Iga Ninjas and Suzuka Onsen

Monday, February 15th was President’s Day in the U.S. It wasn’t a holiday in Japan but that didn’t stop us from taking the day off and going on a road trip. Funny thing was that I didn’t realize it was a holiday in the U.S. until after we came back. We had a great trip to Iga and Suzuka in Mie Prefecture with Joanna, Youko and Daisuke! Thank you, Daisuke, for doing all the research for our trip.


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Ninja (忍者) Museum

Our first stop was the Iga-Ryu Ninja Museum (伊賀流忍者博物館).

The tour guide showed us how ninja would install secret doors in their homes to hide from the enemy.

We made a friend at the museum, a recent law school graduate from Mexico City named, Manuel, who is currently studying Chinese in Beijing. Here’s Joanna, me and Manuel trying on the ninja chain mail vest.

After that we had beef-don for lunch at a nice restaurant.

After lunch we went to a cute dessert shop with a hilarious host, who claimed that his house was the last remaining ninja house.

As we were leaving, just after we stepped out into the street, the tea shop man rushed out with two fake pistols and shot them off right by Joanna’s head making a big sound. She screamed and laughed.

After our dessert, we headed back up the hill to visit the Iga Ueno Castle (伊賀上野城). The first level had a museum gallery of artifacts including a warrior helmet with ridiculous dragon-fly wings. We couldn’t resist each posing for a shot.

Onsen (温泉)

We said goodbye to our new friend Manuel and drove out to Suzuka in Mie Prefecture go to an onsen … my very first time to go to a Japanese onsen, much less any kind of spa. The Hana Shoubu Onsen (鈴鹿天然温泉花しょうぶ 三重のかけ流し天然温泉) dashed my preconceptions of what an onsen would be like. I had thought an onsen would be a really traditional Japanese building tucked away in the mountains. The Hana Shoubu Onsen, instead, was situated right in a ÆON Jusco mall in the middle of Suzuka City. The facility was completely modern. It’s lobby looked like the lobby of a nice hotel.

Even though it was so modern and well-appointed, our three hours there were surprisingly affordable. The weekday admission ticket to use the bath facilities was only 600 yen per adult. Including dinner for two at the onsen’s restaurant, we paid a total of 3,300 yen (about USD $36 according to WolframAlpha). What a deal!

The Japanese sure do know how to enjoy a hot bath. My favorite was the CO2 bath. It was like taking a bath in hot 7-Up. After being in the water about a minute or so, your skin gets covered with carbon dioxide bubbles.

Speaking In Japan

When we prepared to move to Japan for about half a year, it didn’t cross my mind that God would open up doors for me and Elisabeth to speak.

On Christmas night, I got to share my first message at a church. My father-in-law, Ben Fowler, pastor of Hamamatsu Sukuinushi Kyokai invited me to share at the Friday night Bible study which happened to fall on Christmas day. After much Bible study, I shared a message using Keynote with lots of slides of scripture about how we must get ready for Christ’s second coming because it will not be like his first.

Back in December, Yukio Okada invited me to speak at his church, J.MEAD Takaoka. Last night we got to lead the congregation in the worship song, “Above All” which in Portuguese is “Bem mais que tudo”. I listened to the Aline Barros recording on YouTube over and over and practically memorized the song in Portuguese!

We were welcomed so warmly by the church members and the pastor. We felt so blessed. I love the J.MEAD church in Takaoka. They love the Lord and are exuberant in praise and powerful in prayer.

The interesting thing about getting to know Yukio and other Japanese Brazilians is that it dawned on me that my last two pastors have the same ethnic mix as they do, being that they are both part Japanese and part Portuguese: John Vierra and Wayne Cordeiro. What a coincidence! Being at Yukio’s church made me so happy to see how God has blessed Japan by bringing such strong believers from Brazil to Japan. And I also got to eat super ono Portuguese Bean Soup (Sopa de Feijao) last night after the service! So even though we missed out on the Punahou Carnival this year, at least I got to eat authentic Portuguese bean soup!

