Fulfilled in Jesus

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

Monday, January 15, 2007

His name is...

Top left - Yoko's sister Michi taking pictures; Center - Yoko's mother Kayoko (accidentally too large); Right - Yoko's father Takayoshi taking the news in a reserved way (but we knew he was touched); Bottom left - Yoko explaining the names we're giving our son

On January 1st we got to tell Yoko's parents what we named our boy --

Timothy Tsuyoshi Romero

(He's due on March 13th, 2007, by the way)...

There's a lot of story behind the names, and I fear I'll only get to tell a little of it here. We're very thankful for all the ways God has blessed us & others through this child and his name! God already knew our boy's name, but we had to pray and search for awhile. We were suprised when my first idea for an English name came back, "Timothy" -- which means "honors God" in Biblical Greek.

For his Japanese name we chose "Tsuyoshi", but used a new character for the name. We wanted to translate "Gabriel", the name of my brother (and my father & late-grandfather), and which means "Strong man of God" in Hebrew. But the character for "strong" (tsuyoi) was too strong for a name. So we searched for another character...

The character Yoko is writing in the picture above can be pronounced "yoshi", and is often used in names. It is used as the second character in her father's name, "Takayoshi", which can be seen on the right in this picture:

Tsuyoshi & Takayoshi

Bending the rules a little, we put "tsu" in front of it when pronouncing it. In this way we could translate "Gabriel" and use a character from Yoko's father's name to do it.

The meaning of that character is beautiful: righteousness, justice, and sometimes substitution. As we considered it, Yoko wrote it a few times and noticed that the top part of the character is "lamb" and the bottom part is "me".

"Lamb" over "me" = "righteousness"

The Gospel in a name.

Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view... Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them... God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Oh! And "Romero" means "pilgrim" in Spanish... and how true that's been of my life and all of ours!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Guess what week she entered?

Well, since folks have been asking to see how far along my wife is, I thought I'd put up some pictures from my cellphone which we took just this last Tuesday... and on Tuesday, guess which week she just entered?

(Hold your cursor over the picture to read the captions)

Hint - look at the cup

Baby is no doubt enjoying this stuff from the inside...

Okay, have you guessed which week she entered yet?

The Japanese counting system is a little different from the American. In America a pregnancy is about 9 months, but by the Japanese counting it's about 10 months. So maybe in America we're a month early on our ice cream celebration...


Earlier that day we had to do something in the north part of Osaka, and we walked from there down the Tenjinbashi-suji shopping street, which is the longest covered arcade in Japan. But we went only about halfway. On the way Yoko discovered some nostalgic candied apples...

See the delight?

It will be gone faster than you can say 'kuishinbou'

Oh, look, there's another one! (Is she looking at the camera or at the apple?)


Later we went to eat at a Hawaiian burger place in Namba. I usually get the "pineapple burger" and guava juice. This night I decided to try the large size, and for once in the land of mini-food, it really was a large! I knew I would have no trouble finishing it (and I didn't). But the guy behind the counter did a double-take when I asked for it, basically saying, "Are you sure?" I responded, "It's OK - I'm American." Hehe.

Maybe this is a 'regular' at 7-Eleven in the States?

It looks bigger with Yoko, don't you think?

Shake-shake-shake, shake-shake-shake, shake your baby, shake your baby!


Finally, here are a few pictures from New Year's day, when we went to visit Yoko's parents' home. These are from the train ride out there. Since the train was surprisingly empty...

Behold! The bulge!

Something mildly disturbing if this guy is sitting across from you...

Awwww! (Or 'New Year's bakapuru')

This train ad caught our attention (it's the year of the boar)... Yoko said I should get her one of these hats for her birthday.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007!

Click for slightly larger picture

Happy New Year! Welcome to our annual "Nengajou"--Japanese New Year's postcard. This is our third year making our own Nengajou using pictures taken from our cellphones. (How does it compare to 2005 and 2006?)

This year we moved to a bigger place, and we spent our first New Year's here together last night and had a good time. Yoko cooked and we watched some figure skating, a "Downtown" comedy special, and a countdown done to an orchestra playing Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance". Tonight we're going to Yoko's parents' place...

(We just got back! We had a great time with Yoko's family, watched "Kin-niku-banzuke" and some tuna-fishing guys' stories in Hokkaido on TV. Oh, and her mom had taped the "Chutorial" manzai victory the other day... hilarious! We had some yakiniku, azuki-gayu, mochi, and the ozoni was great this year! We also told & showed them the Japanese name we chose for our "Big News"... read about that here).

As for the Nengajou, we changed cellphones this year and our new ones are better, but the picture quality on the few cards that we mailed out by post this year is not as stellar as the last two years because I tried putting it together on my own. Before I'd begged my friend Scott Arany do it for me, and well, his versions came out nicer. Oh well.

Here are the stories behind the pictures, not in chronological order, and by the way, not in any kind of "design" order, either. I just threw them on there and liked it. (^_^)

Which picture do you like the best?

