Being here in Japan is amazing. I have said this so many times. Living here is almost surreal. I can say that Japan is very different from my home in Alaska. I have also changed a significant amount: my relationship with God is so much closer, I have learned to love other people more, and I am learning how to war against the enemy. When I say war, I mean spiritual warfare. Most of the battle takes place internally.
DTS is one of the most intense activities that I have been apart of. Here, there is a constant challenge and opportunity to go deeper in our relationships with God and with each other. For example: I am living in the same house with nine guys, we are constantly in situations that challenge and strengthen our faith, we spend much of our time investing in getting to know God and investing time and support to the local church.
One of my personal favourite activities is called one-on-ones. This is basically where a staff member and a student hangout once a week. Every student has a staff one-on-one. Sometimes, a different staff member will hangout with a student for an unofficial one-on-one. My one-on-one is a wonderful person, who like me is very artistic, adventurous, and a total romantic. We go different places every week. We have walked around, gone to Denny’s, gone to coffee, hung out near a river, and even went to an island in Tokyo Harbor, at Toyosu Station. Not sure where I am taking him next week, though.
At the house, each person has set chores. I take out the trash. Combustibles on Monday and Thursday, Plastics, PET bottles, and Recyclables on Tuesday, and Metal and Glass on the first and third Friday of very month. At the church we meet at, we have a revolving schedule for chores. This past week, I had vacuuming and bathroom cleaning; this week, I think I am up for dishes.
Speaking of our meeting place, we live in Edogawabashi, but our meeting place is in Hongo-sanchome. This is about a thirty five minute commute on the Yurikucho Line to Ikebukero, then on the Marunouchi Line. In order to allow us to get to the meeting place, we use Pasmo Cards that allow us to travel on these lines for free (the base pays the monthly payment,) at any time. These are Metro Lines, which is the major subway company in Tokyo. Most mornings, there is no room to move while in the subway cars leaving from Ikebukero.
There is also a lot of educate that should be noted. When on the subway or train: let the noise of the people in your car determine your volume, don’t talk on a cell phone, and if you are in the courtesy seats, get up for elderly, pregnant, or people with disabilities. When getting on the train, stand to the side of the doors so people can exit before you get on. When on escalators anywhere outside Osaka, stand on the left side and walk on the right. Walk on the left side of the sidewalk, if possible (this rule is generally the case, but not always.) Bow equally in depth with what you receive. Most Japanese in Tokyo pay in cash for almost everything. Money should be presented as cleanly as possible, sometimes you may need to set it on a little tray if it is presented to you. Always separate your trash out into the proper receptacles (in Tokyo, public trash receptacles may be difficult to find.)
If you are visiting Tokyo and get lost, make sure you know the station closest to where you are staying. People will help you get back. Also, make sure you note when the trains stop running.
If any of you have any questions about Japan, God, or anything let me know. If you have any suggestions on topics that you would like me to cover, I am open to suggestions.
Both pictures in this post are from my One-on-One at Toyosu.