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June 2007 Archives

June 3, 2007

My Taste Buds are Turning Japanese!

Akihiro's coworkers took us out to eat last week and it was quite a feast. One of the many small dishes as appetizers was these small squid. I guess they are called fireflies because in the deep sea they shine a light. Anyway, I didn't think I could eat them--raw and slimy, but I took a deep breath and gave it a try. Actually, to my suprise, it was kinda good! I couldn't believe myself!

Also, they had a huge tuna head--looked like just the top part above both eyes that they had roasted. I guess instead of a pig roast, it is a tuna roast! It was good too!


So with the nursing home job behind us, we look to the future which seems to have lots of question marks--when, where, how long, how much, why? The following verse was on my flip calender and I just haven't seemed to be able to flip past it because it has been such a comfort. Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. It's not that we are in a drought--Akihiro will be on the payroll of his parent's company next month, and I don't know that our bones need to be made fatter, but it is the idea that the LORD will guide us continually--that is what brings peace. Prayers have been answered in that our discussion with Akihiro's parents regarding work in Hokkaido went very well. Our lifestyle as Christians and perhaps Americanized Christians is quite different than Japanese business people's life, so we discussed our "boundaries" as far as work hours, business trips, desire to eat supper together, devotions, attend our church every Sunday, etc. His parents were very understanding and are willing to "go along" with our situation, for which I am very thankful! They will bid on the medical facility in Hokkaido early next month and then we will probably gradually be spending more time there. "We'll see" seems to be the phrase of the month! For now, Akihiro is busy studying for his boat license. His dad bought a boat in Hokkaido and he needs a license to drive it. He goes for his practical test at a mountain lake nearby on Tuesday (Kawaguchiko, for those of you familiar with Japan) and I just might tag along and explore the area, depending on the weather! In the meantime, we are finishing up the medical English book. Yes, my dear friends, Dr. Do-Something and Nurse Know-It-All are falling in love (a suggestion we received) and experiencing many medical terms--diaphoresis, palpitations, etc! He will continue to work on Wednesdays in Yamanashi, so it will allow me to continue my Japanese class and spend some time with the Ehnle's. I'm thankful for that.

We continue to enjoy beautiful weather here and now it is the season for watermellons and cherries in the grocery stores--but they are terribly expensive compared to the U.S. A small watermelon can run about $18! They are very good though--also the cherries. Akihiro got some from a patient's daughter at the nursing home. Never have I tasted such sweet cherries!

Oh, and for those of you who like to eat out at Japanese restaurants, we went to a place with Akihiro's parents like the one in Peoria where they cook your food in front of you. We asked the chef if this style originated in Japan because we rarely see it. He said "no". Apparently, it was started by Japanese people who went to Hawaii. This restaurant that we went to was owned by a man who worked at Beni Hana (apparently a famous Japanese restaurant of this style) in Hawaii. Oh yeah, they didn't make any fire, though, and didn't toss my rice bowl--that would be a little too American, perhaps!

June 7, 2007

A Lady of Leisure for a few days

Monday and Tuesday I felt like a lady of leisure! On Monday--the first Monday I have been home (used to be in Yamanashi almost every Monday)--I went to Hachioji Station (one of the bigger stations in our area) to meet Marie Inoue for lunch. I went early to do a little shopping with a gift card from Akihiro's mom. I had heard about a department store opening, but had never been there for one, so I arrived at the store about 10 minutes before the store opened. Already there were people gathered there waiting, and a gentleman was inside looking at his watch. It was interesting to see how precise and regimented it was! About 6 minutes til 10, two more suited men came and unhooked the lock on the doors, then returned to their former positions of attention. Then about 4 minutes til 10, they opened the doors and returned to their former positions. Then at 2 minutes til 10, a young lady in a very sharp-looking light blue suit and dapper hat appeared, bowed low, welcomed us in very polite and careful words, and informed us that the store would open in 2 minutes. She remained standing in front of the doors smiling at us all. At this point I was feeling almost like I was at the tomb of the unknown soldier or something! Anyway, finally at 10, some music started playing and they all bowed low to us and welcomed us into the store. Everywhere we went, there were sales people lined up along the aisles and when you approached them, they bowed. It was like cards falling before me! Part of me was trying to hide my amusement at the whole deal and another part of me was embarrassed that all these people were bowing to me like I was the queen! Anyway, after all that fanfare, I enjoyed my shopping and my lunch with Marie. We ate at a little pizza place (yes, pizza! We are 2 Americans with Japanese husbands who like Japanese food best!) that had a nice view of the tree covered mountains in the distance.

Tuesday, Akihiro went to Kawaguchiko for his boat license test, so I tagged along. It was pretty cloudy so I couldn't see Mt. Fuji, but still it was beautiful. I explored some museums and some parks. I went to two museums that were showing Japanese dolls--one was made of paper and the other was cloth. They were beautiful! I also went to a music box museum and enjoyed the rose gardens, a Czech quartet, a synchronized water fountain, and trying to talk to three Japanese ladies who were enjoying the museum as well! Akihiro won't know until next week about his test, but he felt pretty good about it (despite me forgetting that he needs rice, not cereal for breakfast on test days!) .


Akihiro is keeping busy studying for his geriatric board (this fall), helping with some of the church business, scheduling some part time jobs, and helping finish our book. Things continue to be fairly unsure about our future. Now his dad is wondering if he truly can win the auction for the Hokkaido facility. I guess we have been praying that God would open and close doors as He sees fit, so we will continue to watch, wait, trust, and pray.