Top Row (left to right)

1 - This is Gaspard, from the Gaspard & Lisa stories. We think they're dogs, but we're not entirely sure. When we first saw them we thought they weren't kawaii (cute), but later there was a commercial on TV where they acted just like us, so that hooked us, and now we've bought a couple of their books. They're great. We like this picture because of Gaspard's mouth--we didn't even know they had mouths!

2 - A new cafe opened this year in Abiko called "Alegria". It's non-smoking (thank You, Lord!) and the husband & wife owners are really into Fair Trade. The coffee is really good, and the husband makes some good curry for lunch.

3 - This is Jiji, the cat from the Hayao Miyazaki movie Majo no Takkyuubin (English title, "Kiki's Delivery Service"), and we think he is a pretty cool cute little cat. And he can talk in the movie, too. I was walking up to a place in the building where I work for a quick prayer at the end of a work day, and I saw someone had left Jiji there on the windowsill. I knew it'd make a great picture for the Nengajou, hehe...

4 - Guess who this is! See this link, this other link, and this art link. (Hint: This is our BIG NEWS!!)

Middle Row

1 - Okay, I confess, this is my one cheat this year. This picture is actually from 2005. We couldn't find enough good, clear pictures of me for the Nengajou this year, which is actually fine by me, but not fine by Yoko. I had another beautiful picture of Yoko I wanted to put up, but noooo she thought it was weird to put up too many pictures of her, so I "balanced" it with three of her & three of me. Anyway, this picture is of me at the Sakae supermarket holding up some Hanshin Tigers ice cream! The Hanshin Tigers are the local baseball team with nationally-famous insane fans. I think it's hilarious when you can go to the supermarket and see Tigers ice cream, Tigers sportsdrink, Tigers peanuts, etc.

2 - This is a picture called Swimming in Theology from our art blog. I suppose I've killed a lot of time this year chatting with some friends & family in Christ on a few online forums, and at times it got hairy and my mind got absorbed & lost in all of the different things. This picture came from one night like that, when I felt like I was swimming in it all, and I realized I was really looking for and desperately needing God's love. Click this link to see the picture larger and read the story, as well as the follow-up picture.

3 - Another cafe picture! And another blessed non-smoking cafe! The name of this place is "Colpix Cafe", but I've dubbed it the "Kin-en Kisaten". "Kin-en" means non-smoking, and "kisaten" refers to a kind of old-furintured style of coffee shop that is really common in Japan's cities. The style in kisatens is actually really cool. Sometimes the coffee is really good, and they'll serve little sandwiches or curry rice or omelettes, etc. But they're just so darned stinky most of the time! This place, however, decided to go the rarely-taken (in Japan) non-smoking route! Kudos! They used the excuse that it's "underground" (it's located at the underground Tennoji station near my workplace), however, no one else cares about asphixiation underground, so I think they actually wanted to change and just used the underground bit as a cheap excuse. Awesome! (Umm, sorry to any smokers who are reading this! I just can't breathe in smokey places!)

4 - Of course we had to put a cat on our Nengajou! Yoko & her sister Michi are crazy cat lovers. I like cats, but allergies prevent me from snuggling with them too long. Or even being in a house with one for too long. But as we go around the city in our daily lives, we take pictures of cats we find... usually to tease each other with! "You won't believe the most kawaii cat I saw today!" This one is near Makino station in Hirakata city. I saw it on my way to teach a couple lessons at a kindergarten my company sends me to twice a month. Ironically, when I was an SDA* missionary six years ago, I used to live near Makino station!

Bottom Row

1 - My friend DB took me up to a lunch in Kobe that our friend Paul was hosting with his wife Vivian. It was a great time with great, beautiful people and brothers & sisters in Jesus. I really liked their place, especially the balcony. They had plants, flowers and berries there, and a few mint leaves which they said I could put in my tea. This was actually orange tea, though, and it didn't quite taste too good! My bad! But Vivian made some chai shortly afterwards, and I transferred the leaves and it tasted divine!

2 - We found something special in our lettuce last month! We named him Joseph. You can read about our finding him on this post. Right now he's still in coccoon stage. We hope he's all right (it's awfully cold recently). We would feel better if we knew what kind of caterpillar he is... he seems to have been absent when all the Japanese guidebooks & websites had their yearbook photos taken! Help! Do you know what kind of caterpillar he is??

3 - "Ishin denshin". Yoko began taking a liking to "Rilakuma" bears this year ("rilak" is like "relax", and "kuma" is "bear", so it means "relax bear"). She was relaxing at home one day and suddenly I noticed that the little Rilakuma (on top of the big Rilakuma head) was leaning over the same way, so I took a picture of it. Yoko said, "I knew it! Ishin-denshin!" That means, literally, "the same heart". It's what you say when two people think the same thing but don't need to speak it--they have the same mind or heart.

4 - One of the only decent Ramo pictures this year, this is me eating "nabe" with Yoko. Actually, it's one of several pictures we took after getting our new cellphones. Out of some random silliness we began holding our phone-cameras at different angles and taking a picture at the same time from two different angles. It was oddly amusing.


May you have a blessed 2007 with God and with loved ones!
あけましておめでとうございます! 今年もよろしくおねがいします!