We have just got our internet installed and are glad to be in touch with the outside world. We tried to use the church computer, but it kept translating our words into Japanese randomly and was quite frustrating.
Just to catch you up on all of our doings over the past two weeks. We had a busy time getting ready to leave Brisbane. We really appreciated Dave and Sandra getting us to the airport at 6:00 am on Friday, 13 July. Especially so, as both of them were not feeling very well at the time.
The trip here was good with a stopover in Cairns. We had a row each to sleep on the way. We were met by Hama sensei, Pastor Horikoshi's wife and Yoko san, an elder's wife. It was dark and raining all the way to Yokkaichi (1 1/2 hours). We were in the leading edge of the typhoon which hit the next day, Saturday. On Monday and Tuesday we had the earthquakes which destroyed a lot of homes and badly damaged a nuclear reactor which was built on a fault line(!). A lot of damage northwest of here.
Our house is fantastic. Our landlady, Kawamura Sumi san, was at the house to greet us. We really appreciate her, as she is most gracious, generous and friendly. She is the widow of a doctor who owned a hospital. He bought several traditional houses in order to preserve them. This house hasn't been lived in for years. It was only used for entertainment and parties. The house is really beautiful. It is an older traditional home with ornate an Japanese style tiled roof, unpainted timber outside, heavy rough beams in in the downstairs ceiling, a fireplace in the middle of the living room with no chimney, tatami mats, different floor levels, sliding doors, paper screens and all the touches to make it look authentically Japanese. It is on a large property with a garden and small pond with 4 frogs.
The house is located on a narrow lane out in the country surrounded by rice paddies, tea plantations and bamboo groves. There is a greenhouse across the lane to buy veggies. The house has 2 storeys with three bedrooms. It all looks like one imagines Japan to look like. It is not easy to live in such a house and to keep it as Japanese expect, but it is well worth the effort. There is plenty of room for guests!
The loo is not traditional Japanese, in fact it's 23rd Century. It's a Toto Washjet with ventilator, heated seat, three consoles with 13 buttons, 3 knobs and six blinking lights. It took a while to learn that 'stool washing' meant flush. It has several controls for 'hip washing' and drying. We simply don't know what all the buttons are for and not particularly interested after trying the hip washer. The bathroom is traditional Japanese and we are not used to all the water that gets splashed around. The kitchen is very small and basic with two gas burners, a microwave, toaster-oven and fridge. Almost no counter space.
There is a junior high school right next door with the tennis courts and baseball field next to the house. We enjoy the sounds of school. Nishiyama is right at the base of the Sakuza Mountains which are 4,000 feet high. We can see the cable car to the lookout at the top from our house. The view from the top is spectacular. The mountains are snow covered in the winter with good skiing. We can see Yokkaichi-city spread out below and on to Nagoya, and I am told, Mt. Fuji on a very clear day. There are wild monkeys in the mountains and lots of deer. Doesn't it make you want to come and visit us?
The church and the people are very nice. They meet in portable buildings and hope to build on good land nearby next year or so. The pastor, Horikoshi Nabuji sensei, and his wife have been welcoming and most helpful to us. He is very kind and we can see that the people love him. He doesn't look or act like an 81 year old man. He is very active and was away in Chiba speaking at a conference when we arrived. The congregation has Sunday services and meetings from before 9:00 am to late in the afternoon. They sell food so we can stay on for the afternoon meetings, all in Japanese. I have been asked to preach once a month.
Folks in the church have provided furniture and supplies for the house, and an elder and wife have given us the use of a Mitsubishi Mirage car. So we are well cared for. Driving is not as difficult as we expected. The roads are very narrow in the country, but good in the main city streets. Japanese drivers seem more courteous than Aussie drivers.
I understand that some of the folks speak English, but they pretend that they don't. They have an active Sunday School in a country where 75% of churches don't have a Sunday School. The kids of all ages are very well mannered. The majority of churches here have less than 30 people in attendance. There are about 60 at Soai Christian Church, with a good number of young families. We are slowly picking up some vocabulary, but are too busy to spare the time to really get down to serious study of Japanese yet.
Our English classes begin next week with trial classes for the month of August and regular classes thereafter. We are spending a lot of time preparing for the classes. We will teach 20 classes a week for all ages and abilities. Each class will begin with devotions and scripture teaching.
The weather is very humid. Most days it is cloudy or rainy, but when it is clear, the country-side sparkles.
We are really enjoying our experiences here. It is beautiful and very foreign. The people are generally friendly. Every day has some odd experience or adventure which could only happen in Japan. Some day when I have time (lots of it) I will describe what is involved in garbage collection. If we had known this we may have had second thoughts about coming. Then too, there is the Japanese shower, but that is another story.
To show how courteous they are, an example at the Shell station might be helpful. We stopped in on a rainy day. The owner, his wife and mother came out to service the car and windows. After the petrol (gasoline) was in and we had the ceremony of paying and receiving change, the wife got out in the street with an umbrella to stop traffic so we could leave safely with all the proper bows.
We would love to have folks come for a visit. You might even like to try the hip washer.
Our new address is: 7261-11 Nishiyama-cho
Mie, Japan 512-1101
Please not that there was a mistake in our newsletter. This is our proper address.
Mobile Phone: 090-9899-4943
Japan's code is: 81 There may be an area code. I am not sure.
Our email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also we have a website: warrenandjan.com
and emails can be sent to: email@example.com
Please pray for us that we would develop a genuine love for the people here, that we will be faithful witness of God's grace and that we will be effective English teachers.
Let us hear from you.
Yours in Christ's service,
Warren and Jan Myers