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Will Provide Food For Thought

2014/04/28

I thought I would provide some food for thought, as the blog suggests. Tomorrow I have jury duty. Jury duty can be annoying, inconvenient, and a big waste of time. In fact, the stories of how people try to get out of jury duty are legendary. Yet, at the same time, jury duty is one considered one of our most significant DUTIES as citizens. After voting, I can’t think of another civic duty more important in our country. So why do most people go to great lengths to get out of jury duty? I guess you can extend that question to voting as well. Why do so many people completely ignore what we as a society have elevated above all else?

To be honest, I’m excited for jury duty. I’m glad I get to do my part in the justice system. I also hope I only have to do it for one day. 

May your week be blessed with love and adventure!

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Matthew Chapters 1 and 2 – Christmas

2012/12/16

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and holidays everyone! I hope your December is full of merriment  joy and giving. I thought since Hanukkah is ending soon (tonight I believe) and Christmas coming up I would share my thoughts on some of the origins of the holidays. Of course, since I myself am Christian, I have more incite into Christmas. However, I would like to make a post on Hanukkah if I have time. I’m going to try to read and give my thoughts of the beginning  of the first four books of the New Testament in the Bible, which all concern the birth of Jesus the Christ. Afterward I will relate my thoughts back to the modern holiday and what it means to me! Onward!

The first book of the New Testament is Matthew. The segment I will be reading is Matthew chapters 1 and 2. This is from the New Revised Standard Version. 

 

The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah

1 An account of the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah,[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph,[c]and Asaph[d] the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos,[e] and Amos[f] the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel,13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.[g]

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah,[h] fourteen generations.

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[i] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;[j] and he named him Jesus.

 

Matthew 2

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Visit of the Wise Men

2 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men[a] from the East came to Jerusalem,asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,[b] and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah[c] was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men[e] and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising,[f] until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped,[g] they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

The Escape to Egypt

13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”14 Then Joseph[h] got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

The Massacre of the Infants

16 When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men,[i] he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.[j]17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

The Return from Egypt

19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph[k] got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”

Matthew is very interesting. It is the first book of the New Testament and one of its main qualities is that it tries to connect the story of Jesus with Jewish traditions and writings. It starts off with a genealogy of Jesus that goes back through David, Moses and Abraham (Interesting note, this is one of two genealogies of Jesus, the other one being in Luke and the are not quite the same). He continues to link Jesus to Jewish writings by referencing different prophets through out the story. Not only does Matthew reference prophets but Jesus makes his way down to Egypt as an infant while King Herod is trying to kill him, just as Moses did. Within the first two chapters of this book we see that the author is making a direct link to Jewish writings, emphasizing Jesus as a continuation of that story and not a new one.

The Christmas portion of this passage is quite small, but there are a few interesting sections I want to point out. First, is when Mary becomes pregnant  with Jesus even though she has not married Joseph yet. Joseph was a good, righteous man. He was not going to ridicule her but he was not going to marry her. Yet, he marries her and raises the child as his own.  

Later on we see the magi travel long distances to honor a newborn baby with expensive gifts, a baby who was born in a stable, surrounded animals.

These two passages show a complete overturn of what is suppose to happen. Joseph was suppose to abandon a young, pregnant Mary (albeit doing so in the nicest way possible) yet I instead marries her and raises her son. It couldn’t have been easy escaping Herod’s men who looking for their baby nor could it have been easy to move to Egypt. The magi also show a complete overturn of what is suppose to happen. They were wealthy men who could have an audience with the king of the region. Yet, they brought expensive gifts to a poor family in a small, foreign village. Not only did they do that, but they also defied the ruthless king, risking their own lives to help the young baby. 

So, how is the Christmas story related to Christmas now? Where do we see it in our lives? Where is the grace shown by Joseph toward Mary when he accepts her and her son as his own? Where are the wealthy magi leaving gifts for the poor family? Where is the small defenseless newborn, born into they humblest situation, destined to continue the tradition of Abraham, Moses and David? Lets focus of these things as we wait for Christmas this year, as we wait for the birth of the Christ.

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Happy Veterans Day

2012/11/12

Hello everyone! Today in the States it is Veterans Day. I would like to wish every veteran a happy Veterans Day. They and their families sacrifice much for their job which is to serve and protect the American people. Thank you to all who are apart who have been and still are apart of the military and apart of my life. If you want to help veterans and their families please consider donating to groups like this!

