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February 2007 Archives

February 3, 2007

Addresses and Contact Information

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Akihiro and Carrie Ito
1057 Higashiasakawa
K-2 Hausu 2F
Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0834


Akihiro and Carrie Ito
212 N. Harris St.
PO Box 641
Tremont, IL 61568

EMAIL: pilgrims@ito3.name

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February 4, 2007

An advantage of small churches

In the last 2 weeks, I have sang Happy Birthday twice at church lunch--once in Tokyo for one of the Sunday school children and today in Shioda for 5 year old Koshin! Little Koshin was especially cute, because when we started to sing, he became very shy and started crying and hid his face in his older brother's shirt, resulting in an abrupt stop to the singing! He settled down, though, and became more agreeable to the whole thing once he got the present Akihiro gave him--Japanese snacks! Anyway, I had to smile, because I don't remember singing happy birthday in church ever before! Happy Birthday is a song that is sung the same way in both Japan and America--English!!! Hallelujah!

February 6, 2007


Today we went to a restaurant named Jonathan's. It is somewhat of a Western-style place--much like a Denny's or Perkins in some ways, yet still has a few Japanese touches! Well, the menu has pictures, so you can see what things look like--how about fish egg spaghetti?!! No? Well, then maybe seaweed and oyster spaghetti! There is plenty of rice, too! The main American dish is "hamburg"--a hamburger with no bun and some sauce (sorry can't remember if I wrote about that already!) We surveyed the menu and when we were ready to order, we pressed this little button on the table and the waitress came dashing over to our table. She had a little device that looks like a large remote control and punches our order in there and apparently it goes right to the kitchen! We open our little wet nap to wash our hands--most restaurants have these instead of napkins--fancy places have wet washclothes for each person! In most families they all share the same wet washcloth! Anyway, my hubby chose an "interesting" spaghetti dish with seaweed, daikon radish, and mushrooms. Actually it was pretty good. I got a spicy chicken and rice dish with a dallop of mayonaise on it--Japanese love mayonaise--and it was pretty good too!

We leave Thursday morning bright and early with Andrew Klaus and his four oldest children to go skiing. Klutzy Carrie is hoping and praying that we return intact on Friday night! Akihiro says it is a beautiful area where we are planning to go.

P.S. Slowly, but surely I am getting the other blog entries transferred over to this new blog. Hopefully they will be there for "posterity!" One of the neat features of this blog is that we can see how many people visit, when they visit, and what region they are in! Amazing!

February 10, 2007

How was the skiing?

Hmm..what should I write! Well…good and bad, I guess! Good news first! The mountains and the snow were beautiful, the resort was just like Switzerland, I had fun with the Klaus family, and......I got a lot done while I sat and looked out the window! “Hmmm” you are probably thinking, “What is she doing looking out the window!?” Well, I started off the same way I had the last time I went skiing—over 10 years ago—clunking my head and back good getting off the ski lift! I’m ashamed to say that I lost my temper at my dear hubby—you know it always is easier to blame your own faults on someone else! What was he thinking taking me on the lift without giving me some chance to try out my skis! Doesn’t he know by now that I’m not very coordinated?! Yes, he’s been skiing since he was 3, but not me! This is crazy--I can't do this--etc!!! Anyway, he and the lift guy coaxed me out of the way of the other skilled skiers and guided me to the top of the slope—yikes! It took quite a bit of talking to get me to move! I inched to the other side and then..hmmm..I’ve got to turn around somehow. He wants me to make a curve—oh great! I stubbornly refuse! “Well, I guess you can lay down on your back and swing your legs around,” he says. I’m sure I was a very graceful site with those long skis turning through the air and then making several clumsy attempts to stand up! After a few falls and much encouragement by my patient hubby, I managed to get down the slope. I had gained confidence in my reckless approach to this activity! I was bound and determined to get off the lift smoothly this time! Well, I got off and managed to stay on my feet, but it was anything but smooth! I did two more trecks down and on the last time I had a grand fall—clunked my head and back good enough to see stars! Akihiro, racing to my rescue sprayed me with snow and fell down in front of me, my flown-away hat, and my snapped-off ski! These short Japanese people don't have so far to the ground! Akihiro said he needed to teach me how to fall! How to fall?!! Oh dear! I think that fall did me in for the morning. I went to take a rest, not realizing that I had sat on a snowball—uggh, wet pants! After a good lunch, I thought I was brave enough and my headache, neck ache, and back ache weren’t too bad, so I had better try it again. DUH! I started to get scared on the lift ride up and then clunked my head again getting off the lift—that pretty much topped it off! I was scared! I tried to go, but just couldn’t make myself! That slope looked like it went straight down! Akihiro tried to teach me how to go down sideways, but that was taking forever and my phobia was growing! Just as I had said many years ago when a canoe tipped over on me, again my words were, “I want to walk!” So, off went the skis and I walked down the side of the mountain, trying not to draw too much attention to myself! Maybe they think my skis snapped off and went down the mountain on their own..hmm..probably not. Oh well, dad always says, “life is a humbling school!” Anyway, the onsen felt great that night on my aching muscles. Despite the encouragement of my fellow skiers, I spent the next day inside the hotel in an easy chair watching the other graceful skiers gliding by my window and typing the next chapter of our book. Akihiro would really like me to try again sometime, but I know he is underestimating my klutziness! I told him he might have a better chance of convincing me when my neck and back have regained their flexibility! We'll see! Anyway, sorry to bore you with my self-deprecating story! Also, here's a picture of my cheapskate hubby in his flashy ski wear that he got in high school! He was the brightest guy on the slopes and I could easily spot him! honeycompressed.JPG