June 18, 2007

A visit to Nagano and other news

On last Monday and Tuesday we took Akihiro's grandma to visit her second home in the mountains of Nagano--a couple of hours away. She and her husband had built it themselves about 20 years ago and had lived there for about 2 years when he got gastric cancer. Since then the family has used it periodically--especially in the winter as it is very near to a ski place. Akihiro has many fond memories of the place. She had not seen it for a couple of years, so was very anxious to go. When I walked in, I wasn't terribly impressed by the overgrown yard and garden and the spiderweb ridden musty house, but by the end of the day with a sweeper bag probably filled with spiders, arms sore from scrubbing, and a tired hubby from weed-wacking the yard, the place actually looked very nice! Actually, as I write, this situation reminds me of how our spiritual life should be--not empty, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Just like oba-chan's house--when it wasn't used, it became tarnished and impure things (spiders!)entered. I guess it is a reminder to be filling our hearts and lives with the things of God!


Well, now that I am done with my sermonette, Grandma (oba-chan) worked right along with us, telling Akihiro which plants to avoid with his weed wacker, and trying to communicate with me as to what should be done with this or that. I was having a hard time understanding her and was getting depressed when Akihiro said that she is talking oba-chan talk! Oh dear! This means she adds a different ending to some verbs and some other different lingo. Uggh-this Japanese language! Anyway, Grandma found some delicious large green leaves which she called mitsuba and boiled them and put a little soy sauce on them and we sat down on the floor around a small table to try it. She just kept smelling them and smiling! It was very good, but the best thing about our little vegan meal, was the sweet corn! The farmer next door had given us some of his sweet corn. I've never tasted such sweet sweet corn. We didn't put butter or salt on it--it didn't need anything! I think I ate almost 3 ears! We also checked out the cheese and ice cream shop just down the road--also very delicious! The cows here in the country must be very happy and produce such good milk! It was a quiet day--I don't think hardly any cars passed by our little place. I could see why Grandma loved it so much!

We stayed overnight at a hotel because Grandma wasn't sure about the futon condition at the place (OK, by the way) and enjoyed their onsen and breakfast. Have I ever mentioned that I am hooked on dried sweetened seaweed papers that you carefully pick up with your chopsticks and dip in soy sauce and then grab a bite of rice in between this little wrapper? It is like a ready-made rice ball! It took me a while to master the chopstick technique, but I do pretty well now! Having the house pretty well cleaned up, Akihiro and I headed to the nearby ski place where we took a lift up to do some hiking. It was my first hiking in Japan and it was very nice. We missed the peak azalea time, but could see where there would have been fields of orange azaleas blooming in the mountain meadows. We got some good views and called Akihiro's mom from the top. She reported that Akihiro had already been to this mountaintop before--in a carrier on his mom's back! Here we are with our goofy hats we borrowed from Grandma's house!



We went to the grocery store to pick up some of the seasonal veggies that Grandma likes and I was so overjoyed to find a big pack of rhubarb! I can't find it in Tokyo! Most Japanese don't know what it is!


We also enjoyed slurping some soba noodles for lunch. It seems kinda funny to make a meal out of noodles dipped in a soy sauce dip, but it is actually a very common and delicious lunch in Japan. Here they had 3 different kinds!

Other news from the Itos....
Akihiro passed his boat test!
By God's grace I gave a talk on hospice to the ladies meeting at Tokyo church.
We have had Bro. Justin Wiegand (Gridley) at our house for a few nights. He is here for 6 weeks or so to learn about Japanese culture with the possibility of coming to Japan as a missionary in the future. I know he would appreciate your prayers!
Today I went to my friend's house and she taught me how to make gyoza, a Chinese dumpling. I am hoping that someday I can make gyoza with some neices and nephews of mine on a Japan visit (hint, hint!)

June 25, 2007

Odds and ends

Nothing major to report. I find myself becoming accustom to this different life so much that I don't even realize sometimes how different we do things here. Yesterday I was reminded of this by Sister Bethany Gerber who is here helping the Klaus family. We were at the Inoue's for a picnic (our park plan got rained out!) and we were helping Marie do the wieners. Bethany says, "I've never stir fried wieners with chopsticks before!" Yes, indeed! It is an interesting mix of cultures--hot dogs and chopsticks! I do have to say, though, that chopsticks are a great cooking tool!

We are in the hiking preparation mode here--getting ready to hike Mt. Fuji next month. We bought new hiking boots and received much instruction on the proper use of them. That evening (after dark, thankfully), we practiced our new technique--making sure we place our feet down flat instead of heel and then toe, etc. The man said it looks like robo-cop (I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I can kinda get the point!) We were quite a sight! Anyway, hopefully it will prevent sore toes and knees! We'll see!

The hydrangeas are beautiful right now! My picture doesn't do them justice, but they are everywhere and just gorgeous!

I took Justin over to see the emperor's cemetery. I can't remember if I have posted a picture of that before or not. This is just one of 4 large tombs holding one emperor or an emperor's family member.

We plan to go to Hokkaido the end of this week for a business/fishing trip! Hopefully we can check out Akihiro's dad's boat and catch a big fish! We are also looking forward to keeping some people from Australia who will be visiting us this weekend and early next week! Should be interesting!

About June 2007

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

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