On the topic of serving and sacrifice I think we should also thank everyone who is not apart of the military who serve and sacrifice for others. We should thank policemen, firefighters, first responders, doctors, nurses, teachers, postmen, single mothers and anyone else who serves and sacrifices for someone else. Without those people not only would we not be the nation that we are but we would not be the people that we are that make up humanity. So to the men and women serving in Afghanistan away from their family, the firefighters who rescue people from buildings (and cats from trees), postmen who deliver the mail everyday in any weather, the best teachers in the world, single parents, mentors and volunteers: thank you.

Things that have happened since my last post:

Moved to Okegawa

Got married (WOO!)

OTHER AWESOME THINGS

Decided to come back to the States in early April. As my wife said… “We have decided that we’re pretty much coming back to the US after our contract ends at the end of March. The only thing that would make it so that we’d stay here is if at least one of us came across a really nice job, and we’re not really job hunting in Japan anyways. We don’t know where we’ll live yet, and it’s really hard for us to leave Japan but there’s a lot of people we miss in the US and Robbie wants to try to get into a grad school teaching program.

Someday we’ll be back in the land of the rising sun but for now, forward unto the land of the double down. #TheresNoBun”

OBAMA WON

Washington State voted to legalize EVERYTHING

And I drew this for the election.

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Thought for Food (political edition)

For you know me you probably know that I’m pretty liberal. I’m proud to be liberal just as I am proud to be Christian. So for those conservative Christians (or conservative anyone else) why is the republican party against welfare? People who are unemployed, especially people who have disabilities, need help to live while they are trying to get back on their feet. It seems very un-compassionate to not help people and just tell them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

More food for thought…

I am Christian and I do enjoy typing about my thoughts and feelings about Christianity. This next passage is one that gives me strength and helps me get though everyday, good or bad. So if you aren’t Christian or just aren’t practicing, what do you do when times are hard? What encourages you on everyday? Please let me know. I would really love to hear.

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

What do you think….?

What do you think about a blog that would explain both (or many) sides of a topic? I would call it “Devil’s Advocate”. I would try to focus on the ideas and reasons of why people support, like or believe something. The topics could range from tough issues of illegal immigration, gay marriage, women leaders in the church and the legalization of marijuana to simple issues like pie or cake, peanut butter or jelly and was the moon landing real or fake? Should I try it?

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And thats how the Queen saved apple pie!

2012/02/09

Hello! I am ashamed that I haven’t posed sense September. OH well. I’ve been busy. What’s that you say? You want to know what I’ve been doing? Why would you want to know that? Oh. Thats the only reason someone would read this blog is to see what I’ve been doing? Ok. Well, thanks for reading then. That’s very nice of you.

WEDDING STUFF!

Becca and I have been working hard on getting things ready for the wedding. We are very close to sending out the save the dates! We spent a crazy week last January in Seattle doing lots of things like buying a wedding dress (for becca, not me), tux shopping, seeing family and friends, eating food, eating food, tasting cupcakes and eating more food. More exciting details will come with your save the date!

Work Stuff!

Work is good.I’ve been really busy lately. In Junior High, I’ve been doing lots of correcting practice essays (more like short writing worksheets). Its about 4 or 5 sentences per student, 30ish students in each class, 4 classes of third year students and they all have English 3 times a week. I makes for a lot of corrections. It takes up most of my free time now at school. But you know what? I LOVE IT! I feel like I’m in a small way helping them with their English. Any time I feel like I’m helping those students learn a little more then they would have before I get this incredible feeling.

