Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prayer Stuff #2

Ok, so I've at least managed to get the second one of these posts up. Go perseverance!
  1. Thanksgiving for Simon's (Shinagawa Kai) confirmation last Sunday. He attends a Lutheran church on Sunday, so this is almost the same level as a baptism.
  2. This week is travel week for me. Apart from point 1, which was held in Totsuka (near Yokohama), I will also be going to Ibaraki (for HC) on Thursday, and Yokohama again on Friday (for prayer session).
  3. Regarding the Friday prayer, it is run by Kodaira-san, and it is for Yokohama HC, which he is party to.
  4. This Saturday, Shinjuku HC will be starting Alpha training.
Yup so that's it right now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prayer Stuff #1

So I think I shall make this a slightly more regular posting with a very specific focus on events and happenings in my little area of Japan. And I'm guessing not everyone knows the entire background on all the stuff, but it's a bit too hard to recap everything, so if any questions, please ask in the comments or on the tagboard.

Anyway, on to prayer stuff.
  1. Coco's Coffee Hour with Steve on Tuesday mornings has started up again since Steve got back, and he's started to do some simple Bible passage studies during and after lunch. Pray that this will continue to develop, so that it might become like the Urawa English group.
  2. Urawa English group, while continuing, still kinda stuck in the 'need for comprehension' phase. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work among the members to give them the understanding they need.
  3. Shinjuku HC will be planning on starting up Alpha course, so just like in church, pray for wisdom for Karen (HC leader), for people to come, for people who are coming to be prepared by the Holy Spirit, and for finance management. Last point is because Karen's church in Singapore (Wesley Methodist I think) is supporting by giving money for food, as well as to pay for transport fees of any students who may be going.
  4. Taira-san from the Tokorozawa HC (and occasionally Shinagawa Kai) still feels sort of bummed out about life in general. Pray that he might find joy in life, and in searching for God.
  5. May have Kids' Club on Friday.
So that's about it right now, update more later.

Monday, August 23, 2010


This morning, I woke up and as usual, went to make my morning cup of coffee from instant mix. First I would get the sugar out and put it into my cup, then I would add the freeze-dried coffee. It's better that way because then you won't get coffee powder in your sugar. It's not so bad if you get a bit of sugar in your coffee powder.

So anyway, I added in the hot water, and then I must stir the mixture for a while so that all the coffee dissolves in the water before I add the milk. It's a habit. I don't like seeing undissolved grains of coffee powder after I pour in the milk.

You see, before I pour in the milk, it's still ok, cos it's all so dark so I can't really see the undissolved coffee powder. But if I pour in the milk, and the drink turns lighter brown, and I see undissolved coffee grains, the first thing I think is not: "I have undissolved coffee powder in my coffee". Instead, I think: "Argh there are ants in my coffee!".

So I made sure I stirred it longer than a simple swirl of my teaspoon, since long ago, I would just swirl the coffee about a bit, and then add in milk, and then see undissolved coffee grains and think: "Argh there are ants in my coffee!".

Then I added the milk. After returning the milk carton to the refrigerator, I stirred my coffee some more, this time to mix the milk well into my coffee. That's when I saw these little darker brown specks.

This time though, the first thing I thought of was not that there were ants in my coffee, since I have been getting used to it, so I thought these were undissolved coffee grains. So I stirred it a bit more, and then looked again. But the specks were still there.

Now, I started thinking: "Oh no, maybe there really ARE ants in my coffee". So I stirred a bit more, and then a couple of the specks separated from each other, and then I felt: "No, can't be ants, even if these are ant bodies, they shouldn't separate that easily". But I was still thinking of ants.

So I used my teaspoon to carefully scoop out a few of the dark specks, and drained the coffee off so that I could get a good look at the specks. Maybe because it was a bit dim. Maybe it was because my glasses are a bit old and I should get a new pair. Maybe it was because I still hadn't drunk my morning coffee and my mind was not awake yet. But the examination was inconclusive.

"It can't be ants," I thought to myself, "Since ants shouldn't disintegrate so easily. Therefore these should be undissolved coffee bits, though it's kind of strange that it takes so long to dissolve. Maybe I should stir some more."

So I continued to stir. But the specks were still there after some rather vigorous stirring.

"Strange," I thought. "They still aren't dissolving. Maybe I should look once more, just in case these are ant bodies that so happen to disintegrate easily."

So once again, I carefully picked up some more of the specks with my spoon to take a closer look. I cautiously poured as much of the coffee out as I could, and peered closer at the dark specks that had been giving me problems this morning, and which was preventing me from drinking my morning coffee, and going on to make my toast.

That's when I realized I had been trying to dissolve bubbles into my coffee.

Bubbles: Not so dissoluble in coffee.

