Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sports Camp

This morning I am super exhausted, because we finished our annual sports camp yesterday. It's two whole days of sports activities and games. Now I can hardly move...

Our team didn't fare too well. We lost every game! The event climaxed at our final volleyball game, where we played the most intense game I have ever been a part of! We managed to get into a deuce, but ultimately lost to a spike block against me; a loss that put our team captain (pictured on the right) in tears... So our team was in pretty low spirits, but we managed to pull ourselves together and get third out of nine in the final "three legged race" event! Even though we did well in the final event, we were pretty certain we got last overall, but we actually got seventh place, which made our team really happy!

So overall it was a fun time. In the beginning, it was hard, because most of the members of my team don't speak English, so I felt like a burden to the team, because we only spoke Japanese , and while I could understand almost everything, I couldn't contribute to any of the team discussions about strategy or what not. It was more of a "listen and obey" situation, as my dad would say. So it's when I don't feel valued that I have the hardest time, but I know that's not true, and by the end we all felt closer to each other, which is really what this sports camp is all about!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


This report is coming from you live from Tokyo:

It seems like we have some winners this year! The "summer workers", (who are now being called "Setters") seem like they will be very fun to have around, and I am excited for the next two months.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Workers

So I'm making a BEST club movie so people can have a better idea about what BEST is about, and see some of the people I know. The bummer is my version of Live Type doesn't work anymore, so my professional text effects are crippled... major bummer!

On Monday, I will be going to Tokyo for the summer workers orientation. For those that don't know, summer workers are the summer missionaries that come to Japan for the summer. I was a summer worker back in 2005. This year, there are three people coming to Shizuoka. It's not a many as previous years, but I don't mind. The students are getting pumped, and the two months that they will be here will mean lots of events!

So I'll be away for a while, doing... well, actually I don't know exactly what I'll be doing, because I didn't go last year, but in Japan I never plan on knowing what's going on anyway. (something I take for granted in America)

Pray for a good team dynamic and relationship! And also that I can be a good servant to them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The beginning of the school year!

My last post was about the end of the year, but now it's the beginning of a new year!

This week is all about Freshman! Everyday this week and next we will be out on campus talking to students about BEST club, inviting them to events, and having new activities. Of course, I don't do a whole lot of talking, because, well, I'm not very good a formal introductions and explanations. Let's just say, I'm a man of few words in Japanese. Smiles are my main language, and I am quite fluent

BEST club actually has a very different approach to recruiting than most clubs. Most clubs print out a zillion flyers, and strategically stand around trying to pass them out to to anyone and everyone (even me! maybe they think I'm an international student) freshman or not. In BEST, we actually walk around campus and approach people to talk to them and tell them about what BEST is, and why it is so different from other clubs. It's very personal, and very effective. In fact, most BEST club members can tell you where they were personally recruited on campus, and typically reminisce about it when we go out.

"Hey Brian, remember I was sitting on that same bench when you came over to me when I was a freshman."


"We first met at the second cafeteria, why don't we try going there?"

Today was the first Bible discussion of the semester. An amazing 12 people came! That's a lot! There is always a meal before the discussion made by one or a group of the students. Today it was ramen and fried rice made by my new roommate. He used to work at a Chinese ramen shop, so he is a pro! It is really exciting to have such a solid group of friends that are excited about reading the Bible. Their passion has already had a big influence on BEST, and I hope they are able to share with the new class of incoming freshman as well.

I'm really looking forward to this next year, to continue existing relationships even deeper and to make many new ones.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The end of the school year

So, today was my last day to teach at Shoyo Junior High school. Starting next month, I will be teaching private classes at homes. But for the past year, as a part time job, I have been teaching Japanese 8th graders. It has been a very eye opening experience to work in Japan, and experience what school is like for Japanese people. School is quite different here, and it's hard to know how exactly without seeing it for yourself. I think I can also relate better with some of my Japanese friends in college, because I better understand what school was like for them. (And now all the anime where people are at school seems more normal and makes more sense)

For the last class we played Jeopardy, as you can maybe see the questions on the board, and took a group picture at the end. Notice the separation between the guys and the girls? Very normal.

