Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Saint of Fort Washington

I'm going to try to sum up this film up simply: This is a movie about two men who are homeless in New York. I wonder how much you want to continue reading now that I've said that?

If I had been reading, I probably would've stopped. Maybe if I had time I would skim. Lord, it's hard. We all feel inconvenienced and heavy, don't we? Sure, there are many who can ease their consciences away by coming up with any number of reasons for faulting the guys themselves.

They must be lazy.
They're crazy.
They're only wanting drinks or drugs.
They don't want to work.
They want a hand-out.
Anyone who really wants to work can.
I pulled myself up, so can they.

The internet movie database helpfully includes this note about the film: "In order to research his role in the film, Danny Glover actually went incognito as a homeless person to get the feel for the struggles and hardship that homeless people endure."

That's more than I've done, and likely more than you have, too. Not that I'm blaming you, not anymore than I blame myself. It's not about blame! But that's the truth, isn't it? We feel blamed when we see them. We don't know what to do. I don't know what to do. Lord, what can I do?

The Danny Glover character tells his son that "Everyone has a story". Seeing this film I realize again I want to know their stories. The thought that some of their stories may be lost hurts. Worse. They are dying.

Somehow I'm learning as I grow that everyone has a story, and I want to know every one of them. Somehow it helps you understand that each person is valuable, each person is important. No, each person is precious. If I care--or want to care--that much, how much more interested is our Father! He always has time to hear, and unlike me & most of us, He's interested in giving us His full attention.

Lord, what can I do here? Help me find a way to love them, Jesus. Thank You for never forgetting them, for caring, and for not letting one story disappear from Your heart. Grant me Your heart, and grant me Your heart in my walking. In Jesus' name, amen.


The Saint of Fort Washington (1993)
Starring Danny Glover & Matt Dillon
Directed By Tim Hunter
Rated R.

Read Roger Ebert's honest review.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Visitors from another planet, part 1

No, not me, the one in the middle!

We've had three recent encounters here in Osaka with three entirely different species. This first one ("Kar-Yee") came to us from "California" by way of ......Hong Kong. Despite claiming to not know how to wear a scarf correctly, she was extremely friendly and well-trained. Although she only appeared in our midst for a morning & lunch, the impact of her visit is still being registered on our geiger-counters (particularly on Yoko's). In her wake she even left some tasty "snacks" picked up in the previous planet. (We've finished them already, you can't have any.)


Like Hezekiah with the Babylonians, we perhaps showed her too much of our strategic defenses in Osaka...

Kar-Yee yaki

And she was very interested in our native food supply as well... (okonomiyaki!)

Train Kar

She saw our transportation systems. Hmm, what's she smiling about? She's up to something...

Train Coupling

Ah well, her smiling was infectious. And I confess we'd be very pleased to have her come visit our planet again anytime, even if it should compromise terrestrial security.

Stay tuned in the days to come for parts 2 and 3 of close encounters of the Osakan kind...!

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Mighty Flurry!

Well, much of Japan is suffering under what is said to be the coldest winter since 1985! It's even got the Emperor worried! Since early December it's fallen and fallen, disrupting train lines and other transportation, flattening homes and even a gymnasium's roof, causing avalanches, and oddly enough the record blizzard is adding 657 million yen to the GDP. The army has been called in to dig people out. Snow has hit 16 prefectures hard taking some 63 lives. And even warm Nagoya got snow!

BUT! BUT! Here in Osaka, on December 22nd, we received...


Yes, yes, it's true! The mighty flurry raged outside while Yoko and I were sleeping. I opened the window just in time to capture these snapshots of it...

Marvel at the way it stopped this parked car in its tracks!

See the horror as it threatened to collect on the ground!

Witness the terrified people resorting to umbrellas as their last defense!

Courageous rent-a-cops risked their lives by fighting their way through the falling flakes in order to stop the escalators, close doors and pull down shutters! (I know my life was saved because I was forced to use the stairs!)

Hungry, dieting people were teased mercilessly by these "frosted" bushes!

Tennoji would never be the same...

People even dropped their cigarettes! (Look, Ma, we had sludge!!)

And my stalkers were not able to use this map to find my workplace!

But yes, Osaka's sun had the last laugh... ha.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Happy New Year 2006!

