Category Archives: Yokohama, Japan: Our 2 Year Adventure

We started a temporary assignment August 15, 2012. I blogged on Tumblr the first month, the first few posts in Autumn were pulled from that blog. Let the adventure begin-continue!

Sketchbook Journal Entries Early Summer 2015

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 Atami, Japan       
      

Irises in Kita-kamakura. 

      

Karuizawa, Japan 

     

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Living Life Fearlessly

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” I smiled when I saw the photo, thinking about you living life fearlessly (as you have written about) and taking risks, doing things that put you in harms way. Living life with the possibility of being hurt. These ripped jeans are testimony to me of that. I’m glad that you weren’t seriously injured, but I rejoice with you that you are able to do all the things you want to do and not give into a paralyzing fear that would keep you from them.”

This was written in the comment section of a photo I posted on facebook. A photo of my favorite jeans with a large rip in them just above the knee that was scraped when I slipped and fell while walking down a slightly declining wet ramp to board a mock pirate ship in Hakone Japan. Her first comment was “This is so awesome on so many levels.”

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I was confused since it wasn’t awesome to look like a dork in front of so many people. I was actually more sad about the jeans first, then worried I’d be in pain for months to come (serious knee injury or just old lady back-out needing a chiropractor). It is that sort of fear that can lead to older people living a smaller and smaller life. Forgoing opportunities to see the world and connect with others along the way.

I’ve seen people do that, more women than men it seems. I don’t want to be that kind of woman. People who have known me for a long time think this adventure fits my personality. Some have always seen me as more brave than I am. Many think that because I’ve never met a stranger, talk easily and seem to make friends quickly that this has not been a very difficult transition.

Maybe it’s true that I was ‘born this way’, adventurous & brave. But the natural trajectory of (my)  life  since birth has been to pull into myself with each painful consequence of trying to live freely. The risks taken to live out my dreams were met by failure, disappointment and at times, excruciating pain, just like everyone else. I’ve been spared some trauma that others have had to face and I share in shameful secrets many will never admit to themselves, let alone talk about.

It has felt like war to keep pushing through the fear that would immobilize me. As I say this, I want to erase this whole post. The courage required to live my life pales in comparison to what so many women (and men) must deal with every day. This is clearly a “First World Problem”. But I’ll leave the post. It is real and we all must start where we are. Maybe I’ll be given the gift of more profound suffering.

I’m grateful to the people God has used to expose my fear that prompted the ugliest of un-loving interactions with others. I’m grateful for God’s kindness in giving me tastes of His goodness that calls me to trust Him and move into a world with many dangers, but none that can separate me from His love and His purposes. I want to look into the future with a smile, knowing that He will be with me no matter what dark valley I walk through and often times have a child or two of His to reach out and touch me at just the right time.

Beauty Abounds

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My favorite time to sit and look out my window is as the sun is setting behind me. I don’t really get to see the sun set, but I see it’s affects as the angle changes. The bridge over the Bay here in Yokohama is white and it seems most of the larger boats (ships?) in the water are also white. So as the sun drops on the horizon behind me to the right, the white of these surfaces shines brightly but there is still enough light in the sky for the water to be a vivid blue. The other day I realized that on most days my floor to ceiling sliding glass door corner view is filled with my two favorite colors: blue and white.

I’ve tried to capture this beauty with a camera. Maybe a better camera or a better photographer can accomplish that. But I am always disappointed. I share my attempts on instagram or facebook and I always want to add ‘But it’s much better in person!’ And isn’t that true of most scenes. Our eyes are amazing. What we can see…even with imperfect vision is better than what we can re-create.

Another random thought as I look out at this amazing view is the old adage ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ Not too many years back this scene would have depressed me. Oh I might have been able to ‘appreciate’ it when all lit up at night but my first few visits to big cities stirred some sort of deep fear or despair.

I’m sure I was influenced by how my mother and father both hated large cities; crowds, traffic, noise and life in the concrete jungle instead of the countryside or at least suburbia. I think I adopted the idea that living in small spaces with views of other buildings instead of rolling hills or farm land, was depressing. But after living here in Yokohama for just four months it’s been interesting to see how many people live the city life as if it’s just normal. In fact better than normal, preferred.

It’s very much a walking life. Yes there are crowded trains and stations, rushing from buses and taxi but there is something very good about walking in between those modes of transportation. Appreciating the changing seasons in parks and landscaped shopping centers.

A few years ago I heard a song that became a sort of anthem for me. ‘Add To The Beauty’ by Sara Groves. And I realized that in order for me to ADD to the beauty I must first notice the existing beauty around me. So here I am, in an overcrowded, concrete jungle, looking for beauty and finding it all around me.

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Kappabashi Day Trip

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Hakone

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Taipei Taiwan: Hotel and Office Area

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Or if you prefer the slideshow version…..

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Art Class in Yokohama

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I have been mostly watercolor painting for the last few years but I started a new class using Acrylic paints. My Sensai (teacher) specializes in human beings (portrait and figure) so I decided to take the plunge and try to learn from him while I live here. Even though I just finished a beginning drawing class on college level, I did not do much with the human form. So we are starting with drawing and then will move on to acrylic painting. This is today’s assignment. Can you guess who it is? Click through to see the photo I was working from.

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