Sunday, November 05, 2006

pictures of life

Good morning...Fall has returned to Portland and has brought bright trees and gray skies along with it. It's windy today and the whirl of colored leaves falling to the ground outside the library window is a distraction as I am writing this "お久しぶり" post.

How is everybody doing lately? What's new since the last time I saw you? When you have time, please leave a comment and tell me something cool and exciting that is going on with you.

As for me, lots of new stuff. I am at back at Portland State, finishing up my senior year in Applied Linguistics. If all my credits transfer back from Hokkaido University, I will be able to graduate this coming July! I am looking into what I will do after I graduate. Although I am really excited to be done with classes, I feel kind of scared about finishing and moving on to the next stage of my life. Is that a normal feeling?

As I was hoping, I found a Japanese roommate and am living on campus at PSU. Ayako and I have good times together cooking 豚キムチ and お好み焼き and lots of other stuff. My good friend Yu from Hokkaido University is studying at PSU this year, so he has introduced me to a lot of international students studying here for the year. It's really good to still be in an international environment like I was in Sapporo. Yeah for different cultures!

Although you might not believe this (Blaine certainly couldn't!) I am working at the Helpdesk for PSU's Office of Information Technology. I still crack up when I look around me at my co-workers and remember that most of them are computer science or engineering majors. Basically, when staff or students at PSU have any type of problem with their computer (from software to networking to viruses...) they come to us. Thankfully, if I don't know how to solve their problem, I can just pass if on to a full-timer who does know how. The best part about it and the reason why I took the job, is that I am learning a ton, so you might surprised to find a total geek next time you see me!

Other than that, God is still good and life, although hard at times, is still beautiful. I wish I had the motivation to update this more, but not having a personal computer makes it too time consuming to do so regularly.

Enjoy the pictures. There are some from my wonderful trip to NY for Seth and Hanna's wedding, some from the Lake Powell trip with the Berghs and some other random ones.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

still alive

Hello Everyone-
It's pretty sad my last blog was in July. As you all know, a lot has happened since then. I left Sapporo brokenhearted, saying goodbye to all my friends whom I didn't want to part with. There isn't a day that goes bye when I don't think about laughing with my friend Hanna from Indonesia or eating Indian food with Ramya or contemplating with Christoph or running with Julia. And then there's all my wonderful Japanese friends. Yakaku (my outdoor club) people and Eri and Yu and Makiko and so many amazing people. I miss you all more than I can say!
Then I went to Hiratsuka to be with my Japanese family for a last few days. I would have liked to be with them for a month, but because of Seth and Hannah's wedding (more about that later), I had to make it a short visit. Anyway, they took to me one of my favorite onsen places called Hakone. I miss you Eiko, Hajime, otosan and okasan!
Next was New York. This was a wonderful trip to witness the marriage of Seth and Hannah. Their wedding was absolutely beautiful and now they are back in Japan starting a life of ministry together. Yeah for people with hearts for Japan! I stayed in New York for 5 days after the wedding exploring the city alone and with Blaine and friends. We couchsurfed with some really great people and ate lots of New York pizza!
I finally made it back to Hood River on August 17th. Whew! It was good to be home with my family knowing that I will be in the country near them for at least a year or two. My family is the best. I got to spend an extra lot of time with my blood clot brother Colin, whom I love more and more as we grow up and can experience life and learning together.
After a few short days in Hood River, I was offered to work at Portland State University for the same job I did last summer. So, the last 2 weeks have been rafting, camping, and hanging out with 50 Japanese students from Tokyo University of Science. I had to say goodbye to these guys last night...why so many sad partings lately?
Finally, I am on my way out the door to the airport to meet my family for our annual lake Powell trip. We are flying this year, as opposed to usually driving 16 hours through the desert. It will be good to relax and process a few things before coming back and starting school September 25th.
So that's about all. I haven't posted for so long because I don't have my computer and pictures anymore. I hope all this writing with no pictures hasn't bored you all!

That's all for now. May peace and God's beautiful grace shine upon you all!


