Thursday, April 24, 2014
Today I took the kids to the indoor play area at Tokyo Dome called Asobono. We have been there before but probably had the most fun today. We stayed for almost four hours. I had been telling the kids I would take them there for awhile now so since we had nothing going on this afternoon, we made the trip. I am so glad we did. I wish I could convey just how big this place is. You will have to google it and look at the website yourself to get a glimpse. There is a room of dolls, a grocery shopping area, play kitchens and vaccum cleaners, a large train and car section, Callico Critters/Sylvania Family room, a room of board games, a place to pretend fish, a reading section, a baby section and then the large yellow bouncy play thing and huge slide/ship area where you can climb and walk across ropes and slide down poles like a fireman. Seriously, it is a paradise for kids. They played nicely, bounced and ran around, and we all really had a nice time together.
When the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, everyone does "hanami" which is a picnic under the cherry blossoms, essentially. Most people go to larger parks to enjoy the massive amount of sakura trees in full bloom. However, we do not like the crowds. So, after my friend Beki returned to the US, we did hanami with another Japanese/American family at Harumi Futo...we got a spot under a sakura tree and had rainbow bridge and Tokyo tower in our view. It was so fun. We started at noon and basically ate and sat all day while the kids played in dirt. Our friends had a small grill and the food was amazing...just like a BBQ in your backyard in the US.
So, on Easter Sunday I checked facebook and saw loads of pictures of friends back in the US and their children in matching cute outfits at Easter Egg hunts in large backyards. There was a tiny part of me that was jealous. I used to be all about getting a new Easter dress each year when I was younger and even wore the sleeveless dresses and hats if it was snowing outside on Easter Sunday. So, I get it and it was a part of my life. However, four years after living in Japan, and I thought nothing of getting my kids Easter outfits for Easter Sunday. In some ways, I miss the excitement of it all and the beautiful flowers decorating the sanctuary on Easter Sunday. But in other ways, I have seen God's love in ways I never thought I would living in Tokyo and being part of our church here. As I worshiped Sunday afternoon (because we meet at 3:00PM due to a building rental) I was overwhelmed with the true meaning of Easter - the love of my Savior who did the unthinkable - who died and rose again for my salvation. I am not saying that getting the new Easter outfits each year is wrong. What I am saying is I am thankful God has given me a chance to see more of His love as He builds His kingdom in Tokyo. It is humbling that He chose us to be a part of it for this time in our lives. And we did have an Easter Egg hunt...at the Imperial Palace park so I say we had quite a bit of land to hide eggs in. Too bad the emperor did not join us. After the egg hunt, we walked to church together, enjoyed lunch as a congregation, and then worshiped the King. It was a fabulous Easter for 2014.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
My friend Beki was here on my birthday and it was her last day. Due to potential rainfall on Thursday, we had to change our family portraits to my birthday. Beki really wanted to see the Imperial Palace, so my friend here took her to the Palace while we had our family portraits. Then we had an impromptu party with some dear friends here in Tokyo at the apartment. After dinner at the mall next door for Tonkatsu (fried pork) we went to bed early because on Beki's last day I was going to take her to the fish market auction. We got there at 4:30 but we were too late. They had given away the free tickets. I told her I would go back again a bit earlier and take a video for her. I had such a great visit with Beki. We could barely remember the last time we had seen each other. I love how the Lord has kept us connected in Him all these years. It was so fun getting to have her see our lives here, love on our kids and actually get to know them since so many of our friends back in America do not know them. We talked endlessly and I cried when she left. It was such an encouragement to me that she spent the time, money and energy to come; and not only her, but her husband who supported her in coming by taking off work to home school their boys for the week. Beki, thank you...and thank you to your husband and kiddos. Your visit is the highlight of my year thus far. You are a treasure and I am so glad God has given us a beautiful friendship.