Also, all the students (all 120 of them) made me a goodbye and thank you card. They were quite nice. Here are few that I took a photo so you can see.

I really enjoyed teaching. I don't know how good of a teacher I am, in regard to teaching information, but my Japanese co-teachers told me that I was always smiling and happy so the students enjoyed me in class. That made me happy to hear.

Some of the other co-teachers are changing to a different school, so our team of teachers this year is sort of disbanding, but I'm glad that they are moving to bigger and better things. There is a party for teachers next week, so I can see everyone again, but I'm sure it wont be the last time.

Good bye Shoyo,
for now...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sorry, I actually don't have any pictures. There hasn't been a whole lot out of the ordinary recently.

Some good news is I now have a new roommate. He is a freshman, soon to be a sophomore, and we are good friends. We actually met, because he started coming to my English class sometime last year, and now he joins Bible time and we hang out some other times(I may be going to Karaoke a lot more, because he told me it's his absolute favorite!)

But now that we live together, we get to hang out a lot more! I also think I'll see some more students around here more often now that he lives here too. He loves computers, which is awesome, because so do I! He is actually planning on building a computer, which is something I have already done a few times, so we already have a project to work on together. He's just waiting on a few parts to come in.

This week is the Navigators staff conference in Karuizawa, so I'll be away for that. It will be fun to meet the other staff in other parts of Japan that I don't get to see so often. Apparently there is a team from Texas coming to help run the daycare during the conference so the parents can actually attend and not worry about their children (I think it was a concern from last year) Anyway, all I can say is WOW to all the people that are coming. I know it is a huge blessing to all the parents.

Friday, January 30, 2009


I recently went to Izu, which is the peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture. It was actually quite special, as one of the students wanted to take me somewhere for a sightseeing road trip, because I "never get to travel anywhere in Japan". Actually, this is quite true. I'm often in Shizuoka. I always get this 'huuuhhh' look whenever I tell someone that I haven't been to Kyoto or Osaka, and I've only been to Tokyo one time since I've been in Japan, and it was in the suburbs, not even the famous downtown parts. But regardless, I was quite happy that my friend was thinking about me and wanted to show me around Japan.

So the 6 of us (Mattchan was taking the picture) all piled into Mattchan's van, and off we went on our Izu aventure. I don't/can't remember the names of all the places I went, but we saw a famous tunnel, and we went to a restaurant that served wasabi soba, (Izu is famous for wasabi [everywhere is Japan is famous for something different]) and then we went to a place that had lots of waterfalls. It was supposed to be something like "The seven waterfalls of 'wherever we were'", but I guess they don't count the small ones, because there were a lot more than seven. And then we finished off the trip by seeing the sunset over the ocean (the Pacific) and then took a bath at a hot spring. (Taking baths with your friends is something that I've just realized is quite strange, but is something I have gotten quite accustomed to since I've been in Japan).

The best part of the trip was spending time with my friends. I got to spend time with some of the students that I don't often get to see, or talk with. Speaking of conversation, (haha) Mattchan doesn't speak English, so there was a large portion of this trip where I could only speak Japanese, which was quite a leap for me. I typically talk a lot of English, because students want to practice. And actually, sometimes it's even to the point where, when I want to speak Japanese, people just talk to me in English anyway, so I don't get to always practice so much. But I was really pleased that the other members of the trip spoke to me in Japanese. Even the girl that is in my English class! I guess they can't totally relax if they speak English, which I understand. And I guess it's encouraging that I know enough Japanese that I can keep up a conversation in a car for hours (or at least be able to listen...)

So, it was a great time. We also planned to go to some other places in the future together. I think it's the trips like these that leave lasting impressions with the students, and now we will always have this shared experience to remember. Maybe Mattchan can take me to Kyoto next time!