Happy Sunday! Weve had a wonderful weekend at the lake. I have a couple of more days before I have to go back home, although Dennis is back to work tomorrow. We went into town for church this morning and it was a wonderful morning. Our new senior pastor was ordained, along with two new deacons. We have a new youth minister who was introduced this morning too. Lot's of great things happening!
Many of you have asked about how Alex came to be living in Japan. Here's the story for those of you who asked. For those who aren't interested...I'll see you here next time! Have a wonderful day my friends! :-)
When he was 13, Alex spent some time with an exchange group of middle schoolers that were visiting Spokane for three weeks one summer. That happened to be the same year that he started college at Eastern Washington University. Yes, he went to college at 13! Got his Bachelors Degree at 17 and his Masters Degree at 19 years old. Anyway, after spending the time with the exchange students, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and where. He took Japanese classes that year, although he had gone through the entire textbook before the school year began and was already speaking Japanese when classes started. As time went on, he took every Japanese class offered. He ended up translating papers for the Japanese instructor throughout his college years to help pay for books and fees. He also taught English classes his last two years.
Every summer from 13 on he went to Japan and taught English in a private school. He absolutely fell in love with the Japanese culture and embraced it wholly. When he got his Masters he moved to Japan permanently and taught Elementary School. We visited him there in a tiny town in northern Japan. He was like the pied piper. The kids loved him. Everywhere we went, the kids would come running too see "teacher". After that, he was transferred to teach Junior high students in a small town about 20 miles away. It's normal in the Japanese school system to be moved around a lot. He was in this town when the big earthquake/tsunami hit a few years ago. Since the town was on a bay, there was some flooding but his apartment was on a hill and he was fine.
That's when I began this blog. A lot of people don't realize that Aomori, where Alex lived, and the Sendai region get a LOT of snow every year and it's very cold. So I had a goal to knit 400 hats by winter to give to the people in the shelters who had lost everything. It's not much, but I thought it would help them to know that someone cared. I mentioned it to a few knitting and crochet friends and they wanted to help. They also wanted to see pictures of my trip, (yes, I went to Japan for three weeks and Alex and I took the handmade items to the shelters.). You can read about it in my very first posts. I ended up taking thousands of things made by wonderful crafters all over the world. Baby things, hats, socks, blankets, mittens, sweaters, among other things. All handmade. It was wonderful. The people were so grateful. You can't imagine the total and utter devastation these people experienced. Thousands and thousands of people just disappeared into the ocean, never to be seen again. Entire towns gone in seconds. It was awful. Helping in such a small way was very rewarding.
In the years since he moved to Japan, Alex has also learned Chinese. He is now a translator at Keio University in Tokyo, but also has his own translation business on the side that he has been growing for years. He is very interested in the old culture of Japan and has translated several books of folklore and does a lot of work for museums around Aomori. His plan is to move back to northern Japan this fall where he plans to buy a house. He will be leaving the university and working with more museums, etc.
Dennis has been to Japan twice to visit him and Mandy went with us once, just before she and Brad got married. I've been there three times and would like to go see him again this fall to see his house, if my health lets me. I love visiting him in Tokyo where each neighborhood has everything you need within walking distance. Doctors, dentists, grocery stores, etc. You could live your entire life and never leave your neighborhood. I've never experienced anything like it before. He prefers the small towns in northern Japan where you do need a car to get around. No walking everywhere there, but people still know each other better and you can make friends, unlike in the frenetic pace of Tokyo. Much like here in the U.S. Where there are trains and subways in big cities, but not so much in the midsize and small towns.
So that's it in a nutshell. I hope I haven't bored you, but there's the story of how Alex came to live in Japan. I don't think he'll ever move back home permanently. He really wants Dennis and I to move in with him in Japan when Dennis retires, but I don't see that happening. It's nice that he wants us though. :-). I would love to see him teach again. He's a natural, especially with small kids. I watched him with Kyleigh and Caleb this visit and he had them speaking Japanese almost instantly. He will do what his heart leads him to do though and that's what is best. Right?
I hope you've all had a lovely weekend.
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10