Giving you a little view of Japan without leaving your home!

Prayer letters, curious subjects, events, people, customs, and more for you to enjoy and learn.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 7..Of Washing Machines and Canning Green Beans

First range for cooking was like this one. Still have one like it downstairs in church kitchen. The little window below the top burners is the little grill area where the Japanese cook their fish.

Twin Tub washing machine (semi-automatic)
Only one hookup available even today for most wash machines--so cold water is used.

As we have gone back through letters we realized there were some things that were firsts from a different aspect, that although aren't important, are still a look at changes that one must face when on a foreign field. Missionary families all over the world must face certain events, customs within the family, ideas that might need to be changed in order to feel at home in the new country. One of the things we used to say to each other whenever a certain 'longing' or 'craving' would crop up was "remember, leeks and garlics"! Again these might be random things and events but it might help you to remember how to pray for your missionary especially when they are in one of the 10/30 window countries or are just in their first year or first term.
Why Vicki would remember our first evening meal in Japan, we are not sure except for was a 'taste of home' so to speak because there wasn't any Japanese food on the table. Remember, we had just gotten off a plane, had several hours difference to work through in jet lag, were excited but nervous all at the same time so I think that the thoughtfulness of the missionary to fix a down home style meal was very beneficial. We were in a strange land and place BUT it would have a little "it's OK, here is just like home" type of feeling. Oh, what did we have? There were baked potatoes, meatloaf, green beans....that much she remembers! We arrived at the missionary's residence basically in time for supper. To walk in to the dining area and have the aroma of 'home' right there was one of the best ways to begin. As Vicki looks back on it now she doesn't think she realizedthen just how uncertain she was about the future. God allowed her to relax just a bit that night before the many real tests began. She will be forever grateful for that first meal in a foreign land.
Other firsts:
Our first Thanksgiving--fresh salmon from Japanese contacts! What a treat that was for us for we rarely ever ate salmon. Beings it was special we didn't quite miss the cranberry sauce and turkey although we did think about it. That was just two months after our arrival.
First time Vicki went shopping--6 months after we arrived--up until that time Ken went with the veteran missionary every week shopping (and every where else, too usually). This way he could have an understanding of the community, the stores, what was there and what wasn't. It also helped Ken know what kind of funds were needed each week to maintain the weekly food budget. Vicki didn't drive at first either so this meant she didn't have to try and get out by bus or walking long distances with large grocery bags.
First small gifts from the States that we got excited about: Kool-aid and taco seasoning! First time Alicia (age 3) talked in her sleep--it was in Japanese!
First time bought a loaf of French Bread--cut into it and it had a 'cream' on the inside!
First sewing machine and first small organ used in our services--both 'motorized' by Vicki's pumping feet!
First winter in our own home (and later in our first building in Teshio)--had to learn how to shut off, open up and drain every water pipe in the house every night and do the opposite process every morning. No heat in the house at night in those days so in order to keep the water pipes from freezing we emptied them out.
First Christmas Vicki got a rice cooker and a toaster!! Just like getting married all over again!
First year, many people wrote us; 2nd year a few less, the third year, mainly our parents and Vicki's mom never missed a week in getting a family missile off our way. In return when we wrote (at least every other week, sometimes more) Vicki's mom would retype the letter they received with carbons in between and send it on to relatives that were praying for us.!!
First two years, Vicki learned to can fruit, pressure can green beans, make and can relish and pickles, applesauce, jams, juice and pie filling. She learned to sew by taking other clothes apart and copying or just copying and adding extra for seam allowance to sew for Alicia.
First washing machine was electric but had a wash cycle side and a spin cycle side. Once spun after the wash cycle, that water was thrown out. But the rinse cycle water was put back into the wash cycle side to wash the next batch of clothes. Clothes were hung to dry in the house in the winter and outside in the summer. Wash was always on the line because we had to do it every day for the wash machine could hold one of Ken's pair of jeans and a couple shirts at a time. So loads were very small. And drying took a long time unless outside.
Differences to get used to:
1. Bowing instead of shaking hands (unless the Japanese puts out his/her hand first...sometimes we learned to do both)
2. Learned phrases that one says on greeting BESIDES hello...first time greetings; how are you type greetings; we haven't seen you in a long time greetings and the BIG one--saying thank you many times over for something received. Not just the next time you see the giver (although that is the most important one) but maybe 1 or 2 times after that too.
3. Leaving all shoes at the entry way and keeping that entry way nice and neat for it is the first thing everyone sees when they come to a home.
4.Heating only the room we are in at the time and sleeping with socks on our feet and stocking caps on our head (Ken ;-)
5. Shoveling is the woman's job in this country but Ken, bless his heart, does 95% of it. When the kids were old enough they helped and eventually did much of it.
6. Always looking down the street both directions before allowing the kids to go out the front door--no yard, no sidewalk, just straight into the street
7Learning to ignore the smells and eat a meal even if the sewage truck has just left your house after emptying out the holding tank/remembering to put in the medicine into the tank or the house will smell and still fighting the smell!
8. Eating with hashi (chopsticks) is a talent that can be learned even at age 30!
9. Never leaving hashi stuck in the bowl of rice.
10. Learning to not be 'American' in showing our feelings but keeping our faces 'straight' and being kind and soft voiced no matter what!
11. Learning when asking for assistance from someone to do it in a round about way. May take twice as long as a straight out and out question but gets far better results.
12. Heating water on a stove because there was not water heater for the kitchen faucet so just a cold water tap. The bathtub water was heated by putting water through special tubes in a heating unit.
13. If we took a bath, you washed outside the tub and just soaked for awhile in the hot water in the tub. Then the next person would clean outside the tub and soak in same water.
14. so many more but most of all...learning that although everything is different from the way we used to live and what we used to know...there is one thing that never changes whether you are American or Japanese....These People Still Need Christ and have No Idea Who Christ is. We are here to witness by Word and Deed just as if we were still in the States where we would also want to do the same!

Until next time may you rejoice with what Christ has done for you! and look forward to our next visit when we will share some of the 'then' and 'now'! Even 25 years can make a difference.