Monday, August 09, 2010


So several years ago, a certain Lee Kuan Yew and his colleagues decided it was in Singapore's best interest to forge a path separate from their bigger neighbour on the Malayan peninsula. And I, for one, am not gonna complain about that move, since quite obviously, we have had a pretty decent existence since then, even though all the naysayers then predicted that Singapore would (choose one):
  1. Be a weak, weak country
  2. Fall to a communist insurrection
  3. Have no economic powers
  4. Quickly go running back under Malaysian hegemony
  5. All of the above
And so today, like any true-blue Singaporean (yes yes, I know, stop laughing), I went to celebrate the nation's independence.

First of, there was a KHCN meeting, where all 4 of us (Steve is away in America right now) remembered Singapore in our prayers. And then we went out to eat (how very Singaporean) at a Singaporean restaurant in Akasaka.

See my lunch? So Singaporean. Such Singaporean...er... Hainan Chicken Rice.

The food was really quite good. The chicken rice tasted like chicken rice, the chicken tasted like how chicken rice chicken should taste, and the shop-owner even gave us a free sambal kangkong because we told him we were there to celebrate NDP.

You can tell how Singaporean a shop is by the size of the merlion it has. This merlion is fairly big, therefore it's quite Singaporean.

And then I had to rush up to Urawa for English conversation group there. But on the way back, I went to settle some other NDP thing.

See, it's pretty much de rigueur for my family to watch the NDP parade while eating pizza. Specifically, pizza from Pizza Hut. And as I know the location of a nearby Pizza Hut in Shin-Tokorozawa, I was able to get my hands on another pizza in remembrance of the family tradition.

In true Singaporean fashion, this pizza was on sale, so I only had to pay about $14 for it. Whee!

Incidentally, something unfortunate happened last year, in that my family was unable to get pizza, since the telephone lines were overworked. So here's the contingency, as per last year:

Just in case!

Yup, so Happy National Day everyone! Hope you had a great long weekend!

[UPDATE!] Hmm, I guess it appears my fears this year were unfounded.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Late last year, due to my compulsive need to save money (didn't want to take Shinkansen) and my inability to wake up on time (I missed my Limited Express train), I had the opportunity to take the Chuo Line Limited Express train from Nagoya to Nagano. It was a bit of a detour for me, since I would have had one direct train to take me from Kyoto to Nagano.

At any rate, the nice thing about taking the Chuo Line train was that it kinda goes through the mountain ranges in the middle of Honshu. Up till that time, I hadn't actually seen any snow in Japan, so it was quite an experience going through the mountains and seeing snow all over the place.

I also happened to be listening to Nao Matsushita on my iPod while on that particular trip, and the music really seemed to fit, mesh even, with the scenery that was rushing past outside my window. If you are able to imagine traveling at about a hundred klicks an hour through snowy mountains and pine forests, you'll be able to understand what I'm talking about.

This was the only video I could find of this particular song. Sorry, no MV. Just imagine the mountains. And the pines. And the snow.

Now it so happened that today, while traveling out to the Totoro HC in Ibaraki, we were in a car belonging to a guy called Serizawa. He recently started joining Kodaira-san to do ministry in Ibaraki, since he himself lives in Ibaraki with his wife. The cool thing about this dude is that he plays the accordion.

So while zipping by in the countryside of Ibaraki, we were listening to accordion music in the car. And just as the music of Ms. Matsushita seemed perfect to listen to in the cold, clear air of winter, so accordion music seems to have been made specifically for listening to on hot, sunny, summers, especially if the skies are blue, with white clouds floating in idyllic shapes over bright green fields.

It was almost Studio Ghibli-esque.

Just imagine green fields, with white clouds in a blue sky overhead.

[UPDATE!!] I was able to transfer the photos I took with my mobile phone to my computer, so now you can see what Ibaraki prefecture looks like in summer!

As you can see, it really is summer

Oh and just a random thought that occurred to me. When I was in the house at Ibaraki, I saw a spider on the window. And if you think about it, some crabs look kinda like spiders in shape. So, if you were to think of crabs merely as oversized spiders, would that make crabs look less appealing, or make spiders seem more appetizing?

*If the piano and violin are meant for winter, then the accordion is definitely meant for summer

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


So at the Shinagawa Kai today, we just so happened to be talking about the general differences between males and females, which allowed me to use the knowledge I've gleaned from the book that the Shinjuku HC is using.

One of the things that cropped up was how generally, guys are able to sort of get into a phase where they are thinking of absolutely nothing. You know, when they are really just thinking of nothing. Or not.

And so we kinda delved into our discussion. Shion and Amechi both said they had never really come to a point in life where they were thinking of absolutely nothing. Koji and Taira both said they have had such experiences (though strangely enough, Koji said his wife had a lot more of such moments), and I have had lots of such experience.

It's kind of what we would call stoning. Just gazing off into space with a somewhat vacant expression on our faces, which really shouldn't be a surprise, since there is absolutely nothing going on in the mind.

And then Taira said: "That's almost like Zen."

"Yeah, we can be like Buddhists now," added Shion.

So now, if you ever come across someone zoning off, he's not really thinking of nothing. He's achieved enlightenment.

Ok, off to sleep now. Going to Ibaraki tmr.