A Weekend In Tokyo

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything and that is simply due to the fact that I enjoyed four [essentially] computer-less days over the weekend. I did check my email Sunday evening, but that was it! And I honestly hardly noticed. It’s nice to have proof that I’m not addicted to computer things! 😛

Anyway… The Thursday before we left, I had my second language class, my first ESL class, and my longest ride in a taxi EVER! Language class was filled with more “maa, mee, moo, mii” etc etc etc. We finished learning all five tones and spent most of the day practicing changing from one tone to another. I just pretended I was singing, and had a lot of fun (though, I admit, it does get a tad tedious… I’m looking forward to enjoying the results!).

The first ESL class went well. It’s pretty informal in format, but they’d like to be able to converse well with people who come to tour NightLight (which is a LOT of people!). They’d also like some vocab to help understand English sermons. I’m looking forward to this teaching experience. I guess I’ll have more to say once I’ve done a few sessions…

The taxi ride! I got off the Sky Train, as usual, at the end of the day and found a taxi. I told him Sandra’s address and he started muttering. I showed him the address written in Thai, and he continued to mutter. I had no clue what he was saying, and he finally pulled away and started driving. I don’t know yet exactly how to get home, but I did notice he didn’t turn the way Peter usually turns! I figured there must be another way (after all, there’s always more than one way to get somewhere). Then he kept muttering… and tried to flag down another taxi… I looked around and realized that we were actually following the Sky Train route back towards the way I’d come! When we got to a station that is almost half way back to NightLight, I took out my phone and started to text Sandra. However, before I was done, the taxi driver rolled down his window and started talking to the taxi driver next to us – he seemed to be asking for directions. Traffic is almost stopped, but we are on the inside lane… Then, the other taxi pulls up in front of us, and my driver starts waving me out of his car and into the other one. So, I jumped out and ran up to the other car. When I got in, I looked for my phone to finish texting Sandra and… it wasn’t there! I opened the door and checked the road and there was no sign of it – it must’ve fallen out of my purse in the other taxi when I got out so quickly! Somehow, in all that traffic, the other taxi had already managed to get far ahead of us… This was the only time during the entire ordeal that I was actually feeling a tad panicky… without the phone, I had no way of connecting with Sandra! After a full minute of emptying my purse and computer bag all over the back seat, I look up to see the first taxi driver running back to our car waving my cell phone!!! Hooray!!! I was so relieved! I connected with Sandra and she talked to the taxi driver to make sure he knew where he was taking me. Then, because we were so far away, we had to come home on a different route from normal. Then, because it was raining so hard, traffic was VERY busy and VERY slow. In all, I spent about an hour and a half in taxis (usually about 20min) before I got home! It cost almost 200 baht (instead of the usual 70-90). However, that’s only abut $6.40, and at home, that won’t even pay for a 10 minute taxi to church! 😛 Anyway, I got home safely and still had time to pack before crashing for the night.

The next day, we got up bright and early… well, actually it was “dark” and early!, and left the house by 4:30am. We had a nice flight to Tokyo, followed by a long train ride to get to the part of Tokyo where we were staying. We arrived in time for a late dinner (yep, it was a long day!).

We went to visit Damon and Kafi Ealey, a couple Peter and Sandra know from when they pastored in Ontario. Their family just moved to Tokyo about a month ago. I had such a great time visiting with them; we had some really great discussions. I had expected to simply enjoy meeting new people and hearing about how they came to be where they are today (something I always enjoy hearing people talk about). However, in addition to that, our conversations left me feeling very encouraged and hopeful, and also left me with many interesting and invigorating thoughts regarding missions, education and pursuing God’s call on your life. I’ll have to save explaining my thoughts for another post some time because it is SO late, and I still have other things to do! I do know, though, that this weekend was far more than just a fun “side trip to Japan”; I’ve got a feeling Someone orchestrated this for a Reason! 😉

In addition to these great discussions, we also had a BLAST exploring Tokyo!!! We walked all around some downtown areas (I really have no clue where we were… and I couldn’t spell it if I did…) and saw lots of really interesting things! That’s my style of a fun vacation – some people prefer to fill vacation time with activities, but I prefer to just walk around and look at stuff! It doesn’t matter what it is – I just like to ‘take it all in’. Here are some pictures of things we found while walking around Tokyo:

I just realized I took a picture of the station we got off at, and it is called Ikebukuro.

I’d almost forgotten we were now in the land of Hello Kitty – but they won’t let you forget that for long! It’s EVERYWHERE!!! (aaahhhhhhh!)

We also went to Shebuya (sp?) which is the busiest intersection in Tokyo, I believe. We stopped for coffee at the Starbucks you see there, and I could’ve sat and stared out that window all day… It overlooks the intersection and it is absolutely amazing to watch the sidewalks literally fill up with hundreds of people waiting to cross and then, as soon as the light changes, they flood out into the streets. It’s even cooler than normal because they also have diagonal crossings, which adds to the visual busyness.

And we saw many, many oddly translated signs, too!

And we ate lunch at a restaurant where you bought your food ticket from a vending machine, gave the ticket to one of the employees and then waited for them to bring the food to you (super fast). This is a cool way to do business with foreigners without having to speak English, eh?

We found a temple and went in to investigate!

And then… (shh… don’t tell anyone!) we got dinner from a bakery! Yep, we went in, picked out a variety of yummy looking things (some of them were not sweet, but most of them were!) and then cut them all up so we could try a whole bunch! 😀

I’m going to have to write more another night. I am WAY too tired to be up right now… Stay tuned for Part 2 (which will hopefully be written tomorrow…)!

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