her part to help the economy. She shows touches of the fiestiness i remember from 2 years ago, but something is weighing heavily on her. She shows me a sheet of paper on her door about God being there to pick me up when things get rough. I send up a silent prayer to God giving thanks for doing something to get her to search for Him. I remember praying that God maybe needs to do something she doesn't like to get her to come to Him. I'm praying that she can find Him now.

1/4 The ocean beckons today so i drive thru the mountains down to the seashore. My friend, 55? has never driven so i let her drive a 100 yards or so on the beach. She's excited:) We talk a lot about spiritual things and of course, just everyday things too. She's quite firmly Buddhist, but says she believes in Jesus Christ. I'll keep praying for her. We're very close friends.

1/3 We go hiking around a hill nearby. We look down on the pastoral landscape soaking in the tranquility of the scene:) In the evening we go to some hot springs and get hot. Some guy cleans his nose in our spring so i make a hasty exit.

1/2 We find the SDA church where about 9 people have gathered. We find out that all of them are from out-of-town! The building is beautiful tho, so i hope they can fill it up. The meal afterwards is tremendous, making my friend quite interested as her restaurant is macrobiotic, mostly vegetarian.

1/1 Like It's 1999!

We make lunch boxes at my friend's restaurant in Saga prefecture on Kyushu island. They are 3-tier lacquer boxes crammed with lots of wholesome goodies for just 10,000yen/each. Wow! There are reservations for 9.

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