The Plant Comes to Life Again
We kind of wondered if this plant (see here
) which we received from Bob Walker during the Walker's visit to us in 2009 had survived the winter. The branches were bear pretty much until mid April, when most of the other trees around here had gotten their new leaves. Then all of a sudden it burst back to life again. Very symbolic of the ups and downs and then back up agains we go through in life...
A Photo from the 'In Between' Days
Too late for the Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)... Too early for the Tsutsuji (Azaleas)... It was just another mid April day that I decided to take a walk in the morning and see what I could find. Fortunately there were still some Nanohana (Rapeseed) in bloom and bit of glorious light when the sun finally broke through the clouds.
The Sakura Peaks in Nagaokakyo
Well, this PBLOG is almost a year behind, which actually makes it look up to date! Because right now we are almost at the Sakura Peak again. However rather than jumping ahead in time, I'm going to keep going with it, so the record is on the internet of all the amazing things the Lord has shown us and the Lord has done in our lives here.
As for some of my newer photographic works, I'm planning more galleries, but the priority is on this PBLOG at the moment, which is about all I can manage at the moment in additional to all of the work we do here, plus maintaining two other websites (one for church
and another site where I attempt to sell some prints
This photo of the Sakura by a river in Nagaokakyo was taken on my way to work at Bambio (a civic centre building in Nagaokakyo) for the start of the school year in April 2010. The school year starts in April in Japan. That Sakura blooming was significant because that at that time the numbers grew in our more stable children's classes at Bambio and at our house, that with the children's classes doing well together with my work teaching in English at Megumi Kindergarten, we were no longer dependant on the come and go as they please private adult students to meet our monthly expenses.
What we do at Bambio is run 6 English classes a week. We hire a small classroom (in Bambio there are many rooms of various types and sizes, used for everything from art/craft type classes, to aerobic classes).
In addition to the various children's class, private adult students, teaching at a kindergarten, and church work we do. We also have a small portfolio of investments in Australia that provide us with a small passive income stream.
I am not trying to say that this is a great business model or something. In fact this move would not have been possible with out the help and support of many others that got us through the tough first year (Thank You from the bottom of our hearts everyone who has supported us in many ways: prayerfully, financially, emotionally, etc). Neither am I saying we have the greatest lifestyle, just I'm making it clear what we do and how we earn a living. If our focus was on making money I wouldn't say we've done well... BUT, we are here as "tent maker" missionaries (but not affiliated with Tentmakers International), we do what ever work we can to support ourselves and that gives us an opportunity to meet and minister to people. We live very simply (no car) and in a little old house that's 12 minutes walk from the train station, so our monthly expenses are not very high. Maybe one day I might write a book on "how to live in Japan on the cheap", because a lot of other foreigners (including other missionaries) in Japan don't seem to know how. Our monthly living costs here are only about 1 quarter (or less) of what they were in Australia. Our income here is about a third of what it was in Australia, but we seem to have more left over here. We're the living the frugal Japanese lifestyle and it's been an amazing journey God has brought us on thus far!
Note: This is the last of my "heavy PBLOGs" for a while, I might have them out more regularly now that I've got this one and the previous one off my chest. Cheers James.
This has been a very difficult BLOG to write, my first attempt was before the Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear disaster struck Japan, but I just couldn't get the words right. After the disaster struck, I haven't felt up to rewriting it for a while. I want to reiterate that we are about 800kms away from the areas directly affected by the tsunami. The nuclear problem is a concern, but the more research I've done into it, the less worried I am, despite what some foreign media is saying. Sensationalism sells!
Now on to the BLOG, because this is something I've been learning from the Lord more recently about being sensitive to the level of faith different people are at. Some people are strongly against celebrating Easter because of possible pagan origins of the holiday. The majority of Christians though celebrate it us one of the most Holy times of the year. The truth is that none of the so called "Christian Holidays" such as Easter, Christmas, Lent, etc are mentioned in the scriptures as Holidays Christians need to celebrate. They are actually just celebrated out of tradition. The understanding I've come to by the scriptures is this: if people wish to celebrate these days they can, if they choose not to celebrated that's OK too.
"One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Romans 14:5 (King James Version)
So now let me share my experience from Easter 2010 in Japan. Firstly just like Christmas, Easter is not a public holiday in Japan. Whereas Christmas does get celebrated by people (both Christians and non-Christian) here in Japan in some form, Easter goes by almost unnoticed, there are no Easter Eggs in the shops. So when the Sakamoto's returned from a business trip to the US with Easter Eggs as gifts for our church here, it was big treat for everyone, because it's something we can't get in Japan. Just this little thing made the people in our little home church, feel connected with something much bigger and it's easy to feel very much in the minority as a Christian in Japan.
If you would like to donate to a church based charity that actually is active on the ground in the disaster zone (rather than waiting for approval from the Japanese government to get in) please donate to CRASH Japan
. If you would rather donate to a secular organisation then please donate to the Japanese Red Cross
. THANK YOU
Golden lit Sakura
As I've already mentioned, the weather during the Sakura blooming in 2010 was cooler than usual. Actually, as I headed out to Arashiyama where I took this photo it was close to zero. In fact in Arashiyama when I had to take my gloves off with in a minute my hands were not only cold, but they were in pain. I'm sure not too many people enjoyed evening parties under Sakura in 2010, day time was OK though. However I put my self through the pain of going to Arashiyama before sunrise so I could capture that elusive Golden Light on the the pristine Sakuras by the river.
Although the morning was cold the April Sun quickly rose the temperature to a comfortable level(about 15C). After the finishing off the film, I spent the rest of the morning chatting with other day trippers and tourists in English, Japanese and Indonesian.