Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rice Planting Video


 This was my view this morning before I left for church.
I posted a video of rice planting  in the field near school in 2010. (click here)  You'll notice there is a difference in the "tractor" used.

^The seedlings are placed between fields ready to be loaded on the tractor.

^Note the seedlings on the back of the tractor.

^The finished field.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Prayer update for Student

UPDATE on student: Please pray for the senior student who was in a motor bike accident on May 1 (see this post) and had surgery to repair a broken pelvis May 9 (here). 

As of May 25:
He is out of the hospital! He sends his deepest appreciation to the emergency personnel, doctors, nurses, friends and everyone who encouraged, visited, prayed for, and supported him through this tough time! Thank you! 

He is able to use crutches to walk around and doing rehab to regain full strength. He's trying to catch up on missed school work, with the goal of graduating with his class June 14.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pain in the Back

Lisa & Lori - Minnesota, Summer 2010

For the past 3 weeks my sister, Lisa, has been struggling with a huge pain in her back and down her leg.
MRI of her back
Can' you spot the problem? 

 Today, May 23, at 2:30p.m. CST she will be having back surgery.

Update: 5/23 
It's postponed to Thursday 5/24, because her MD got called to an emergency surgery. Please pray for that person, that their surgery will go well and recover.

She has been in great pain as the disc in her lower back is bulging into a place were her nerve is supposed to be thus causing pain down her leg and back. 

For you medical types out there she's having a hemilaminectomy and discectomy at S1-L5 level and L5-L4.

Playing hide and seek in the lanterns of Nara.

For you non-medical types she's having part of her disc removed and some bone in her vertebra taken out to give room for her nerve. 

I'd appreciate your prayers for her surgery to go well and for a quick and full recovery so she can get back to the fun adventures of life!

Update: 5/24
I've received emails saying that  Lisa is out of surgery.  The doctor reports all went according to the 
plan. Lisa will stay over night in the hospital.  Thank you for your prayers!

Update 5/26 Lisa is out of the hospital and at home recovering. 

Taking photos of flowers in Kyoto 2011

Visiting Osaka Castle 2011

"Rock climbing" in the mountains of Japan 2011

^Hanging out with super heros in Osaka

 "Achieve Innovation, Cheerfulness, and the Thrill of the Positive"
The Glico Spirit - fits Lisa's personality!

^Ok, Peko-chan! Time to move forward!

In honor of  Lisa and her crazy sense of humor:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: 
1)Leave a joke in the comment section 
2.) Suggest ideas for how she should keep herself "out of trouble" 
and yet not bored while recovering from surgery. 
3.) Write on her facebook wall.

Love and prayers from Japan! 

The View from Here

The fog was thick this morning as I went out the front door.
I was running late for school but 
couldn't resist taking snap shots of the flooded rice paddies
 reflecting the neighbor's houses. 

How's the view from where you are?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The rice paddies are flooded.

Let the planting begin!
(If only you could hear the frogs croaking in the background as I typing this post! Ahhh, spring!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trash Intimidates Me

How many kinds of trash do you have?
Burnable, non-burnable, plastic, clear glass, colored glass, cardboard, paper, yard clippings, juice packaging, PET bottles*, cans, aluminum,  egg cartons, batteries, bottle caps, aerosol spray cans and big garbage.
Yard clippings, cardboard, and burnable trash -
 the pile after a day weeding and organizing at the house. 

While cleaning my house I discovered I am intimidated by trash.  
I clean the room. Decide to NOT to keep something.  Then wonder - How do I get rid of this?  
If I don't know how to get rid of it I often keep it or put it in the shed until I have time (and energy) to figure it out. 

Some product labels give me clues - there's the burnable label, and the plastic label. For example, I eat yogurt and throw the bottom part in the burnable bin and wash the lid put it in the plastic bin.  Unless it's all made of plastic where I wash the container out, take the paper label off and put the label in burnable and the other parts in plastic.  