February 11, 2007

Church, etc.

Tonight as I write my blog, I have a different feeling. I just got done reading a blog by Lisa Gerber, one of our church members who has leukemia and has just been given a short time to live. Her thoughts have a heavenly perspective that makes any thing down here on earth seem pretty pale. Those of you who are interested can find her blog at www.caringbridge.org/visit/lisajourney. Anyway, here's a few earthly things from this side of the world....

Church today was a little smaller than last week--just 9 adults and 2 children. 3 friends and 6 members. Akihiro had the morning bible lesson as well as assuming the role of sound man and song leader. He was the only brother there as Toru-san, the other brother was in Sunday School! Anyway, we had a blessed day. Akihiro does a little English afterwards, so I can get something out of the lesson. Otherwise, I read the scripture and write a few thoughts down about it. Sometimes I write down some words that I hear recurring and ask Akihiro later what they mean, but this requires listening very carefully to the Japanese. After two hours, my brain is so tired of listening to Japanese and filtering through the words I know and those I don'!. Finally, the Japanese letters are getting a little bit more familiar, so I can sing with a little more confidence--even though I don't know what I am singing! Thankfully, though, most of the songs are familiar to me! We have the Zion's Harp which has been translated and then two other songbooks that have many of the familiar hymns. For lunch, we usually have bread,cheese, fruit, green tea, and maybe some sweets or other things, too! I serve lunch one time a month! At lunch, I usually try out my Japanese on some of the elderly people there. It usually doesn't come out right and then they try to correct me in Japanese--oh, dear, it is a humbling and frustrating experience! I get so impatient to know this language! I know I like to talk, but I didn't realize how much "not talking" would affect me! Be careful when you pray you would be "slow to speak"--you might just end up in a foreign country! Everyone pitches in and cleans up the dishes and dining room. Oh, yeah, did you know that we wear slippers in church--truly Japanese!

February 13, 2007

Another Japanese Holiday--National Foundation Day

According to old records, the nation of Japan began on February 11, 660 B.C., when the first emperor, Emperor Jimmu, acceeded to the throne. Japanese celebrate this day as the birth of their country. It was a gorgeous day for a holiday and I enjoyed it very much. Akihiro decided to work and take another day off to go to his parent's company--he's now a board member there and gives medical advice to the employees there. He's getting very interested in their business of real estate--actually it seems there isn't really too much he isn't interested in! Anyway, after some Japanese study and web site update, I went to meet Eiko, a sister from our church. We went to a garden shop and enjoyed the beautiful plants and then went shopping. Here in Japan they have a great selection of knee socks! I guess it is because of those uniformed girls who need to keep their legs warm! Then we went to the Skylark restaurant. It is a family restaurant chain and has cheap, but good food. I saw these little "to go" scooters--a frequent site in Japan and thought they were cute!


After that, we went to a park to eat our dessert and take a walk. Eiko had brought a sweetie and some cookies. Now, before you think that Eiko has a boyfriend, I must tell you that a sweetie is a green fruit that looks like a grapefruit--you'll see one in the picture below! They are quite juicy and sweet--duh, thus the name! They are grown in Israel. We wondered if Jesus had eaten them! The park we visited had many fruit trees and will be beautiful in the months to come as they flower. Since we are in a higher elevation than at home in Takao, none had started blooming, but at home on our bike/walking path by the river, the ume--wild plum--trees have started showing off their white blooms--very pretty!


After a nice hike, we headed back and she gave me a tour of her office where she works in a tiny laboratory testing tiny little fish--about the size of an thick straight pin! These little fish end up in the supermarket to get sprinkled on salad, fermented soybeans, rice (of course, that "white monster" as my aunt Mary put it!), etc.!

February 16, 2007

The Ito Guesthouse is Born!

