Sunday, July 06, 2008

3rd Week

Monday of the 3rd week started off quite quietly. It was like a final run up for us, since well, it was the last week. We headed down to Waseda's Tokorozawa campus for E-crew again, and it was kinda like the last time for most of us, since the following Monday was when the team was leaving for Singapore.

Interesting thing happened there though. See, most of the E-crew people were university seniors, meaning they were gonna graduate at the end of the semester. So they, as well as SW, were hoping that perhaps a younger person could come and join in to take over. So I was sitting on the left side of the table, talking to SW and one of the E-crew people, T, who was C's friend. J was sitting just in front of me, and she wasn't really in the conversation, think she was talking to another of C's friends, but after the friend left, she started praying that there would be another new person who had the potential to continue E-crew.

Right at that moment, there was this dude who was like walking back and forth near the table who seemed as if he wanted to join in. SW noticed him, and asked him if he wanted to sit in and take part in the conversation. Turns out that the dude, WM, had sort of just returned to Japan from London, and he wanted to continue to brush up his English, and so when he heard us talking in English, he wanted to join in too. He didn't know C at all, which makes it pretty cool, since most of the people that join in are C's friends, and he brings them along, but this guy just walked past and felt like joining in, which is quite uncommon in Japan.

What's even cooler is that he's a freshman. Perhaps he's the person that would help to continue E-crew after C leaves.

The rest of Monday was spent preparing for the Hanakoganei Kids' Club (on Friday), the Singapore Night for the Ikebukuro HC (on Saturday), and just about any other thing we had to prepare for.

Tuesday was our fun day again. This time, we went to one of the nicest places in Tokyo: Odaiba.

Just one of the many iconic icons of Odaiba: The Rainbow Bridge. More later.

We started out late as usual, since we had morning devotion and all, and we were naturally slowpokes when coming to do things which we don't really need to rush for. For me, it was like going back to a place I liked, so I was mildly happy. But the rest hadn't been there before, and it like totally blew them away.

Took the New Transit Yurikamome, which is like a much better version of the LRT in Singapore, and went to Aqua City for lunch (at Otoya again), and then for some shopping. Now I think if I'm not wrong, I mentioned earlier that I was extremely disappointed that the Cinnabon in Sunshine City Ikebukuro wasn't there anymore. Well, one popped up right here:

The best cinnamon rolls in the world. The team agrees with me.

We then ran around the place taking photos and doing rather weird things, like D with his Calpis:

"Give me Calpis, or give me... er... just give me the Calpis!"

Also took the giant Ferris Wheel at Tokyo Bay. Couple of the team members were freaking out over the height cos they were apprehensive about heights, but everyone went, and it was pretty cool inside the gondola. Decent scenic shots as well.

Not too bad, considering it was taken from behind a rather grubby window

Ate dinner there then went back, a bit late, but it was a fun day. Had a short briefing from D&J before we could go to sleep.

Wednesday morning was taken up doing prep for the events again. We were doing different things lah, like D was doing up the Kawagoe powerpoints, and J and me were doing the lion and mouse masks for Kids' Club while watching Lost 3. W and M were also doing masks, but they weren't watching. And here's proof that girls can multi-task better than guys:

Score for the masks cutting while watching Lost 3:
J: 18
Me: 4

After that, the team went to Rikkyo to see if there were people who might be willing to talk to us, so that we could then invite them over to HC on Saturday. It was ok. The team did a pretty good job just striking up conversations with people, even though I goofed up on that; just couldn't psyche myself up enough to go and talk to the random students there. Was working with L, and she managed to talk to this lady for quite a while about random stuff, but yeah. Wasn't too bad. Here's a picture we took there:

Team inside the campus

After that, we went to Takadanobaba to meet M the dude from Waseda Uni. He brought Te along with him, as well as another friend K. We all went to this Thai eatery he recommended called Kao Thai near the station. The food was really good. Unfortunately, they didn't have 1) Mango Sticky Rice, 2) Duck noodles, and 3) they ran out of Chayan. But it was nice being able to meet M one more time before we left, and so we talked a bit there before leaving back for home, where J and me tried to practice the Kids' Club skit without disturbing too many people.

Thursday morning was kinda like Wednesday morning. Think if I'm not wrong, J and me had to continue to practice for our skit for the Kids' Club, before we went out for eats. L was kinda sick so we went out to eat lunch and da-bao some stuff back for her to eat. The team also got her some medicine while I was running around looking for stuff that sick people could eat without becoming sicker. Then D and me went to Mr. Donut to meet DL and Y for follow-up Bible study. Pretty interesting, since it was done in Japanese. And I ended up kinda being a semi-translator for D

The girls went over to Kiyose to meet their friend MS who as mentioned in the previous post, is averse to society in general. They had a good meal over there again, and good fellowship with both HJ and the girl. And they were sad to leave, since this was like the closure for most of the stuff they were doing.