Also, my always-joyful sister-in-law, Joanna, is organizing a two day relationship seminar on March 26-27, 2010 for Christian singles in Hamamatsu that Elisabeth and I get to team teach. It will be called OnePlusOne where the idea is 1+1 equals two people connected by the cross. Check out the flyer Joanna made: OnePlusOne Flyer We’ve never done anything like this before. So please pray for us!

2010 in Japan, Having Fun in Nippon

To all of our dear family and friends!

新年快樂!恭喜發財!Happy New Year!!! あけましておめでとうございます.

We’ve been thinking of all the great things that happened in 2009 and are so grateful to KNOW YOU!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s celebration.  We welcomed the New Year in with the winter’s first snow flurries here in Hamamatsu, Japan!  The climate in this area of Japan is too mild for snow to stick but it was fun to see the flurries and feel all wintery.  😉

How have you guys been???  We love hearing from you on Facebook and getting your emails/snail-mail cards.  Hope this letter finds you “genki” (healthy and happy!)

We’re nearing our 2 month mark here and have been blessed with a lot of new activities and fun experiences.  I think the last time we wrote, it was before Thanksgiving!  So here’s the shortened overview of our life in Japan since then…we’ll write more details  in our blog and include pictures.

Near the end of November, our friends Matt and Elaine White from Shanghai, came for a week-long visit and we had a blast with them.  Got to do some touristy things (like mikan picking … that is, mandarin oranges that were so yummy straight off the tree!) that we would otherwise have not done on our own AND had some good times of prayer and worship with them.  In the early part of December, we celebrated Noah’s first b’day and T’s 38th.  Noah had his first bite of ice cream and T had a temakisushi party…wrap your own rice-roll…?   😉   Then, the Christmas season was upon us and we started preparing for parties and a special church service.  T played/sang in a trio and I (E) danced a sign dance with a group of women.  Noah just played cute.

In Japan, Christmas isn’t recognized as a holiday so it felt a little different for us…we REALLY wanted to smell the scent of pine but couldn’t find a single real tree in the city!  We’ll never forget our Christmas in Japan though…we got to visit a local jail with a church friend and although the guard wouldn’t let us sing a Christmas carol, we could “say” the words and he let us pray.

T finally had the chance to update the Ascribe Data website…its first update in about 4 years!

New Hope TaiwanTomorrow, the three of us will fly out to Taiwan to visit our friends in Taipei.  We’ll stay 10 days and spend our time meeting with Steven and Joyce Hsiao who will be starting a new church in the city.  Please pray that God will lead us and give us wisdom about joining their team and taking our next step in this “missionary journey”.   We’re so happy to be here in Japan and excited about what God will do in 2010!

Thank you for praying for us and being party of our extended “ohana” (family).  We love and miss you all!

“Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu”  for you who understand Japanese…

God bless you and your family with all the richness of His love and grace!

愛你們, Love,
TEN in 2010!

Charity Concert by Chu Kosaka

Today I attended a Christmas concert attended by about two hundred people and put on by the Hamamatsu Christian Center at the Hamanako Royal Hotel in Hamamatsu, Japan. The church is co-pastored by Elisabeth’s grand aunt, Berni Marsh, who has been a missionary in Japan for almost 50 years!

The charity concert raised $3,000 for Food for the Hungry to feed hungry children. The artists who sang at the concert were Chu Kosaka and his adult daughter Ami Asiah. The concert was also evangelistic. Chu Kosaka told his testimony of how his daughter, when she was two years old, pulled down a hot pot from the stove and his daughter was burned all over her body. During that terrible trial, Chu couldn’t even sing. It was then that he began to find hope in Christ.

Please pray for the people who don’t believe in Jesus who attended the concert that they will themselves desire to know Christ. Probably about half of the attendees were not Christians. Aunt Berni says that most times these people that will come to concerts will never also show up to church.

Here is a YouTube video featuring Mr. Kosaka.

Letting Go of Your Past: Chapter 3: Finding Identity and Calling

Become Corporate via Individuation and Internalization

The Sanfords define the goal of maturity as “becoming corporate”. In this chapter, they throw around big words such as individuation, internalization and incorporation. It might be difficult to follow, but if you dig in and think about this chapter there are valuable gems to be found.