 Burnable, essentially everyday household items and leftover food, is set out twice a week. For my neighborhood that's on Monday and Thursday mornings. Plastic is set out on Wednesday morning.  The neighborhood collection site for my area is about 50 meters from my house and is used by about 15 households. Collection time is about 8 AM.  But all of it must fit under the lid of the box with sides made of netting. The netting is to keep the ravens out.

Containers for kerosene
Trash bags in my area must be clear.  If you use a white or black trash bag it will not be taken by the garbage collectors. If the trash collectors see that your clear bag contains items that are unacceptable it will be left for you to pick up. In some neighborhoods someone from the neighborhood association will check the garbage and return it to your house explaining the problem and asking you to do better next time. Although my neighborhood isn't that strict.   I've often said a little cheer when passing by the empty trash collection site on my way home from work, "Yippee, they accepted my trash!"

I think I've figured out the burnable and plastic trash.  

Even the recyclable items I think I've figured out.   Glass, juice packaging, PET bottles, cans, aluminum, egg carton, and styrofoam packaging (used with raw meat) are recycled in my neighborhood once a month.  This is located about 400 meters from my house and is shared by about 50 houses in the neighborhood. Each item is placed in a separate plastic bin.  Items should be washed and dried before being taken to the site.  Label's from PET bottles, glass, and cans should be removed (label's go in plastic trash).  Juice or milk packaging needs to be rinsed, dried, and cut so it lays flat. 
The schedule for this "recycle trash day" is different for each neighborhood and not on the same day each month. I often miss it. Which means 2 months of recycling accumulate.  

I am able to avoid this by taking my recyclable trash to a local grocery store. In front of the store they have various bins where patrons can discard their items in the appropriate container.  These bins are conveniently available every day of the week that the store is open.

On Fridays I can set out newspaper and boxes near the electric pole 2 houses away. Newspapers must be in the plastic bag which the newspaper company provides. Boxes must be flattened and bound with twine.
Friends Chris & Luke, flattening boxes
Stacking and tying boxes for recycling

Once a month there is a day for "non-burnable" items at my neighborhood trash collection site.  I'm still figuring this one out.  Items like metal boxes, irons, umbrellas, etc. are put out on these days.  
In my neighborhood there is a special day for collecting yard clippings. I think it happens 3 times a year - but I don't know the schedule and usually find out about it when I see a huge mountain of yard clippings in front of the elementary school. If there are only a few yard clippings it can be mixed in with  your burnable trash but if its a whole bag full it will not be accepted with burnable.

In cleaning my house out for home assignment I found lots of items I didn't know what to do with, such as kerosene, spray paint bottles, a telephone/fax machine, an ironing board, and an inhaler.

 Unused kerosene - leftover from the heaters.  After asking people for suggestions I learned if it is a small amount you can just run the heater to burn it off.  If it is a larger amount you can bring it to a gas station and they will dispose of it. It should only be stored for 1 to 3 months - and not be stored over the summer. It is dangerous to use old kerosene from the previous winter. 

Empty spray paint bottles - I wasn't sure what to do with it but ended up returning it to the store where I purchased it. Other people recommended putting a hole in the container before taking it to recycle center.

Broken telephone/fax machine or Rusty ironing board - I put these out on Non-burnable garbage day and they were accepted. 

Big items such as a sofa or dresser would need to be disposed of by calling the community association or city office for pick up of "big trash".  Some neighborhoods allow up to 4 or 5 items in a certain time frame for free. Other areas charge per item depending on the size of the item. 

Sorting trash in Japan is complicated but when you consider that Japan is crowded  (half the population of the US living in an area the size of California) you can understand there may need to be strict rules on how to throw things away.  I'm thankful for my friends and neighbors who help me sorted it all out when I have questions.

When guests visit I give them the basic explanation of sorting the garbage. Where to put what. Show them the labeled bins.  But I often find myself frantically lurching toward the trash bin - saying "WAIT! that goes in the other bin".  Or resorting the trash after they've gone to bed.  

Now I've started to think - before I buy something - "When I finish using it, how will I get rid of it? " 

*(polyethylene terephthalate like liter bottles)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Like a Slide

The end of the school year is like a slide - the closer you get to the end the faster it seems to go.

