Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Traditions

Everyone has their Easter traditions. Church, brunch, egg hunt, family time, everyone has their own special way to celebrate the rising of the Savior. We were eager and excited to see what Sapporo EV Free had planned.

Usually after church we eat a meal together, often prepared by one or two women from the church. This weekend we would have a potluck. After a wonderful Easter message (and I know it was wonderful, because our friend K translated for us!), everyone got to work to get the potluck ready.

I have never seen so many people in our church's kitchen. Everyone was busy putting the finishing touches on their dishes, and bringing trays, bowls, and plates into the sanctuary.

Would you believe that THIS was not all of the food!?

In the forefront you can see the cookies my friends helped me make. (Side note: have you ever seen someone eat a sugar cookie with chopsticks? I have, and it is hilarious!)

After singing our food prayer song, everyone filled up a plate and found a seat and a few friends to chat with.

In our church, the sanctuary serves as a multipurpose room. To make it extra festive for our Easter potluck, the pastor's wife asked Stephen to draw Rabbits, Eggs, and Basket for the walls.

Here's a pic of Stephen posing with one of his rabbits. (He was making bunny ears. )

The room was lively with conversations. And Everyone was snapping pictures with their friends.

Here I am with 3 awesome ladies from Ch!n@ who are a part of our church family.

I was surprised to find out that our pastor's wife had organized games for the whole group to play after lunch was cleaned up.

Our first game involved trying to get a group of 3 people to fit on a piece of newspaper that got folded in half for each new round. I fell down early, so I was able to snap some action shots of the other groups.

Here's Stephen and his group. They lasted much longer than me and my group did.

Here is a shot of the winning group implementing some serious strategy!

The next game was like the old American game, whose got the button. We passed, or pretended to pass a game chip down a line of people, and the other teams had to guess who really had it.

I probably should have been paying more attention, like everyone else in the room.

The final game was really fun, but totally unfair for the group that had the two Americans. (Our apologies to team "Rice".) It was a version of "Telephone" that involved writing the word on your neighbor's back. But the word was Japanese, and written in Hiragana.

Here's Stephen trying to write うさぎ (Usagi- Rabbit) on his neighbor's back. If you couldn't guess, our team lost.

We had a great time with our church family this Easter. Can't wait 'til next year!

Happy Easter, From the Borbas!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Cookies

Today, I had the most fun since coming to Japan. 4 women from church and/or English class came over to make cookies for the Easter Potluck. I thought making cookies would be the perfect excuse to have these ladies (not all of whom knew each other) over to hang out grow in friendship. So, I broke out all of my cookie cutters (minus the snowflakes and candy-cane shapes) & 9 bottles of sprinkles, threw a plastic sheet on top of my table, kicked Stephen out for a few hours, and let the ladies have at it.

While we backed and decorated we chatted about anything and everything. In English, Japanese, and even a little Korean too.
We were even able to tell my new friend and Japanese teacher, M, a little about Easter.

Did the ladies have fun?

I'll let you be the judge.

Here're the finished products.

The sprinkles from America were definitely a big hit. Can you tell?

While we waited for the icing to dry, we drank coffee, looked at albums, and played Mario Kart on the Wii.

I can't wait to find another reason to have these ladies over again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our new Friend, Sophia Toyota

Stephen and I made a new friend. Her name in Sophia Toyota. And we love her!

Ok, You've got me, Sophia Toyota is our new (to us) car. But we really do love her.
After some practice driving with the pastor's daughter, pastor's wife, and the pastor himself, the key's to their family's extra car were handed over to us to drive while we're working for their church.

Because Stephen's not covered under their auto insurance until his birthday (in two weeks), I am the only Borba allowed to drive her for the time being.

Let me tell you, driving in Japan is terrifying! In theory, it's the exact same thing as driving in the States, only on the other side of the car, and the other side of the road, and with Japanese street signs, and Japanese traffic rules. So really, it's a whole new ball game.

To date, I've driven 6 times, with no talking or radio allowed. And the whole time I am chanting reminders to myself. "Driver in the middle." " tightleft, tightleft, tightleft." " wiiiiide right, wiiiide right."

Look Ma, no hands!

Just kidding. I think there may be finger shaped indentations at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel.

But really, I was mentally prepared for all of that. So here are the top three things that have surprised be about driving in Japan.

3-The blinker and windshield wiper controls switched sides as well. It is quite funny when I try to turn on my left blinker and the wipers turn on full force in stead.

2-Everyone backs into their parking spots. EVERYONE! So far I have been blessed with the kind of spots that have two open spots facing each other. I've been pulling forward, yet there is no evidence of my lameness.

1-The center dividing line, you know the yellow line that tells you which side of the road to be on. Well here, that yellow line is WHITE. And not always solid white either! sometimes it is a white dashed line, like the kind that means both lanes of traffic go the same way, and feel free to cross over this lane into another, or possibly One-Way Road: feel free to drive on either side.

White-dashed line! Japan, why must you confuse me so?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

lessons and pictures from Second Saturday Friends

Yesterday marked the first open house event in our home. Each month, we will make dinner and dessert and open our home to our students and friends. We had a blast last night playing and eating with our new friends.

Here are 5 things I learned last night, and some pictures as well.

1-Go fish is hilarious to play with adults who have never heard of it before.
2-We can fit more people into our apartment than I thought.
3-Card tricks and weird human tricks are universally cool.
4-Never underestimate the power of Betty Crocker Brownies and vanilla ice cream.
5-We are surrounded by awesome people!

Looking forward to next month!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yet another reason we need to learn more Japanese

A lot of things can happen when you don't know a language. You might be asked up in front of the church to be introduced as the new missionaries, with no foreknowledge (so that's why our name was in the bulletin every week with today's date next to it!). You may spend all afternoon preparing for the Jr high boy who is coming to your English class, and be quite surprised when a 31 year-old woman walks through the doors instead. You might even find your self a member of the Easter Choir, even though you have no prior singing experience.

A few weeks ago, we were hanging out after church, just like every week. When a church member starts rearranging chairs and and states ".....masho," which means let's.... (I didn't catch the rest of the verb, so I had no idea when I was agreeing to.) Just nod and smile and follow their lead.

The church member, M, hands out a song sheet, "Lord I lift your name on High," and has me read the English portion for the group.
I'm more than happy to help out. I figure they are just practicing a song for next week, and want to make sure they are singing the English portion correct. So, I model the words and sing along after we've read through it a couple of times.
Then the weird part came. M started assigning parts. Wow, this seems like a lot of work for an English song in a Japanese church, but whatever. I keep singing and figure that since M is in a choir, he is just having some fun with us. cool.

It wasn't until the next week, when we not only didn't sing the song during service, but then after service, prepared the chairs and handed out the papers, did I realize this wasn't just some song for fun.

We got tricked into singing in the Easter Choir!

Check out Stephen struggling though. He didn't know when we were getting into either.

I must say, after the initial shock, It has been kind of fun. I am still not sure what the Japanese part is saying, or what note I am supposed to be singing. You mean I can't just sing it how I want? I am thankful that Japanese is phonetic. And that there are much better singers on either side of me, who sing much louder that I do.

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