Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you."

Thursday, February 28, 2008


The ingredients:

The products:

giant temaki roll

inari sushi

豚味噌汁 (pork miso soup)

The lunch:

yes, it tasted as good as it looked =)

Monday, February 25, 2008

faithfully putting one foot ahead of the other

"Find us Faithful" - Steve Green
We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find
I've been thinking about this song for a while. Was meaning to ask Dennis for it, but never got round to doing it. Last night we sang this along with Steve Green (on a tape) in English Fellowship.

This song brought me back to Evison Lounge where I had my last OCF meeting. It's quite emotional thinking about how as I sang that song less than a year ago, I was thinking about the pilgrims I know that had gone ahead of me. I later found out, at that same time, someone else singing that song was thinking of me.

We're all a part of this journey. together. never mind that u may be thousands of miles away, feeling like you're doing different things, but really, we're all in one race. not in competition against one another, but more like that fun-walk/marathon where what really matters is that we ALL reach the end.

I've been thinking about u guys back in OCF. O-week's just over, u guys must be tired. Joyfully tired I hope. Classes have just started again today, I wonder what your schedule looks like. I hope Lyv's not going crazy trying to compile everyone's time-table to work out a good time for prayer meeting. I hope Lish's not overwhelmed by med yet. I think of Dennis, he always looks 元気 (energetic). Scott bro, up for the year ahead? Of course, I haven't forgotten Sharon. Keep trusting Him, that He will work things out for good eventually. Whether we see it or not. There's Dorothy and Nigel too. How are u guys keeping up? Not driving Nick up the wall yet eh? I remember how tiring it can be, I remember how discouraging it can be too. Keep encouraging each other k. Pray for one another, cheering each one to keep going.

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -John 13:34-35

Things look totally different over here. But it's the same God we serve. Last night, Laurie urged us to put one foot ahead of the other faithfully. I'm not sure where "ahead" is. I feel like I kinda lost my footing. But today, as I thought about it, I decided I will do what I know how to do. I started with cleaning up my apartment.

Putting one foot ahead of the other. I am convinced that when I keep doing this, the time will come when He will lead/direct/intervene and help me put my foot in all the right places.

(P.S. Dennis, if u're reading this, it'll be nice if u could send me the chords ;p)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

apple pie and pretty flowers



I wasn't too pleased with the apple pie. But Akemi really liked it. I suspect the reason why I wasn't exactly thrilled is perhaps, I've never really liked apple pies anyway. Apple danish, apple crumble, apple strudel... yes. Apple pie... not really.

God always find ways to give me pretty flowers. This time, it's not as mysterious as what happened 2 years ago, but it's a good reminder of how well my God knows my heart.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

thoughts on funeral and death

I think it's my first time attending a wake and a funeral. Takako-san's father had just gone home to be with the Lord. I don't rmb having met him before but Takako-san is a dear friend from church.

Having just had a class on Buddhist funerals in Japan (in a Buddhist temple with a priest giving us the details), I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, surely a Buddhist funeral is different from a Christian funeral. Especially when Kitahara-Sensei said that what surprised her most when she first attended a Christian funeral was how she could understand everything the pastor said. The Buddhist chants/prayers are in ancient Japanese language unintelligible to most.

At the wake (I think it's the wake, it's called 前夜式), I went "huh?" in my mind when pastor started the service and said "賛美しましょう" ("Let's praise"). The "huh?" contained a sense of contradiction that arose from my inability to reconcile grief and "賛美しましょう". The feeling was short-lived. That contradictory feeling was immediately challenged. We don't praise God only when we're happy and joyous. We praise Him because He deserves to be praised. And it depends not on our circumstances. Although I didn't understand very much of what Takako-san said, I can sense her hope in our Lord.

At the end of the funeral service today, the cover of the coffin was removed and each person went up to place a flower on Takako-san's father. I wasn't feeling particularly emotional today but seeing the body lying in the coffin shook me up. Grief should not be buried or dismissed. It needs to be dealt with properly. What I felt was only a tiny weeny bit of what the Kasai family is going through...

Pastor John said few weeks ago that life is 100% fatal. We all die someday. This may sound silly but we never know God's timing right? For my funeral, I would like to have praise songs/hymns to be sung ("How great thou art" etc)... and how about some upbeat tunes like Chris Tomlin's "Let God Arise" (last lines: He holds the keys of life, our Lord; Death has no sting, no final word)... random picks at the moment, but u know, make it a joyous affair! praise Him for who He is! flowers... the fresh flowers today were pretty. purple, white, dark orange amidst green leaves. I want pretty flowers too... Big lilies, tulips... in bright beautiful happy colours. Red, orange, yellow, pink, purple...

I guess at the end of my journey, what I really long to hear is that "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7). but of course, that will have to come from Him, the God who creates, the God who gives and takes away, the God who gives me breath, the God who sustains my every moment of life... I may not know how long/short the race ahead of me is, but I pray that I may finish it well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Man is an Island

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered.

"Yes, Piglet?"

"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."

new addition to the family

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

大坊小学校 Daibou Elementary School

3 of us visited Daibou Elementary Sch. Each grade did presentations for us and we participated in many of the games they introduced.

Primary 1-3 kids. 7-9 yr olds.

the teacher introduced France, Malaysia and Korea. He really did a great job researching on our countries. I think he might be able to tell u more facts about Malaysia than I can...

For example, I knew one side of the Twin Towers was built by Koreans, the other side by the Japanese. The interesting "new" fact? The connecting bridge was built by the French. (All mentioned countries were represented.)

