Friday, May 22, 2009


How quickly time flies by. Can't imagine it was a week ago that I last blogged. Have been meaning to, but just have not been able to get the chance to do it.

Anyway, after a week or so, I've more or less settled in to my place. Have got most of what I need to survive, though along the way I do notice things that I need to purchase when I get the chance... The latest things I bought were a small frying pan for frying eggs (it's the only thing I can cook, but the other pan was way too big), a squirt bottle for ironing, and a pair of long chopsticks for doing instant ramen (ok, so I can make instant noodles too).

I would paste up pictures of my place, except that I haven't taken pictures of my place, and despite being here for only 1-and-a-half weeks, I have managed to mess up my place rather spectecularly...but I *have* been doing my laundry and ironing, so there.

I try to do laundry on my free days (or when I run out of socks), which at the moment is either on Monday (real free day) or Thursday (originally for language class but had to leave so temporarily free). Friday is my only language class day at the moment, and even though I've forgotten most of my Japanese, the volunteer sensei at the class (it's only ¥100 for 1 and a half hours!) seems rather pleased that I'm relatively easy to teach, since I have some background.

So today I went for language class, but after that I went with Uncle Louis to visit Shiraishi-san in the hospital. He's a slightly older guy who's retired, but apparently, was pretty well known as he had gone on TV before as like a host for fishing shows or something. Here's a picture of him and his wife:

(L-R): Mrs Shiraishi, me, JP, and Mr Shiraishi

He was in hospital because he had a stomach ulcer, and when I visited him last week with Uncle Louis, he was still on a protein drip, which I figure is not all that fun because first off, there's a needle stuck in your arm, and second, you don't get to eat food. Still, despite being in hospital and having that needle in his arm, he was a pretty sprightly old dude. Oh and he speaks English really well. He seemed pretty happy to have guests, but I guess that's also because the hospital isn't exactly the most interesting place, and the needle is in his arm.

Anyway, Uncle Louis visits him every week to do some Bible Study with him, and so far it seems like it's pretty good. Last week, Louis used the passage which he was preaching a sermon from, and this week, Louis asked him to share about something he read during QT.

One more interesting thing about Mr Shiraishi is that his hobby is in catching butterflies. Yeah, I know right, how often do you meet people who have such cool hobbies? After he fully recovers, he intends to got to Kyrgyzia to travel about with a group of fellow enthusiasts in the mountains to catch butterflies, though the doctors are cautioning him about it.

So please pray for him as he continues to recuperate from the ulcer, and that he'll be able to get the chance to go and see his butterflies in central Asia.

Last Sturday, JP and I also met up with Steve because Steve was doing bible study at Hanakoganei (花小金井) with Rekiji and his son Ken. Rekiji works with Sony corp. and he has traveled around the world quite a bit, and his English is pretty good. His son Ken is 8-years old, and his English is pretty good too. Here's a picture of them:

(L-R): Me, Ken, Rekiji and Steve (in case you didn't realize)

Rekiji is a relatively different case from others, since as Steve says, Rekiji approached him for Bible study, and this is the first time that Steve has been able to do discipleship with a Japanese man one-to-one. Usually, in Japan, it's the women who are more receptive, while the men don't really care. Please also pray for Rekiji, that God will reward his interest, for Steve that he will have wisdom in leading, and for Ken, that he will understand what is going on during class.

Usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we go to Waseda University to do work with Yoshitaka and his group of people, who are from a nearby church. This past Wednesday, I was paired up with this guy called Yasutomo, who took leave that day to see what his fiancee was doing, and God allowed us to meet Mari-chan.

At first glance, I'm not sure why, but I thought Mari-chan reminded me of Teresa. Must be the eyes. Actually, it had to be the eyes, because she was wearing a surgical mask. Later on, when she smiled without the mask, her smile also reminded me of Teresa's, but that's besides the point, and I'm getting ahead of myself.

So anyway, Yasutomo started to talk with her, using the survey form we had, and I tried to keep up. A bit difficult since my Japanese is not good, but the conversation went pretty ok. And the good thing of course, was that she was a rather bubbly person, so she was willing to talk with us.

Initally, we were supposed to do this survey/conversation thing with students for about 1/2 an hour, but we ended up chatting for about 1 1/2 hours, and Yasutomo shared with her some about Jesus and His love for us. And the Holy Spirit definitely was with us, because she did listen to us talk, and after that, continued to talk with us about religion stuff (I think) and things in her life (I think).

At any rate, after a while, Yasutomo realized that he was pretty much incapable of continuing to talk with Mari-chan, because I think it had reached the stage where girls feel more comfortable talking to other girls, rather than two strange guys, one of whom barely understands Japanese, so he asked his fiancee, Mai-chan, over and the two girls hit it off really well. And at the end, of the long conversation (we started at about 1:35 and it was already almost 4:00), Mai-chan prayed for Mari-chan.

So also, please pray for Mari-chan, that this encounter with the people from the church, and hearing about God, will be the beginning of her walk with God, and that she will also come to know His love for her.

Would post up a photo, except I don't have one. Would've been wierd anyway, to ask to take a photo with her.

