Friday, July 09, 2010

Thursday Rally in Hachioji

While we were tracting in the hour or two right before the rally here in Hachioji, we had a bit of trouble with the mall security (for the building where the rally was held). They didn't want a group of foreigners dressed in bright shirts clogging up pedestrian traffic right in front of the mall. At another location, though, someone actually called the police while the team was tracting near schools in the morning. The police in turn called four schools near where the team was tracting, to "warn" them, and in turn the teachers of the schools warned the students. One of them was a HiBA regular. She felt so strongly about her teacher speaking poorly about HiBA, that she later confronted him. This was amazing in itself for Japanese culture, that a female student would confront a male in an authority position. Even more amazing, though, was that he actually apologized!

Fortunately, problems like these with the police are very uncommon.

Here's the view from an overpass near the train station in Hajiochi.

Normally when you're in a different culture, it's best to blend in and follow the example of the locals around you. No one wants to be the Ugly American. When you're tracting, though, anything goes. If climbing on someone's shoulders attracts attention and gets more people to take the tracts, then go for it!

This rally was held in a small room near the top of this shopping mall. Since the room was so tight, I joined a few other team members in walking around the outside of the building, praying for the rally that was happening inside.

I drop by the room to get a couple pictures, though. Here's one during the small group time at the end of the rally. Though there were only 5 newcomers, apart from the HiBA regulars, they all seemed to have a great time!

Paul Suzuki, who ran the Gospel Team program, showed up at our rally in Hachioji.

First Impressions

Since I did manage to post an update on Wednesday, the first full day we were in Tokyo, I'll just add a few pictures here to go along with that.

We drove from the airport to the HiBA center in downtown Tokyo. We got there midway through the afternoon rally. Here's a shot from the end of the rally, of all the people who came. The Gospel Team (GT) members are in the blue shirts. The rest of the students are Japanese high schoolers who attended the rally.

Wednesday was a rest day, with no rallies. After the midday worship time, we had some free time. I went with a group to the 100 yen store, which is basically a dollar store (but bigger and better!). Here's a picture of a street in downtown Tokyo from the walk there.

The 100 yen store was located on this street, Takeshita Dori, the center of Tokyo's Harajuku area. Especially on weekends, this place is packed with people wearing the latest in Japanese fashion.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Daily Schedule

Hey everyone, I thought I would finally shoot off a quick update. I
keep waiting for some free time at a place with wifi, where I can
write out a longer update. It doesn't look like that's going to happen
soon, though.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a brief overview of our schedule for an
average day.

In the morning, we get up between 5am and 6am (4:45 tomorrow). After a
quick pre-breakfast, we head out on the train to wherever we'll be
handing out tracts (about the afternoon rallies) for the morning.
Usually that's near a school or train station. Once the flow of
students has died down, around when school starts at 8:30am, we take
the train to the rally location for the day. After we get there and
have breakfast, we get a rest time to catch up on sleep or just relax.
A time for devotions after that takes us to lunch.

Once we're back from lunch, we start preparing for the rally, which
usually has students starting to come at 4:30pm. The last students
usually leave at the end by 7:30pm or 8pm. Once the rally location is
all cleaned up, we have dinner and take the train back the place where
we're sleeping for the night. We almost always head to the sento
(public bath) before heading to bed, usually after 11pm.

The picture, which hopefully got posted fine, shows some of my team
members on the train in the morning.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well, this will just be a brief update. We arrived safely in Tokyo on
the 15th, a day later than we left (with the time change). The flight
was actually quite nice, since we were on Korean Air. The seats had a
reasonable amount of legroom, the AVOD system had an impressive
selection of recently-released movies, and we got two meals (in
coach!). Yesterday (the 15th), we got in on the tale end of the day's
rally. After debriefing following the rally, we got dinner and went to
the public baths. We didn't end up getting to bed until close to
midnight here, after being up for over 24 hours.

This morning we got up shortly after six and, after a quick breakfast,
we went out to promote the rallies to youth on their way to school. We
handed out flyers as the youth were walking past to school, and tried
to get them interested in coming to the rallies. Once we got back, we
had a bigger breakfast and a worship service of sorts. Today was one
day without a rally in the afternoon, so we had most of the afternoon

In a little while, we'll be heading off to the public baths again and
then to bed. I'm still thoroughly jetlagged, so bed is sounding really
good right about now.

*Just a note, I'm emailing this in from my phone. If there are
formatting errors or anything like that, that would be why.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trip Overview

Just to give you a broad overview of the trip, here's a brief itinerary and description of what we will be doing.

Last night, I flew out from Seattle. I met up with another three members of the team, and we stayed overnight there. Now, we're waiting at the gate to fly to Tokyo on Korean Air. Though we "only" fly for eleven and a half hours, the time change means that we lose a day and will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Once we get through customs in Tokyo, we will be going to the ministry sites where we will be for the next two weeks.

While we're in Japan, these first two weeks will be spent working with the HiBA youth outreach ministry. As for what exactly I will be doing while working with them, I honestly don't know, yet. Flexibility is the name of the game in missions, so I guess I'll find out once I get there. About all I do know is that I will be on the support team, rather than the actual outreach gospel teams. The gospel teams will be handing out flyers and raising awareness about our rallies, as the Japanese youth are on their way to school in the mornings. The rallies will take place in the afternoon and will include singing, skits, and a message, among other things. Somewhere in that, I'll be doing "support" of some kind.

The third week we're in Japan will be spent doing a work project at a camp, visiting a few church plants, and doing some sightseeing. Apart from that, I'll find out what we're doing as we go along. It will certainly be an adventure, and I look forward to seeing how God works everything out!

As always, your prayers are greatly appreciated!

Welcome to Ramblings from Oaxaca - Coming to you from Tokyo, Japan!

Welcome to Ramblings from Oaxaca! I have used this blog to report on a couple of my past trips, and have revived it for this current trip to Japan. In honor of this trip, I've updated the theme with a background photo from the talented Trey Ratcliff, of the Stuck in Customs photography blog.

Check back here for updates during the trip, be they full posts with high-quality pictures, or just a couple sentences and a picture sent from my phone. Once the trip is over, I'll process my pictures and post some of the best, along with more detailed highlights of the trip.

As I have said before, I want to give a huge "thank you" to all of you. Thank you so much for your very generous support and ongoing prayers! Without them, I wouldn't be on my way to Japan right now. So, thank you!

If you have any questions or comments at all, feel free to post them here on the blog, and I'll respond as I'm able. I look forward to hearing from you and keeping you updated on the trip!

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Here's something kind of fun for me. I have a Flickr account where I've uploaded some of my pictures from Alaska, Oaxaca, Yosemite, etc. A couple weeks ago I got a message that the company Schmaps, which makes online guidebook-type things, was considering one of my pictures to include in their guide/Schmap for Anchorage. I just found out that they actually did use it! Check it out on the right side of the page. It's nothing big, but pretty cool for me...

Click here to see the rest of my pictures on Flickr, or browse my Oaxaca pictures in the box below.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Video: Party Train

Here's a video of the party train we went on. More video coming soon. Better video editing coming as soon as I find a good Linux video editor.