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March 2008 Archives

March 3, 2008

Flops and frostbite

Nothing too new here! I've got a cold, so I don't feel like I've been very productive lately. I'll use my cold for an excuse as to why I totally flopped the bread I made today. I was excited to try a new bread machine recipe--banana bread. Apparently, I was so excited, that I forgot to put the stirring blade in. When I lifted the lid, hoping to see some luscious banana bread, I saw a soupy mess. Hmm--what happened? I dumped it out and disected it, only to find my mistake. I was able to eat the gooey bananas and the cooked egg on the bottom, but the rest was just a mess of partially baked dry and wet ingredients. I've got another batch in now and hope it turns out better!

It's getting just a tad warmer here. This winter has been much colder than the last, so I am really ready for spring. I even got a very mild case of frostbite (red/ purplish areas that get kinda numb) on the ends of my toes! I don't remember being really cold, so it was a rather puzzling appearance. It seems to be getting better slowly. The church ladies told me that it was probably from wearing tights that restricted my circulation too much. I was wearing tights and socks because our floors are cold--no central heat--just hotel-like units. There is hope, though, the plum trees are blooming!

Sorry I don't have more exciting news! Hopefully we will have more to report when we can go in the house at our property on March 19th!

March 12, 2008

Okonomiyaki, ume blossoms, etc.

We went out to eat on Saturday night and found a new okonimiyaki restaurant fairly near to our home. We ate the best okonomiyaki we have ever eaten and got some tips on how to cook it! This is a vegetable pancake with a variety of ingredients in it. The restaurant prepares the ingredients and then we fried in on a hot plate on our table. We also tried our hand at making takoyaki--fried octopus balls! They also were the best we have ever eaten!

Today we went to meet the architect. He had made a plan, based on his idea of what an American would want, but we ended up making quite a few adjustments--actually totally reworked his plan. It looks like it may take a while, but that is ok. (Poor Akihiro tries to interpret my comments for him, so it is a bit like the telephone game. I'm not sure that everything gets through exactly--not necessarily because of Akihiro's English, but because of that male-femal communication scenario!) It looks like our date to get possession of the house is going to be April 7th now.

Here's a picture of the ume (plum) blossoms on the river walk near our home. Every day there are droves of people out painting them. The blossoms have a wonderful scent! It is fun to see the children reaching their noses up to get a whiff!

March 20, 2008

An update on Dad and a new nephew!

Mom and Dad just recently returned from a follow-up session at Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico. The hospital there took a CT scan which revealed that the cancer has not grown, however the CEA level (may indicate the aggressiveness of the cancer cells) was elevated. The doctors there recommended chemotherapy, feeling that the cancer must be fairly aggressive since it did not shrink with the integrated therapies that they have been giving him. He had his first dose of chemo in Mexico and will probably have the next dose in Illinois next month with his regular oncologist. He had some feeling of loss of voice, fatigue, nausea, and “yuck” feeling with the chemo, but most of the side effects have subsided now. We are thankful that the cancer has not grown and that he hasn’t had any symptoms! Thank you for your prayers! Please continue to pray that the cancer will shrink if it is God’s will.

Also, I am pleased to report the arrival of Shepherd Honor Sauder, born to John and Misty!

March 24, 2008

A few happenings and a graduation

We were blessed to have a sister from our church stay with us on Saturday night. Her husband was transferred to the southern island, but she continues to listen to our church services via the phone service. It was very nice to meet her and have fellowship. We all got up early to go to the mountains near our Shioda church for an Easter morning service. We ate instant cup of noodles, fruit, and other goodies after a short Bible reading and song service. It was fairly warm and pleasant for a March morning! We expect the peach blossoms soon!

Today I was priviledged to attend Hannah Klaus's elementary school graduation. It was very interesting to see this aspect of Japanese culture. Many mothers and fathers were there--fathers in suits and mothers in very formal suit style dresses--mostly black, gray, or white. Dumb me--I wore my pink sweater! Oh well, I stand out anyway! The students also were in basically the same dress as the parents. This school doesn't use uniforms, but many Japanese schools do have their students wear a uniform. The ceremony was very formal, starting with the tuxedo-clad principal making announcements, etc. They sang the Japanese national anthem and the school song. Before the principal went to the podium, he always bowed to the Japanese flag. Then the students started filing through to get their diplomas. The teacher called their name (last name first and no middle name--Japanese don't have middle names!--I would be Ito Cay-ah-ri), to which the student properly answered, "Hai!" Then they spoke into the microphone about what their dream was. Most of their dream/desire was to "study hard" or do good at soccer. There were a few more interesting ones such as Hannah's desire to be a guide dog trainer or people wanting to be nurses, teachers, etc. Then they walk to the principal and bow to him. Then the principal gives them their diploma and they pause a deliberate second, take one step backwards and the student and principal both bow again. Then they descend the other side of the stage and bow to some officials on one side of the gymnasium. Then they take their diploma to a teacher who rolls it up in a ribbon and gives it back to them. Once all of them are through, there are more speaches, some songs, and an interesting perfomance where the class stands in front and students begin telling their experiences over their last 6 years. It's difficult to explain, but is kinda neat. Then the ceremony is official ended. (Japanese ceremonies all are very official in their begninning and ending.) Noo throwing hats or crazy spray or anything like that!

This week Akihiro is taking me to a Japanese dentist. She doesn't speak much English, so I'm glad he can go with me--at least for my first time! After my total incomprehension at the dry cleaners today, I'm a bit gun shy! Sometimes I think I'm really getting this Japanese language, but other times, I am overwhelmed by how uncapable I still am.

March 31, 2008

An update on Dad and a new responsibility for us

Dad met with his oncologist in Peoria on Friday. The PET scan that was completed last week showed that the cancer remains very active, so he will be receiving chemotherapy (as was also recommended by Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico). Another PET scan will be taken in about 9 weeks to see how effective the chemotherapy has been. We are praying that the side effects from the chemo are bearable and that it will be very effective against these aggressive cancer cells. Dad remains positive and is pretty much recovered from the side effects of the first chemo treatment he had in Mexico, so we are thankful for that—especially since Mom and Dad plan to leave on Monday to come visit us in Japan! They were not planning to come again so soon, but since we will be having a special ordination service for Akihiro as minister in our Shioda church, they were invited to come! They will be just in time for the peach blossoms in Yamanashi and we are thinking the cherry blossoms will hang on for them! Akihiro and I would also welcome your prayers as he takes on the responsibility to preach the Holy Word of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

About March 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Welcome to ITO NEWS in March 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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