Our God, Eager to Save

Posted January 10, 2010

Tomohisa had reached a coveted status in Japan’s vertically-ordered society: medical doctor. Along with the status came wealth, which he used to buy the affection of women…and lots of booze. His selfishness blinded... [Read More]

The Humbled Tsunami

Posted December 2, 2011

When the warning sirens went off, residents in a south Sendai neighborhood fled to the local school. Together with panicked children still in class they climbed to the rooftop. Some 600 altogether... [Read More]

Japanese Get "Bach" Hope

Posted September 21, 2011

Who would have thought Bach would be involved in 21st century mission work in Japan? I have frequently read with interest of the strong connection between classical music (particularly J.S. Bach) and Japanese interest... [Read More]

Tsunami Ground Zero

Posted April 7, 2011

I still haven't returned from tsunami ground zero. That is to say, although I've been back several days already, the reality of the scene is still with me. The incredible amounts of mud in once beautiful homes... [Read More]

"Nice Try, Kevin" File

Posted February 9, 2011

This one goes into the "Nice try, Kevin" file. I just thought it was a nice-looking bunch of flowers in the storefront and, on the spur of the moment, decided Kaori deserved to enjoy them. Chrysanthemums, however, are... [Read More]

The Gulliver Complex

Posted November 9, 2007

I'm a giant again. Well, not really. But it sure feels like it again since returning from the States. The first sign was bumping my head in the shuttle bus from the airport. By habit, I normally duck my head through any... [Read More]

Foreigners Don't Get the Point

Posted January 31, 2010

I'm standing in line at a drugstore with other shoppers. The woman in front of me has just pulled out a business card file. Hurriedly she flips through at least a hundred or more cards searching for the right one. It's a... [Read More]

More Powerful than Bombs

Posted July 5, 2008

Fuchida grew up loving his native Japan and hating the United States, which treated Asian immigrants harshly in the first half of the twentieth century. Fuchida attended a military academy, joined Japan's... [Read More]


Posted September 14, 2010

I'd been putting it off. Although I knew it was important, taking inventory of our earthquake and disaster gear just wasn't getting done. Japan rests along the "ring of fire" in the Pacific ocean, a stretch of area that is... [Read More]

150 Years Later

Posted March 17, 2009

This spring marks the 150th anniversary of Protestant Christianity in Japan. The first protestant missionaries set foot in the port of Yokohama back in 1859. Now they were real church planters -- overcoming all... [Read More]

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I for Japan. Japan for the World. The World for Christ. And All for the Glory of God.

— Kanzo Uchimura, Japanese Evangelist

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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

This is a five-day weekend in Japan called "Golden Week." A string of three national holidays on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday give Japanese workaholics a "golden" opportunity for a break from the pace of life in urban Tokyo. Many return to their family homes or head to vacation spots. We definitely felt the exodus this Sunday in church, with many gone, and many eager to leave immediately after the service. The usual room cleanup crew was pretty thin this week.

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!

There's nothing quite as intimidating as the first day at a new school when you're 12 years old. What a week of adjusting it's been for Justen.

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 justenmama@mac.com. Thanks for praying for his quick adjustment to his new surroundings.

Fruity Smiles

Our son, Justen, the young Picasso. Even food scraps in the kitchen sink become a medium. Imagine my suprise when I went to wash dishes and found this looking up at me from the sink! Did the melon peels drop this way by accident? No, this smile took intentional effort...smiles sometimes do. It did its job of making me smile (although it met its fate in the garbage can shortly after). "A glad heart makes a happy face." Proverbs 15:13

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7-30 Imaikami-cho, Nakahara; Kawasaki,
Kanagawa JAPAN 211-0067
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We serve with WorldVenture, an evangelical faith mission. Our sending/home church is Cornerstone Church of Lansing, Illinois.
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