Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Basket O' Kitties, or My Wife Is So Smart!

So, what’s up?
Not too much here, though it appears I may well be on the verge of writing a long blog post. Thing is, I wrote this nice post last night and then hit “Publish Post” and it promptly did NOT post. So now I have to redo it. When will I learn to type my posts out on MS Word!?!?!?!?

So this one I’m typing on MS Word, just FYI.

OK, so we posted about the pathetic state of our wild kitties and of our kitty pity last time. I’m considering all these ways I might help the kitties out – build a shelter for them, like a doghouse out of wood or something, I don’t know. Then Aubrey goes the next day and buys a laundry basket and a welcome mat-style rug. In the back porch is a covered area near our washing machine that is protected on three sides from the powerful (these days) wind and from the rain. So she takes the pretty nasty green pillow on which the kitties were formerly often napping and puts it in the laundry basket, partly b/c kitties in general just really like nappy green pillows (don’t they?) but mostly b/c they seem to be attached to it. So she was inviting them in. And it worked! Now the kitties are staying in there like all the time, and like 5 at a time sometimes! As you can see here, Tabi-Tabi, Shoyu, Satin, the newly-named Speckle (the kitty formerly known as Peng and No-Name Kitty), and Austin are cuddling for kitty warmth inside their new home. Aubrey’s brainstorm wins her the Brilliantly-Smart-Good-Call-Cutie-Pie Award for the week.

So yesterday and the day before I went w/ Aubrey to her schools in Somachi. They love us in Somachi, and we like going there even though it’s like the farthest away from our town. It takes quite some time to get there via bus. Anyway, we decided to explain the Christ-mas story to the kids in class, and the teachers were quite happy to allow us to do that. So we started off by explaining that Christ-mas is NOT all about Santa Claus. And the kids are like, “Really?” And we’re like, “Yeah.” And they’re like, “Oh.” And we’re like, “Yeah.”
Clearly a deep level of English was going on.
Anyway, we explained the Christ-mas story to them. It was cool b/c at the elem school the teachers aren’t able to interpret well, and so we had to do it mostly in Japanese. And it showed us that we are making progress in the language, so that was encouraging. The kids really liked it when I played Mary and Aubrey was the deep-voiced innkeeper and King Herod. And they loved it when I was the 3 Wise Men on the camels. I would clop clop clop around and occasionally “spit” at them and they would go wild w/ laughter. It reminded me of that scene in “Aladdin” where the Genie says, “…on your brand new… CAMEL! Watch out, they spit.
Anyway, we’re hopeful that this presentation caused some to think. One of the teachers asked me in the office when Satan Claus came into the picture, and I told her. And then she was like, “Well, why is he such a big deal for Christ-mas?” Exactly. Seriously, we’re getting pretty sick of Jolly Ol’ SC, but anyway, I explained that Jesus is God and that means that we are responsible before God. SC is just a jolly old grandpa who gives us gifts and demands nothing from us. And in one of the classes, when we had opened for questions, one of the kids asked why Jesus came. Well, if you insist…

A few joyous things:
1) Kaki is in Hong Kong. We can’t wait for her to come here, and our friend Erica from Kagoshima is coming too! Coolness.
2) We get to stay an extra day in Okinawa. Instead of leaving the morning of 27 Dec, we’ll leave the morning of 28 Dec b/c there is a different ferry. We hope that we’ll be back in time to make the connection to the 2nd ferry to take us to Kikai that night. Here’s hoping.
3) I had a bad day yesterday from when I woke up to the time my first class started at 2:45 pm. And usually I don’t have a great time in my classes. But yesterday was the 1st day I really enjoyed my classes, and all 3 of them! So God used that to turn my attitude around, and I’m really thankful.

Catch you soon! Posted by Picasa


Benjamin said...

What's funny is, now in the States it's almost as if Santa has switched sides. Once the figurehead of the commercialization of Xmas effort, now some people (e.g., Coca-Cola) will not use his picture because it has religious connotation! (I'm not sure if it's just because he's associated with CHRISTmas or if it's also because he is SAINT Nicholas.) This goes along with the rampant "Happy Holidays" decorations in some stores (they won't say "Merry Christmas"). I'm not saying Santa is exactly my homie now, but somehow I feel less animosity towards him since he's enduring persecution...strangely enough...for the sake of Christianity.

Anonymous said...

If your Japanese is already good enough to explain "why Jesus came" to a bunch of elementary schoolers, you need to tell me how you're studying. I tried to explain the origins of american thanksgiving to kids last year, and it did not get across.

Personally, I think that christmas is about whatever you want it to be about; it stopped being all about Jesus the moment ancient christians coordinated it with pagan winter festivals as a means of christianizing said pagans more easily. And from that point on, virtually all the fun and inclusive things about christmas, things that have helped it spread all over the world in one form or another, have been the pagan traditions that would not go away; christmas trees, christmas decorations, magical reindeer and benevolent spirits of giving and goodwill. I have nothing against the stories of the christian tradition as part of the mix, but if that was all there was to christmas, Japan would not even have the little bit of christmas that it does.


Rhology said...

I was surprised myself at how we were able to explain most everything. Obviously, some details were thrown out (such as the visit of the shepherds) but you do what you can do. And you can accomplish a lot w/ some visual aids, a chalkboard, and two people willing to do funny voices and act silly.

As for Christ-mas being whatever you want it to be, I invite you to try making the Japanese Emperor's Birthday whatever you want it to be. Or how about Ramadan? Or Rosh Hashanah? If not, why not?

I am curious why you think changing the date of celebration of a particular event necessarily dilutes the meaning of the event.
Just a note, also - your description of "all the fun and inclusive things about Christmas" is a bit self-serving. You say you want to celebrate ONLY the parts of Christmas that you want to. Given that attitude, it's not hard to guess how Christmas arrived at its general dilution to begin w/ - people started rejecting the hard stuff about Christ-mas (ie, that it's the Birth of the One True God in flesh Who came to save you from your wretched self) and took only what they liked. Picking and choosing only what *I* like is not "what ____ is about." That is the definition of "What I like to celebrate."
Besides, couldn't I use your logic against itself and just say that I want to pick and choose ONLY the conservative traditional elements of what the Christmas celebration generally has become to commemorate?
As for whether Japan might not have ANY Christ-mas w/o the fluffy commercialised morass it has mostly become, I'd say that Japan might just be better off w/o it. Then the holy-day would be more easily presented as a first-time celebration of the birth of a Jewish baby in Israel, rather than prying the idea of a Savior out of Ho-Ho-Hos and Jingle Bells that are already hard-wired in.