Fulfilled in Jesus

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

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!


  • At January 02, 2007 2:46 AM, Blogger Eric said…

    Happy New Year Ramone! This blessed me incredibly!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your life over this past year. I'd really like to stay in touch and keep up with your blog this year. I love that phrase "Ishin-denshin"!

    Bless you!

  • At January 03, 2007 5:51 AM, Blogger Curtis Forrester said…

    Happy New Year Ramone!


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