Thursday, February 18, 2010


I never realized how gray it had been, until today I guess. The past week (weeks?) had been cloudy/overcast I guess, but I never really noticed it... or at least, I never really noticed the lack of sunlight until today.

See, what happened was that I had to wake up early this morning for E-Moms. It didn't help that last night was Shinagawa Kai, since that usually means I only get home around 11 (no nomikai this time, if not it'll be 2 am when I get home). So when my alarm rang, I dragged myself out of bed, which is even harder to do when you realize it's freezing outside the confines of your blanket. And yes, I meant that literally: it was snowing this morning.

So I stumbled about and finally found myself at Hana-Koganei, where I had breakfast at Mr. Donut, before meeting Steve to go for E-Moms. And after E-Moms, Steve had another appointment at Akitsu, so I took a lift from him over to Akitsu station.

Now usually, I would take the train back one stop to Tokorozawa station. But I was feeling kinda bored, and since it had stopped snowing, I decided to try to walk back to Tokorozawa. So I started walking, and found a bakery along the way.

Some stuff I found there at bakery.

It was kinda nice I guess, since it was still cold, and the air was dry, but it was still somewhat cloudy, until I had walked about halfway back, when the sun started to come out. And I don't know why, but as I told Sul, it made me almost psychotically happy.

In fact, it made me so unstable that I decided to spend the rest of my afternoon walking. So after eating lunch and doing some other stuff on the 'net, I went out to buy a map and compass (since as we all know, only the map and compass are correct; you're always wrong) and just started walking.

So I guess it's a little different than in Singapore, since in Singapore, it's kinda hot and humid and after about 3 minutes you get all icky, but here, it was really quite pleasant to walk about. Especially with the sun out and helping you keep a little warm (it is winter here after all).

And for my first checkpoint, I decided an easy course: to walk from Tokorozawa station to Nishi-Tokorozawa station. The easiest way would be to follow the tracks, but with my map and compass (which are always right, though I may be wrong), I cut through central Tokorozawa City and reached CP1 pretty easily.

And that's where I felt I hadn't gone far enough. So after consulting my map (which is right) on where to go to next, I decided to walk down towards the Seibu Dome area. And walking there kinda reminded me of walking about in Taiwan with my army buds. Halfway to my CP2 though, I saw an interesting road branching out to my right. It was actually pretty large, since it was the bypass that led to route 463 out towards Hanno. So since the theme of the walk was whimsicality (is that even a real word?), I changed CP2 from Shimo-Yamaguchi to Kotesashi station, and started walking that way.

Pretty decent view from the top of the bypass.

When I got to the crossing that would bring me to Kotesashi, I felt like I could go a little further, so I set up CP3, which was the next station: Sayamagaoka. And continued walking there. By the time I reached there, almost 2 hours had passed, so I ended my trip. Also, cos my map was for Tokorozawa City only, and details did not extend beyond Sayamagaoka station.

I'm not too sure why, but I found the whole trip rather relaxing and fun. I guess, it's all about going to somewhere new, which is really quite like having an adventure. I guess I felt the same way when I went to Hanno, or even the first time I went out to Ibaraki for housechurch. I also had that same feeling when we were in Taiwan, when we were left to our own devices to muck about in the hills. Just being able to explore somewhere new, to walk there and just see the place, was really nice. It helped too, that I was able to sense God walking with me, even though the trip wasn't really meant to be a retreat or anything.

And like I said before, sometimes, we do need to go out on a whim, just without any cares (ok, you need some care. And a map and compass, since they are righter than you are), and just to walk about as far as you feel like, stopping whenever you want to.

Hmm... 5 posts in one month.. what's with the sudden overflow of words? Maybe it's something I ate...

P.S. Sorry if you don't know where the locations are and all that. If you really want to, you can check up Google Maps or something.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fish and Cat

(May require understanding of Japanese)

So last week at Shinagawa Kai, we were all sitting around at the free space in Shinagawa Grand Commons, and Koji led a short study on prayer. And he used a rather interesting acronym to help us remember.

Most of us in the English speaking groups, may have heard of the ACTS style: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Which if I'm not wrong, came from a general breakdown of the Lord's Prayer.

But to help us remember the different forms of prayer in Japanese, Koji came up with the 'Fish and Cat' idea. Now, it sounds kinda odd in English, which is why if you are able to speak Japanese, this will make you go "...ohhhhhh..."

Anyway, in Japanese, 'Fish and Cat' is 'Sakana to Neko'. In hiragana, that would be さかなとねこ. And here's the breakdown:


...which I found pretty cool, even though we really do need to point out that the confessions here listed in Japanese is not really quite the same idea that we have in Christian confession. But ok.

After which some of us went for nomikai (飲み会) where we all loosened up a bit and laughed at each other.

Shinagawa Nomikai: Shion, me, Watanabe, Simon, Taira, Koji.

Just fyi, nomikai is a drinking meeting. And I wanted to get the full experience:

Mmmm... nom(u) nom(u) nom(u)

Of course, I had to do this without breaking my vows of ServeAsia (no alcohol being one of the 5 great commandments), so if you look closely enough, this is Kirin Free, no alcohol. But it was fun.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So just last Saturday, I traveled over to Tokiwadaira in Chiba prefecture for Yan Moku's hotpot party. It was great fun, ate lots of good food, made several new friends, got to hang out with people etc.. Anyway, the most convenient way for me to get over to his place, was to take the Musashino Line. I would have to change trains twice, but I would get one long ride in the middle on the line itself, which sort of appealed to me. The line also traveled through an area which was less densely populated, which meant nicer views.

