Wednesday, October 22, 2014

cupful of vege

My cup overflows. I have enough organic vegetables to last me for months. Plus a little reminder of the Tohoku trip.

Though it had been tough months ago, things have been looking much better recently. They will never be perfect; and though some things can never be explained nor fully resolved, maybe it's okay. There is much to be thankful for; much more to do, and certainly the journey has its ups and downs. Maybe I don't have to understand; but I guess that's why life is interesting.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

not wasted

Thanks to Lee Sin, I had the opportunity to catch John Piper's session at the Love Japan conference over the weekend.

It's always a treat to enjoy such conferences with international speakers, whatmore one whose book I had just read.

It's funny how life turns out. I received the "Don't Waste Your Life" book as a Christmas gift about a decade ago, thinking it was an insult then. I shipped that book, along with many others, with me to Japan hoping to catch up with reading.

I'm so glad I did. I had just finished that book recently, and understood fully the value of its content. 10 years ago, I wouldn't have known the events I'd go through today that would make it timely for such a message.

Friday, October 17, 2014

million-dollar nightscape view

Though I like my new toy because of the camera, it doesn't really do a good job of taking night shots.

We went up Mount Rokko for the "Million-Dollar Nightscape View", which was really spectacular; however my gadget didn't quite capture it as expected. Maybe you should go there for yourselves, or if Kobe is too far for you, the Mount Rokko website is a great alternative.

The weather had considerably cooled down after the typhoon, so we were trying our best to enjoy the view for as long as we could. Might have been okay if not for the wind.

It was quite an impromptu trip, with us renting a car and not really knowing which direction to head to. Still, it was fun being up in the mountains. Can't say I'm bored of mountains yet!

Friday, October 10, 2014

just swingin'

Just when I thought I had visited enough mountains for the season, Yuko invited us to join her at the Futatabi Park just half an hour's drive from the Kitano area. It was amazing to see a lake in the hills and to enjoy the beginning of autumn colours so near the city.

What was more amazing was to see these 2 ladies swinging around like kids in the playground near the lake. I had no choice but to join them. Later I found out Japanese kids do these all the time during sports sessions. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

plentiful indeed

I had arrived Tohoku right in the middle of the autumn harvest season. All around me were golden rice fields which looked more like comfy yellow carpets to be rolled around on.

As I wondered at the absence of humans, animals and machines at the vast fields to my left and right, I was reminded that indeed, "... the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."

Saturday, October 04, 2014

find Me

While trying to look for sword beans amongst the vines, these oft-repeated verses came to mind.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
- Matthew 7:7

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul."
- Deuteronomy 4:29

"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."
- Jeremiah 29:13

Thursday, October 02, 2014

the tohoku getaway

My last week away have been summarised by the collage of sorts below. You could say each represented the days spent with Lee Sin in Miyage prefecture, and the Prof Komiya and wife in Iwate prefecture.

Visited the area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. There is just so much natural beauty here I wish I could express through my lens. Thinking I'd do a quick day trip, turns out I have more reasons to go back again.

Happy to be able to meet up again with Lee Sin, encouraged by her OM ministry and blessed by the fact that a fellow Malaysian is here in Japan too. Though so far from Kobe, and ironically never really met though staying in Subang before, I guess when it's meant to be, you will meet up somehow.

Though I had to bid Lee Sin farewell and head up north, the main part of my break was to visit the Prof whom I've last visited at his Iwate kampung 5 years ago. I still remember when I escaped to the north when I lost my job during the 2008 recession.

They always welcome me with open arms, as if I'm their daughter! The sight of their wooden home in the hills filled me with warm memories of that winter years ago when I felt like I didn't know what to do.

I always admire the Japanese who never fail to keep going even when it gets tough. He introduced me to his daughter who moved from Tokyo to start a bakery, and a local friend who specialises in handmade wooden utensils. Though Takizawa is a rural city surrounded by greens, there's a certain charm that reminds me of Hokkaido.

The artisan goods reminded me of the online shop my previous company was involved in. I told Sato-san that though Japanese prefer foreign goods, ironically it's the foreigners who are interested in traditional Japanese crafts.

Since it was peak period at his farm, I decided to lend a helping hand. My main task was to harvest the sword beans, and remove the beans from their pods. I'd stay indoors and help whatever I could when it rained. When the sun came out in its glorious form, we harvested corn, removed the malformed ones (it was his first attempt, so not all were fully pollinated), and cleaned up to make way for fresh ones next round.

Prof Komiya was happy I was able to help him out, so he could concentrate on cutting firewood in preparation for winter. His wife would be busy with baking, carpentry and housework. Looking at them busying away made me feel very lazy indeed!

As a "reward" for the "hard work", we took a ski lift up to the mountain to enjoy autumn leaves. Prof Komiya was so delighted because it was really perfect weather, and we could see the surrounding cities clearly. He had never really been able to do this because of the farm work, and his wife was also busy.

Seeing him get so excited about the ride up helped me to forget that it was almost 10 degrees at the top. Now that I'm back in Kobe, I can't help but reminisce about the 5 layers I had to wear last week. It still feels like late summer here, but I'll cherish it while I can.