Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reading Plans

BibleGateway.com has just posted three online plans for reading the Bible: a survey, biographical highlights, and the whole Bible in a year. I like a couple things about this setup. It's on the computer, which makes it really convenient. If you're online most days, you can stick this site in your favorites and click on it when you have a couple minutes of downtime. Being on the computer also makes it easy to keep track of - your browser will automatically change the color of the ones you've read, so you'll always know where you're at. I've decided to try the Biographical Reading Plan, and have set my translation to the Message so the words sound fresh to me. Here goes!

Monday, January 30, 2006


Here I am mixing the natto! I did try it this time... healthy as it is purported to be, it tastes like a mouthful of mold that formed on the top of your spaghetti sauce. Yuck! They tell me it's an acquired taste. The rest of the meal was great, though. Sweet sushi rice on seaweed paper (I admit, I omitted that from my concoctions - though I tried it!), crab, sliced cucumbers, sweet plums, fried egg, chives, Japanese pickles, avocado, and the most amazing ground tuna (raw, of course!). I never knew tuna could be so good! Many thanks to Ben and Naoko for the pictures - not to mention the awesome time! Posted by Picasa

Dinner party!

On Saturday night, Mike and Meika went over to Ben and Naoko's for a dinner party. It was fun and deeeee-lish! In the picture, from left: Mike, Meika, "Azuki"-san, Naoko, Ben. We met Ben and Naoko shortly after we arrived in Japan, when they were visiting our church. Azuki-san (a nickname) was one of Naoko's co-workers. We had homemade sushi and practiced our Japanese. It was fun! Posted by Picasa


All done! Somebody's sleeeeepyyyyyyy... (Isn't he cute??) Posted by Picasa


"Whoa, what time is it??!?!?!!" Yeah, the shock was a ruse for the camera - but the time is actually 11:00 p.m.! Posted by Picasa

Mikey Likes 'Em!

Mike's favorite thing: The phone conference! Mike has phone conferences every week on Tuesday nights, and often Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday as well. Fridays are date nights, so they're off-limits! Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bomb Scare

We had a bomb scare here earlier this week! Only... we weren't scared... we didn't know about it until one of the girls from yoga asked me if we'd had to evacuate... So the story! Earlier this week or late last week, a whole neighborhood very near our house (right around the supermarket Frente, if that means anything to anyone) was evacuated because a bomb was found. It's not what you're probably thinking, though - this was an American bomb presumably dropped during World War II that was somehow unearthed and had to be disarmed. Crazy!! Unexploded bombs are things I think of in places like Vietnam and Cambodia, not an industrialized country like Japan! But when I did a search for "Nagoya" and "bomb" on the Japan Times website, I found other stories that were quite similar. It shouldn't be surprising, I suppose; we bombed Nagoya quite heavily during World War II. One reason downtown is so entirely new is that essentially all of the old was wiped out. When I think about it, this probably still happens in Europe, as well. It's just something that never occurs to me because I grew up in Michigan. Let's see, when was the last time that Michigan was embroiled in a war... Certainly neither world war, Vietnam, nor Korea... the Civil War was too far south, as was the Spanish American War... looks like it'd have to be the War of 1812! It's pretty amazing, really, how blessed we Michiganders are to live in a place that's been free of significant conflict for so very long.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Intelligent Design

I found this document on the website of a Christian schools consortium in Australia. I thought it was pretty interesting! We hear a fair bit of debate about intelligent design, evolution, creationism, etc. in the U.S. as well. I can't say, however, that I really understood what all those different terms meant and how they compared and contrasted with one another until I read this little document. Cool! I found that site via David Koyzis' website. I'm having fun with these links that I just learned how to create, but I know they haven't all worked properly. If you find one that isn't working, could you let me know? I had trouble linking to that first document above today and couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong - only to discover that they had a typo (misspelled "design") in their code. Never even occurred to me to check that! What do ou know, I fixed that - and it still didn't work! Turns out I'd put an unnecessary slash at the end. Live and learn, folks, live and learn... :)


The Golden Pavilion

  Mike in front of the Golden Pavilion. It was quite a trek to get there... but look at the payoff! Posted by Picasa


Facing the Future with Confidence

Mom and Dad doing just that. Posted by Picasa



This is what this area of Kyoto is known for - the now-elusive geisha! My picture didn't turn out so well... but it looks like Dad got a great one! They stopped and posed for him and everything. Posted by Picasa


Gorgeous Garden

Still in Kyoto, now in the Gion district. This garden was attached to a restaurant fancy-schmancy, I'm sure. My picture doesn't even come close to doing it justice, but see if you can enlarge it on your browser. It's an absolutely stunning landscape - my new inspiration for what a backyard should be! Posted by Picasa


Awwww...part deux

The surrounding display inspired a sweet display of another kind. Posted by Picasa


The Display

Here's what everybody came to see... Posted by Picasa


Mob Rule

The leaves were beautiful - but then, so many people couldn't very well be wrong, could they? Notice Dad towering over the crowd on the far left in this picture. Posted by Picasa


Just Following the Crowd

While in Kyoto, the Wildebuitenex clan observed hordes of people entering a certain temple complex (I'm afraid I've forgotten which one). As it turns out, our ryokan (click here to learn more about ryokans) wasn't far from one of the most heralded leaf-viewing sites in Kyoto! We've just purhased our kippu (tickets) and here Mary and Gord are about to get in line to see the leaves. Posted by Picasa