Monday, July 24, 2006

happenings of late

I was cleaning out my desk last night, preparing some my my bags to come back home in about 2 weeks. Tears came to my eyes as I read over HUSTEP orientation schedules I received at the beginning of my life here. I looked over all the brochures I have collected from my travels around Japan. Travels with friends and images and memories that still remain in my mind as if we just returned from the temple in Kyoto or Shibuya in Tokyo.'s going to be a hard parting.

But it's not over yet...the fun times continue to roll on. For three Saturday nights in a row in July, all across Japan, they hold a fireworks festival. The best part about it is that most of the girls who go dress up in a yukata, which is like a kimono made of cotton. So, my friends and I all wore our colorful yukatas, rode the packed subway to the riverside and joined the few thousand other people watching. We bought some bento (Japanese fast food, but healthy!) and beer had a great time watching the 45 show in the perfect summer night weather. What a wonderful night!

Yesterday was planned to be my last hike with my club yakaku...I was looking forward to the hike because it's a really pretty one, but despite waking up at 4:30, renting a car and driving 1.5 hours out of the city, we got to the trailhead and it was sprinkling. It's against the club rules to hike if there is any kind of precipitation (even though everyone must carry rain gear), so we had to turn around and drive back.

We stopped here on the way back...doesn't it remind you of Oneota Gorge?
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But, once we got into the city, it got sunny again, so we decided to go to the beach. I didn't bring my swimming suit, but there was so way I wasn't going in the water, so I just went in my t-shirt and shorts. We made a sand kingdom and relaxed in the sun. Then, we went to an onsen (Japanese bath) which you could see the ocean from while soaking in the steaming water. And to top it all off, we ate sushi in Otaru, one of the most famous places in Hokkaido for sushi. You can get full on the best quality sushi for 7 bucks! I am going to miss this place!
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Friday, July 07, 2006

my dear family

Sorry...this post is a bit messed up but I am too frustrated to fix it and I have class. And I am going camping this weekend!!!

133/1641/320/tree.0.jpg" border="0" alt="" />This weekend my dear family came all the way to Sapporo to visit me! What's more, Eiko hasn't flown for 4 years and she mustered all her bravery and made the flight. GOOD JOB, Eiko! It was so good to see お母さん、Eiko and Hajime and show them around my life in Sapporo. We also rented a car and went to Furano, a farm town a few hours from Sapporo famous for lavender and flower fields.
Welcome to Japan soft cream. Would you like laspberry, mix that entered the cup or special six flavor?

We ate lunch at this lovely cabin in the middle of the woods. I am going to miss Japanese curry! Of course, Yoshiko spoils me whenever I am with her. Thanks so much お母さん!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

dangerous fog!

I went on a one day hiking trip with my club last Sunday. They picked me up from my dorm at 4:30 am and after driving around the city to get everyone, we started off towards the mountain. After driving for 2 hours, a short drive compared to most trips, we arrived at the parking lot only to find that we couldn't see the mountain we were to climb because it was fogged in. So, we sat and waited in the parking lot for 45 minutes waiting for the fog to clear. If it didn't clear before 8 am, the leader and subleader decided we would have to cancel the trip for the day. Just as the 8 was approaching and I was really worried we had rented a car and driven out here just to go back home, a group of 20+ elementary school kids come trudging down the trail. Of course, Nathan and I were thinking "if these little shrimps can hike this mountain in the fog without losing the trail, certainly we can!" Anyway, the fog ended up clearing off just in time and we had a beautiful hike that day.

random happenings

I might have mentioned earlier this month in Sapporo seems to be festival month. It started with my Hokkaido University school festival. The next weekend was a dance festival called yasakoi soran which supposedly has 45,000 participants and 2 million visitors. And last weekend was Hokkaido shrine festival. We dredged through the rain and caught the last few steps of the parade. All the Shinto priests and parade participants looked as if they had had enough 2 miles before...

Is America in a World Cup Mania too right now? This is Japan vs. Australia...the only full game I have watched before. One of my teachers is obsessed with soccer, so he has opened the International Student Center (where most of my classes are) from 11 pm to 6 am every night. These crazy people watch soccer games starting at 4 am and make it in time for class at 8:45 am!

This paper is posted in my friend's dormitory. This genre of English is an everyday happening in Japan.

Yep, it's who you think it is...good ol' Colonel Sanders.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

---to someone I love---

Some days are harder than others to be thousands of miles away across the Pacific. Today is one of those days. But, since I am here, dad, and you are there, I just want to say...


