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April 2009 Archives

April 6, 2009

More demolition, Okinawa, and a few more ninpu "glories"

They finally brought a machine to our demolition site, but it is still a slow process as it appears that they are sorting out the metal still. Here is what is left of the house
Here they are starting to tear down part of the office

Last week we took Akihiro's grandpa and his cousin to Okinawa (a southern island) for two nights. We were quite a crew--three of the four of us qualifying for handicapped status! Me pregnant, Grandpa in his wheelchair, and Akihiro's cousin had a stroke in his teens (I think) and has limited use of the left side of his body. We definitely used those "priority seats"! The flight went better than I thought, but I ate almost the entire time to keep my stomach under control. My lap was covered with cracker crumbs by the end of the flight. Hoping that I don't have to eat for 11 solid hours on the way to America!!! Anyway, when we arrived, we went to visit an old castle that had been rebuilt. The island had has a lot of Chinese influence and we could see this in the architecture and walls.
Here is a model of how it was used--see the little carts that the VIPs rode in?

We went for supper to try some of the food famous to Okinawa. I liked their use of a peanut for a chopstick rest!
This looks awful, but it was really good--it is chicken that is breaded in toasted seaweed.

The next morning we went to a memorial for WWII. Okinawa was the first island to be attacked by U.S. forces. There were walls with names of Americans and Japanese who died--I think that this just covers the deaths in Okinawa.
It was a very peaceful place--right next to the ocean, but I shuddered to think of how it looked in time of war. We saw some awful pictures in the museum.


Then we headed to another museum. This one was dedicated to a girl's private high school in Okinawa that the students were turned into workers in cave hospitals and then when the war got really bad, they were basically abandoned and left to fend for themselves. They hid in caves which were subject to flame throwing attacks, etc. The survivers wrote their stories and they are on display here. Akihiro had bought me a book in English of all of the stories some time ago and I had read it--how awful--I think I cried. As I walked through these two museums, I hung my head, embarrassed to be an American, but everyone was nice to me and Akihiro said that perhaps it is somewhat shameful for Japanese as some leaders were stubborn and many innocent civilians were killed because of it. Here is one of the caves that the girls hid in. These girls survived.

Then we headed off for a more light-hearted experience--a large aquarium. This is the second largest tank aquarium in the world. There were two huge sharks and lots of big sting rays, etc.


A few eccentric things along the way...a gargle fountain--right next to the drinking fountain--it says--not for drinking or eye wash. What kind or water must it be?

...and this sign. Is this really a problem that people don't know how to use the toilets???

Back home, the cherry blossoms are blooming beautifully along our river path. Also another interesting flower that I don't remember from other years.


I got some feedback that people enjoyed my "glorying" in my pregnancy symptoms. Some days, though, I am far from "glorying"--much to my shame. I am now officially in the second trimester, but haven't had any reprieve yet--am waiting. Another thing I have to glory in, is that my husband still loves me, though my already-present acne has become quite a mess--making me look like a teenager going through puberty. And, he still loves me, even when I cry--sometimes for a good reason (I miss my mom), and sometimes for no reason at all. Ah, the glories of being a ninpu (Japanese word for pregnant lady)--actually most days I feel more like a "wimp"!

April 11, 2009

Here’s a brief update on Dad

He has finished his 5th chemo therapy for this series. The cancer marker blood test number continues to decrease—which is good news. Also the last PET scan showed no new tumors and that the existing tumors were less active. He also had gained a few pounds since the last doctor’s visit; thanks to all who make the extra effort to feed him according to his diet! The current plan is to continue the chemotherapy as long as necessary (until the cancer marker count is very low) or until there are side effects which become difficult to tolerate. Dr. Veeder is thinking it will take several more treatments. At this point, the side effects (mainly fatigue and some tingling in his feet) are fairly manageable. We are all very grateful for the ongoing prayers and support. Thank you!

April 18, 2009

Demolition, peach blossoms, dressing rooms, etc.

Our house is finally all down and on the way to the dump! Below are a few pictures of the process that was supposed to take 10 days, but ended up taking almost 1.5 months! They ended up firing the one crew and hiring another for the last week because they were working so slow and there were some issues. One late afternoon I checked on their progress and found a smouldering area on the land--dangerously close to a tree. I borrowed some buckets of water from my Japanese mom, but it required a hose and quite a bit of water. Before the episode was over, three different neighbors were helping with their hoses--quite the firemen/women!



The new crew is supposed to be done on Monday!

Last Sunday we had a beautiful sunrise service (at 8:45AM) up in the mountains near our Shioda church. The peach blossoms were in their peak and the sun was warm. We sang a few hymns, had a scripture reading and a prayer and then ate a bit of breakfast.

If you look carefully you can see the snow covered alps in the distance behind the peach trees.
This is a brother from our church and our Sunday school student. This brother and I are taking turns teaching him on Sundays. My reading is very slow and I don't know what I am reading most of the time, but he is patient with me and helps me.

Akihiro took these pictures on his Sunday afternoon bike ride with the two boys in the church neighborhood!

I am running out of clothes that fit my expanding belly and plan to investigate sewing options and shopping when we come home, but thought I would just see what is available here in Japan. The only maternity store that I know of had a wide selection of black, navy, and grey clothes, but with my coloring, and being summer, I couldn't get too excited about that color scheme! So, I went to another shop where they have regular clothes. Right now the style here is these long flowing tops--they look like maternity tops! So, I thought I would try that out. I found a few I liked and headed for the dressing room. I was proud of myself to remember to take my shoes off before I entered, but my glee ended soon when I noted the the space at the top of the door was quite large--so large in fact, that I would be flashing nearly the entire store with my upper body if I stood up to try the shirts on! Hmmm, what was this tall foreigner to do? Well, though the room is quite small, I did manage to kneel down and get the shirt on, but then to face the mirror was a trick! I was tempted to put my feet out the bottom space of the dressing room door, but thought people might really wonder--they were probably wondering about a few giggles that escaped my mouth as I thought about what I was doing and how it looked from the outside! My knees were sore by the time I tried on 4 shirts, but I did find one that fit and that I liked, so I tried to put on my own shirt and stand up gracefully as if it was perfectly normal to try clothes on in a kneeling position! It was a good thing there was no one waiting for my stall! Anyway, I will have a new appreciation for American sized dressing rooms and their doors--I just hope I remember to keep my shoes on!

We leave tomorrow for America. It is with excitement, but yet with apprehension. There is one face that I really would like to see, but I know is no longer there, but looking down from heaven. (Don't get me wrong, I am very excited to see the faces of family and friends and look forwared to the refreshing fellowship!) Our main purpose for this trip is to attend the Hospice Memorial Service for Mom after church next Sunday. I know it will be emotional, but pray that it can be healing too. I'm thankful that my energy level has returned nearly to normal, even though I am still having to eat every 2 hours to keep my stomach from being upset. I am so thankful to feel more like myself again! Trips home are emotional enough without the added hormonal mood swings and fatigue! I would appreciate prayers for safe travel and for an extra measure of grace and strength.

About April 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Welcome to ITO NEWS in April 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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