Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Month of May

5/3/98 Sunday – This morning, no kids came for children’s church, so I sat in on Papa’s sermon at Satogaoka Baptist Church. His sermon was about tithing. I tried to take notes, and I actually translated 16 sentences! I wrote them down in English – I probably would have forgotten how the sentence went if I’d tried to write it in Japanese.

This afternoon, Papa, Mama, and I drove to Spring Bible Camp. We’re in charge of teaching the elementary school kids again. Papa and Mama decided to do an overview of the book of Joshua.

5/4/98 Monday
– After breakfast (which was yucky) I played ping-pong with Papa. We didn’t keep score.

At 10:00 was a Bible lesson. Papa read about Joshua, and the kids filled in the blanks on their worksheet. I wrote the answers up on a little chalkboard. I much preferred to help in that class, rather than to sit with the older kids and listen to a sermon. At least, with the younger kids, I could understand what Papa said.


In the afternoon, I had fun playing shuffleboard, badminton, and more ping-pong.


The evening Bible lesson was about the Christian soldier’s armor, as described in Ephesians chapter 6. The kids cut out strips of paper saying, “Truth,” or “Righteousness,” and they pasted the strips on the picture of a soldier.

Last year, when I was struggling with doubts about the truth of the Bible, I cut out pictures of the armor, labeling them, and superimposed the armor on a picture of myself. This focus on the armor of God helped me keep my faith strong – not the faith of a child, but rather a childlike faith.

The children in our class also learned about what happened at different Canaanite cities that the Israelites conquered. Mama set up boxes on the floor to represent the cities, with blue yarn for the Jordan River and the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. The kids had to toss a ball into one of the boxes and say what happened at that city.


When I was talking with some of the ladies this day, Mrs. U. said my Japanese is better than it used to be. I’m glad of that, but I’m afraid of forgetting it when we go to the USA.

5/9/98 Saturday
– This day we prepared for a Mother’s Day Concert on Sunday. Three girls from the Koriyama Church came: Christine (age 14), Micchan (age13), and Hiromi Asano (age 19). Also, Mrs. Yoshida and her son Paul (age 15) came by train.

We all had lunch at the church, and then we practiced the music. The other kids were from our church, and their names were: Wakana (age 14), her sister Urara (age 11), Keiichiro (age 10), Hitoshi (age 11), and Yuki (age 14).

Everyone sang, and some played the piano or violin. After the first rehearsal, we went to the beach and had yakisoba barbecue for upper. The food got a little sandy, but it was fun anyway. The part I liked best about this day was eating a cup of cookies n cream ice cream after the hot springs bathing.

5/10/98 Sunday – The Mother’s Day Concert went very well. Although there were a few blunders, nobody started giggling when they were supposed to be singing. We all sang the same verse to the same song at the same time! My own piano solo was the best I had ever done in public. I decided that Jesus Is All the World to Me (the song I played), and I would trust him to guide my fingers. And of course, He did!

It also helps me to think of Papa who had listened to me practice every day, and he knows I can play the song perfectly now. I usually get stage fright when playing the piano, but this day, it helped me to be facing the wall instead of the audience.

A lot of people attended the concert, and it was really a blessing.
We had chili for lunch, over rice, of course. I took a lot of corn, and Micchan thought my plate was the serving dish. She was going to take some for herself!
I wasn’t too tired after the concert, but listening to Christine’s rapid-fire Japanese all during lunch wore me out more than anything. Christine is a definite people person, and she loves to talk. (I am the exact opposite.)

On a second observation, I’ve decided that Christine doesn’t “like” Paul in the sense that she has a crush on him. However, she is so opposite to shy of him that it gives that impression. It’s also true that she’s the target for the majority of Paul’s tricks! When I think about it, that’s a good arrangement, because any other girl would get annoyed sooner or later. But Christine just laughs and jokes back, and so peace is preserved, and the show goes on.

Honestly, it’s like watching a comedy act to see those two and listen to them jabber. They remind me of Jo and Laurie in Little Women – you know, Miss Tomboy and Mr. Tease.

