Friday, November 24, 2006

Translation Needed!

Sometimes having the Japanese literally translated to English still leaves a gap of understanding. Consider the sign below. Some times I think I almost understand the point of the sign, but then I realize I have not a clue as to what it means! It's a little hard to read with the Blogger compression. Click here to see a higher resolution version.

Welcome Lutheran Carnival!

I'm looking forward to hosting the Lutheran Carnival in a few days! The Carnival really helped me get plugged into good Lutheran blogs. (Then individual blogrolls continued to lead me into this good Blogosphere.) Being in Japan, I am more accountable for ministry to Lutheran laypeople. (In the States, I refer people to local congregations--we don't have that option here!) I felt a bit disconnected from Lutheran life due to my isolation from regular Lutheran fellowship. These blogs have helped quite a bit!

To answer the consideration of deadlines and timezones, I'm happy to keep the deadline as normal. (Everyone'll just be a day late from my perspective!) I'll have plenty of time to pull it together.

Timezones are always an issue for us. It's hard to call family. Emails from the states always come in overnight. Business calls to the states necessitate a late night or early morning. And then the flights to and from the states are always a challenge. (Modern travel is still a challenge! Getting home is a 24 hour ordeal. Many people opt to stay the night in Tokyo after the flight, but I always like to get home as soon as possible!)

Here's a sample of what it takes to get here: leave Las Vegas at 10am, leave San Jose at 1PM, arrive Tokyo 5PM the next day, get on Narita Express to Tokyo station at 6PM, get on Shinkansen to Misawa at 8PM, arrive Misawa at 11:30PM, walk in the door at midnight. So the local time goes from 10am to midnight the next day. Actual time passage ends up being about a 24 hour trip. (My fear is that I'll fall asleep on the train and miss my stop!)

It's a fun trip though. I always try to get on a 777 as they have a TV in every seat. (I do have the video IPod in the event I get an old school 747.) The frequent flyer miles add up quickly! And I do enjoy riding on the Shinkansen (bullet train).

It's a very small town here, but most Japanese know of it due to the Miss Veedol (see earlier post). It's a great town with a lot of building happening. We've seen a lot of transformation over the last 18 months.

We're now getting ready for the snow. Last winter we had 158 inches. (The nearby mountains often get 30 FEET!) The temperature keeps dropping. It's only a matter of time! Snow shovels, etc. stand at the ready...

Busy Worship Schedule!

I'll have a busy worship schedule the next week! On Sunday I preach at a liturgical format service, then a contemporary format service followed by the Gospel/Inspirational format service. Busy day! But I'm realy looking forward to bringing the word on Christ the King Sunday.

Right now, I'm toying with a theme based on the opening line of a very popular book: "It's not about you." My thesis is: "It's all about you." Consider Matthew 18:12 or Luke 12:5-7 or even Matthew 13:44 (I think a strong case can be made for the man in the parable representing God and the treasure representing us--I mean, if the man represents us and the field is the Kingdom of God, what can we sell to buy the Kingdom? I know the price God paid for me!) There are several other passages along this line.

Now, we do have our sinful flesh and desire with which to contend -- let me be very clear: it's not about your sinful lusts! But it is about you!

I believe this is a very important distinction!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Trick or Treating in Japan

Halloween in Japan is a lot of fun. It takes me back to when I was a kid. It is still very much a social holiday here. We bought about $100 worth of candy and it was gone in 45 minutes. There were times when our sidewalk was completely jammed with kids.

It's really neat to hear the little Japanese children saying, very carefully, trick-or-treat and thank you. It's also a lot of fun to see the costumes that they come up with. There was no way I could keep count of how many children came to our house that night.