Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Japanese apartment: Part 1

In Japan, our apartment has 3 rooms, a kitchen, and one bathroom. 2 of the rooms have tatami mats and one room is carpeted. We use the carpeted room as our bedroom because it is separated from the other rooms and it is right across from the bathroom. The 2 tatami mat rooms are connected through sliding doors and they are connected to the kitchen. 

The photo below is an advertisement for our apartment we found at a store near our house. The yellow room is the carpet room, the 2 green rooms are tatami mat rooms and the light blue is the kitchen. The space at the very bottom of the layout is our balcony it runs the width of the apartment, we love it. Hopefully it will be taken down soon because it has obviously already been rented :)

The photo below is our front door. We always leave our shoes at the door or in the brown cabinet in the right of the photo. These cabinets are found at the entrances of most homes and have narrow smaller shelves built just for shoes. When you take off your shoes you are supposed to put on house shoes that you only where inside. David and I have a pair but we have not purchased any for guests yet.

This is the inside of the shoe cabinet. 

The top of the cabinet we use to organize. David puts all of his things from his pockets in the clear/brown bowl. 

The photo below shows a little bit of the overhead cabinet. We keep tools up there. We are not allowed to hang anything on the walls unless a hole is already in the wall. I wanted to hang a key holder for us with a series of hooks but thumb tacks will have to do in a few already existing holes :)

Our bathroom is big. It has a huge shower/bathtub combination, a separate room for the toilet, a sink/vanity with storage and is home to our washer/dryer.

Our washer/dryer is a combination machine and will wash the clothes and dry them. We have only used the dryer once because it is expensive to run it and it doesn't really get the clothes dry and it's cold air and not heated. We hang dry our clothes on the balcony or the clothes rack. The spin cycle in these things are amazing so the clothes are basically dry after the wash. 

Below shows the washer/dryer and the floor mat for the shower. 

We found a great shelving unit for over the washer/dryer. 

I just love this little floor mat it is super soft and we found it on sale!!

The entrance into the shower. The shower room has it's own light and vent fan.

The shower room. 

I like that you can move the shower head also, this will come in handy when we are bathing our little Samuel :)

The tile floor is nice.

This bathtub is huge and very deep!!

The photo below shows the entrance into the toilet room. It even has it's own separate light switch and vent fan. 

This is the typical Western style toilet you see in homes and most places of business. The traditional Japanese style toilet is shown near the end of this post. This toilet has many features some you will just have to come for a visit and find out, but the one we like is the heated set, I am sure that will come in handy during the winter because homes are not heated.

All of the toilet roll holders have these nifty covers. 

The toilets come standard with a built in sink on the back. This is fresh water that you can wash your hands with and it refills the toilet bowl. 

This is a great shelf over the toilet holding all of our toilet paper. When we arrived in our apartment there were already some kitchen/bathroom necessities here. These are just 4 or the 6 packs that were given to us. Needless to say we have not had to buy any toilet paper yet. 

Japanese style toilet. You can just barely see in the upper right the flush and the little sink for washing hands. 

Below are photos of the sink/vanity/mirror combo.

I like that the mirror has it's own light and there is extra storage for our everyday items on the right side of the mirror. We also purchased little hanging baskets for the wall to hold some everyday items. It was great that the holes were already there because once again we were asked not to hang anything on the walls unless a hole is already there.

Stay tuned for another photo walk through of our kitchen area and storage closet!!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ladies Bible Study

When we were packing for Japan, I debated on which devotion books to bring, if any at all. I was not sure if I would be able to find any in English in Japan, so I decided on 3 books. One I began before we left and thought I should bring it to finish it, one is a just a leisurely read, and one is a devotion book I have skimmed through, but have not started yet. 

I have had this book for a while and in Lynchburg, I attended a ladies Bible study with my Sunday class each week where we did one by the same author called "Becoming a Woman of Excellence." 

This is my leisurely read that I have used more as a research book in the past. I have never read it all the way through. 

The English missionaries ladies get together once a month after church for a lunch and Bible study. The first study was at Marcia's house and she gave us these cute little notebooks to write down prayer requests and notes from the studies. 

This past Sunday I hosted and prepared the meal and Bible study. I choose to share about Rahab because she was the most recent lady that I had read about in my book. Rahab means 'broad.' She is mentioned in four books of the Bible. Joshua 2:1-24; 6:17-25, Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31, and James 2:25.