I sure do wish we all spoke the same language, though. I can hardly understand Paul’s Japanese. I can’t ask him to repeat every sentence in English just for me. He’s my interpreter often enough as it is. Also, if I say something in English, then the Japanese kids are left out, so it’s not easy to socialize.

In spite of the communication problem, I was sorry to see them all leave this afternoon. I nearly had a loneliness attack. Fortunately, Papa and I still had presents to give to Mama, and that kept me cheerful.

We got her three new pairs of slippers for company and a set of juice glasses. I had made a small cross-stitch for her, too. It says, “Life is fragile . . . Handle with prayer.”

Oh! Here are some funny things about the concert that I forgot. I can’t leave them out.

Mama was upstairs watching the little kids during the concert. She said that when we all sang, the voices she heard loudest were Paul’s and mine. We were the farthest from the microphone!

Secondly, Mrs. Yoshida told her testimony about her son Paul’s brain tumor and subsequent surgery. She spoke in English, and Paul repeated it in Japanese. At the end, she was going on and on thanking people for their prayers and asking them to continue praying.

Paul got this silly grin on his face that seemed to say, “Hey, there’s no way I’m going to be able to translate all that in one shot.”
Some of the audience started smiling when he asked her to say it over, and there was a universal chuckle when all he came up with was, “Um, from here on out, uh, please pray.”

My English-speaking friend Kanako (age 15) attended the concert, and afterwards, I walked her home, just up the road from our church.
When I returned, Paul came up to me with a carnation in his hand, and said, “There are extras. All the mothers got theirs already. Here you go.” I was touched.

5/11/98 Monday
– This day, we rode down to Nihonmatsu for meetings. Of course, I did schoolwork and cross-stitched. On the way back, we from aloud from a Christian book called Why You Act the Way You Do. It’s about the four temperaments: sanguine choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic. 

One thing the book brought to my mind was how, just the other day, some of us kids were looking at the signatures in Christine’s Bible, and we laughed at the contrast between two of them. Paul’s was sprawling and expressive, while my signature, directly below his, was small and tidy. As I discovered later, according to the book, our handwriting is completely in line with our respective temperaments. Paul is, as Mama says, “So sanguine it’s scary.” I, on the other hand, am undeniably phlegmatic.  

Another surprising fact in accordance with my temperament is my two favorite Patch the Pirate songs. A phlegmatic’s temperament include the weaknesses of fear and selfishness. The songs that I find helpful are: How Can I Fear? and Servant of All.

5/13/98 Wednesday
– This day, I started sewing a blouse. There’s some material that Mama and I bought over a year ago for that purpose, but we never got around to it. The blouse is a very simple style – no buttons or anything, just a ribbon drawstring at the neck. Mama calls it a “peasant blouse.” Mama said I should practice before I use the red-striped fabric that we bought, so I’m making a brown gingham top first.

5/15/98 Friday
– Last night, something ironic happened. (I’m studying irony in Literature.) I stayed awake till midnight writing a lullaby! I just started singing to myself in bed, basing the words on Psalm 4:8. “I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for thou Lord only makest me to dwell in safety.” The song turned out so nicely, that I had to get up and jot down the words. Then, just when I was satisfied with the lyrics, I realized that I hadn’t used the word /peace/ in the song! So, of course, I had to write another verse. 

This morning, I sat down at the piano, and started writing down the music. It’s a quiet, flowing tune, not too similar to any other tune that I know. I even figured out a part for the left hand to complement the melody.

I sang the song for Mama when she came back from Ladies’ meeting, and she was thrilled. This is how my new song goes:
Help Me Sleep
I will lay myself in bed,
Draw my pillow to my head,
For I’m in the dwelling place
’Neath my Father’s holy face.
Help me sleep, fall asleep.
Lord, shelter me, protect me.
Help me sleep, fall asleep.
Lord Jesus, keep me safely.
Shepherd, fill my heart with peace.
Make my worries all to cease.
Lead me to the pastures green.
My poor, troubled soul redeem!
Help me sleep, fall asleep.
Lord, shelter me, protect me.
Help me sleep, fall asleep.
Lord Jesus, keep me safely.


