Worship time!

July 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Have I mentioned I’ve started leading worship at the bilingual church?  Yep, me.  That’s right.  And when’s the last time I led worship in ANY shape/form/group?  Uhhhh, NEVER.

So yeah, this is NOT because I’m particularly talented in music or gifted in leading worship or have a decent singing voice (and btw, I have none of these things), oh no, but I’m leading more or less because there is LITERALLY NO ONE ELSE who can do it.

Honestly, leading worship at church is probably at the bottom of the list of ministries I expected to be involved in, beaten only by things like performing miracles and becoming a pastor.  Though, looking back, I probably should have realized this was going to happen when my completely out-of-the-blue and urgent desire to really start learning to play the guitar was immediately (like literally an hour later) followed by my teammates the Murrays gifting me with a FREE guitar that some short-termer had RANDOMLY left years ago and it JUST HAPPENED to still be sitting in their house with NO ONE else to use it so Jess, if you’re planning on getting a guitar anyway you should just use this one…

God totally gave me this guitar as a heads up, but I was way too slow to pick up on it.

God totally gave me this guitar as a heads up, but I was way too slow to pick up on it.

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Four years and a New Car

July 16, 2015 1 comment

About three weeks ago I celebrated 4 whole years in Japan.  FOUR YEARS!!  What am I still doing here?!  So, I’ve heard men often buy a new car when they go through their mid-life crisis.  Maybe missionaries have mid-ministry crises and then also buy new cars.

ORR maybe they just forget they stopped two feet behind a small rock pillar and then drive right into it.

See that tiny little stone pillar near the back of the picture...?

See that tiny little stone pillar…?

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Categories: Uncategorized

Let’s (re)start nice and slow

July 10, 2015 Leave a comment

Nothing big and flashy.  No promises I know I won’t/can’t keep.  Let’s just start with a Bible verse that’s been challenging me recently.

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:7

How can I make outreach, ministry, LIFE in general, less and less about me and more and MORE about HIM?  Let’s start there.


Categories: Uncategorized

Hiroshima-fu(style) Okonomiyaki!

May 12, 2013 1 comment

There are all kinds of okonomiyaki, but the most common type from Osaka is a savory sorta-pancake with pork, cabbage, and other fillings.  Kind of similar to Korean jeon or Chinese scallion pancakes but with a higher veggie to batter ratio.  At a restaurant they bring all the ingredients in a bowl which you mix and then dump the contents onto the teppan (hot plate).  For some reason, the bowl they give you to mix it in is always barely enough to fit even the ingredients, much less mix them all together, so it takes some technique.  Here, we just got our waiter to do it for us.


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Categories: Cultural experiences, Food

My favorite (not) activity in the world

April 23, 2013 1 comment

Yesterday I went to a gym. And went running. RUNNING. ME!! Who am I??!

Next time, I think I’ll try the Hip Hop class they had going on. Much more fun than being a hamster.

Flu shot

February 4, 2013 1 comment

Something for all you med students…

With the flu going nuts in the US, upcoming travel, and my recent history of getting sick at the drop of a hat, a few weeks ago I gave into my mom’s hounding and went to get a flu shot.  What with a doctor for a mom, living in the dorms, and then working in a hospital, I’ve generally made it a habit to get my flu shot every year, but there seems to be rather less fuss about it in Japan.

Anyway, the point I’m writing this post (because I’m guessing most of you had no interest in the above) was that flu shots are very different in Japan.  Should this not come as a surprise?

Rather than getting the shot up high closer to my shoulder, I got my shot down at the bottom of my upper arm just above my elbow.

And it gets massive itchy!

The next day I developed a 2-inch circle of red, feverish, itchy skin with my shot at the middle.  I started freaking out, wondering if the doctor had done something weird and I had gotten infected (already had that once in the last year).  Or maybe my body was incompatible with something that’s in Japanese flu shots and not US ones.

But when I asked about it at church the next day, everyone said it was normal!  They said just about everyone got the hot, red, itchy skin to various degrees, some people it covers half their upper arm.

On the other hand (or arm? heh heh), in the US I was always pretty sore for a day, but there was none of that this time.

OK, so I’m guessing some of you have been snoring for a while now.  But I’d be interested to know why there are differences.  Is vaccine production really that different here?  Anybody else have international flu shot experiences?

Flowing noodles

January 31, 2013 Leave a comment

More commonly (or really, exclusively) known as Nagashi Somen.

Sam & Sharon’s visit was serendipitously the same weekend we did nagashi somen at church.

You can look up more about this tradition here, but basically you take long sticks of bamboo sliced in half, hollowed, and then set up sort of like a mini water slide.  Cold running water is poured into one end and then small “packets” (for lack of a better word) of somen (skinny Asian wheat noodles) are “flowed” down the slide to be caught with chopsticks by people along the way.

It’s actually not easy.  You tend to get somen and water everywhere and a lot of somen ends up in the basket at the end which catches the extras.

Somen is a popular summer food in Japan, but this was the first time I (and of course Sam & Sharon) had done it with the bamboo slides.  Tons of fun!  And delicious too.  You dip the noodles in a cold broth and then top it with cucumbers, ham, sliced egg, green onions, and mushrooms.  Perfect for a hot summer day!

I never really realized how many dishes are noodle-based in Japan but during their trip we also had udon, tsukemen, yakisoba, okonomiyaki (this usually doesn’t have noodles, but in Hiroshima it does).  We didn’t even have ramen, since the girls were going to get some during their day in Osaka.