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September 2007 Archives

September 1, 2007

Not much new...

I must be getting used to life in Japan, because nothing has struck me as different this week! It was a little bit of a slower week, so you know what that meant--lots of time to STUDY!! Yippee! Actually I did fairly well--no temper tantrums and a fairly full star chart! Today at the grocery store I was looking for green peppers and must have looked rather confused, even though I had just found them, because a nice lady asked me "May I help you?" in perfect English. It may sound strange, but I was kinda flustered by her English words and said, "I think I just found what I needed. Thanks." I continued my shopping, but as I checked out I felt like I should speak more to this nice lady. I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to the aftermath of my kabocha explosion,** but I went back in and thanked her properly. As it turned out, her English wasn't that great and I had to struggle along in Japanese. She seemed very nice and asked where I lived. I explained where I lived and gave her my phone number and name. When we parted, she said something about having "lunchey" together at the park. I hope she will call! I'm not sure of the proper etiquette for asking numbers, so I didn't ask her for hers. We'll see!

**In regards to the kabocha explosion, I was making kabocha (Japanese pumpkin squash) soup and put it in the blender. Well, as quick as I hit the switch, there was sticky kabocha all over me, and all over my kitchen! Arghh! Oh well, it ended up being really good soup, depsite the mess! I continue to enjoy trying Japanese cooking and haven't cut my fingers for a long time (I hesitate to say that--I had better be careful!)

September 4, 2007

Akihiro is 30!

Today was Akihiro's 30th birthday! I couldn't think of anything too exciting for his birthday gift, but he seemed pleased with his special running socks and a poem I wrote for him. (He likes my corny poems better than Hallmark!) Since my voice isn't the greatest, I thought I would get some help via my online Skype telephone, so I called Dad's cell phone. They were at a Fritz picnic at my brother John's place, so he had quite a few folks to sing for him--he was quite pleased--even though in America, it wasn't his birthday yet! For supper he wanted to go to the Kaiten Sushi Place--that's where you can see the sushi move by you on conveyor belts and choose anything you want for 100 yen. We will be having a birthday party for him and some of the Klaus's tomorrow night and I am hoping to pull off a Mexican-style birthday--cake (or a very small piece of pie with lots of whipped cream, in this case) in his face! (On his first trip to Mexico, he got cake in his face, and loved it, so I think I am safe to try it again!)

I got an email from the lady I met at the grocery store! She would like to meet me for lunch, but wants to wait until we get back from Europe because there is supposed to be a typhoon coming the end of this week! We leave for a week long trip to Europe on Saturday with Akihiro's mom and sister. When we told them about our trip last year, they wanted us to be tour guides for them! We are definitely willing! We will be starting in Salzburg, Austria, then visiting the Alps and ending in Chamonix, France for French food and French Alps!

On a more spiritual note, I thought I would share a few statements that I heard recently that were helpful to me...

May I seek to be joyful and thankful in all things rather than to let emotions or circumstances run my life.
It is more important to model humility (through God) than to model perfection through my own strength.

September 18, 2007

Adventures in Europe

Well, the word of the trip was "sugaoi" (that means something like "wow, amazing, wonderful, beautiful" all wrapped up in one word!). Indeed, we were thankful for very good weather and a safe trip. blobergerhof.JPG

I'll try to give you a few brief highlights. We had about a 11 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany and then on to Salzburg. In Salzburg got picked up by a BMW taxi who took us (quite quickly, I might add) to our Pension Hotel. The next day we had a Sound of Music tour that took us to most of the major sights of this famous story. It was funny to see a bunch of tourists skipping down a wooded lane singing "I've got confidence..."!
We also visited Mozart's birthplace and residence. In the evening we enjoyed--that is when we were awake (jet lag!)--some Mozart music and a Mozart era dinner with costumed players.

The next day we headed for Switzerland. That is when the real "sugaoi"s started coming! Akihiro's mom had never seen such beautiful snow covered mountains. We made it just in time to take the cable car up to a high mountain and have a snack in the revolving restaurant and enjoy the views.After some delicious cheese fondue at the small mountain village of Murren and some more sugaoi's after seeing the sunset on these beautiful peaks we descended via cable car to our hotel in Lauterbrunnen.

The following day we went up to the Jungfrau and had a nearly perfect view. We were enjoying the vistas, when we heard some yelling up above us. We quick looked up and were suprised to see about 6 people falling out of an airplane--crazy skydivers! It was scary enough for me just to see them! We braved a slight blizzard and walked a little over an hour to a mountain hut for some warm soup and Swiss sausage--ah, delicious! We hiked part way down through some meadows with cow bells--what a wonderful sound! Kayuko looked like a little Japanese Heidi skipping along!