The other day at work I found out a new cultural difference that really shocked me. Everyday we sing a song in English to start out English class. Usually that song is catchy and gets stuck in my head. This particular day it got stuck in my head and as I started to pass out papers to the class I started whistling it without realizing it. Suddenly the teacher turns around and demands that I stop whistling and that I should never do that again in class or infront of the students. I was shocked. I didn’t even realize I was whistling at first. I tough at first he might have thought that I was disrupting the class (even though there was nothing to disrupt, we were just passing out papers). Later on I asked him about it. I found out that whistling in Japan (at least by the older people I’ve talked to) is perceived to be TOO relaxed. Apparently you aren’t suppose to be so relaxed at work. That is apparently why everyone wears suits and the students wear uniforms and you start out class and end class with formal … introductions(?). It blew my mind. I’ve seen many teachers be relaxed at work. I’ve seen them wrestle, throw and push students to the ground. Things that would not fly back in the states. Honestly, in most instances its innocent rough housing that people shouldn’t overreact over but people do back in the States. But I digress. I learned it was a bad thing to whistle in front of the students … ever. This ripped my heart out. I try to be a good teacher, the best I can be. I want to do well for the students and the teachers I’m assisting. But telling me that I cant whistle is like telling my I cant smile. It just comes naturally to me. Especially when half my job is being happy (i.e.SUPA GANKI) and encouraging students to enjoy English. Whistling at night is though to be rude as well. That makes some sense to me. People used to/still do live very close to each other and you don’t want to wake anyone up. Just ignore the drunken salaryman stumbling through the alleyway. Honestly, it took a lot for me to get over this. I respect the teacher a lot who told me this and I want to be the best teacher I can be for my employers and I realize this is just a difference culture and I understand. I just hope the students can grow up with more joy in their live outside of studying and working 16 hours a day for the rest of their lives, even without whistling.

Last work thing…

I hope you all would pray for a student of mine who is in the hospital. I cant get into details but it would help a lot.

JLPT

If you don’t know I took the JLPT 5 last December. JLPT is the Japanese Language Proficiency  Test. There are 5 levels. Level 5 is the easiest and level 1 is the hardest. Well I took level 5 and passed! I know some basic level Japanese! Hurray! Next up is Level 4 in July. I’m not sure if Ill be ready for that by then but I’ll keep studying. Baby steps!

About other work!

I’ve been teaching a 7 year old the past couple of months and its been great! It’s the best side job I could ever want. We read books and play games for an hour and a half. He amazes me with his English. He LOVES baseball so I decided to make him a tabletop baseball game. He loves it! I’ve put a lot of time and effort into thse cards and I’m glad he loves it. He keeps asking me for new players so he can spank my Mariners with his Tokyo Giants. Here are just a few of the many I’ve made and I have plans to make even more!

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Food For Thought

What have I been thinking about lately? Lots of things I guess. Life. Death. Prayer. Does prayer help if believe in Calvinism and predestination? Is there a difference between group prayer and praying alone? Prayer is good, I know its good. I feel that prayer is more for you then for God. God already knows what you are going to pray. He already has his plans in work. He knows what will happen. But pray frees us from our burdens. Its a way to take up his yoke and leave our own. Its a way to center ourselves on God and focus on him. A time for quiet and peace. It’s easy to use prayer as a tool. “Dear God. Thanks for everything. Props for that. Can you do this for me? Please? Thanks. Bye.” However, when someone is in need, when someone’s only hope is a miracle from God, all you can do is ask. I guess in that way asking God for something is a way to express your emotions and burdens to God. So, in the end does prayer help? Sure it does though I have a feeling it helps in ways we cant possibly imagine and in ways we never expect. That can be hard and irritating but ultimately it is for the best.

As always I would love to know what you think about any and all of tonight’s post. I hope you are all blessed my friends.

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ハイキングする Mountains and MORE!

2011/09/04

Photos!

The first 4 photos are from my hike in Chichibu with my friends Martian, Sam and friends. The rest of the photos are from my hike up Mt. Fuji with my friend Omar (credit to him for the Fuji pictures). They were both great hikes. The one in Chichibu took about 5 hours which was done the day before starting the Fuji hike.

I underestimated Fuji. I had heard things. Things like people in flip-flops and shorts do the hike. Things like kids make it up the mountain. I wont go as far as to say those things are wrong and right out lies. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw a guy in flip-flops make it up the mountain. I even saw more peculiar things then that. I saw people in costumes go up the mountain. I’m pretty sure I saw Pikachu and Doraemon make their way up. But never did I think it would be so cold on Mt.Fuji. I know, it was dumb. It’s a mountain. Its the tallest point in Japan. There is snow at the top of the mountain 10 months out of the year. OF COURSE it’s going to be cold. But, you see, I forgot. When I started out on my journey to Mt. Fuji it was it the high 80’s or low 90’s (in the 30s for all you Celsius people). It had been like that for weeks and weeks in Japan. I had not worn a jacket in months. I brought my rain jacket just in case. It, of course, wasn’t enough. However, the wind and the cold weren’t the only things that attribute to the old Japanese saying

“He who climbs Mount Fiji is a wise man, he who climbs twice is a fool.”

