It's slightly warmer this week but approaching the coldest part of winter, there are many more homeless people in the train station and the smell of urine is very strong, so there's a spot in particular where I hold my breath. The windows for one of the trains I take going out of the city is packed coming into the city, and each morning I'm still amused by the dew on the windows from all the people crammed inside. Since I've done my share of pushing to get through people or off the train, I'm not quite as offended by getting whacked in the head or being pushed around. My grandma is successfully packed up, and I'm completely spent. This weekend I'm going snowboarding and to an onsen (hot springs) with people from church. I'm looking forward to it but at the same time exhausted from packing, taking care of my grandma, church translation and design stuff, work, and packing up my apartment to move too...seems like it all came at once! I got two notices for late rent plus a fine with the second notice for being late after I had already paid in full, but that's cleared now too.
New Years is a long celebration and has continued this week at work. It's customary to visit home for New Years and then bring gifts when returning, so I've had snack time average 3 times a day, plus sushi for lunch on Monday as a happy new year lunch upon returning to work. One highlight was coconut from Thailand, it was dried but soft like the texture of mochi...it was specially ordered from the hometown of one of my coworkers from Thailand, and not available in other parts of the country. She said that even from big cities the coconut is different, usually harder. It was by far the best coconut I've ever had and it made me want to visit. It doesn't take too much for me to want to go somewhere though!
My coworkers were making fun of me for always taking food photos so it ended up being blurry!! This was our sushi lunch.
On November 15 I wrote a list for my time in Japan categorized under Purpose, Goals, Plans, and Other. It has been almost two months since then and I'm on track, either started or currently doing what I had hoped to do. There have been lots of challenges, many not to share on public blogging, but I know that God has blessed me in many ways and is constantly watching over me. Without challenges I wouldn't really know how other people feel. I prayed for compassion, to feel other people's experiences as if they were my own, and God is developing that in me so I can know how it feels to be in certain situations. I'm reading 1 Corinthians now, and was reminded of wanting to learn to become Japanese by Paul's writing about becoming the people group whom he wanted to reach while following God's way. Work has been the perfect opportunity to learn, but not without many slip ups and stressful situations! I wonder why the usual 6 hours of rest isn't enough, and 7 still feels minimal...but the commute, living alone, walking miles every day, new job in a different country with different business customs, moving, my grandma, new people...I guess it would be enough to wear me out.
Isaiah 41:8-10 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I'll be just fine, I have the strongest support in the universe and beyond :)