A few updates since life is moving a billion miles an hour right now (as usual):
1.) We still live in Tokyo. Yep, no change there.
2.) We’re moving!…to another place in Tokyo. Rachael found an absolute gem of an apartment. It’s quiet, much larger, has a garden/patio, and that makes #3 a reality (see below). We’re ecstatic. Rachael went apartment shopping with one of our good friends here and made an offer on a beautiful place we never thought would be accepted. Well, to our surprise it was, and we’re moving next month. So, now it’s back to packing for the fourth time in two years (3 apartments, 2 school buildings). If the place wasn’t so great, it wouldn’t be worth it, but we can’t wait for #3…
3.) Callie is coming to Tokyo! Thanks to the efforts of our families in CO and MN, Callie has been generously taken care of since we left for Tokyo in 2008. We had hoped to bring her to Tokyo this school year but I made a mistake with the paperwork and we had to start our 6-month wait all over again. We have high hopes that we’ve done all the right paperwork and that Callie will be getting her pilot’s wings in September.
4.) We’re headed to Nagoya, Japan today. One of my favorite authors is doing a conference in Japan for teachers, specifically on best practices in teaching reading. Her name is Debbie Miller and she hails from none other than Denver, CO. Since Rachael has been hired full-time at our school next year, she will be coming to the conference to brush up her instructional chops too. We get to take the bullet train (shinkansen), which we love, so that should be a blast.
5.) Japanese police are not like my little bro. My brother Blake (not so little actually) is a fair, tough, and dedicated state patrol officer in Colorado. If he sees people breaking the law, he addresses it. Our neighborhood in Tokyo is quiet, residential, and filled with several schools, so not much happens requiring police attention. But they’ve managed to bother me a few times for various bicycle infractions. Yesterday, two bike-cops pulled up around me and definitely noticed my bike had no identification or registration. But, although they both looked at my bike carefully and we were stuck at a traffic light so I had nowhere to go, neither said anything because I didn’t make eye contact. It’s just that simple. Can you even imagine my brother ignoring something obvious just because of a lack of eye contact and probably that they’re nervous I might not speak Japanese? No way Hosei (Japanese spelling of Jose).
6.) Spring is coming. Thank the Lord.
7.) Lent has actually been a valuable time this year. My friend Michael and I are doing the Ignatian Examen each day to reflect with gratitude on the ins and outs of each day and consider life with a more prayerful attitude. It’s shifted my perspective more than once and may become a long-term way to pray for me.
8.) Reading is fun again. After high school and college I wasn’t much of a reader. However, Rachael and I joined a book club with some other teachers, which has been great. We’ve read The Post American World and Tokyo Vice. Now, we’re on to In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Should be interesting. I’m still on my American history kick, currently reading Faiths of our Fathers, which tries to emotion-lessly set the record straight on the recorded faith lives professed (or not) by several of the Founding Fathers. Next is a behemoth: Truman (1000 pager by David McCullough). My mom and I loved his John Adams and I’m using the reading in my research paper of Harry Truman for one of my master’s courses in leadership. Oh yeah, and I’m somehow keeping up with reading my four textbooks for my master’s courses that began in January. We’ve put our TV in a closet, so that helps to free up time. I get up and hour earlier just to read and write, and Rachael helps me focus on getting some things done at night when my brain is mush. Great stuff.
9.) We miss you. There were a few moments this winter that I sincerely longed for some time with old friends and our families back home. I just have to remember that we have a couple months in the summer to catch up before doing this whole Tokyo business again for 9 months.
10.) No ten yet, but I hope you enjoyed the first 9.