Monday, June 22, 2009

New Pictures and a Video Too!

This is Brenda. Her parents and grandparents go to the Brazilian church and she has become my shadow when we're at church.
This is the view of the subway. We were standing on the platform just after getting off to go to Jesus Lifehouse Church.
This is one of the bridges in Downtown-Tokyo. You can drive under it to go thru town, but if you drive on top of it, it's like taking the expressway.
Jesus Lifehouse.....need I say more.
We went to Cosco....This is the coffee aisle. I was in heaven!
Just another picture of Cosco....I love that place.
Matt and Joe playing in the rain.
This was a dinner/dessert we had one night. Brad and Matt came over for dinner and I made fried rice and Becky made popcorn/kettlecorn. Brad and Becky made this sauce mix of (I believe) ketchup, mayo, and BBQ sauce....It looked terrible. This would be Becky getting ready to eat a popcorn kernel dipped in "The Sauce"
This is where drinks will be served at The Fuse.
This is one view. Unfortunately it's pretty dark in the room most of the time so most of the pictures came out kind of dark.
Another view. There are "chairs" and "benches" all over and that's what Becky is sitting on. They're pretty nice, but you definately have the feel of being in a club or a jazz cafe.
This is Debbie pretending to sing and dance on our stage. It's not a huge stage but it's so cool!

video

Becky teaching Brad how to dance with streamers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The past week