So to recap:
  1. Pray for Shiraishi-san
  2. Pray for Rekiji
  3. Pray for Mari-chan
Will blog a bit more, but I think I've put up quite a bit of information already, so think I shall stop here.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So I've put this off long enough as it is... Doesn't help that I don't have internet access at where my place. Thanks to Uncle L who allows me to use his place for internet for the time being.

Anyway, the good thing about going out when I went out was that the cheapest air ticket in the 1-year category was with SIA. And they use the Airbus A380 to travel between Singapore and Tokyo. And it's really spacious.

So much leg room...

Here's another shot of the plane aisles. Not sure why, but it seemed a bit bigger than normal plane aisles.

No, I wasn't trying to get a photo of the air stewardess...

The chairs were comfortable, and there were quite a lot of movies there, even though they didn't have Star Trek like I was hoping for. I had intended to sleep though, so in the end, the only channel I kept the screen at was the one with the flight data.

Food was pretty good too. I mean, I think it's as good as airplane food can get. Here's the breakfast I ate. It was a cheese omelet with hash browns:


I didn't quite expect them to stick to the description in the menu though. "Cheese Omelette with ham steak, roasted tomato and hash brown". No kidding, they really gave me one cherry tomato. Not that I really wanted to eat tomato or anything, but I was kinda expecting it to be like a halved-full-size tomato.

They served it rather early, at about 5 in the morning Singapore time, but it didn't affect my sleep, since I had trouble sleeping on the plane all night. I'm not sure why, maybe because I stat cursed myself when talking with Fr at the airport, about my ability to sleep on the plane compared to his inability to do anything other than cower in fear in an aircraft.

However, on the bus to Tokorozawa, I did manage to catch a short nap. Though I kept on getting that pre-neck strain feeling, so I had to move my head about a bit.

Finally reached Tokorozawa, and was supposed to meet Uncle L at the station, but I didn't see him, so I started walking by myself over to his place. And he introduced me to my new house, as well as to my room-mate for one month, JP, who's a dancer from Brazil who lives in Northern Ireland. Which sort of makes us similar, since we both live in places we were'nt born in.

Anyway, it's great that I get a roomie so early cos it helps me deal with an feelings of loneliness.. It is kinda hard to feel lonely when you have a cheery 6-foot Brazilian living in the same apartment as you. And his life is also a great inspiration and encouragement for me, in his vision for Japan, his plans for his life (he'll be doing full-time with OMF in October), and his love for God.

Ok, I'm about done for the time being. Just wanted to end of with a big thank you to all those who sent me off at the airport. Even though I felt kinda paiseh because there were so many of you, I'm really glad to have been able to meet you all there. I was really touched by your care and concern, even if I didn't show it, since according to PI, I'm rather "cold and aloof". But that's just me being 'emotionless'. Or as F puts it, being the 'Freezer of the church office'. Ha.

The youth/ex-youth/young adult group

The VCF group.. though you can't really see MS.

The family. Though I must admit we do have some rather weird people inside... *cough* guy in green shirt *cough*

Real family.


Sunday, May 10, 2009


Should have mentioned something about this awhile ago, but it just kept on slipping my mind...

I'll be flying off to Japan in about 23 hours time.

Of course, it doesn't help that at this point in time, all the stuff that I am sort of thinking of bringing with me is still lying about somewhere in my room, and the only things I have packed so far are my dress shoes and slippers.

And I can't print out my air ticket because the SIA website is Mac-unfriendly or something, and the file is some other format that I can't open. Bother.

Regarding my going off, I had initially wanted to be low key, and not let people know when I'm leaving, and only telling them "I'm in Japan!" when I had already reached Japan. But I have come to the realization that that would be incredibly selfish of me, especially to those who have kindly agreed to support my venture. Plus all the pastors in church already pipped me by telling people when I'm leaving. So just in case I have forgotten to tell you, sorry.

Back to packing...


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Having grown up in a church, and having done most of my education either in a missions school (secondary and JC) or in the company of a very Christian crowd (NUS), most of my friends are Christian.

And as the days towards my leaving for Japan grow closer, I usually meet one or another of my Christian friends for meals, since I only have limited numbers of meals left to meet people.

And while most of the meal-meetings are kinda planned already, today's lunch was left blank because I just couldn't think of who I wanted to meet for lunch. Yesterday's was blank too, but I decided to eat at home with my grandmother. (Also cos it's a free meal for me). But yes, today I just couldn't think of who I wanted to call out to eat. I mean, usually, there's someone that I sort of know I want to share a meal with, and so I'll call him/her, or drop a message or something.

So at 10 am this morning, I was stuck, wondering what to do. I guessed if I asked S or chose to eat with friends from SPH (which was where I went after lunch), I would have found lunch friends, but it didn't feel quite 'right', if you understand what I'm trying to say.

Then just before I started doing QT, I suddenly thought of asking L if he wanted to eat lunch. L is one of my army friends, and he is not part of my circle of Christian friends (since he's not Christian), though he does know some of them from basketball. So I sent him a message and he said he could. So I met him and he we ate at this place which is like a hawker-center, Chinese version of The Soup Spoon.

And I don't know why, but I felt like I found the right lunch-friend in L. And it was great being able to catch up with him, since chances like that (compared to others) are few and far between. I'm glad we were able to just meet and catch up on stuff. And of course I do hope that one day he might get to know more about Jesus.

But regardless, I'm glad to have met him as a friend.