The last few weeks before the end of school year are here.  One month left. (There are 29 days until graduation - of which 22 are school days. Incase you're wondering)  This is the time where I look at my students - whom I often call "my kids" - and reflect on how they've grown and changed. I think of how fond I am of them and how I want them to stay in second grade forever. I'm thankful that the 1st graders graduate to 2nd grade and stay in my classroom. (A benefit for multi-agelevel classrooms!)  I'm thankful that I'll see the graduating 2nd graders in my music class next year.

I praise God that I've had the privilege to be with them for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. Over a school year we've had 1,260 hours together. We've gotten to know each other really well.  For some children, I spend more time with them each week than their parents do. (At least the hours they're awake.)  Sometimes those hours seem longer than 60 minutes - other times they fly by depending on the day, attitudes and levels of cooperation.

Open Campus Day - was held today. It's a time where parents of current students and prospective students can visit the school and observe classes.  I had 3 visitors who are checking out the school as a choice for their current 4 year old children.  One parent had visited in the fall and commented today - "WOW - the first graders' English has improved so much since fall."  - It's encouraging to have an outsider notice the progress.

I noticed one of the second grade students who in the past seemed reluctant to greet others (even his teacher) - was the one extending the biggest greetings to visitors today. Introducing himself, shaking their hands and saying "I like fish!" Before they left he encouraged them to let their children come to KCS because "Its really a good school and we have a lot of fun here."   Heart warming not only to hear  him say it - but to know the kid behind the words.

Tomorrow is our Art field trip.  Friday is our class Popcorn Party - (earned for good behavior)! Next week is the all-school picnic.

  I'm not ready to get to the end of the slide for the 2011-12 school year-  but I want to enjoy every minute of the ride.

Please pray that we'll finish well -

  • that we'd all be motivated to complete assignments,
  • that cooperative and obedient attitudes would be the norm 
  • for those struggling  - to get to those "a-ha" moments 
  • for the JoY of the LORD to overflow from our hearts

Prayer for Student

UPDATE ON student: Please pray for the senior student who was in a motor bike accident on May 1 (see this post) and had surgery to repair a broken pelvis May 9 (here). 

He is asking for prayer regarding his blood count.  The doctors don't want to give him a blood transfusion, as they don't want his body to try and fight the new blood, etc. I'm told that the average hemoglobin count for males should be around 13 to 17, but, because of the bleeding after the accident (and the operation probably contributed a bit to that as well), his count is only about 7. The doctor said they’d do a transfusion if it goes down to about 6. He is also still struggling with a fever – it goes down when they give him medicine, but returns again after the medicine has run its course. 

*Please pray for his blood count numbers to go up, and for the fever to go away!!!! Thank you for keeping him in your prayers. He appreciates it! :)

Praising God: Today he was able to have his first rehabilitation session and is now able to be in a wheelchair.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

KFC + Kids Day

What happens when you mix KFC with Children's Day in Japan?

Colonel Sanders dressed up like a samuri.
(The banner in the background is advertising "krushers' its KFC's version of a smoothy or slushy.
 - I tried the berry crunch and enjoy it! )

There were also several special events for families throughout the Takanohara mall.
Here are photos from the balloon decorations.



^Assorted zoo animals

^The view of a balloon jungle in a mall.

In November they had large balloon rides. See here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prayer for student

Update on student who was in a motorcycle accident. (initial prayer request here)

Some students and school staff visited him today in the hospital and came back with this report:

The doctors said that it’s a miracle that he’s alive! He was transferred to another hospital on Monday, and his operation is scheduled for 13:45 Japan time tomorrow (Wednesday). He asks prayer for the operation of course, but specifically also for God to break his fever. He’s been battling a fever since the accident – it seems to get worse at night.