Well, it's been about a week since my last written blog. So much has happened in this past week!Tuesday's missionary team meeting went really well. We had scrambled eggs, oranges, bananas, toast, and oatmeal for breakfast. Then for the first hour we talked about our prayer requests and then we all prayed for each other. Then we talked about the basic plan and set-up for the Machida Youth Church (Fuse). That part of the meeting went for nearly 3 hours.
Tuesday night we all went out to Machida and went to the mall to go shopping for a bass guitar. We ended up getting an amazing deal on a Fender, but even better than that, we're now friends with the college guy that helped us buy the bass and he's planning to come to the Fuse when it starts.
While we were at the mall, Amy, Brad, and I started walking around and looking at the different stores. We walked into one store that makes homemade facemasks and body soap. One of the young ladies working there offered to put some of the facemask cream on my hand and Amy's so that we could see how it would feel. When the young lady was wiping off the cream she looked at my hand and started asking if I was ok. I looked to where she was pointing and saw she was asking about my feckles. She then noticed I had them all over my face and my arms too and started to get worried and asked about them too. I tried not to laugh and explained that they were just freckles and that they were ok, that they didn't hurt. The poor girl.
After we left the mall we went to the building that we're renting for the Fuse and we prayed over the building, all the people who would walk through the doors to the building, and all the leaders of all the church's in Japan.
Wednesday, we had our first Japanese language class. I had a lot of fun in the class, but others struggled a bit because there wasn't very much English being spoken. I also tried tea for the first time here in Japan and a little cake that is filled with a red bean paste. The red bean is very popular here to make different kinds of desserts because it's a sweet bean. At least that's what everyone says. I DID NOT like the red bean cake. Becky loves them so she offered to finish mine. The tea was an orange tea. It was ok. I actually most likely would have liked it if there had been sugar in it. It was just a little too strong for me.
Wednesday night, we went to see the Tama Gospel Choir. It's a southern gospel choir that is for Christians and non-Christians. They have the most amazing voices! They actually invited us to join for the night, which was a huge honor.
Thursday we had two more Japanese classes. I personally struggled a lot with the first class. The beginning of the first class goes faster than the Wednesday class and then it slows down. But after that first 1/2 hour I was completely lost, and I started to get frustrated.
Although the second class we have with Yas, the Japanese pastor for the Noborito church. It's a Bible class. It's also my favorite Japanese class. We learned how to write our names in Katakana (one of the two main character language systems they use in Japan) and how to say who our favorite Bible character was.
Friday we all went to Mark and Yuiko's house for lunch and talked more about the Fuse. Then that night we had our first worship band practice at the church. We're doing songs from Jesus cLifehouse which is the Hillsong church in Japan. We'll be singing the songs in Japanese and in Enlglish. It took us 2 1/2 hours to learn one song.
Saturday night we went to a Brazilian church service. It was very different from the Japanese services, but in a good way. Brazilians seem more at ease with showing their emotions that the Japanese. We had communion that night. We each paired off with one another and shared our bread and juice with each other then prayed specially for the person we were with. It was amazing because there was such a big language barrier but it didn't feel like there was. Brad translated the sermon for us. He did an awesome job at it.
Sunday us girls went to the last half of the first morning service and the first half of the second morning service so that we could say hi to everyone and they would all know who the new American girls were. After church, Kengo and Brad came over and we introduced Kengo to American junk food. He loved it!
Kengo is a new believer. He was recently saved about a month ago and plays lead guitar for the Fuse worship band. He's going to the university by our house to study business.
Sunday evening we went to the English/Japanese service, but because Tim is currently in the Phillipines they forgot they would need to have someone there to translate. So Joe sat in the back with us and translated for us.
Monday was our day off, but there was a group of about 10 people that were coming for dinner and we had to clean the house and make dinner. We made curry, rice, and salad. We've had some interesting adventures making rice. The first time we made it we put too much water in, and it came out like rice oatmeal. Then Monday night when we made it we didn't put enough water in it, so the bottom of the pan burned but the top was too underdone. So finally on Tuesday night, Yuiko told us how to make rice.
Matt got into town on Monday, so he came over. Kengo, Christine, Mark, one of Brad's new friends, and Brad came over as well. It was such a fun night, full of laughter and jokes.
Tuesday we had another team meeting, with the same food as last week. Then that night we all went out to Machida to pass out flyers for the Fuse. That night was absolutely AMAZING!
We got to Machida around 6pm and went over to the building where we'll be have church services and again prayed over the building and everyone in it and around it. We also prayed for divine encounters, and all the leaders of the churches across Japan. Then we all split up into groups of two and stood and handed out flyers till 7pm in different places around the outside of the station. Brad and I were together in a group and we talked with quite a few people.
At 7pm when everyone else joined up with us we were all talking and still kind of handing out flyers. I approached a group of 5 girls and one guy and we all started talking with them. We ended up inviting them over to our apartment some time and we gave them our names to find us on facebook. We talked for about 15 minutes.
After we left that spot we walked around Machida looking at different stores. Mark left about 8pm and then the rest of us went for dinner at an Italian restaurant. We went home after that.
On the train home though, we saw some girls that we had noticed at the restaurant. Becky went over and started talking with them and by the end of the train ride we had all traded e-mail addresses and had invited them over for dinner sometime as well.
While walking back to our apartment Tuesday night, Becky, Amy, and I started singing a hymn and working on having 3 part harmony for it. Then a gentleman turned around and complimented us on how nice we sounded. We all talked for awhile and he started asking about the Noborito church and he seemed very interested in coming sometime. So I ran back to the church while Amy and Becky talked with him (his name is Ken). After I got back we talked for just a little longer and then we all headed home.
Wednesday we had class again and at the end of class Brad started talking with to men that were in the class with us. One was from Nepal and the other was from Nigiria. They both said they were going to come to church on Sunday this week.
Wednesday night we had our second worship band practice and it went much better than the first. We're starting to figure out each others stregthens and weaknesses so we were able to work on a second song we completely learned it that night.
Thursday morning was class again. Then for lunch we all went to a sushi buffet. I had crab salad, crab and fish eyes salad, jumbo shrimp, regular shrimp, and egg wrapped sushi rice. My favorite one though was the crab and fish eyes. I was not a big fan of the egg wrapped sushi rice. Becky had tuna, eel, and crab. Brad had octopus, crab, tuna, and shrimp. Matt had tuna. Amy had shrimp and crab. Then we had another Japanese class after lunch.
Friday we went back out to Machida to pass out flyers and Brad met another guy who said he would come. That night we had worship band practice and it went really well!
That brings us up today and since the day isn't finished I'll write about it in my next blog. I should also be putting up new pictures soon as well.
Your hands and feet in Japan........Hannah

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the latest pictures

This is the street right outside our apartment building.
This Venga Venga. This is one of the other groceries stores we go to. They're more expensive than Life, but they have much more of a variety, especially of meat.
This is what a typical vending machine looks like up close.
This is what it looks like when you walk right inside the door. Me and Amy's room is the one of the left and then the living room is the room on the right.



