Cursed? Story of a Japanese Doll

Imagine being a girl fresh out of college and moving to a new country. You got your dream job as an English teacher! You get an apartment in Japan! It’s already furnished, so half the hassle of moving is already done. You arrive at your new school and start meeting the teachers. They seem really…

More Experiences in Tokushima

I could go on for a very long time about Tokushima and the people I’ve met there. But, for the sake of chronicling the rest of my adventures, I will sum up some of the highlights in this post. Naruto Whirlpools Some friends from church took me out for the day to Naruto. This is…

Christmas in Japan

I didn’t get to spend the 2016 Christmas with my nuclear family, but I was surrounded by my spiritual family. It was a busy time! The festivities kicked off with an annual Christmas play put on by Hachiman Church. They’ve been doing it faithfully year after year to present the Christmas story to the community…

More Than a Building

A church is defined by the people, not the building. But that doesn’t mean a church building can’t be useful. Hachiman Church moved in 2013 from a rented business space to a house in a neighborhood. The living room holds the congregation on Sundays, and the kitchen is perfect for preparing Sunday lunches. During the…

Simple Joys

  You know you have a good friend when the thought of them makes you smile. I have many reasons to smile. One of them is N, a spunky math teacher I met in my first days in Japan. She took it upon herself to teach this foreigner outdated Japanese jokes and nursery songs. I…

Why Blog?

The real reason I’m blogging is to undertake a personal challenge. I want to improve my writing. I loved writing even before I could write.

Kitako – My Old School

On my last day in Tokushima in 2014, M surprised me by showing up at the bus stop at 7am to give me a hat, CD, and a hug. It only seemed fitting that she would be the first person I met at Tokushima Station on my return. We drove back to her place and…

Second Home, Tokushima

Tokushima is my second home. It’s where I spent the first 3 years of my post-school life, and therefore the birthplace of my adulthood. I had my first “real job” there, working as an English teacher at a high school. I had my first apartment, living on my own, making budgets, and figuring out local…

Praying with Expectation

One time during a meeting with my church home group, the leader asked us to share some recent prayers that had been answered. I shared about arriving too late to a jam-packed airport and being run through check-in, baggage drop, and customs by an angelic check-in attendant. Without her my friend and I would not…

Tarbouriech Oysters in Japan

Change is on the wind in Kumihama Bay. Oyster harvesting practices there are terribly old fashioned, but Mr. A is already rocking the boat by using a machine to strip oysters off the rope, and using a workaround so he doesn’t have to walk on the precarious platforms with heavy loads. But if the governor of…

Do Your Best

In Japan I heard a phrase that we don’t use in the US. 頑張って (ganbatte) means “Do your best.” It’s a simple phrase of well-wishing, but implies more than just “Good luck.” It suggests that when you do do your best, things will go well for you. It points to our agency in any situation…

Start Now

The best part of HelpX is the people you meet. You can learn so much from their personalities and experiences. Mr. A’s father was excited to meet a volunteer who could understand some of his colloquial Japanese. He would swoop in sometimes while we were eating lunch, or shucking oysters, or gazing at the sunrise,…