Or, something like that anyway. But I shall start from the beginning. As I said I had hiked in the Chichibu mountains the day before but I wasn’t worried. I’m still a spry, young 24 year old (All the kids I teach think I’m really young because I’m younger then their parents by a few years. It doesn’t matter to them that they are only 7 years old and I’m more then 3 times their age. I guess they will get to multiplication in a few years). My friend Omar took a bus to the 5th station around 6 or 6:30 at night. The plan was to start around 8 and hike up to the top of Mt. Fuji just in time for the sunrise and then hike down. We had thought that’s what everyone did.  We later found out that, to be sure, it was one way to do it which some people did. However, most people reserve a spot at one of the rest stops on the way up the mountain to try and get some sleep or at least stay warm for a few hours. We made sure to have some dinner at the 5th station and then decided to start just after dark, around 7:30. We took the second most popular hike, hearing that it was a nicer hike and hoping it wasn’t as crowded. It turned out to be true. Our hike most of the way had very few people on the trail, most of whom we passed. Everyone on the mountain was very friendly. Every time we would pass someone a round of encouragement would be exchanged between us. There was a certain camaraderie and excitement between everyone on the trail. The first half of the hike was very cool, going though trees and eventually over the tree line as well as the cloud cover. At a few points during the hike thunder would roar around us as we hiked. Once we got above the tree line it started getting windy and cold. Very cold. Omar was very kind to lend me his hat as well as his rain pants as we hiked up but we found we couldn’t stay in one spot for more then 20 minutes without becoming too cold. There were times when we would hop into a “hotel” (really more like a large, warm room) to buy something and wait there until we got kicked out just to get away from the cold for a few minutes. It was totally worth getting kicked out each time. We found out as well that while we were hiking the cold and the wind wasn’t the problem, it was the air. Standing still was fine but as you took that first step you almost started to hyperventilate because the air was so thin. So, we had thunder all around us, it was hard to breath when we walked and we froze when we stood still. And then, came the line. As I said before there was hardly anyone on the trail. That changed around 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning when all the groups in the hotels got up and started hiking the last portion of Mt. Fuji to get to the top. When I say groups it wasn’t the typical hiking group of 3 or 5 or 7 people. It was groups of 50 and 100 and maybe even more. The last hour or two of hiking was in a line. Everyone was queued up to get to the top. One by one people would flood out of the hotels and hike up the last portion of the mountain. I didn’t see the line end until about an hour after sunrise on our way down. Omar and I finally made it to the top around 3 or 3:30. We had some time to wait until sunrise we walked around a bit. We got to see the crater at the top of Fuji as well as a famous shrine (temple? I dont remember). I bought a nice hot tea from a vending machine at the top for ¥400. That we pretty cool. I have no clue how someone got a vending machine to the top of Mt. Fuji but it was a fantastic bottle of hot tea. We were going to go try and find the post office that is at the top but we were too tired and too cold to care by then. After waiting a bit we finally got to see the sunrise. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen on God’s beautiful Earth. Nothing in nature besides this sight has brought tears to my eyes. The clouds were floating between the foothills, the lake was beautiful and the Sun was breathtaking. One of the monks at the top raised the Japanese flag and played the national anthem over a loud speaker (I THINK it was the national anthem, I dont actually know the Japanese national anthem) just as the tiny orange sun turned into a GIANT RED SUN, shimmering over the horizon. It was really amazing. I feel blessed to have seen it. When that was done we wanted to get off the mountain as fast as we could. We finally made it back to the bus stop by 9:00 in the morning. We slept a bit on the bus and then on the train back to Tokyo. All in all, we hiked from 7:30 PM to 9:00 AM (13.5 hours) only stopping about 20 minutes for every break we had. It was amazing. It was exciting. It was a tremendous experience. I will never forget it and I must agree with the old Japanese saying “I would be a fool to do it again.” Well, maybe in a few years I’ll try it again. I can’t help it, I must be a fool.

Thought for Food

I want you to read a story.  It is a very short story about a Roman Centurion. It comes from Luke Chapter 7 verses 1-10 from, if you haven’t guessed it yet, the Bible.

