Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Finale

Well, my family and friends, my time has come to an end. This will be my final blog from the Land of the Rising Sun. I can't really express to you what I am feeling right now, because to be honest, I don't quite have a grasp on it yet. However, I do know one feeling, and that is blessed. I have been blessed beyond measure! My time here has been filled with excitement, fear, joy, tears, love and memories that will last me a lifetime! Moreover, I have come to see myself and know myself in a different light than ever before. I am absolutely convinced that God designed this experience specifically for me. I am honored and humbled to have been able to be on this journey, and to have been able to share it with you. I pray that my being here has not only changed me, but that I have been a light to those around me here.

Thank you to my family and friends who have prayed for me, supported me and loved me enough to let me come here. While I look forward to the next adventure that God has in store for me, I will greatly miss this place that I have come to know as home, even if only for a short while. Thank you all for keeping up with me and joining me on my journey of a lifetime!

For the final time...Sayonara for now!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Last Weekend

Well, this is my last weekend in Japan. It's definitely bitter sweet, but all good things must come to an end right? Speaking of endings, I sold my scooter today. It was sad to let him go, but Pete did his job well! I have a rental car for my remaining days while in town so I can get all of my final errands run a bit easier. Things are starting to shape up here. I am done with school and am now officially on break (ie packing). I have one final goodbye party on the 26th and then I fly out on the 27th for the States. Please pray for all of us here in Mito that are leaving, as we finish up our time here and head home.

I will try to post one final goodbye post from Japan before I leave.

Sayonara for now!

Monday, March 9, 2009

2 Bowls, 2 Cups, Priceless

No, two bowls and two cups is not the amount of eatery I have in my apartment. To be truthful I don't even have that! However, that's not what this is about.

On Sunday I had one of the most unique experiences of my time in Japan. I mean good in a unique way. Not like, "Oh that girl is unique (and you really mean "special")." No, I truly mean unique! My friend Yoko and I have been trying to get together for awhile and finally managed to do it. We have wanted to go to Kasama (a near by town), which is famous for it's pottery, for some time. We have been there before and wanted to go back and make some pottery. When she talked about making pottery I thought we would go to one of the many stores out there to make pottery. Well, little did I know what was in store for me! She picked me up and told me that she wanted to pick up some fruit for her friend that was going to be teaching us. That was my first indication that this was going to be more than just a shop. As we are driving out there she then tells me that we are going to this ladies house to make the pottery. I was really excited, because I love seeing Japanese style homes! We arrive to the home, that is newly built and designed by Koshiko and her husband. It's beautiful...and orange! We walk into the house and the first thing you see is her workshop and pottery area! I was blown away needless to say! We do intros, Koshiko is the owner, Keiko works there at the shop and does pottery for a living and was our teacher.

They proceeded to ask if I would like the tour of the shop and I said yes...thinking it was all in the house. Well, I was wrong. We walk out of the house and apparently all of the old building surrounding the house are their's too. What I call old buildings, turn out to have been built over 200 years ago by their family and contain amazing amounts of pottery and clay. Also on the grounds are the two largest and oldest kiln's in Ibaraki prefecture. They are multi-level kiln's, the largest having 14 doors. Yes, 14! They kind of look like a really big clay igloo, for lack of better explanation. The "little" kiln had 10 doors. I also got to see the old work shop, which is still used in part. At one time, 7 or 8 people worked side by side at potter's wheels making pottery in that shop. It was frankly amazing to see and imagine this place running at full pace.

We returned to the main house and they asked me if I wanted to do hand made pottery (typically easier) or use the potter's wheel. I've always wanted to try the potter's wheel so I went for it. My friend Yoko had never tried either so we both got to try something new! I was a bit nervous though, because I didn't want to be the one where the clay practically melts around your hands and then you have a big blob! Keiko was our teacher, and to watch her work was amazing! She made it look incredibly easy of course! So, you are wondering how I did right? Well, I made 2 bowls and 2 cups...please refer to the title now. I was so proud of myself. I only messed the clay once and it didn't really melt down I just got in too big of a hurry! Let me tell you, I loved it! I could have spent hours doing this! I don't know how to really describe the feeling, but I felt like an artist! Sure, I wasn't great at it, but I loved the feel of molding something with my hands! It is definitely a memory that I will hold very dear. I hope to find a class or something back home to practice more...that's how much I loved it!

Ok, sorry for the long story but I just had to share!

Hope all is well where ever you are!

Sayonara for now!