Thursday, December 1, 2011

More from Travelin' Girl! Japan

Less than a week until she's home, today I'll start catching up on what she's done since China. It will take a couple of posts.
Her group traveled for about a week then settled into a month-long home stay and took classes at Ibaraki Christian University. (Japanese, Japanese Lit, Intercultural Communication, and Bible). Her Okaasan and Otoosan (Japanese Mama and Papa) were absolutely wonderful, and she had two Vietnamese "sisters" as well. She knew several students at the university from their stay in Oklahoma last year (we had even had some to dinner at our house.) She loved Japan, the people, the countryside--and there were only minor earthquakes while she was there. She took thousands of photos, some of them even while she was shopping--one of her favorites in any country! No post of mine will do her time there justice, but  I'll let these few pictures tell some of her stories.
Okaasan and Otoosan with another of their foreign students.
I can not thank them enough for their sweet care of my daughter.
They were wonderful!

Worship at the Omika church.
She worshiped with people from so many different countries.
What amazing experiences!

Ikebana--Japanese flower arranging class. 

Fukishema Aquarium on an outing with Ayaka and Misato,
friends from OC last year.

The group visited Tokyo Disney

On a beach in Japan--the sand is black

Corn soup in a bottle--she bought this on a train.
GF, of course. She gained weight in Japan--a good thing
since she'd lost nearly 10 pounds in China!

Fresh shrimp, right from the sea near the
home where she was staying.
Octopus, fresh and uncooked. Also from the sea
nearby. Okasaan served it for dinner one evening.
She said the little suction cups still sucked a bit :)
Sweet potatoes made the "American way"
for her family. One evening each student made a dish
from home and this was Hannah's contribution.

The students participated in an arts festival on the University campus.
They came up with a show with singing and dancing--looks pretty good, huh?
Okasaan and Otoosan gave her a kimono as a
going away present.  
And now a few words from my girl herself:
The gift-givingness of the Japanese people is overwhelming to me. I have received more gifts since coming here to Ibaraki than I could have ever expected! And actually, I am meaning literal gifts, as well as intangible ones. Friendship, love and care abound, and the gift of time. But also warmer clothes for the impending autumn, cute accessories to wear, delicious meals, even money! I have received again and again. Today my host mom mentioned (at least I think- the language barrier sometimes does me wrong and I misunderstand) that they will be giving me a yakata, a kimono. That is a very nice and often expensive gift. I don't deserve these things!
The Japanese habit of gift giving reminds me of my duty to share God's gifts, the best gifts of all. Service, friendship, love, and most of all the message of His son. If the Japanese are called by Buddha to give, how much more am I called to give by the living God?!

More posts in this series: China, at Last!   My Traveler. . .an Update   The End of My Girl's Trip--New Zealand and Austrailia 


  1. She had to travel to Japan for earthquakes? She could have stayed in Oklahoma. ;)

  2. Joan, I know! That was one of the things I had worried about most--and then we were shaking here! :) How crazy was that?

  3. Wonderful to hear she had such a welcoming experience in Japan! I truly find inspiration in following your daughter's adventures. Gives me a glimpse into what my little four year old celiac's future could hold. (Can't believe your daughter lost 10 pounds in China! yikes!). Looking forward to hearing more.

  4. Jen-I'll have another update ready soon. She had a wonderful time on the rest of her trip. And, believe it or not, her younger sister just returned from a short band trip to Rome and London to march in the London New Year's Day parade. I can't believe I've sent two gf eaters off alone this year!