Rambling Notes from Japan
Here are some blog posts that we hope will make you feel a part of things, and help you understand how to pray better for us and Japan. Please see our external blog in Blogger, if this page does not display correctly.
The Reason Justen's Growing Taller
I finally figured it out today. I figured out why my son is growing taller so quickly. He might not be as tall as some 14-year-olds. But he's be going through shoes and pants sizes like there's no bottom to dad's wallet. See for yourself in the photo at left. Now I know why:
Today we stepped aboard the same Tokyo-bound commuter train. Justen was on his way to a few days of summer camp. I went along to help carry all his stuff (you'd think MK's would know how to pack lighter). This wasn't just ANY Tokyo commuter train. This was the Denentoshi line by our house, voted the most crowded of all. It's already outgrown the added capacity they spent 4 years building. And we were in the thick of rush hour, on a day many were returning to work from Obon vacation time. It was a banner day for crowded trains. I have NEVER been this tightly packed in on a train before. I thought I had seen the worst until today. WOW! Having a big suitcase with me only made matters worse. And it did little to engender Christian attitudes from those squeezed in nose to nose around me.
As the train lurched out of the station, I instinctively reached up to find something to hang onto. A hand reached PAST mine to the empty space on the metal rail over my head. It was Justen's hand. I was amazed. It was a day of record temperatures, and at least 98.6 in that train car with bodies crammed around us. I craned my head upward to catch even a bit of breeze coming from the ceiling air conditioning. A head craned PAST mine to do the same. It was Justen's head. I was doubly amazed.
Now I know why Justen's growing. Justen makes this commute every morning to school in Tokyo. His body seems to have adapted itself to this environment. It has to in order to survive this battle of the fittest on Tokyo trains. And all this time I thought it was all the white rice! Go figure.
Golden Week Chess
Meanwhile, Kaori, Justen and I were invited to the home of new believers, a church young couple here in our neighborhood for the holiday break. Justen got a chance to hone his "shogi" talent with the young husband. "Shogi" or Japanese chess is fairly easy to learn, but incredibly hard to master. For me as an American, watching my son play "shogi" reminds my of how blended his cultural experience is from a young age. And it definitely fits into the category of "where did he pick this up?" Kaori and I just watched in amazement as he beat his teammate twice.
New School is Cool!
Justen's old church school closed its doors this past summer after 6 years because of personnel and financial struggles. Now Justen is attending "Fountain of Life International School." It is a tiny church-based school (all church-based schools are tiny in Japan) of 10 students ranging from 1st grade to high school. Each student receives a lot of individual attention, tutoring and help. Subjects are taught in English as well as Japanese. And that is "cool" with our bilingual Justen.
The new school is actually a bit closer than the last one, but still requires 3 trains to get to. This time he heads into (instead of away from) Tokyo on the train at the height of the morning rush hour. Or should we say "crush hour." It's a good thing he's still small because It is indeed a very tight squeeze for a good part of the way. Sometime next year a new train line to open near our home should help alleviate part of that congestion, for a while at least.
You can write Justen a note of encouragement at email@example.com. Thanks for praying for his quick adjustment to his new surroundings.