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

There is so much to be said about these few verses. The Roman centurion is an amazing man. This story is about a man with power, a man in charge of other men in the greatest army of the time that has conquered the Mediterranean and is occupying Judea among many other lands. He is a Roman. He is a first class citizen, a man with property and servants. He is the embodiment of a foreigner, and outsider to Israel. This man should be the enemy. To many at the time he WAS the enemy to many people (see: Jewish-Roman War). However, there are two striking characteristics about this man: humility and faith. Humility and faith (not to the Emperor or the Roman gods, which to be sure was capable of incorporating the local gods many regions)  are the last two characteristics a Roman centurion are though to have. He cared for and loved his servent, someone of minor status to compared him. He loves the nation he is occupying and has built their local synagogue. He is so humble he doesn’t even consider himself worthy to come to Jesus himself much less have Jesus come to his home. He communicates to Jesus not with his own mouth but the mouth of the elders of the community because he is not worthy to speak to Jesus. That blows my mind. It is incredible to think that this man with such status and power, a man who has soldiers of the Roman empire under him could be so humble. This man had great faith as well. We don’t know much about him. We don’t know how or were he grew up but he most likely believed in the Roman gods. We do know he build the local synagogue so he might have believed in the Jewish faith or at least had a good respect of it. This man could have had Jesus come to his house. This man could have seen Jesus preform a miracle in front of his eyes, but he didn’t need it. He didn’t need to see Jesus, talk to Jesus or do anything else with Jesus. He just asked Jesus to command it and knew it would be done. The Roman centurion’s humbleness and faith I think bring two messages. We see a man who should by all right be a man of pride, a man above others but instead is caring and humble. We also see a man who is foreign and not of the Jewish faith but is so full of faith that he amazes Jesus. This man amazed Jesus! I hope that I am able to remember this Roman centurion and be more like him. I hope one day I can be just like him, a humble man of great faith. I hope that for all you too.

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Why, howdy partner. It sure has been a crazy few months hasn’t it?

2011/06/01

Hello again. It’s been awhile. I just got internet access last week so I have an excuse for not updating, though not a great excuse. The real reason I haven’t posted lately is because there has been too much that has happened since the last time I posted. So instead of taking 6 hours to write about everything I’m just going to write in bullet point. These things happened (and I’m probably forgetting a few things).

-Japan blew up
-I came back to Seattle with Becca for a nice two week visit
-Got to hang out with my friends and family
-Had to choose where I would live this coming year
-I chose to move to Kumagaya this year
-I got ENGAGED! YEAAAAAAH!
-I went back to Japan
-I got to experience going to the US embassy to get potassium iodide tablets
-Watched as Japan (the area I live in at least) slowly returned back to normal
-Moved to Kumagaya
-Started working in two new schools in Kumagaya
-Built my new bike
-Started riding to work everyday
-Started helping coach the basketball team
-Hurt my back
-When to the chiropractor
-Got some sweet Hawaiian burgers with friends
-Met Noah’s friends Mamiko and Kazuma (coolest people ever)
-Watched a lot of Ryoma Den
– Finished my book and started a new one
– Started playing the guitar

So yeah. That’s my life. I really wish I could go into detail but im not going to here. Next time. I promise.

thought for food

We had a typhoon the other day. There was so much rain I was soaked after 10 minutes. It’s times like that I have to pray for everyone without a nice warm home to go to. Times like that really put things into prospective. Maybe you had a bad day at work, but at least you have a nice warm house to go to. Maybe you don’t have much money but you have your best friend to talk to everyday. Live isn’t about what we have but how we spend the time we have and who we spend it with. Today, I ask for you to remember prospective. Sometimes we forget to have prospective.

God bless,

Robbie

h1

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Reactor/Fires/Blackout update

2011/03/13

Here is an email I wrote about the things going on in Japan. I dont really want to take the time write now to write it in blog form.

Becca and I are fine. All my friends are safe though there are still a few who are stranded. I lot of people couldn’t get home the night of the earthquake because all the trains had stopped. By now (Sunday night) a lot of the trains are back up running, though infrequently.

I was in my car when the earthquake started. Everyone around just stopped and waited it out. It was a very violent back and forth shake. Very different to the one we had in 2001 (in Seattle) when the earth seem to be rolling instead for shaking back and forth. The quake itself was big, but I didn’t foresee the horrific events that would happen afterwards.

