We woke up about 9 am, so it was nice that we got to catch up on some sleep. We ate our breakfast and did our morning mini-devo from Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence--365 Day Devotional by Sarah Young. We journaled outside (with wet hair, might I add, hence my excess coughing up and sniffing mucus <_<) for awhile on the porch, and quickly we ran out of things to do because we were waiting on Mika, Elizabeth's Japanese teacher, and Sasaki San, the pastor's wife, to finish their Bible study, which we discovered too late was 3 hours, from 10 to 12, so we could get our money and backpacks. It's okay, though. Bible study is a good reason to make us wait awhile to "do stuff." :)
So, we ate lunch and got everything organized in our backpacks and took a looong time figuring out how to distribute our money in mon ($100 bills), gozen ($50 bills), sen ($10 bills), and yen ($1 bills)--except that sen and yen are actually coin.
Finally, we left around 2 pm :P We biked over to Islands, which is a quaint little Japanese store with kimonos, antique-like items, furniture, utensils, and many other nice things. I bought mine, Mom's, and Amberly's kimonos and obis (the sashes that go around the kimonos and tie them together), and I bought Loree and Audrey obis, and I bought Alex and Sheridan nice-looking black bowls with red and yellow leaf designs on them with big, long red spoons and black trays (I figured they might like something that was just as practical as it was nice...and Japanese :P). There were three porcelain figurines I really wanted that are more Jap-style Winne-the-Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore for 100 yen a piece ($1), but I'm going to get my other souvenirs to make sure I have enough $ before I buy them. I still need to get Dad's samurai sword (assuming we can hitch a ride from Nathan, since it's so far away), Christian's gift (I'm not sure what that will be yet...I wanted it to be a sword but I don't have enough money, sadly), and something the Zarembas, Everetts, Kintzlers, Pettys, and Midgetts (mostly fans and Japanese headbands that say "Japan" in Japanese, but prob. a family gift for the larger families).
We spent about an hour at Islands, and I only spent about $100, which is a GREAT deal for all the kimonos. The workers were sincerely excited to help us try on the kimonos and obis and mix-and-match colors, and they even brought over a mirror so we could see how it looked. As with all things in Japanese culture, they spoiled us immensely and gave me the $45 obi plus the I-don't-know-how-much kimono for $50 altogether, and they spent 10-15 minutes wrapping everything so prettily and neatly.
It didn't occur to us until we paid and left that we weren't sure how we were going to get all our stuff back to the church, as we had several bulky "bags" and only two backpacks and our bikes. But, somehow, we stuffed all our belongings in what we had and made it back without losing or breaking anything.
We put our new toys in a safe place--a sort of "cave" under the "closet" in the remodeled "idol room" at the church--and got ready to meet Kaori and her mom and older sister, who live about a 10-15 minute walk from the church (I had had enough biking excursions for the moment with all the heavily titled, bumpy roads). They provided lots of yummy snack foods for us, which was nice since we skipped lunch for time purposes: Chip! Chop--a sort of soft chocolate graham cracker in a triangular shape filled with a thin layer of creamy white chocolate--, strawberries--"ichigo"--, some kind of thumbnail-sized cookie "cup" holding milk chocolate, "chocochip cookies" individually wrapped--kind of like the "chewy" type of Chips Ahoy! or whatever brand makes those--in chocolate and vanilla, cream puffs with a yellow filling (I didn't like those), "french fries" which were all crispy, kind of like potato straws, and "cheese-filled" crackers--like the powdery, snack cheese in Ritz. And to drink, orange juice and Calpis--some kind of water with a fermented milk (Eliz had about three of the tiny glasses, but I'm not really a big fan).
We took a lot of pictures and played with their dog Andy. Later, her mom dropped Eliz, Kaori, and I off at Postful--the mall--where we did "purikura"--you take several pictures in a little booth and then decorate them with graphics. They come out in a small, vertical strip as stickers. It was fun. "Tanoshikata." Or, just the word fun, "Tanoshi." I also became familiar with other words: "Adikato"--thank you. "Kawaii"--cute. "Shawtz"--shirts. "Kowaii"--scary. "Eski"--I like. "Nippon"--Japan. Not gonna lie; picking up some of the Japanese language has been one of my favorite parts of this trip.
Let's see...some random stuff. People drive on the wrong side of the road and on the wrong side of the car--the driver's seat is on the right and they drive on the left lane of the raod. The stop signs are triangles. There are crosswalks at every stopsign.
At the grocery store, they tell you the price of every item you buy as they scan it.
They sell fish that still have their scales and eyeball, and they sell crabs that still have their shells and eyeballs.
You can buy seaweed basically anywhere, and, by the way, it tastes really delicious, especially if it's roasted, but it sticks to your teeth worse than spinach.
I hate the organization of the grocery stores. There's like, 4 different aisles just for tea--most of which is the same kind and brand.
And, as I already wrote, we kind of just chilled tonight, and God came to meet with us. He poured His presence upon us and prayed for Japan and some people back home, and that God would reveal Himself to those people who don't realized they are desperate for Him--that He would fill us till we overflow. That we wouldn't become weary of doing good. That His light would reveal, expose, the darkness that is here...yes, even here, in Japan where no one can "out nice" them, as Eliz says. We have felt such peace here from the very beginning. Our hearts and minds and souls are in agreement that the One True God has us here, wants us here, for MUCH bigger plans than we could ever have made for ourselves. We can feel this--God. Wants. Japan. And He wants it bad. Our minidevos have quotes during this trip about how the nations belong to the Lord. The worship music we've listened to speaks of it. The whispered words and abundant presence of the Lord reveal promises and plans for redemption. The King of kings, Lord of lords, and God of gods IS meeting people in Japan--He is coming through the streets, in the stores, to the homes, and breaking down the idols and turning the devoted rooms into secret, quiet, holy places where He speaks intimacy into the lives of these people--and He started long before we ever set foot in this building, but He started with us here, in this idol room. He is coming. People better get ready....
Jesus. Most precious, beautiful thing on earth...mmm...Jesus.