Since the weather was good, we headed to see the Matterhorn the next day. It was absolutely clear in Zermatt when we arrived--a picture perfect day to see this gorgeous peak. We took cable cars and gondolas up to get a better look and hiked down. Other people were jumping off and parasailing, but we all prefered to keep our feet on the ground! Ate some finger-lickin good spareribs (can't get those in Japan!) at a the top of a peak near the Matterhorn--ah--"saiko" (this means "best", but totally confused me at first because it sounded like "psycho"!). Then we headed for France--the knock-out punch of mountains--as Akihiro put it!

Early the next morning we took the lift up to see 4860M Mt. Blanc--again a perfect view!
Two very scared women (Mom and sis) were holding our hands as we got on the gondola that spans the 3 mile gap between the mountains of France and Italy. We were literaly hanging over huge glaciers! Spectacular. We hiked a bit to a mountain refuge where we ate the best omlets I have ever tasted! Must be that Swiss cheese!

The next day we finally let Kayuko do some real shopping in Geneva before we flew out that afternoon. We arrived back in Japan on September 15th--exactly one year since Akihiro and I first arrived in Japan! As I look back on our first year here, it is overwhelming to realize how much God has blessed us. So thankful!

A few more thoughts on Europe

After the glowing reports below on our trip, I thought I should confess...

I am ashamed to admit that I had a few pity parties along the way. Being able to only grasp part of what was being said in Japanese was a challenge. Now, granted, I am sure I learned a lot of vocabulary and hopefully my subconscious brain learned a lot. Akihiro did pretty good to translate some, but that is painful too. It's hard to explain, but perhaps my mom said it best when she said it is like being hard of hearing--you have to strain to hear what you can and even if you strain, sometimes you still can't get it. You just get bits and pieces. So, after a while of trying, you just zone out. Oh well, again another reminder of my selfish state and need for humility! I must admit it was funny to see how people responded when I said "excuse me" in Japanese when they had already spoken to me in German. Most people thought I was German or Swiss!

September 23, 2007

New Job, new friend, upcoming excitement, etc.

Well, I've enjoyed being sick all week. One night I had rectal bleeding, another night it was abdomenal pain, another night back pain, another night shortness of breath! Each episode only lasted one hour and my husband was by my side the whole time! Before you think I am a hypochondriac, let me tell you about my new job. Akihiro met a doctor on a south island who wants to go for a year of training to the U.S. In order to do that, he needs to pass a clinical skills test in America--in English (obviously). Instead of traveling to the U.S. for a review course, he is reviewing by practicing with me and getting feedback from Akihiro and myself. We do this via web camera. It is fun to use my medical background and to see his English skills and technique improve. I had a hard time maintaining my professional patient role when he (trying to use common terms) told me he was going to punch my back! We have had some good laughs! He takes the test the end of October, so we will be continuing our practice sessions--may even put my cousin Carol to work being a patient!

You may remember that I mentioned a few weeks ago that I met a woman at the grocery store who was interested in trying to speak English? Well, we met at Mos Burger at the station last Friday. We had a fun time and lots of laughs, but both of our heads really hurt by the time we got done! We would try to speak it in English first, but when we couldn't get it, we would switch to Japanese, which most of the time, didn't help at all. Finally we would do hand motions or draw pictures! What a deal! I am eagerly awaiting a better dicitionary coming in a suitcase from mom! I bought an electronic one, but it is a piece of junk! One of the funniest moments was when I said something in Japanese (sorry, I forget what) and she started laughing and said, "You're pretty!" Hmm, I thought. It didn't seem like the right context for that comment and I don't exactly think myself to be pretty, but I wasn't quite sure how to check it out. We kept talking and then she said it again. Ah, then I figured out how to determine what she meant. She said the word for "cute" in Japanese! Ahhh, so she too thinks that my Japanese is cute (Akihiro has already informed me!). Oh well-at least if I'm not "pretty," at least my Japanese is cute! She would like to meet a couple of times a month to practice, so we'll see how it goes! It was good practice for my Japanese!

I am very excited about my cousin Carol coming on Tuesday for about 9 days! I can hardly wait! (Thus, maybe not very many blog entries then!) I hope to show her a bit of Tokyo, Mt. Fuji area, Shioda church, and have lunch with some of my church friends. I am also looking forward to an extra suitcase that my mom is sending with her--carrying not only a dictionary, but Graham Crackers! Somehow I had a craving for those the other night (can't get them around here that I know of!) I guess it was all those years of eating graham crackers and milk for a bedtime snack!

Tonight I felt like I was in America for supper--something like Ruby Tuesdays or Cracker Barrel! The place is called Bikuri Donkey--which means "Suprised" Donkey (I think). The outside is very rustic with boards going every which way and the inside is decorated with old American stuff--California license plate, etc. It is a hamburger place, but of course we are still in Japan, so my hamburger came with a yummy sauce, rice, salad, no bun, and of course chopsticks to eat it with! It was very good!

About September 2007

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

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