Again everything is fine where I am. Sendai got hit the hardest. Sendai is the city closest to the epicenter and right on the water. Its about 2-3 hour train ride from where I live. Everything there is destroyed because of the tsunami. Residents had about 15-30 minutes after the quake before the first tsunami hit. Everything is under water, houses are torn apart and bodies are appearing on the shore. Thousands of people are missing and hundreds are already confirmed dead. There have been city wide fires in other cities, a huge oil refinery fire in Chiba (the city right next to Tokyo) and now the government has evacuated the area around the two different nuclear power plants because they have been damaged and are emitting more then normal amounts of radiation around the facility. A large boat with 100 people went missing along with a bullet train.

The last two nights were long. I was woken up by many aftershocks and warnings on my cell phone of bigger earthquakes (the government sends a message to your phone if you are within a certain area of an earthquake). The aftershocks are still going on. I just felt the last one a few minutes ago.

The last two nights I have seen the longest lines of cars I have ever seen lined up for gas. All the bread and water is gone from the supermarkets and convenient stores.

Again, everything is fine where I live and everyone I know is ok. I just wish I could do something to help un in Sendai.

Hope you are doing fine. Keep in touch.

Update – > According to “sources” of mine there are going to be 3 hour rolling blackouts this week as well as a 70% chance of another 7.0 earthquake in the same area as before. The government is also asking people to use as little electricity as possible.

Again. Where I live and where Becca lives everything is fine. The worst part for us was the earthquake and the aftershocks, which didn’t damage anything. Tomorrow everything is suppose to go on as normal. I’m going to work, the trains will be running and I think Becca will be at school.

One of the great things I have seen so far is that everyone has been calm. No fighting for the bread or gas or panicking at every earthquake.

For all of you in Japan, stay safe. Please pray for Sendai, northern Japan and anyone who has been affected by the earthquake, fires, power outages, tsunami or lives around the nuclear power plants. I think it is very unlikely anything really bad will happen because of the power plants but everyone has to be prepared.

Thought for food

I was stopped at a red light when the earthquake hit. I was in a very bad mood. The Menkyo Center (Japan’s DMV) had failed me again. This time I was too far right in the left lane while making a left hand turn. Last time I was too far left in the left lane while making a left hand turn. Because I failed my test I have to figure out a way to get to my schools this coming Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because my international driving permit will have expired. I was frustrated to say the least. And then the earthquake hit. At first I didn’t know what it was, then I realized it was a BIG earthquake. I looked at all the people around. No one panicked. People just stopped. A truck put on their emergency lights and we, as a community of drivers bonded together in a time of uncertainty, sat there. I saw one man walk out of the car dealership that was next to me at the time. I just looked around calmly. That is when I realized, I had the dumbest look on my face. Here this man was, calm, looking around and I was sitting there with my eyes wide and my jaw hanging off my mouth. I quickly changed into a pensive look as I stared at the large phone poles around me. The one thing I did do was pray. I prayed to God we would all be safe and those poles where deep into the ground. Then it ended. We all started our cars and drove off into the sunset (it was like 3 in the afternoon, but you know what I mean). I didn’t think much of it. Nothing fell around me. I saw no one hurt. I just thought that it was big earthquake and everyone was fine. I found out I was dead wrong when I got back home. I watched on live TV the tsunamis hit northern Japan. I watch the fires rage, and the houses being swept away. And you know what? After all that. I realized something. I didn’t care about failing the driving test anymore. I didn’t care that its going to be hard for me to get to work next week. I was just happy to be alive, that everyone I know was fine and was filled with a want to help all those people in northern Japan. So my thought for food today is to ask you to look at the big picture. Do you really care if the person at the sandwich place put mustard instead of mayo on your sandwich?

**Edit**

/14日の計画停電予定・第2G(9:20〜13:00/18:20〜22:00のうち各3時間)【埼玉県3】深谷市、所沢市 

Looks like my area will be blacked out from 9:20-1:00 and 6:20-10:00. Yorii will be blacked out between 6:20 to 10:00, 16:50 to 20:30. I dont know which one ill be because Im so close to yorii.

Here is the info I have on the blackouts. http://ameblo.jp/kntr-a/entry-10829878320.html Its in Japanese and I dont know if its reliable but its what I’ve got. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110313x3.html THe Japan Times has said that there are going to be blackouts in Tokyo and seven other prefectures — Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Yamanashi — as well as the eastern half of Shizuoka Prefecture.

 

Even better version of the rolling blackout plan for tomorrow

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