I am so thankful to have a dad that I know will always be there for me and loves me more than he loves catching a huge salmon in the Columbia. I am so thankful that you have been faithful to love mom and us kids more than anything else. I want to give you a big hug, but that will have to wait for another 6 weeks. Until then, know someone in Japan is thinking you and looking forward to being near you real soon.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

"Be gentle, be festive!"

A little Japanese university cultural lesson for you all...

After I got back from America, I had classes for 2 days, and then to my surprise, we got 2 days off for a 4 day school wide festival called Hokudaisai. It was basically Thursday- Sunday of music, food and dancing all the main street of our school campus. There was a Japanese student section and an international student section for shops, probably around 150 total. I can never imagine Portland State University canceling school for 2 days, much less the small number of students that would stick around to participate in the activities if school was cancelled!

It's pretty much a food festival and over 4 days I ate:
fried potato
okonomiyaki potato
shrimp and pork dumpling
ethiopian curry
cambodian curry
pakistani curry
Indonesian curry
Korean jijimi (pancake)
Jamaican jerk chicken
Egyptian sawerderma (chicken saute)

I worked for one day at the booth of my churches English cell group. Basically, those who aren't cooking or serving food have to stand out in the street and collect customers by saying (in Japanese) "how about some Jamaican chicken? Would you like some Indonesian curry. It's delicious!" Everyone along the 1 km road is doing the same thing, so add the music and people's chattering and it's quite a lively place.

The best part about Hokudaisai- even better than the food- was walking around, especially the international part, and talking to all the shop people. Me and Hanna talked with our new friends for an hour about the relations between America, Egypt and Sudan. I chatted with a guy from Spain about Catholicism and Christianity. I met the friends of my precious Indian Princess Ramya.
I watched my Korean friend Minsoek's dance.

Everyone works diligently to set up the best shop. These guys decided that a giant walking bottle of mayonnaise and a paper octopus would do the trick!

What a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

america the beautiful

For those of you who didn't know, yes, I was in America last month. My whole trip home was supposed to be top secret, only known by a few select people with 重い口 (Japanese for those who don't leak secrets easily). I was looking SO forward to seeing the look on my brothers and Grant and Kristen's face when they saw me for the first time. However...

through a mysterious and quite frustrating sequence of events, everyone found out I was coming, leaving only myself surprised how everyone came to know so quickly.

Anyway, it was a through and all beautiful trip home. Grant and Kristen- congratulations. You guys are an amazing couple and now I realize I wouldn't have trading anything for missing your wedding.

After the wedding in Jackson Hole, my family and I went to Yellowstone National Park for the 1st time. This was my second motivation in coming home and seeing lake after lake of crystal blue boiling water, spending 3 whole days with my family (including my sister Bethany, of course), eating Blaine's triple cheesy mac and cheese and seeing the new old faithful errupt in our car were all unforgettable experiences.

Before I came home, I was pretty much dreading going back to America in August. (This speaks of how much I love my life and friends here.) But after going back, I was reminded again how much I love and am loved by so many in America. I am glad I can now say that, although I will really miss this incredible country and the people I have come to love in it, I am excited about coming home.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

golden week

Last week was Golden Week, a Japanese holiday which has relatively little meaning, except for the whole nation getting 3 days off of work or school and traveling! I went on my spring debut hike with my outdoor club to a nearby mountain called Oshamambe-dake. It was such beautiful weather from the peak we could see both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.
We started hiking Wednesday afternoon and we reached our little cabin a few hours later. We played in the snow for a while, then ate a wonderful dinner or pork-kimchee, nabe soup and rice. Our wake up call was at 4:30am the next morning! WHY do we have to get up so early? We eat a nice huge breakfast of Japanese noodles and start the hike at about 7am.
When hiking, everyone wears a matching pants and windbreaker outfit. I think if we all got caught in a blizzard and died, this guy, Tommy, would be the first one to be found.
Yeah, the summit!
Me and Yasuda at one of the random stops along the way home. This was only one weird rest stop. Among the others were a sausage factory, a tofu tasting heaven, a potato farm, spring water geyser...etc. I am going to miss these kind of road trips!