Monday, November 27, 2006

Follow up on Hakuba

This is Shannon. Here’s a bit more commentary—and some photos!—to add to the last post:

I mentioned that we started out by subway Wednesday morning in Tokyo - which is really cool--I can't wait to go back--and then got on a train (kind of like a metro, only much nicer, with a bathroom, comfy seats, and a man pushing a cart of snacks) for Hakuba (prounounced "ha-koo-ba"). What I am beginning to learn is that the Japanese have to pay money to use the highways system, so they often take the public transportation instead. There was a bit more travel than what we were expecting, but God has been so good to us.

Walking to the station


In the metro station


On the "women only" metro bus...oops!


I mentioned the amazing hotel surrounded by the breathtaking mountains. Here’s another shot of the hotel:

The Hakuba Hotel


I've never seen anything like these mountains. They are very close, not far away like we are used to. Snow covered, enormous, beautiful mountains. I could also see the ski slopes from my window and it made me want to go skiing. At one point, I was sitting in a small, cozy internet & entertainment room, complete with a whole bar of tea and coffee options, which are self serve. I thought, "we need this in America!" The Japanese pay attention to detail and are extremely clean--they really hit the mark on this. It is very unusual to find an unclean bathroom--in fact, there are disinfecting wipes and a mini sink even on the train! Everywhere we go there are people and children wearing the white masks that we saw on the news when the SARS disease came about. The computers in the internet room had covers over the keypads. You get hot towels on the plane before you eat dinner. You do not lounge all over the place like we Americans do with our shoes on. Cleanliness and the attention to detail is a strong point. I like that.

At the computer room, I could not figure out the internet because the google and yahoo sites were all in Japanese characters. I tried clicking on headings that looked important hoping that one would magically change the words to English, but to no avail. It gives me a new appreciation of what foreigners in our country face. I went to the Covenant Life Church site thinking maybe I could email through their, but my computer typed Japanese characters. Still, being on the site, it was good to be reminded of your faces and our home.

I really enjoyed talking with Hiro (the man who is leading the conference) and his wife and mother of five children, Maki, over dinner. I had the opportunity to draw them out about the women here and in effort to understand the marriages a little better. This was helpful preparation for serving the ladies with the session that I did. The Lord is at work here and I am excited to see what he will teach us, and the folks here as well.

Our wonderful host, Hiro Inaba


I saw an 8 month old baby and in my tiredness, almost broke down in tears for missing Mary Kate right then and there. But in that instant, I realized that my exhaustion was at work, so I set my mind on getting some dinner which distracted me. I do miss her so much, though. Here are my other 2 children enjoying a snack:



Okay, now I believe jet lag is rapidly taking over my body and so I think I'll go to bed now!

Grace to all,

Shannon

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