Normally we think of someone as mature if they think about others before they think about themselves. Good people skills and the ability to function well in community requires a healthy sense of trust that no matter what happens to them life will be okay. Mature people adopt values of love, humility and self-discipline. However before people can adopt these values their own (i.e., internalize those values), the Sanfords explain that they must first figure out who they are (i.e., individuation).

Beginning at conception in the womb, a person goes through a back and forth process between separating and “becoming one” … one with others and one with God. Here are some examples:

Individuation Incorporation
conception attached via placenta
birth breastfeeding
weaning being carried
walking being part of the family

Parents have a narrow window of time, from birth to age twelve, in which to train a child in foundational values. Such training helps a child to grow deep roots (hidden underground like in a tree) which will support a healthy fruitful life later (visible above ground for everyone to see).

The alternating process climaxes during the teenage years. Though it might be tumultuous season, there are no shortcuts: a teenager must be allowed wrestle on their own with conflicting thoughts and emotions in order to successfully pass into adulthood. At each stage of individuating/incorporating process, a person must graduate successfully otherwise they cannot advance to the next stage. There is a proper sequence of development that is best accomplished at the right time, at the optimum season in a person’s maturation process. As prayer ministers, we should ask Holy Spirit to guide us understand God’s proper sequence of maturation and like detectives to discern what is out of time and place.

To Parents of Teenagers

Some Christians fail as parents precisely because they try too hard. They are too strict with their children, never allow them to explore life on their own and complete the individuating process. If a teenager is too sheltered, sequestered and squelched, they will not be able to figure out for themselves who they are, what they believe and why. Young women should not move too quickly from their father’s house to submission to a husband and house-bound duties as a wife and mother. If they do so, she runs the risk of feeling the need later in life to abandon her husband and children in order to find herself.

By the time a child reaches their teenage years, parents need to let go and entrust their teenagers to the Lord and to the moral training they gave their kids before the age of twelve. So if you are a parent of teenagers, don’t badger your kids. Maintain rules, but show compassion and respect to your young adult. If you push them at this crucial stage, they may feel backed into a corner. If you pressure them in one direction, don’t be surprised if they go in the opposite in order to be different. The more you push them, the further out they may have to go.

Even if the teenager is forced into compliance, they will not internalize the values. Later in life, they might push further into sin than they otherwise would have in order to find out what they really believe about it. Unfortunately by then, as an adult, they will not have have the proper protection of parents to help them out of a bad situation. Also extra suffering (e.g., a spouse, children and career) may be caused as a result of the individuating process occurring out-of-order and the wrong time in life.

In some situations, when a parent just can’t control their own tongue, it might be a good idea to let the teenager live with a trusted relative (an aunt or grandparent). In a less stressful environment, the teenager may be given the opportunity to choose what is right for themselves when given freedom to do so.

To Individuating Adults and Spouses Who Love Them

If your spouse never properly completed the individuating process as a teenager, they may need to do so later in life while married to you. The Sanfords offer you some advice on how to handle it.

  1. Let your spouse have some time and money to explore suppressed talents and “safe” hobbies.
  2. Don’t let your spouse treat you as her parent and don’t treat her as your child.
  3. Show interest in your spouse’s new hobby, but don’t get too involved. Give him space.
  4. If your wife is a homemaker, encourage her to get a part-time job or something else to allow her to explore life outside the home.
  5. Go out on dates with your spouse and have fun! Make believe you’re teenagers again.
  6. Be sensitive to your spouse’s mood: when he want to have fun or when she wants to have a serious talk. Don’t nag.
  7. Help pick up the slack in your spouse’s responsibilities without complaint.

Destiny Malaise

The final step in the maturation process is to discover and fulfill our destiny. Each believer is God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works (Ephesians 2:10Open Link in New Window). These are God’s works, done by Holy Spirit in us. They are not religious feats of accomplishment pushed through by human tenacity. Finding out what our destiny is requires submission. We must give up trying to make it happen on our own strength.