In addition, there was also a shopping complex along the line that I heard about called the Aeon Laketown. Apparently, it was pretty big, so I wanted to go and take a look and see what it was all about.

And it was really kinda huge. I've been to several large shopping complexes before, but this one takes the cake. It consisted of two large buildings that had all manner of shops and stuff. (As an aside, I'm guessing my dad was glad that my sis did not get wind of this place while the family was here). In fact, huge probably doesn't even begin to describe it. This place was massive. How massive? I was there on a Saturday afternoon, and there were throngs of people, but it didn't feel terribly crowded. That's how big.

But as my science teachers used to tell me, you need empirical data to back up your theory (unless you're dealing with theoretical physics, whereupon you can't really find said empirical data, like cats being both dead and alive at the same time). So I have kindly compiled some evidence to show just how big the place is.
  1. It needs two maps to show you the entire place. As I mentioned earlier, there were two main buildings, Kaze (wind) and Mori (forest). Both are only three stories, but they still need two maps to show you everything in side. And these aren't three panel brochures either. They're like 11 panels or something like that.

    Laketown: needs two maps

  2. It has travelators. This place is so big, you need travelators to get from one side to the other. And if you notice, there are actually two travelators. Cos one's just not enough.

    I was trying to do healthy lifestyle, so I chose to walk instead. And get these pictures.

  3. It has Krispy Kreme. Now, it's a well-known fact in Japan that only big places are allowed to have Krispy Kreme. I mean, Osaka doesn't have an outlet, and last I heard, Osaka's a pretty big place. Therefore, evidence of bigness. [UPDATE: My friend in Osaka, Joanne, just told me that Osaka now does have a Krispy Kreme.]

    Laketown: Has Krispy Kreme

  4. It has FOUR Starbucks joints. Yes, that's right. It was feasible enough for Starbucks' Management to open FOUR shops in the same mall. Needs no further explanation.

    1 Starbucks! Ahahahah (Kaze, 1F)

    2 Starbu.. 2 Starbuckses? (Mori, 1F)

    3 Starbu... 3 Starbuci? (Mori, 1F, outside)

    Aha! I got it! 4 Starbucks Joints! Ahahahah (Mori, 3F)

  5. It has a JR station named after it. Even Disneyland doesn't have a JR station to itself.

Laketown: has JR station.

So now you know too that Laketown is a pretty big place.

Laketown: pretty big

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Dreams II

A while back, sometime in the middle of last year, I mentioned that I had some dreams about forgetting to do my re-entry pass. Quick recap in points:
  1. I am in Japan on a religious work visa.
  2. I can easily leave, but to get back in on that same visa, I must also have a re-entry stamp.
  3. I dreamt (several times) that I had forgotten to do it, and ended up being questioned by someone in authority.
Thankfully, when I went back in November for an important event, I had already gotten my re-entry stamp when I went to the immigrations bureau in Kita-Yono with Steve, which saved me the trouble of explaining to said-people-in-authority, and saved Fuzzy the need to come over and smack me.

However, several weeks ago, I was sleeping at night, and then I had a dream again about forgetting to do my re-entry pass. And then last night, it happened again. Which is understandable, since although I don't really intend to return to Singapore anytime before my one year is up, I am planning on coming back again for another year... which of course would be a lot easier if I had a re-entry pass.

And so now I'm wondering if the dreams were meant more for my end-of-contract return than for my holiday return last November.

Better make a mark on my calendar to go and get my re-entry stamp done again.

The cause of my dreams. Or really, the potential lack of said item when I return to Singapore which is causing my dreams.

Monday, February 01, 2010


So I was at the Urawa English Corner earlier today, and we were discussing some questions, which were based on the Bible passage where a paralyzed man was lowered through the roof of a house by his friends so that he could meet Jesus.

At any rate, the group was split up into three smaller groups, and I ended up with one of the ladies, called Izumi. Now, Izumi is really quite a sharp-minded lady, and she's also not afraid to voice out her opinions regarding the Bible stories. But in case you're thinking she's a loud, nasty person, you're wrong. All the ladies at the Urawa English Corner are nice people, and Izumi is no exception. She's quiet and soft-spoken, just that she does share her opinions.

And her English is pretty good, which is kinda awesome.

So anyway, we were discussing some questions, and one of the questions went: "Do you think it is easier to heal the physical body, or to forgive sins?"

The following is a summarized transcript of what happened. Please take into account, that this is really just a common conversation. In no way am I implying or attempting to start a cult or anything of that sort:

Izumi: Hmm... I think both are really difficult to do.
Me: Yeah, I agree... but I think it's harder to forgive sins because I can say it, but I can't really, you know, forgive sins, since only God can really do that, and I don't think I'm God. (of course, I was saying this in an understated sort of way, since quite obviously, I'm clearly not God.)
I: Well, who knows, maybe you are?
Me: ??!! (Thinking ahhh noooo I'm a heretic) No no, I'm quite sure I'm not God...
I: But didn't Jesus just appear suddenly and start doing his work? And since the Jews are still waiting for their Messiah...
Me: Eh.. yeah, but see, before Jesus was born, He knew He was God. Before I was born, I, er, didn't know anything!
I: I see... (looks thoughtful) Is Jesus coming again?
Me: Oh yes He is, but He'll come in a slightly different way... In these stories, Jesus is a gentle, nice person, but when He comes again, He'll come as a conquering king.
I: Is that in the Bible?
Me: Oh yeah. It's in Revelations, the last book of the New Testament..

And so apparently, just by mentioning the 2nd Coming, I have managed to pique Izumi's interests enough to go and read through the book of Revelations.

So here's hoping and praying that this will be a step for her on the way to knowing Christ.