This is where we hang out unbrellas, right outside our door.



This is our apartment building. Our apartment is on the second floor all the way in the back.



This is what you see when you step outside our front door.



This is the view from our balcony.

more pics

This is our first worship practice. Moving from the far left to the far right, we have Kengo, Becky, Joe, Me, Amy, and Yuiko.
Us and Mark outside the Noborito church.
Us with Christine outside Noborito church.
Our first japanese class.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Some more pictures

This is Mark, Yuiko, and Hana. Mark is the pastor for the Machida Youth Church. Yuiko is the worship leader. And Hana is just CUTE!
Hana and Hannah hanging out togther.

Hana and I bonded over books
This means Jesus in Japanese.
This is "Hannah", "Amy", and "Becky" written in Japanese....lol the names are in that order too lol
This is Katakana....this is what we're learning to write right now.
w Lol Becky stretching. We get bored in the mornings since we're up by 5am and so now we take weird pictures of each other.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Just pictures

Here is a view from the apartment buildings of one of the young mothers at church. This was taken from the 6 floor of an apartment building. Most of the tall buildings are apartments, not offices



To the left is another view from that apartment. Below is from the dinner on Monday night. Brad is in the striped shirt and Joe is the other guy.





On the left is what Amy had to eat on Sunday. Below is one of the many bike/scooter parking lots. They are every where, but we rarely see any parking lots for cars.










On the left is our kitchen. There is just enough room to turn around. We actually have some of the dried food goods in a closet in our living room. Below is me and Amy's room. All thats changed is that we have a couple pictures on the wall now...But we want to fill the whole wall with pictures and letters. Please send us some pictures/letters.









On the left is the water heater and shower for our bathroom. We have to turn on the gas and the flame each time we take a shower. Below is the raw tuna I ate on Sunday.









Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Address

Here's the address of where anyone can send me things, whether it's just letters or packages or themselves. lol!

Hannah Riggenbach
c/o Tim and Christine Huber
2582 Noborito,
Tama -ku Kawasaki -shi
214-0014 Japan