Breakin' the Law, Breakin' the Law

It was an experiment! It was for science!! All right, yes, we were naughty... we burnt a chopstick. (Mike seems to recall that it was Aunt Mary who actually tossed it in...) We didn't get caught, though... and somehow, in spite of our behavior, we found ourselves eligible for some kind of contest. We won, and our dinner was half off! Posted by Picasa

Sharing Is Good

That's one thing that I learned in kindergarten. I don't think that it was until first or second grade that I came to understand a somewhat more advanced proposition: Everybody loves sausage! A+B= Everybody loves sharing sausage. See below re: Mike and Uncle Gord. :) Posted by Picasa

A Leap of Faith

Do I dare try it rare? Posted by Picasa

Back to Yakiniku!

I have to admit that I've largely lost the habit of carrying my camera around with me. Unfortunately, that means that I missed a lot of good pictures of the whole Wildebuitenex group during the Visit. Some of my most fun pics are of our yakiniku experience at Ganko Tei in Sakae, so I'm just going to publish a whole bunch of those. Yum! Posted by Picasa


A nice overview of Tokugawa Gardens, known in Japanese as Tokugawa-en. The footbridge that you can barely see on the other side of the lake is where we took our group shot. Posted by Picasa

At the Gardens

  Here are the members of the Wildebuitenex on the footbridge at Tokugawa Gardens. Mike is unfortunately not with us, as he was off bringing home the bacon. Posted by Picasa

Drawing Water

Here is Dad drawing water at Tokugawa GardensPosted by Picasa

Green Tea and Eel

Returning to the topic of the Wildeboer-Buitendorp Expedition, hereafter referred to as the Wildebuitenex, I have determined that the time has come to really post these pictures. So here they here. This is a picture of Dad sitting on the floor and sipping green tea. He has no idea (nor do any of us) that he is about to eat eel. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ruminations of a Housewife

“Watashi wa shufu desu.”  So something beyond my wildest imagination has indeed come to pass:  I am a housewife.  And while I’m sure I don’t keep the cleanest house on the block, those of you who have known me for some time would be quite impressed with the distance I’ve come from the “Messiest Room” dorm awards and even my last little “single life” apartment.  

Now here’s the big secret:  I actually like it.  Not really doing dishes, or vacuuming, or most of the other “tasks” I’ve tended to associate with housekeeping… but creating a home, which is something a little bit more difficult to define.  I like organizing things so that I can find them quickly and put them away even quicklier; making sure we have toilet paper and tissues; planning meals and making them; gardening; and perhaps most of all, having the freedom to decide when and how I’ll do my work – and when I’ll let it slide and read a book or take a midday bath.  I thought I’d be bored; in fact, I’m more content and often challenged in this than I have been in most jobs I’ve had.

As I was wrestling with this bit of self-discovery, I made an interesting observation.  Because the women’s movement really hasn’t reached Japan yet, being a housewife is still a widely respected (or at least accepted) occupation.  What a difference this makes!  I appreciate all the doors that the women’s movement has opened in North America in recent decades more than I can say.  I wonder what motivates the schoolgirls on the subway here in Japan, who study long and hard to get into a good university, knowing all the while that if they choose to get married and have children they will ultimately be relegated to the home.  They really don’t have much choice in the matter.

Yet I also believe that the women’s movement made a grave error while winning the world for women:  they denigrated the very tasks that women had taken pride in for generations.  Whatever the intentions were, what should have been a battle for every person’s right to occupational choice (men can be homemakers, too!) became a battle to banish housekeeping altogether.  (Can you believe that I’m writing this??)  An overcorrection, if you will.

But it seems to me that the tide is turning.  People are recognizing that something is missing, and that there might actually be value in spending a bit of time caring for a home – whether it’s a man, a woman, or a team doing the caring.  “Keeping house has always encompassed knowing and doing whatever is needed to make the home a small, living society with the capacities to meet the needs of people in their private life:  everything from meals, shelter, clothing, warmth, and other physical necessities to books and magazines, music, play, facilities for entertaining oneself and others, a place to work, and much more…keeping house is a labor of love." From Preface to Home Comforts by Carol Mendelson.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Additions and Changes

Hello, all! As you can see, I've made a couple of additions. Ben's blog (which I didn't even know he had!) and Ross & Rita's blog are now both included in my Links, for your convenience and mine. I've also finally learned how to add titles! Please don't ask me why it took so long to figure that one out...


  Awww, aren't we cute??? I'm pretty sure that this photo was taken in Kyoto; not sure if it was at Nijo Castle or the Golden Pavilion. Posted by Picasa


Bamboo Gate

  I think that bamboo's pretty cool. Pretty, too. Still at Nijo Castle!  Posted by Picasa


People Picture!

  Finally, a people picture! Here are Mom, Dad, and Mike looking into the sun outside Nijo Castle. Posted by Picasa


Nijo Rooftop

  A rooftop of the main building at Nijo Castle. This was a really pretty place! Its claim to fame is the so-called "nightengale floors," which were actually designed to squeak. Walking across them, one could imagine how difficult a sneak attack might be. Lesson: Your squeaky old floors are actually a well-tried Japanese security system. You deserve a break on your homeowners' insurance! Posted by Picasa