Regarding his injury & the operation: he has an “open book” fracture, which means that his pelvis is basically broken (roughly below the navel) in two parts. Apparently there’s usually a 5 mm space between the bones, but the space between his bones is 25 mm wide at the moment. The doctors will insert rods into the bones tomorrow to stabilize and fix this problem, after which he’s going to be in hospital for about 10 – 14 more days after tomorrow’s procedure, depending on the outcome of the operation. He will also not be able to participate in sports for a whole year (this will be hard for him, as he’s very active!) and the rods will have to be removed after a year. 

Please keep on praying for him – amongst some of the things that will impact him is that he will be missing his Senior Trip which is scheduled for later this month… Thank you for praying so faithfully for this special young man! I’ll keep you updated when I hear more.

Update: 5/9  Praise God!!! The almost three-hour long operation was a success... Please keep praying for a speedy recovery. Thank you for your prayers today! :)

Scheduling Home Assignment Visits

To all my partnering churches. I will be in the states from July -December 2012.  I have recently sent out an email with information about how to best request a date for me to meet with your church/mission team/ small group.  Did you receive it?

 GREAT! Please reply as soon as possible for the largest selection of dates.

If you are the mission contact at your church and you did not receive this email contact information for your church may be out of date or sent to the wrong person.  Please let me know how to contact you. (Please include your name, church name and location as well as how to best way to connect. There are a lot of churches with the same name in different locations!).

If you are not on my list of supporting churches and would like me to speak at your church or small group meeting please leave a comment below stating your name, group name, location, and possible meeting date.

Individuals who would would like to set up a meeting may also leave a comment below or contact me at japanlori 'at' gmail 'dot' com.

Thank you for helping me keep communication lines open. Looking forward to this stateside adventure!
Photo taken during a drive from Illinois to  Minnesota 2007

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Where is Home?

A Film about Third Culture Kid Identity.
I work with TCKs and find when parents, teachers, and the kids themselves understand more about the characteristics of growing up as a global nomad - the better they are able to embrace the benefits and work through the challenges that come with their multicultural upbringing.

 I don't know Adrian Bautista - but want to say STRONG Work on the video! Thanks for helping to educate others about what it means to be a TCK!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I always think of my sins when I weed. 
They grow apace in the same way and are harder still to get rid of. 
~Helena Rutherfurd Ely, A Woman's Hardy Garden, 1903

Friday, May 4, 2012

GWBBQ at Mt. Makio

For Golden Week I joined Sakai International Bible Church for a BBQ at a Makio Mountain.
Located on the southwest side of Osaka, near Izumi,  it was about a 2 hour drive (with crazy traffic) from my house in Nara.

Sign said "Green Land" - and it was - VERY Green! - but it was still Japan.

At the BBQ there was a fun mix of cultures, delicious foods, steep exercise, great view, and fabulous fellowship.

^The kiddos played with balls and frogs and frisbees and flowing creeks while the adults prepared the meal.

^BBQ is a team sport!
I was on the "cut the veggies" and "set the table" team.

^Here is the Yakisoba Team (yakisoba= fried noodle dish)

^Meat & onions for Yakisoba

^ The veggies for the Yakisoba


^ The Yakiniku & Yakitori Team (Grilled meat & Grilled chicken)

^Michelle & Reo supervised the workers.

^Yakiniku (Left) Yakitori (Right)


^The rest of the food - muffins, rice balls, potato salad, oranges, & snacks.
^The hike to the top of Makio-san. 
There was the zig-zag-walking path.

^and the basically-straight-up-stairway path.

The green view was awesome! 
- The Mikan trees were in the foreground, the maple trees above us.
And this being Japan - there were electric and phone lines in the midst of the scenic view.

^This little girl, Naomi, walked/ran, up the path of the mountain - encouraging her mom and dad along the way.  "Come, Dad, You can do it!"
So what did we see at the top?

More stairs

^And an amazing view of Osaka.

^Of course the kids made it up the mountain first. 
The incentive? 
 A fun 100 meter slide made of rollers.

^Michelle demonstrating how to go down the slide.

^Either sit on your feet, 
sit on a rug or piece of cardboard
 or on your butt and prepare for a bumpy ride.


^All smiles at the end.