9.28.2006

Unexpected News

You may remember that last November, we had a post with this same title. It was then that we discovered that Selah had an irregular heartbeat.

Well, since then, we have been to the Dr several times. Each time, he said that it was not likely anything to worry about, but that we should monitor it in case her heart starts becoming enlarged.

Kelly took Selah in today for a check-up as it had been 6 months since the last appointment. The Dr did all the usual pointing and poking and prodding with ultra-sounds, ECGs and the like. He was quite surprised that there was nothing abnormal about Selah's heart rhythm or size.

Cool.

He wants to see her again in March to rule out the possibility that it was just a fluke day, but the news was good none-the-less.

Whether God healed our little girl or she simply grew out of the arrythmia, we will not know this side of time. Regardless, we are grateful.

9.16.2006

Is this the Cuba you know?

Here is a link to a very interesting article about how Cuba responded to losing 50% of its imported oil when the Soviet Union collapsed.

9.12.2006

I HATE FLATS!!

I decided, back during natsu yasumi, that it would be a good thing to ride my bike to school this term. I had originally pegged the trip at being about 50 km one way which is too long for a reasonable commute and a life at home. However, when I measured the distance on Google Earth, it turned out to be closer to 30 km. I figured that was doable.

So, the week before school started, I hopped on my trusty steed and headed for Nagoya. I arrived at the school with only a little difficulty in just under 2 hours. I was tired and it was a hot day. The trip home, although marred by a flat tire, took about 90 mins of actual riding time. It was then decided that I would ride my bike to school. After all, it took the same amount of time as taking the train and it is a heck of a lot cheaper.

Here is what has happened since...

Friday, Sept 1...staff meeting in Downtown Nagoya means I take the train.

Saturday, Sept 2...bike tune-up at Cycle Base Asahi.

Sunday, Sept 3...went for a ride with Kelly on the dyke and noticed that there was a lot of rocks on the road from the guys who cut the grass. I didn't notice hitting any rocks.

Monday, Sept 4...flat front tire. Switched the tube and headed out and made it to school on time.

Tuesday, Sept 5...uneventful...aside from a major headwind all the way home.

Wednesday, Sept 6 (morning)...flatted about 2 km from school...pumped up the tire and kept riding (repeat 2x). Fixed the flat at school.

Wednesday, Sept 6 (afternoon)...flatted about 1 km from home...walked the rest of the way in a very bad mood and spent the evening repairing tubes.

Thursday, Sept 7 (needed to get home quickly to leave right away for karate)...flatted about 20 mins into my ride home, repaired the leak, put the tire back on the rim and tried to pump up the tire...the air just hissed out. I thought it was the pump I was using which has provided some grief for me. I was wrong. It was the other two holes from the same nail. I patched them with my last patch. I finally got the tire pumped up and ready to put back on the bike when I heard the air hissing out again. This time it was the valve. Time to phone Kelly with a heads-up that I may need a ride home. I managed to get one of my spare (already patched) tubes to hold enough air to continue. By this time, I was delayed an hour...karate was out of the picture. On the way home, I kept noticing what I thought were columns of smoke along-side the trail. They were little tiny insects. There were hundreds of these swarms. I had to ride through them with my mouth closed. They stuck to my body.

Friday, Sept 8...no spare tubes, I took the train.

Sunday, Sept 10...purchased some Specialized Flak Jacket tires that are supposed to greatly reduce the likelihood of a flat tire.

Monday, Sept 11...new tires worked great!

Tuesday, Sept 12...woke up to another flat! Apparently Flak Jacket protection isn't enough. Put my last tube in and tried to pump up the tire...nothing doing. Finally got it to work by bringing it inside to show Kelly that it wasn't working. Headed off to school, realized that I had no tubes, no patches and a real good chance of flatting again. I turned around and took the train.

So, I have ridden all the way to school and back on 6 days. I have had 6 flats. I am frustrated. I have no spare tubes and no patches. Tomorrow, I will take the train.

9.09.2006

Does Selah Speak English?

Yesterday we took the JETs from our area out to our favorite swimming hole on the Neo River. We rented a couple of vans (since it was cheaper for each individual than taking the train) and drove out together. (I was quite proud of ourselves for managing that in Japanese...with a little prep help from a Japanese friend)
It has been raining quite a bit this week and when we got there we were surprised to find our usual stake-out was under water. The current was a lot faster and the river coming off the mountain and feeding the Neo was shrouded in mist all day! It was very cool. Anyhow, we had to walk on a bit further to get to a beach, so we were all a little nervous walking through the river to do that. But it was all good.

The day was over cast and it rained at times but it was also close to 30˚C, so none of us were complaining about being in the river! In fact, the guys were able to jump from the bridge because the water-level was higher.

I wish you could meet Simon. He is hilarious. He just climbed up and jumped with no hesitation whatsoever. (Other guys were visibly nervous and took awhile to step off...with good reason!) Then Colin jumped after him and as the current was carrying them both downstream, Simon says, "I can't swim." (lol) He didn't appear worried at all and kept on jumping. (Oh to be "invincible")

There was another incident that will stand out in our minds for a long time. Most of these people don't know us well yet and have only met our kids recently. To our surprise, several people asked us yesterday if Selah still spoke English?! No joke! There were a couple of Japanese friends who came along yesterday, and immediately, Selah gravitated to them, and she spent the day speaking Japanese to everyone. It wasn't until she was in the van and on the way home that she engaged the "Western" ALTs and spoke English! It was really something to behold.

We swam, we BBQ'd, we talked shop, we had watermelon, we set off fireworks and ended the day with a stop at Starbuck's on the route home. All in all, it was a wonderful Saturday in Japan.

9.02.2006

ネ小川...Neo Gawa


We have discovered the Neo Gawa (river)!

The Neo river flows just to the west of Ogaki. We have been led to a swimming hole about 45 minutes to the north of our house.

As of today, we have been up there 4 times in the last few weeks. Here are some pics...











Mixon in the middle of his cannonball!







Selah walkin' on water.















That'd be me...































































Watermelon? Pinata?

















Takayama

Takayama is often called "Little Kyoto". Kyoto is famous in Japan as being the capital for many years before Tokyo. It is a city full of Japanese history and culture.

Takayama is a little town in the mountains of Hida that retains many of the same things as Tokyo. It is a very nice little town, very touristy. Speaking of touristy places...you know how there are so many Japanese tour busses that tour around Canada...well, there are tour busses here as well...and they are filled with Japanese tourists. I have never seen a tour bus here filled with anything other than Japanese tourists. You would think that there would be at least some with western tourists.

Anyways, we spent the morning at Chiemi's aunt's house eating breakfast and translating our names into Japanese. I (cm)remember that one possible translation for my name is 'child of the forest'. Can't remember anyone else's.

After b'fast we went into town to see the sights.

This is Chiemi, her aunt and the kids in Chiemi's aunt's shop in Takayama.











It was Obon, so there were many offerings left at the shrine by people paying respects to their dead ancestors.



























For 3000 yen (about $30) you can tour Takayama in a ricksha for half an hour.










Chiemi, her mother and grandmother in front of their house as we were leaving.

As we left, we discovered why we were warned not to go to Takayama during Obon. The trip home (same 125 km), instead of 3 hours, took 4.5 hours. Traffic was at a standstill for much of the trip through the mountains.