Monday, June 1, 2009

Friendly Dinners

Well I have to say God answers prayers! Thank you everyone who has been praying! I'm still kinda homesick, but I've been able to get out of our apartment and walk around and to go to church and talk with others and that has helped so much. I can definately feel the prayers!
Yesterday (Sunday), Becky, Amy, and I just kinda laid around the house for the morning and got settled into the apartment. Around noon Yuiko (Mark's wife) came and picked us up and took us to where the grocery store is and the 100 yen store (kinda like a dollar general but with WAY better things). Us girls met up with Mark and Brad around 1pm for lunch.
We met to a restaurant close by where we were shopping. I cant remember the name, but Amy and I took pictures of it today so we'll be putting pictures up online soon of exactly what we ate. I had raw tuna with rice soaked in vinager and it had some vegetable in it that kind of looked like cooked onions, but they certainly didn't taste like onions lol. Then I also had some miso soup (which was made out of a soy broth). Amy had some shredded cabbage, the japanese form of ,fried chicken, some noodles with a green paste on them (it reminded me of a pesto sauce), regular white rice, miso soup, fried egg, and something that I would kind of describe as fried sweet potatoes.
In the beginning, I really liked the tuna, but I don't know if it was something about the vinager rice that made it taste bad after a bit, but I could hardly finish it. The miso soup was okay. I could tell there was soy in it and I'm not a huge fan of soy, but this was only one variation of miso soup and I would like to try another kind before I pass judgement on all miso soup. lol
Amy didn't really seem to like her meal at all. She didn't have any of the cabbage (although I can't blame her for that one), she did eat the egg (all except the yolk), she didn't eat any of the noodles or the chicken. She did eat most of the rice, and a couple bites of the fried potatoes. The potatoes were a greenish-yellowish color, but if you could get past the color they weren't too bad.
After lunch, Mark took us girls shopping again to get all the groceries we needed to kinda get started. We spent close to 3 hours just grocery shopping and then walking back to the apartment. Some things are definately cheaper than others. For instance bananas are currently 98 yen for a small set. (that's about $0.98) Apples on the other hand are 158 yen for one apple. (that's about$1.58) Fish is fairly cheap, salmon and tuna are the cheapest. Eel, squid, and octopus are expensive. And with shrimp it really just depends on the size of it. You can get everything from fish eyes to fish eggs, from whole fish to just filets. Altho besides fish and some other there really isn't much meat to choose from. They have some lunch meat but its almost 400 yen for about 12 slices of ham. (thats about $4)
We don't have brown sugar, vanilla, or baking soda. Ice cream is extremely expensive, it costs nearly 400 yen for ice cream the size of a small ice cream scoop. Everything else it mainly just depends on what it is and if it's in season.
The 100 yen store has become one of my favorite places to go actually. lol! They have two types of 100 yen stores. One is more of a grocery store style and the other is more for household items. For instance, at the grocery store we can get bread (which comes in 6 slices at a time) and milk (which comes in 1 liters) for 100 yen each. Everything is 100 yen unless other wise marked.
At the 100 yen store that sells more household items, we can get just about anything you may need for the house. We got a bathrooom rug, containers for leftovers, a dishdrainer, a knife (cause we only had spoons, forks, and chop sticks at the house), tacks (to hang pictures and letters on the wall), a laundry bag, to bags to canvas style bags to carry groceries in, wash clothes to wash dishes with, and a couple other odds and edds. Each of the items was only 100 yen each.
An easy way to convert yen to U.S. dollar is to think of it this way. 100 yen is almost equal to $1. So 1 yen is approximately equal to $0.01.
Then we went to church Sunday night. Abe Huber is here with us and he preached on the Fatherhood of God and used 1 John 2:12-14 as his main verses. He did a great job. After church everyone hung out and talked and had snacks. There were four kinds of snacks we had. One was a corn chip that kinda tastes like a bugle, another one that was kind of like a pretzel, a cracker that was kind of sweet that was a wheat cracker, and then there was a circle cracker that was made out of rice. The circle cracker had some other flavor in it, maybe a soy sauce flavor, but it was horrible! lol I won't be trying that cracker again, but the bugle one was really good. Amy had the pretzel one and Becky had the wheat cracker.
By about 8pm jetlag was really setting in, so us girls headed back to our place and crashed for the night.
Today (Monday) was our "day off". We were all up by 5:30am and by 10am we needed to get out of the house. We had already cleaned the apartment, washed and dried all the dishes, washed a load of laundry and hung it outside to dry. (All of our laundy has to air dry, otherwise to use a dryer it costs 300 yen for 15 minutes.)
So we all went back to the grocery store (it's called Life) and the 100 yen store to finish off the small list of things we needed and to check prices on a couple other things. I got Ruthie's birthday present and I got ideas for presents for others too. If anyone would like to try dried fish just let me know...they use them as toppings for their rice.
After shopping, Becky headed for the church to play piano and Amy and I went back to the apartment. We put away the things we got at the 100 yen store and then just chilled. Mark and Brad came over around noon and brought us a rack to hang hangers on and a vaccuum cleaner. Us girls had planned to have an American meal for dinner, and Brad mentioned he didn't have any plans for the day so we invited him over for dinner.
We met him at the church around 6pm and when we got to the church Joe (one of the other young guys that will be helping us with the Machida church plant) was there practicing his trumpet. He had planned to go to the movies with some friends but they all couldn't go so we invited him over for dinner too.
We had toasted cheese, fried potatoe wedges, and fresh salad with an italian dressing on it. Joe came over around 7:30pm and we all had a lot of fun just sitting around our tiny table eating fries and candy that we had brought from the States. We all talked till about 9pm and then the boys went home. They're actually currently staying together, but Brad will be leaving in a couple days to go stay with another family.
Well, that currently brings everyone up to date on things here. Tomorrow morning we're all going to breakfast at Tim and Christine's house to have a missionary meeting. We'll get our tentative weekly schedule at that point. Amy and I are thinking of joining the choir on wednesday nights, thursday nights we'll have Japanese lessons for about 3 hours, and friday nights we'll have music team practice for the Machida church plant. But that's all I know at this point.
Please check out the prayer request list and other lists I have going about the different things here in Japan. I'll try to update them each time I write a blog.
Your hands and feet in Japan........Hannah