5/19/98 Tuesday – This afternoon, after my piano lesson, I did a little teaching myself. Gerald Buchanan (age 6) came over for half an hour, and I helped him with reading. I had him recite the alphabet and the sounds letters make and point to the pictures when we sang the song that goes, “Hear the /b/ sound in the /B/ words, /b/ in buzzing bumblebee.”

Later on, we’ll use the Bob Jones 1
st grade Reading book. Gerald has to learn some of the words before he can read the story. The word that was easiest for him to guess was /blue/. (I hinted that is was a color.)


5/20/98 Wednesday
– This day, Papa and I went on an hour-long bike ride. We just wandered around until we ended up at the playground in the new development area of Satogaoka. We played there a little while, and then rode home.

When we got back, there was some mail waiting for me. Mama had told her friend Hanna about my interest in editing. As it turned out, Hanna is writing a book of true stories about non-Japanese ladies who married Japanese men. She sent me a chapter to revise.


Because German is her first language, her manuscript in English has a lot of mistakes. I had to fix 20 things on the first page alone, which is all I read today. I can see it’s going to take some work, but it comes much more naturally to me to rewrite paragraphs of English than to solve one geometry problem.


5/23/98 Saturday
– This morning, Mari-san picked me up to drive down to Bible camp. There was a meeting this day about what activities the teens would like for summer camp. However, when we got there, Grandma Bishop (the camp director’s wife) told us that the meeting was at Nihonmatsu – another city altogether! That’s where Papa had said it was, looking at the announcement, but Mari-san got mixed up!

When we finally got to the right place, we were an hour late, but there was enough time for me to tell a couple of ideas that Mama had come up with. There were a bunch of girls from the T.s’ church and Takahashis’ church. Daniel T. was the only boy there. Everybody came up with some pretty fun plans, on the whole – like having a bonfire and wading in a river and setting off fireworks. 


We all ate lunch together and talked a little. Then Mari-san and I set off again for home. On the way, we stopped at a favorite ice cream joint between Iwaki and the camp. They sell homemade hand-dipped ice cream cones. I got walnut flavor.


5/24/98 Sunday
– This morning, Papa had me participate in his children’s object lesson during church. He called Mama and me up to the front, and then asked Ai and Maki Tanaka (who were the only kids there) which one of my parents I looked the most like. 

Ai-chan (age 5), after carefully examining our faces, said, “Your dad.”


Maki-chan (age 3) said I didn’t look like either of them. When Papa got the grown-ups’ opinions, Mr. Takenaka said I looked like Mama, and two ladies said I looked like both of them. The illustration was that as children of God, we’re supposed to become like our Father.


I was glad when Ai-chan said I looked like Papa, because so many other people have told me I look like my mother. I don’t agree with them. My eyes and mouth are similar to Papa’s, but none of my face is like Mama’s. It must just be our hair and glasses that throw them off.


5/26/98 Tuesday
– This day, I fixed up a bag for myself. It’s got bright stripes on it, and I stitched on a little picture of a mushroom that I had embroidered. I also attached a big navy blue button on each side, with a ribbon to button the top sides together. I’m going to use it as a pocketbook.

Mama gave me a pocketbook in March (which was supposed to be a Christmas gift, and she forgot it), but I couldn’t fig my cross-stitch project in it easily. Besides, that pocketbook looked too sophisticated for someone who wears culottes six days a week. I’ll save it for when I’m older. 


With this new bag, I can even fit my Bibles (English and Japanese) into it, and take the whole shebang to church.


5/29/98 Friday
– This evening, I drew a picture of a big white Teddy bear that I got for Christmas. His name is Wee Willie Winkie, because he’s wearing a nightcap. I started painting the pencil drawing. I’ll finish tomorrow.

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