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March 2007 Archives

March 5, 2007

Busy, busy

Sorry it has been pretty quiet lately on the blog. I have been pretty busy with my private duty nursing job! Taking care of Lois has really given me an education on Japanese medical system. The most difficult thing for me to stomach is many Japanese doctor's background that "pain builds character" or something like that! This goes against all my hospice training and trying to keep the patient's pain under control both for the patients sake and the JCAHO inspector! Trying to be an advocate for my "patient" when I can't speak the language has been a real challenge! They have let me administer her preventative IV antibiotics (over-kill in my opinion) at home--amazing! Yesterday, though, she seemed to be much better. Hopefully this week will be a better week! I'm wracking my brain to figure out menus that will work into their vegan diet! Thankfully, they aren't too picky and I had some ideas because of the time I spent at their house before this. Thanks for your ongoing prayers for both Willis and Lois and us as we try to help!

On Saturdays we have been going to Akihiro's grandpa's restaurant and loading our car with all kinds of things--dishes, vases, pot, pans, etc. His restaurant is closing as well as a vacated office that belongs to my in-laws. The garbage truck is coming the end of this month, so we are doing our best to salvage anything that is useful prior to that time--refrigerator, desks, all kinds of things! It is a big job, but we are thankful that many of these things can probably be used in the "Ito Guesthouse"! If anyone visits us for the next few years, I think they can have their pick of dishes and things to take home for souveniers! Many of the things were gifts to Akihiro's grandpa when he went to China to play his Japanese flute. One of the things we "unearthed" was an Buddhist priest outfit that he used to wear when he played the flute as a street performer! He has quite a history! We hope to get some of his experiences recorded for posterity this month when they join us at our Tokiwa hotel for a night.

March 8, 2007

Nihongo--Japanese Language!

いま にほんご を べんきょしてます。 とても むずかし です ても おもしろい です。 にじゅうこ かんじ が わかります。

Oops--I forgot and wrote in Japanese! (Just kidding!) I thought I would let you see how it is to read Japanese. This sentence, though, is all in the simple alphabet called hiragana. Most Japanese would write it shorter by use of the chinese characters--kanji. Anyway, it says, "Now I am studying Japanese. It is very difficult, but it is interesting. I know 20 kanji."

My biggest struggle right now is figuring out how to practice my Japanese. I realize that it seems strange when everyone here speaks Japanese, but I need people who I can just practice saying sentences to--not necessarily conversation yet. I've got a few ideas--perhaps my neighbor downstairs, or do more Japanese lessons--depends on how my schedule and job goes. Anyway, I am hanging in there with my learning. Actually learning the kanji has been kinda fun--it is fun to see that I can recognize a few of them on the traffic signs, etc. Dangerous, though, because I need to look at the road and not the signs!

Speaking of "job", Lois is getting some better. She still struggles with episodes of severe pain and doesn't sleep the greatest, but we are gradually getting into more of a routine.

Sorry, no pictures lately! Hopefully I can post some pictures next week as we are planning to travel to a southern island for a workshop Akihiro will be giving. I get to go along as cameraman!

March 12, 2007

The Short Life of the Ito Guesthouse No.1

The Ito Guesthouse was born, but did not live long! Akihiro's parents' company did some more investigation in the courts after hearing from the current owner that her husband had committed suicide. The court did not publish this information in the court-ordered auction. What does this mean? Well, no Japanese people will live in a house where such an awful thing has occurred and if it occurred on the grounds, a Shinto priest has to come and do a special service before someone will live there. This means that to be feasible, the house would have to be torn down and rebuilt. It isn't worth the price bid, so Akihiro's parents' company withdrew their bid and it will be re-auctioned. Meanwhile, we will (as of Saturday) have a storage unit in Yamanashi full of dishes and some furniture awaiting the Ito Guesthouse No 2. So, it looks like we will continue to stay at the Tokiwa Hotel and continue looking for a guesthouse.

Today we flew to Tokushima and had a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji and the Yamanashi area. To the left of Mt. Fuji there is a string of mountains. Yamanashi is the area just behind those mountains, so we can just see the top of Fuji-san many times.

A few other details to note--have you ever cooked a crab before? Well, I had my first try last night! I had received one from Akihiro's parents and it was taking up too much room in my freezer--those long legs didn't give much! So, I took him out of the freezer and he sat in my fridge and softened up a bit! He was quite delicious!

As far as my "patient", Lois is doing some better, but still suffers from pain in various places. She still needs quite a bit of help because of her left arm in a sling, though. I am spending any free day out there to help out.

It is getting really pretty here as the cherry trees are starting to bloom in some places! Hopefully I will have some pictures soon!

March 15, 2007

Sorry-here's a better picture with Mt. Fuji!


March 20, 2007

A few various and sundry happenings....

