30 November 2008

Sick & Clean

Had pretty bad cold the last few days. Japanese colds are stronger, thicker, deeper, more stubtle and harder to shake than the colds I've had in Australia. Anyway, I think I'm on the way back up to health again.

Today was cleaning day at the church/school. All the teachers, pastors, and others were all there cleaning windows, re-waxing floors, cleaning filters, mopping, sweeping etc. It's an annual thing, and most companies, places, homes etc get their yearly clean before December 31, in preparation for the new year.

19 November 2008

Cold & Cheap

September remained a hot month, but just as I expected (based on last year's experience), October brouht a nice refreshing change.

The October change meant that I could start closing a few doors (which were always open before due to the hot weather), I used hot water for showers, and a the days became really pleasant.

But, we've skipped into November, which is when the cold weather begins. Flicked the swtich on the heated toilet seat (so it's on now), wear a jumper to work almost everyday, the washing dries slower, and there's an extra incentive to cook a hot meal (even if it is just some quick soup).

Yesterday was the biggest surprise. This November was a little warmer than usual, but still cool. We had temperatures averaging 10 to 20 degrees, quite nice. But, yesterday, caught us all by surprise and temperatures stayed at about 10 degrees all day, dropped to 5 degrees by 8pm, and snow started falling in the nearby mountains, just out of Hiroshima! So, winter is truly here now.

Together with the temperatures dropping over the last few months (from 35 down to 5), the petrol price has done just the same. Yay! From more than 180 yen/L in August, it's now down to 121 yen! A drop of a third! That means, when I drag out the kerosene heater next week, it'll be a lot cheaper to keep going :-)

And, in a couple of days, we'll be off to our annual retreat for SDA English teachers in Japan. About 10 to 15 of us will be there. We're headed to a nearby (1 hour away) town. It'll be from Friday to Monday and will be nice to meet up with the gang.

14 November 2008

When did I go to bed?

In an attempt to bed at a reasonable hour, after too many late nights for no good reason, I've decided to publish my sleeping times.

Get up = get out of bed or engage my brain (eg. Bible reading, prayer) and not return to sleep; waking up and falling asleep again does not constitute "getting up"; "sleepy prayers" (where thoughts wander from subject to subject and back to sleep again) also do not count as getting up.

Going to bed = being physically in bed with the lights out, not thinking too actively about anything much, and remaining in bed (unless I have stumble my way to the small room).

So, since I will publish my sleep times, this might help me get to bed a little earlier, because ... hmmm, someone might be watching! The aim is to get up by 7:00 am and to go to bed by 11:00 pm.

My bedtimes are since today (14 November 2008). I started off with a bad record on the first day. This was the catalyst which prompted me to start drastic measures to begin good sleeping habits.

by 6am and 10pm is really good (blue)
by 7am and 11pm is good (green)
by 8am and midnight is not good (yellow)
by 9am and 1am is bad (red)
after 9am and 1am is dreadful! (pink)

Here's the link: http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pjjIUa5ILqejd8ZC6Q3O5PQ

11 November 2008

2am Noise

Hanging out the washing on the balcony of my apartment, listening to some music which is getting drowned out by the noisy trucks going along the main road. Yes, it's 2am, and the odd siren over-powers the road noise.

Why hanging out the washing now in my Hiroshima, Japan, apartment? Well, it's all about mission. Before hanging out the washing, I was preparing a talk for this weekend. The talk is about eternity... preparing hearts for eternity. The talk will be given, urging people to consider eternity and prepare for it.

Mission is not confined to the jungles of Africa or the islands of the Pacific. In the urban cities of Asia today it is very difficult to find the message of hope and eternity. It's the message that Jesus, the only person to have the power over death, can offer us eternal life.

In the cities of Japan, a super-developed country, not lacking any material things, people work, live and continue with life. Industry continues. Generations grow up. Where are all these people headed? To eternity? Do they have hope?

Buildings, streets, clubs, parties, offices, homes, schools, temples, shrines, families, parks, shops... This is life.

2am noise... the country doesn't sleep. It continues on, but headed where?