the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Regional Culture Reflection

As some of you know, I used to joke that coming from Iowa, California
was a different country. A few weeks ago at my brother's wedding, I met
a couple of people from NorCal who said SoCal is a different country! I
guess it's all relative. This post is me trying to think outloud.

At least in my experience in the last two weeks, people in the Nagoya
area seem to be much more outspoken than people were in Aomori. I find
that I don't have to be nearly as shy or reserved, or take pauses in the
middle of my conversations when talking. I find I don't have to fain
dependence or lack of interest nearly as much either - with people from
all age groups. This makes be wonder if it's the group of people I'm in
contact with here (but even my random students from throughout the area
seem to be this way) or maybe it's the fact that I speak Japanese better
now than when I first lived in Aomori. I don't know. One of my
Japanese guy friends in LA warned me that Nagoya would be "new people
and new experiences", and so far I think that that has been true.

Also, there's a Japanese Self-Defense air force base in the area so
there are many people working contracts for Kawasaki (engines,
fuselages, etc.) and Boeing. There are also many Chinese and Brazilian
immigrants living here who I'm told work in the factories, so I feel
that people are more used to seeing foreign people. Even though this is
a somewhat suburban/rural area, I have very few people stare at me when
I go out in public the way they did in Aomori. I used to be able to go
to a restaurant and count on nearly all the heads awkwardly glancing at
me in surprise. I only catch a few children doing that here - which is

There's also a little more noticeable littering that goes on on the
railroad tracks and the side of the road. There's still less littering
than in America, but more than there was in Aomori. But maybe that's
because of the increased population density here - and the lack of
garbage cans and nearby stations or convenience stores. This still
isn't Tokyo either.

Finally, this city is famous for growing carrots - like Aomori was
famous for apples. The dirt in the fields is dark and rich. It reminds
me of the spring fields in Iowa. Also, looking at the industrial side
of Tokyo on my bus ride here, it was obviously much wider and taller
than anything I ever saw in Long Beach. Not that Long Beach is the
industrial center of America, but it makes me wonder just how many of
our production jobs are going overseas. And I know these factories are
nothing compared to those of India and China. I have not yet seen the
factories in this area, but I've heard about them.

There's a lot to think about and observe. I was not expecting things to
be so different!! Maybe it's just because I'm new here. What does all
this mean? I don't know. But either way, so far I'm happily surprised!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Japan Prayer Letter

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you may have heard, in two weeks I’ll be heading to Japan to teach English with a church for two months from July 21 to September 23. The church is called the Gifu Full Gospel Church. I became aware of this program through one of my Japanese exchange student friends at Biola University. His father is the pastor of this church. The Summer English Program will largely be a cooperation between myself, the pastor Daiso Koyama and a few other church members. We highly covet your prayers!

The program will take students of all ages from inside and outside the church. It will go from Tuesday to Sunday for about 3 weeks. There will be children’s, junior high, high school and adult classes as well as Bible studies. I’ll also be helping out with services and the youth group. The classes will be held at the main church and three branch churches. A minimal fee will be charged. The church has already begun publicizing the program in the community, and when I arrive, I will also be involved in further promotion. The pastor has asked me to pray for a total of at least 50 students which is the church’s goal.

Please also pray…

· that God would use us and His Spirit to bring new believers into the church.

· that church members and especially youth group members would be encouraged through the program.

· that new members and families would be welcomed into the church.

· for smooth relationships between program staff, church members and the community.

· for quality English lessons and Bible study times.

· for traveling mercies.

Prayer is one of the ways that believers across the globe can be united. I truly believe that prayer does make a difference, and I appreciate each and every one of your prayers! I’ll try to at least send out an update at the end of the program. Thank you in advance for your support!