Friday was Kids' Club. The kids started out quite rowdy as usual, but they quietened down, and then we had the songs and the games. And then we did the skit. It went pretty well, according to the rest of the team (J and me were too nervous to notice their reactions). I did managed to scare a whole bunch of small kids (and J too) when I suddenly jumped up and roared (I was acting as a lion for the skit) at J.

Crafts was ok, food was ok, and D and me were prepared to have to run ourselves into the ground with the kids again, but they were surprisingly tame this time. I ended up doing very little, except at the end when I entertained this small kid in the sand box.

The kid was trying to take my glasses.

The girls went over to Ikebukuro after that to meet this student from Rikkyo that JL had made contact with. Heard from them that it went pretty well, they managed to talk to the people, and made friends with them. The guys just kinda chilled out at home, then went to an Okonomiyaki place to eat dinner.

Saturday morning we prepared what we had left to prepare for the Singapore Night at Ikebukuro, then we left earlier to go to the Christian book shop near Shinjuku station. A bit expensive, but it was ok, since there was quite a lot of stuff there. After that, we went over to Seibu at Ikebukuro, since the team wanted to go the Loft there, which is like really quite big, covering three floors and all that. I think there's one more like that at Omiya, but we didn't go there. So the people all did some of their last minute shopping, then we headed over to the West side to the HC.

(Interesting note about Ikebukuro station is that Seibu, who's kanji is written as 西武, is actually on Ikebukuro's East exit (東口), while Tobu, another major shopping center who's kanji is (東武) is on Ikebukuro's West exit (西口). Just thought it was interesting).

The Singapore Night was a bit disappointing, in that no one we invited came. It wasn't too bad, because some of the people did reply to say they were unable to make it (for missions work in Japan, if they reply, no matter what the reply is, it's a good sign), but yes, it wasn't quite the turnout we expected.

Still we went on with our program. Most of the people took part enthusiastically, even though the entire group consisted mostly of Singaporeans and Malaysians, with only one Japanese (AA). The team then sang a couple of Singaporean songs (read: National Day songs). I was disappointed they didn't want to do "Home" by Kit Chan, but well, everyone had fun singing "Around Singapore Town" and "There was a time". Kinda strange, but well, we were quite homesick then.

AA and Al from the HC also sang a Chinese song, that AA had translated into Japanese. I heard the song before in Chinese service, it's called 这一生最美的祝福, and it's a really nice song, and AA sang the Japanese version of it. I should go and get a copy of the lyrics from M soon.

We went to an Okonomiyaki place for dinner after that, since the girls heard us espousing the wonders of eating okonomiyaki. We all had a pretty good time over there, just chilling out and eating and talking with the people, since as mentioned earlier, it was a sort of closure.

Me and my assistant leader. She's a really encouraging person.

I think I must have made her angry somewhere during the trip though. haha

Sunday was a rather relaxed day for us, since the Singapore Night was supposed to be our last major event. So we went to church at Amuzing Grace. That week was a thanksgiving weekend though, so instead of having a full service with worship, sermon, and Bible study, we had worship, then people who wanted to share things could come up and share stuff. J and W from the team shared about some of their experiences on the trip, and a couple of the church people also shared some stuff they were thankful for.

After that, D did the Kawagoe presentation to let the HC people know about the place, as most of them hadn't actually been there. Then we left for lunch at Coco's.

The new HC poster, as drawn by M.

The rest of the day was pretty slack. We all went to Propedori to do some more last minute shopping, then the team went over to D&J's house to visit, where we got to see some of their wedding photos and eat JL's cheesecake, which all the team members agree is really good. Then we went for onsen again (for M's sake), and ate major amounts of sushi for dinner, and where once again, the guys showed they could eat more than the girls, even though DL ate sparingly.

Score for sushi dinner
Girls (5): 31 plates
Guys (4): 32 plates

We then went back for the trip debrief at home, and shared some of our experiences on the trip. The sharing actually got a whole lot deeper than just the trip itself, but it was a really good time, getting to know each other even more, and just spending time together as a team. I guess it would have been a lot nicer if we could have gotten to know each other before the trip started, but I'm glad we were able to have such intimate moments as a team. The rest of the night was spent packing.

So the next morning, the team left on the 6.10 Seibu bus to Narita and then on to Singapore, while I stayed behind. For the immediate aftermath of their departure, please click here.

Will probably finish off whatever I did in the last week that I was there some other time. Biggest difference, of course, is that the whole tone of being there was much much quieter. Not just like you know, at home, but overall, everything started to tone down.

Ok. Cheerio

1 comment:

joannachia said...

hey dan! haha you either have photographic memory or you wrote everything down in great detail :D or, you remembered by looking at your photos... which arent a whole lot judging from ur commencement photos :DDD but yep you uploaded ur japan photos to fb already? havent seen yet...
hmm i think i can identify with the kinda lack of inability to talk to random people. haha. ive always felt that way at IFG welcome tea and other events, but i guess it's something learnt (: you're IFG, so you have more experience than me on that (:
and yea thanks for all that recap! no wonder when i asked dean how japan was he was like "err... good." too much to say :P