I found it interesting that the 'Every woman in the Bible' book gives the following information:

"The two spies found refuge in the house of Rahab, whom the text calls a 'harlot,' or a prostitute. Two kinds of prostitution are mentioned in the Old Testament. Archaeological discoveries have made it clear that commercial prostitution was common in drinking establishments and inns. Some have even argued that in identifying Rahab as a harlot, the author of the biblical text is simply saying that she was an innkeeper. The professions were so closely linked that to call one an innkeeper suggested that sex was one of the services ordinarily provided.
Whether Rahab was a prostitute when the spies entered Jericho is, however, quite irrelevant to the story. The frequent reference to her as a harlot reminds us that God offers His salvation to sinners, not simply to those who society classifies as 'good.' " (page 79)

Joshua 2:2-6 NIV states, "The King of Jericho was told, 'Look! Some of the Isrealites have come here tonight to spy out the land.' So the King of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: 'Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.'
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, 'Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.' (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.)"

Rahab had a choice, she decided to protect the spies through a lie and being deceitful. She said that she did not know where the spies went after the city gate was closed, but she did know, she hid them in her roof. She said that the King's men should go quickly and catch up with the spies knowing that they would not catch the spies because they were in her roof. 

*Question: Does this give us an example of a time when it is good to lie and be deceitful? Growing up we are taught to lie is wrong. However, we have an example of a woman who lied, deceived the King, and was ultimately protected for it. 

The conclusion that we came to during this Bible study, is that it was acceptable to lie if one is protecting innocent lives.   We used the example of people hiding Jews in their homes during the Holocaust. 

*Would you have hidden innocent people in your home and deceived the soldiers? What is your conclusion? 

After the fall of Jericho, Rahab went on to marry an Israelite and is one of only 4 women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 1:5 NIV states, "Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed the father of Jesse." 

It is not our past that defines us. We should be defined by the choices we make and our actions. It was Rahab's choice to protect the 2 spies for which she is remembered. It is not her past that defined her. 

The author of this book closes each section with how that woman is an example for us today. 

"Rahab: An example for today-

-Rahab demonstrated that we don't have to be perfect for God to use us in significant ways. We do need to deal with Him in faith and with integrity. If we do, He will, as He did for Rahab, melt away the impurities of our character and mold us into the kind of women and men He would have us be. 

-God is free to use who He will. We pass judgement on what we see, but we can only see the outward appearance. God also passes judgement on what He sees. But He sees inside and out, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

-Rahab reminds believers not to be judgmental. All have sinned, and but for God's grace, all would be doomed. God extends grace to others." (page 81)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cooking Chronicles: Sugar Cookies

After one failed attempt of using our Japanese oven by myself, Marcia Haug was so wonderful to come over and explain it more fully. She also explained that there is not self-rising flour here in Japan. I have had to adjust my cooking and baking to use the all-purpose flour here with baking powder to this fact because I have always used self-rising in the states. I also have to calculate from Fahrenheit to Celsius. I really wanted to make David's mom infamous sugar cookies that he loves so much and after trying one more time, it was a success. 

This oven is very high tech, and it's a microwave. The Japanese writing on the black are different dishes that you just push a bottom and it will cook them for you. The microwave portion will allow me to choose the watt I want to use too.

Marcia helped me label the Japanese controls so that I will remember which buttons do what.

Yummy cookies cooking after I finally got the temperature correct. 

Sugar cookie dough.

Looking good so far.

Finished product, David loved them, so cooking this day was a success!!!

I am looking forward to trying some other yummy treats from scratch. Stay tuned for the results of those baking endeavors......

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Driving around Shimonoseki: Part 2

The following are some more photos that we have taken while driving around Shimonoseki and surrounding areas.

The photos below are when we took a drive along the coast for my birthday!!

Ayaragi Beach

Little Baby Bump :)

Lunch before we went to the beach

Driving around during October

This last photo is not of us driving around Shimonoseki, but after church each Sunday, we have a time of fellowship with everyone. This is one of our first Sunday's in Shimonoseki. This is only one of the three locations of Shimonoseki Christ Bible Church. The first Sunday of each month we are all at the church where David teaches his English classes and we have a meal together afterward. 

That's about it for now for photos, stay tuned for more!!