One thing I have been meaning to write on the blog is something that happened to me at Akihiro's workshop last week. We ate lunch with some of the students and one of the professors. At lunch, I noticed something different about one of the students. I couldn't really put my finger on it. Later, when the workshop was over and I was sitting by myself practicing my kanji, he came over and started talking to me. He asked me if it was hard to come to Japan. I hesitated a bit--I know I shouldn't!--and told him that I am a Christian and that God has helped me to adjust to Japanese life and it has been a blessing. Actually, he replied, I am a Christian too! Ah-hah, that was what was different about this student! We continued to talk until Akihiro was ready to go. What an encouragement it was to speak with him. He is of a different denomination, but definitely, I could feel the Spirit working in his life. He said he was the only student in the class of 100 that is Christian--sounds familiar. I am assuming Akihiro's medical school class was about the same--perhaps 2 out of 100. Again, it made me so thankful that he saw something different in Sis. Ayako and was brought to the truth of Jesus Christ! I just pray that more students, more people here in Japan would see something different in the few believers and seek it for themselves!

A few other happenings--we enjoyed having Akihiro's grandparents join us in Yamanashi for an evening at the hotel. We went to an onsen up on top of the mountain and had a perfect view of Mt. Fuji! Grandma and I had quite a time in the onsen--between my poor Japanese and her short term memory loss, we were quite a pair!

The picture below is a sight I saw on my way to the Japanese class yesterday. I think the man on the right holding the flags really wondered what was going on when I stopped, dug through my backpack, pulled out my camera and snapped a picture, and hurried on my way, but oh well! The men were trimming trees--yes, that isn't different, but check out their britches! They also have funny shoes--they are divided in between the big toe and the little toes and seem to be like elastic around the ankles--almost like socks. Many of the construction workers wear this kind of stuff. The workers are always accompanied by a flag man with white and red flags to manage the traffic.

Had several "firsts" recently! I got gas by myself. "Regular mantan de onegaishimas!" (Most gas stations here are full service) I could tell the service station men were jabbing eachother trying to get eachother to take care of me, knowing they might have to talk English! The other first was today--I drove a stick shift car with the stick on my right. I only killed it once!
I had borrowed Ayako's car to take Marie to the station after we ate lunch together. So thankful I didn't wreck it!

Tomorrow we go to the north island of Hokkaido with Akihiro's parents. They want him to look at a medical facility they may purchase. I'm glad I get to go along and spend the night with them. Hopefully I'll have some pictures of that!

Sorry for the mish mash (is that a word?) of entries!

Oops--I realized that the Mt. Fuji pic still didn't work unless you clicked on it. Here's a better one--finally figured it out!

March 23, 2007

Hokkaido visit

We had a nice visit to the North island. They are famous for their potatoes, so I enjoyed them for all three meals today! Delicious! I also enjoyed their sweet cream ice cream! Akihiro enjoyed the sushi, but thankfully, not for all three meals! I do have to agree that the tuna sushi I had was quite good--perhaps the best I've had!

We looked at the medical facility which is a huge complex with nursing home, assisted living, and hospital. It had gone bankrupt, so is being sold very cheaply. We'll see what Akihiro's dad can "cook up". He may be able to make it work by selling each one individually. We also took a look at the cruiser boat he would like to buy for fishing in Hakodate. He's crazy about fishing--in fact lots of his office space there is used storing fishing gear! Akihiro is already dreaming of a summer trip here--catch fish and eat! For me it is catch, COOK, and then eat, but I guess we can work it out! The ocean is beautiful with snow covered mountains around the bay. It was especially enjoyable as I sat in the 11th floor rooftop onsen and tried to talk Japanese to Akihiro's mom! We got a good look at the mountains and a military structure shaped like a star from a high tower. The military structure was the last of the samurai installments in Japan and was where the samurais surrendered to the emperor's government (if I understood Akihiro's explanation correctly!).


We also visited a fish market--very interesting to see all the sea animals that can be eaten--sea anemonies (I think that's what those spiky black things are!), crab, squid, oysters, mussels, octopus, all shapes and colors of fish eggs, etc. We got to taste many samples as we roamed the market. We didn't do the highly popular catch your own squid and kill him and eat him, though! We also got to see some boats with glass like things that are used to catch squid. I guess the squid are attracted to the light at night. Once you have a squid, you have bait for a big tuna--or you can just eat the squid yourself! You can see the glass things hanging from the ship in rows.

fish eggs, salmon, etc.




Another note on getting gas...gasoline, that is... When the service men see you coming they wave wildly to direct you into your spot, "All right, all right, all right........OK des!" they say. Then they take your card and sprint to their payment station--in fact, everywhere they go, they sprint! So eager they are to serve us! All the available servicemen stand at attention and then bow low as we exit the gas station. It's quite an experience if I remember pumping my own gas in the States and dealing with some grumpy service station cashier!

I had a request for statistics on our blog, so I will give a summary--about 30 people check the blog every day and someone checks it every hour--either there are some night owls or it is Japanese or Hungary people! 75% of the viewers are located in the U.S., but the othr 25% are outside the U.S.

About March 2007

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

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