You know, it occurred to yesterday, while praying for fellow missionaries Aaron and Ben, in C. Asia, that our situations are quite similar. Remote location, surrounded by people who speak a somewhat difficult-to-learn language, lower living conditions than we are used to, main lifeline to home being the Internet, slow progress in relationships...
There are many differences as well, but it was just striking.
Anyway, I just wanted to let y'all know that we are indeed on the island of Kikai now, safe and sound. A bit about our time between the end of the Traveler's Saga and now...
Aubrey and I had a hotel room in our friends' home city of Yamaguchi, from which we were able to join them in various fun activities while slowly acclimating me to Japan. Aubrey took me out for lunch on Saturday, the day after my arrival, to a place called Kaiten Sushi, where everyone's table is adjacent to a conveyor belt which conveys small plates of various foods, mostly sushi, around. You just grab whatcha want and eat it, and then are charged by the number and color of the plates. Later we ducked into an arcade to play a video game with four drumsticks, two taika drums (the big Japanese-looking kind of drum) and a screen with bkgrd music and scrolling icons to tell you when to hit the drum. You are scored according to how on-rhythm you are. I did OK the first 3 times, but by #4 I had hit 98%. Great game.
By the way, pictures of most of this stuff will follow in about a week - we're supposed to have Internet hookup at home then. Could be 10 days but I hope shorter. So be patient.
That night, our friend Natsue's family took us to this jazz concert, which I TOTALLY dug. It started slow, but the bass player was ridiculously good, the drummer was very tasteful, and the band was together. Boy, it was fun! Several songs contained vocal bkgrds, and it added so much. I'm buying the CD - the artist is Hiroku Kobutu. I must admit that the idea of Japanese jazz didn't ring my horn (or is it toot my chain?) that much at first, but I was convinced. Later we had dinner at their house and had a great time - her dad speaks Engrish quite well and was very proud to show off his house (and a nice house it was indeed). He told us how many tatami was each room. More info on tatami later.
Next day we were blessed to attend our old friend Yoshio's church in Yamaguchi. The Japanese service was cool - about 30 Japanese praising God. Quite awesome really... the pastor has been a believer for about 30 yrs and our friend Yoshio showed great spiritual growth since his second birth 18 or so months ago. We were really encouraged by that. We also met some Canadian missionaries who are tentmakers like us, teaching in the church's school and doing some other odd jobs on the side. There was an English service later on, where a Filipina sister spoke. I must admit that her message left me shaking my head at its immaturity... it highlighted the problem present in many countries where the church is not in many cases sufficiently supplied with competent teachers of the Word. We are in prayer for this church and this sister. Great attitude and openness to the Lord, truly. Fortunately, learning can come quickly w/ an open heart and teachable spirit.
Next day we were on a train early, bound for Kagoshima City in the south of Japan. More to come on that soon.