Yesterday, Akihiro's parents bid on a guesthouse in Yamanashi and won! We have lots of ideas as to how to use this blessing and are praying that God will direct us in this matter! We won't be able to go in it until April, but we did visit the outside and it looks really nice! It is about 20 minutes from Shioda church and maybe about the same to Akihiro's work.

We are looking forward to some company this weekend--Akihiro's grandma and 3 cousins are coming for supper Saturday night and then we will have some church brothers here overnight Saturday night through Monday night, so I am busy cooking and cleaning! The blog might be quiet for the next few days!

February 21, 2007

Tokyo tour, A beautiful bike ride

After having company, I was ready for a day to catch up! It was a beautiful day, so after doing as much laundry as would fit on my balcony and picking up a bit, I took a bike ride. The ume trees are in full bloom as you can see. There were lots of artists out painting them--if you look closely, you can see them.

We really enjoyed our company--we had Chuck Kellenberger from Elgin and Stan Virkler from Remington. I hesitantly took on the challenge of taking them to Tokyo for sightseeing on Monday. For a country bumpkin from Tremont, this was a little bit intimidating, but thanks to my guests' patience and Akihiro's preparation, we enjoyed the day. We took a half day tour in the morning, so I got to go up in Tokyo tower--great view, Asakusa Temple, and a quick look at the Imperial Palace grounds. I think I could do it on my own the next time. After leaving the tour, we went in search of a Kaiten Sushi place. Akihiro had sent me 3 emails on my cell phone with directions to the place and the kanji name, but Tokyo Station is huge! We compared my phone screen to the maps, but finally I consented to asking for directions (that awful stubborn streak in me!). After lunch we were on our own, so I took the carefully prepared directions from Akihiro and we headed for the land of garbage and the big ferris wheel--I even bought tickets on my own (I am spoiled with my card that I can use on most any line without buying a ticket!)

Backtracking a bit...we had Akihiro's grandma and 3 cousins for supper on Saturday. They had a good time tasting American cooking--casserole, green beans, spinach salad, pecan pie, etc. When they went to leave, I had them sign the guestbook. Grandma had never heard of such a thing, but gladly filled 4 lines with her Japanese writing!

February 22, 2007

Cooking class

I wish I would have taken my camera to my friend's apartment today so you could see what we made, but I will do my best to describe it! Yoko is teaching me some Japanese cooking skills in exchange for talking English on Skype every Saturday morning. We both enjoy both of our tasks! Today we made what I call "fish balls"--you know--like meat balls, except fish! We started with a little pack of 3 inch long sardines. We chopped off their heads, gutted them, and pulled out their backbone and washed them in salted water. Then she has this special device that is used to cut them up and turn them into a sort of gray fish paste--hmmm. I could probably achieve the same thing in the blender. Then we dropped a ball of fish paste in fish broth water to cook and then added a green leafy vegetable--mitsuba--at the end. We tasted it--actually it was very good!
Next we started on sushi rolls and she pulled out this interesting looking package that looked like white rope. "This is food?" I am thinking! We boiled it 5 times in water--exchanging water each time and then seasoned it with sugar, soy sauce, and other Japanese seasonings--it became soft and flat. Apparently it is some kind of vegetable product. We put it in the sushi rolls with cucumber and an egg omlet and it also was very good! We added some pickled plum to the rice and made a sushi roll that had a flower in it--very impressive! Needless to say, Akihiro really liked his supper tonight!

February 25, 2007

Nursing Again and Shopping!

While the Ehnle's were in Mexico, Lois had a fall and broke her elbow. This resulted in surgery 3 days prior to their return trip to Japan. They arrived back home yesterday, but the trip was terribly uncomfortable for her. Today, I was thankful for my nursing experience in positioning, pain control, etc. I keep thinking of the verse, "for such a time as this" and feel very thankful to be able to help them through this struggle! Please pray for her, though, that her pain would be alleviated and that she could get good rest.

A shopping note... I was telling Akihiro about my visit to my friend's home and then realized that I had had another interesting experience besides food that day--a little detective work. My friend had asked me to go to the grocery store to get some milk. She said it was near the park. Ok, should be easy enough. Well, I got to the park and couldn't see any sign of a grocery store. There were quite a few people around, but I still am not good enough at asking directions--or I am too stubborn and proud to try--so I just stood there for a while trying to pick which way to go at the intersection. 1 1/2 year old Shotaro wasn't too much help in the stroller even though he is very cute! Ah, then it dawned on me! People walking from the right have grocery bags! I will just head in that direction! So, at each intersection, I looked for more shopping bags and they pretty much led me to the grocery store! God's divine intervention--even through shopping bags!

About February 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Welcome to ITO NEWS in February 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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