7.25.2007

O Canada!

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

__

It is good to be here. It was a LONG and pretty boring day...

7.24.2007

still here...

...but not allowed to stay.

We are at Centrair...boarding in 15 mins or so...so far so good.

7.23.2007

さよなら! Sayonara!

Things are really winding down here. The computer needs to be packed up today, I am going to pick up the van that will transport us to Centrair in Nagoya, one more sleep, then we are off.

Hopefully, I will have little to report from TO when we arrive there.

Thanks for tuning in to this part of our adventure...now we get to experience our own culture through very different eyes...stay tuned.

In the immortal words of The Long-Haired Apprentice...

...Catch you on the flipside, Homeslice!

7.22.2007

Bike Helmets

Here is an article from the Globe and Mail on bike helmets.

7.19.2007

Bittersweet

I am officially finished my duties at all my schools. Yesterday was the last day of classes at Kono Elementary School and it was good to get a chance to say farewell to the students. I played 'Animal Basket'...think fruit basket upset...with the grade 2 classes all morning. What a hoot!

Today, I was asked to attend their final assembly and officially say goodbye to the school. I gave them a small book about the Canadian rockies (purchased over 2 years ago at the Calgary Tower) as well as some omiyage...chocolate!

It was sad to say goodbye. Of all the schools that I was involved in this year, Kono was my favourite. The staff were always very kind, the kids were great, and it was nice and close to my house.

But it is time to move along...Kelly and I have resolved that it is time to stop moving every 2 or 3 years, hopefully we will be in Kamloops for a good long time...at least until the kids finish high school.

I have learned that relationships are permanent. When you invest yourself in another person, there will always be a relationship between you. When you enjoy those people, it hurts to change that relationship. The relationships that we have developed here have been a genuine source of joy for us and for our kids. Now that the time has come to move along, I think that in a mysterious way, a part of 'us' will linger here in memories, pictures, journals, school records, in the household goods that we used for two years and now bequeath to Kelly's successor. But those relationships will forever change on July 25th when we fly away.

For me, the hardest thing about leaving here is that we have really been helpless in communicating the source of our 'being'. So many people here live lives of what I call 'quiet desperation'. Seeing how long people work and the demands put on people to 'ganbatte' or 'fight' is tragically misplaced. When a mother can't see her kids because she has to be at school until 8 or 9 pm, something is wrong. The number one reason that teachers book time off work here is depression. When a child acts out at home, parents call the school and ask why the teachers aren't teaching their kids how to behave. This is not the way things should be.

The Japanese are outwardly very 'happy' and have ready smiles. But the fact that Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries tells me that something is wrong and the pursuit of 'happiness' is futile.

I firmly believe that the classical Christian worldview as it was intended to be understood provides the best foundation for the things that we observe in the universe.

It is only through our relationship to God that...

...we find true meaning for this life and beyond.
...we can make sense of suffering.
...we can have true hope for the future.
...we can make any sense of good and evil.
...we can recognize that 'we' and 'others' are inherently valuable.

小野小学校、ほんとにありがとうございました!おげんきで!

7.14.2007

Got an extra $225,000?

Buy yourself a parking space in Manhattan!!

This particular condo complex is selling units with 2.5 baths, 2 bedrooms etc for $2.2 million. At 1750ish square feet, that clocks out at around $1250/sq. ft. The parking space adds up to $1500/sq.ft.

Chalk this one up to people having more money than brains.

7.13.2007

Bikes are good for more than riding...

Bicycle Samba

It's comin'!


Okinawa was hit earlier today and its on its way to Kyushu. The eye is on track to be over us sometime tomorrow. Maybe it will bounce off the island, but it doesn't appear likely.

7.07.2007

Catching Up

While I haven't been blogging a whole lot in the last little while, there is no shortage of things happening in our life.

A couple weeks ago, we were once again involved in a Tug o War competition in Ogaki. Last year it was just the kids. This year there were seemingly three divisions. The kids, the amateurs and the experts.



This is a picture of one to the expert teams. Please notice their body position...very low to the ground and most importantly, their hips are mostly in line with the rest of their body.


Intimidation is a big part of the game. This is me staring down a 7-year-old girl with a camera.


This is me in my 'Proper Body Position for Tug o War' lab. Turns out that proper body position really is important. At least my back is straight, but if you look at the team in the background, you will notice a slight difference.

This particular match was Loooong. Probably at least a minute long, I do not recall being that physically drained in a very long time. Kelly almost blacked out. This is a great sport. We lost this match; our team just ran out of gas. Our next match was a cake-walk...for the other team. They had the magic shoes that the experts were wearing. The last match was finally a victory for us, but we had already been knocked out of contention for the playoffs.

All in all, we had a fantastic day and came home tired.