Click for larger picture

Happy New Year! Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! Here is our 2006 Nengajou (Japanese new year's card). This is the second year we've made one with our pictures. Last year's can be viewed here.

This year for New Year's, Yoko and I stayed at home watching a strange movie with Bill Murray called "The Life Aquatic" or something like that. Seven seconds before midnight I noticed the time and we quickly flipped over the TV to find some channel to watch the countdown. I think the first thing we saw was Imaoka from the Hanshin Tigers saying happy new year. Then we saw some silly comedian guy named Okamura preparing himself to "receive" this big flaming dragonball (when it came he wisely bolted out of its way).

Okay, ANYWAY! It's time for me to explain the pictures! They're NOT in chronological order this year, but most of them are still from our cellphones. We had good times and hard times this year, and the pictures are from both.

TOP ROW (left to right)

1 - This is the first picture Yoko painted this year, called "Love". This is taken by our digital camera.

2 - I like this picture of Yoko. I took it at the hospital while we were visiting her mom, who had a heart attack in late August. From my cellphone camera.

3 - Me painting this picture on the tatami floor of our old apartment. From Yoko's old cellphone's camera.

4 - Before Christmastime, my friend DB and I met in Shinsaibashi, later in Tennoji, and then again in Umeda. We talked & prayed, and had a few ideas for ministering (helping some people out) here in Osaka. Separately we both ended up cancelling what we'd wanted to do, but at the same time really felt God pulling us along in a much greater way than we could see. The feeling is like being on a conveyor belt, an escalator, or a moving walkway. It's a low path (humbling) but moving, and when you know it's there, it's very humbling. This picture is from my new cellphone, taken at the Yostubashi-Shinsaibashi station.


1 - I finally got a new guitar! (In September, I think) The old one was classical, which meant wider neck and three plastic strings. If I wanted to play outside, it meant that not only was it quieter, but that the plastic strings would change pitch with the temperature. After buying it I got a strap soon after, and discovered the fun of walking around the apartment with hands free. Yoko tried it on and I took this picture with my cellphone. It's our new apartment, by the way.

2 - In June we moved. This picture from Yoko's old cellphone is from our last visit to our old apartment just after cleaning it. I decided to spend a little while worshiping in it just to leave it in God's presence. (With my old guitar, by the way)

3 - August meant it was time for the Yamatogawa firework festival, and that meant it was yukata time again! This year the sisters traded yukatas, and I wore a "jimbe" (because it was difficult to walk in last year's yukata 'cause maybe we made it too tight). We're eating yaki-tori with Yoko's parents. You can see this picture on this post, as well. The back of my jimbe has the character "me" for the old Ed-period firefighters called the "me-gumi". Incidentally, "megumi" (with different characters) means "grace". This picture is from Michi's cellphone.

4 - Jimbeizou, meet Me-chan! When Yoko was really sick in early May, our friend Lu-Ann brought back Me-chan from the Osaka city aquarium (kaiyuukan), unaware that we already had a jinbeizame (whale shark). So she felt bad, but had no idea that Yoko actually wanted another one! I took this "heart" picture with Yoko's old cell. Yes, those are my feet.


1 - When my friend Roy came with his brother to visit Osaka, we went up to Kyoto to hang out & see some sights. I saw these little cat-tail like blades of grass and took a picture of one with my new cellphone camera and sent it back to Yoko.

2 - Michi (Yoko's sister) got baptized on November 1st! Woohoo!!

3 - This is our anniversary photo in front of the Osaka city aquarium (kaiyuukan) in October.

4 - When Yoko was sick (and I got sick right after that) in May, Michi brought her this beautiful flower which lasted a very long time, and which we don't want to forget.

Well, I hope you enjoyed! Leave a comment and let us know which pictures you like the best! Happy new year and may you be blessed by God's presence & leading!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Oh Tannenbaum!

My first Christmas tree! Well, the first that I've ever bought. Granted, it went up less than a week before Christmas and now ought to be dismantled. Oh! But it's a REAL tree! Woohoo! We don't have giant trees to buy (I think) in Japan, so these Goldcrests are the thing to get, costing only about 2000yen (under 20 bucks). So I got some 100yen decorations and then noticed these guys in the tree...

Read last year's Christmas post!