It's 9 pm after a tiring couple of days. We went to our friends' (the Tokumotos) house last night for an outside BBQ sayonara party for us and about 6 other guests came which made it a fun time. I think that, for the 1st time at one of these parties, I at least participated in at least one convo w/ every guest. Pretty cool. I could post some pix but I already started uploading the pix from today, so I'm too lazy to turn back now.Anyway, we stayed up kind of late. I got up this morning early, as is my habit on Monday and Tuesday, to go on a prayer walk w/ the pastor of the church where we often go. I got to his house on time, at 5:59 am or so, and he had already left to beat the heat. I biked after him a bit but didn't see him at a convenient place, so I just parked my bike and prayer walked alone. Or, today, I half walked and half sat on a low wall in the shade. Even at 6:30 am the sun was hot and I was comfy praying there. No prob. In particular, I prayed for our friends in Beirut and in Israel. Please join me in prayer for the believers in that region, that they would use whatever time and opportunity to shine for Jesus.
At 12:30 we went w/ the Tokumotos and a couple of other friends to the beach known as Hawaii Beach. It's a nice place to swim, to be sure. Apparently the riptide or current or sthg just off the coast of Kikai is a bit dangerous for swimming, but the island comes standard w/ several natural shallow swimming harbors, and this is one of the best. So we snorkeled and sat on the beach and piled sand on our legs and stuff. I skipped a few coral rocks. It was fun. In the middle of the day, though, you really have to be careful about the sun, man, especially for gringos like us. I put on a fair amount of sunscreen but still got a little pinker than I'd like. Nothing serious though, fortunately. And ALWAYS wear a T-shirt when snorkeling, kids.
After, we went to another beach down the road to take freshwater showers and hang out in the shade of the shelter. Walking to the shelter, we noticed two black kids in the water frolicking w/ the others. 'Tisn't often you see other gaijin on Kikai, so our curiosity was aroused. I saw a guy playing w/ them and when he came up to the top of the hill where I was standing, I went over to ask him about them. Turns out he was the Jehovah's Witness missionary who had taken me to the Kingdom Hall last week. Seriously, what is the deal w/ these guys? Anyway, we chatted and then the woman w/ a 3rd child in her arms came up the hill to chat. She was Japanese and her 1-year-old looked straight black, but apparently all 3 kids are the product of a marriage between this Japanese woman and a Congolese man from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Now, for those of you who know your Central African geography, the DRC is not Brazzaville but Kinshasa. The DRC, at this point in time, is well-known for chaos, anarchy, armed militias, and the highest population of illegitimate children produced by unions between UN Peacekeepers and their refugee charges. All such unions are, of course, 100% above-board and are in no way a result of bad supervision (due to general UN incompetence) of renamed and armed militiamen who are responsible for thousands of defenseless Congolese, Rwandan, and Burundian women.
At any rate, it turns out that this lady is a JW as well (sigh) and her husband came to Japan to teach French in 2003 from the DRC, and they're down to visit their JW buddies. Apparently he's not a JW yet but he's studying the Bible. I hope to establish contact w/ him and cannot deny that I might share a few --ahem-- choice Bible passages w/ him in relation to JW theology. But that's b/c I'm a bad boy.
In other news, return plans are looking good to go. I'll go back to work at Seagate Technology, who was good enough to take me back. Burn no bridges you don't have to, my friends. And I'm getting more used to the idea of coming back. It's God's Will, after all. Getting used to it is what one might call advisable.
This week Aub is just hanging out at the Board of Ed all day for work. Nothing to do. I pity her much, but there's little I can do to help. I COULD lend her the laptop. Might do that, actually. Fine idea, that. Anyway, Tues night is the sayonara party w/ the Kikai English teachers. Wednesday is the sayonara party w/ the people from my community center English class. Thurs is free but might fill up for me. Fri is badminton. Sat is ping pong. Sun is w/ the Harada family. Monday is Departure's Eve. Can't come too quickly for us, I think. Tomorrow we're sending two boxes via post back to the US. It's more than twice the price as a similar pkg coming to Japan from the US. Argh.
(I included this here pic b/c it's a good cross-section of all stones on Kikai. Everything here is made of coral of differing colors.)
Finally, for the wanderlust-driven, Hebrew-speaking romantic in all of us, I commend to you my friend Shay's blog wherein he describes his preparations for and execution of a hike along the Israel National Trail and other adventures.