けんだま - everyone had their own set. it's a wooden toy with a ball attached by a string. you gotta get the ball to settle on one side of the wooden surface. *pause* ok, that's a pretty bad description...


The Primary 4-6s were more subdued.

Haiku - a form of Japanese poetry. yea, the primary sch girl's taller than me...

it was a good experience for me. interesting to see what they do in a Japanese primary sch and some of their childhood games. the lower grades' kids were so cute & adorable! seeing them so 元気 reminded me how awesome sch was. and i wonder what happened in between those years and now. but still, it brings a smile to think that, once long ago... i was probably that cute and adorable too.

so were u...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Change my heart O God

"Change my heart O God,
make it ever true,
Change my heart O God,
may I be like You."

AP. when I was in high sch, that's the word they used to describe the girls they couldn't understand. girls with bad attitude. Attitude Problems.

that's me the morning we headed off to Hyakuzawa. i was angry with Him, frustrated and fighting off tears in the bus. in my pessimistic mind, i almost expected myself to get into a skiing accident and break some limbs or something... and perhaps while lying totally helpless in the hospital bed, I would be repentant.

I'm certainly thankful God isn't the sadistic God I make Him out to be. As the day proceeded, my hardened heart melted somewhat. By the kindness of the people that had done everything for us, by the laughter, the fun, the snow, the thrill from the snow mobile...

the mystical Mt. Iwaki (Tsugaru Fuji)

this creation of His would remain ever-blazing with its fiery redness. a spark of fighting spirit despite the long bitter winter...

when u could scream and let every frustration out... and then pretend it's a very がこい handsome young prince you're riding with...

maybe not when u're a guy. Kashima Sensei taught us to cling on for dear life screaming "Only yooooooooooooooooooouuu!!!!!!!!" it's awesome to have crazy teachers.

"He maketh me lie down in white pastures..."

He's the patient Father gently coaxing His difficult, sulking child out of her stubborn anger. and He didn't even have to say anything. It's all around me. He's all around...

Patata @ 五所川原 Goshogawara

I've always thought that Gosh is a big city. Until I went there and Akemi confirmed that there's really nothing in Gosh ;p

entrance of the ceramic place we went to

heaps of ceramic...

of course, I'd be more interested in what u can put in the ceramic rather than the ceramic itself. Something hot and black and gives out an aroma that brings you to the seventh heaven...

So off we went to Patata cafe right across the ceramic shop...

definitely a place to go again. apparently u can catch the sunset view of Mt. Iwaki right from the window we were seated next to.

we visited Akemi's grandmother at the nursing home. no matter how busy she is, she makes it a point to visit her grandma once a week. Her reason is that any longer than that, her demential grandma wouldn't remember her! still, her love for her grandma really touched me. made me think of my own grandma...

Saturday, February 16, 2008





Friday, February 15, 2008


小时候一直都很向往游山玩水的生活。那份勇气或许是不知天有多高、地有多厚、人有多复杂的一股天真傻气吧! 四海为家真的是有那么大的引诱吗?



是累 了。。。 在外碰到的一切不是该把我锻炼起来的吗?怎么心里却只有一股闷气、一种往下堕落的感觉?

创造天与地的万物之神、您的话语不是我道路的指引针、我黑暗中的光亮吗? 前面的道路怎么那么迷糊不清、我怎么在迷茫中毫无方向地流浪着?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

regional identity

Suddenly, I have so much to blog about...

My current read:

"Rather, he [Dazai] sensed an absurdity in Tsugaru's inferiority complex vis-a-vis modernisation and civilisation and its longing for being part of the majority of the "motherland" or the "old Japan".

Hidemichi Kawanishi, "The Transformation of Tsugaru Identity"

After a whole semester of comparing "central" and "periphery", reading on "nationalism" and "regionalism", I think I am only just starting to understand all these terms.

I feel almost akin to Tsugaru, though in a different dimension.

pebble cafe

When I read about this cafe online, I was puzzled by the seemingly centrality of its location along DoteMachi which has escaped my inquisitive eyes...

it wasn't until i stood right in front of it that I realised it isn't a part of Home Works, an expensive-looking decor shop selling cute trinkets.

I really like the decor of this cafe...

I'm glad I had the whole cafe to myself. It's a bit risky to venture out on V-day, hoping for some tranquility. But then again, maybe cafe settings ain't the Japanese idea of a romantic V-day outing.

I could sit here all day and read/write letters... The brownie had a soft texture and the almond slivers provided enough crunch for balance. And I wonder why is my face ballooning and my bank account clearing out...

Come to think of it, I suspect there are more cafe options here in Hirosaki than Dunedin...

葡瑠満 Buruman cafe

I chanced upon this as I hurried along the part of Dotemachi I wouldn't usually go...

I confess that my eyes are always looking around for a cafe...

the website is well maintained too. check out their photo library. the owner is amazing! He handed me one of his published photo books on 白神山 (Shirakami Mountain). Apart from the breathtaking scenery, the english translation of what he wrote (by Vic Carpenter) also captured the mystic beauty of nature with words that paint pictures.

the apple tart was really good. really good.

check out the website for more info (from menu to photo library to parking info to opening hours).

Japanese cooking

My host mum invited her "host kids" over to teach us some Japanese cooking. I guess after all the cooking she's done for us (she's very good at feeding us!), it's time for us to do our bit before feasting! ;p

JJ and host mum

the croquets I fried

the ones by JJ (can u tell the diff?) ;p

cream soup

Croquets are french actually. But the Japanese are known for picking up stuff, revamping them and calling them their own.