Destiny malaise is a sickness of heart when you think you’ve missed God’s purpose for your life. Symptoms of destiny malaise include shoulder-slumping fatigue or overly dramatic emotionalism. If you’re suffering from destiny malaise, take the Sanfords’ advice: “Put it all on the altar. Stop searching and striving. Do what comes to hand. Bloom where you are planted.”

Letting Go of Your Past, a book by John & Paula Sanford, is part of the curriculum of the Elijah House Basic I training course which Elisabeth and I took in 2008. This is a book summary where each blog post will summarize a chapter.

HSK, Noah Milestones & Kakegawa

We had a great three-day weekend. On Sunday we went to church at the Hamamatsu Church of the Savior, which Elisabeth’s parents planted 25 years ago. Worship was so fun. They even sang “Friend of God” in Japanese! Elisabeth’s dad, who I call FIL (short for father in-law), preached a great message about walking by faith and so being joyful even when you’re feeling lost in your journey with God.

BTW, this church has an incredible number of screens for their video team: eleven! You can watch Sunday morning services live on via the web.

Yesterday, Noah reached several milestones: he refuses to eat baby food any longer, he learned to clap and he now knows how to safely back down from being up on a couch.

Today (Monday) was a national holiday in Japan: Labor Thanksgiving Day. Elisabeth’s dad drove us out to Kakegawa where the Fowler family first lived when they moved to Japan thirty-one years ago. We saw where Elisabeth lived from age two to six. We tried to find her kindergarten school, but so many rice fields had been turned into homes and apartment buildings that we couldn’t find it.

We got to visit the Kakegawa International Christian School, which is run by Paul & Cheryl Bostrom, Elisabeth’s cousins. They have thirteen children!

Interestingly, Kakegawa is the site of the main Yahama piano plant.

Today I learned how to use iMovie and am have a blast playing with it. Now, if only iMovie would quit crashing constantly!

New Japanese word of the day: Tomodachi (友達; ともだち; or トモダチ) means friend.

Interesting factoids about Japan:

  • they record birthdays according to the year of the Japanese emperor who was reigning at the time of birth. Other dates are recorded with the emperor date as well.
  • they still use bank books. When you go to an ATM machine, you insert your bank book into it. The ATM will print a line for each transaction in your bank book and when you’re done it spits it back out. No monthly statements are mailed because all records are in your bank book. Transactions are recorded in the emperor year.

Prayer Request: TEN Flat Block Revival

Please pray for our neighbors on our block in Hamamatsu where we live. Pray that:

  • God would draw them to Himself (John 6:44Open Link in New Window)
  • they desire to know God (2 Chron. 15:4Open Link in New Window, Acts 17:27Open Link in New Window)
  • God would give them faith (Eph. 2:8-9Open Link in New Window)
  • they understand and believe the truth (Rom. 10:17Open Link in New Window, 1Thess. 2:13Open Link in New Window)
  • they would know the Father-heart of God who wants to adopt them into His family and love them (Rom 8:15Open Link in New Window, John 17:23Open Link in New Window)
  • the enemy would be prevented from blinding them from the truth (Matt. 13:19Open Link in New Window)
  • they be set free from strongholds of the mind and flesh
  • Holy Spirit would bring conviction that they may repent and find freedom in Christ (John 16:8-11Open Link in New Window)
  • they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and be saved (John 5:24Open Link in New Window, Rom. 10:9-10Open Link in New Window)
  • God send many believers into their paths to be a witness to them
  • they surrender all to follow Christ (Matt. 16:24Open Link in New Window)
  • they grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet 3:18Open Link in New Window)
  • God would bring holiness and blessing to the Japanese federal and local governments (1 Timothy 2:1-8Open Link in New Window)
  • we would get to meet many of them and share God’s love

If you click on the map above, you will be taken to an interactive map with photos of the buildings on or around our block. You can zoom in on the map and click on pictures on the side. There’s even a slideshow. Thank you for praying for revival on our block!

Cords of Love

Elisabeth’s grand aunt Berni saw all our boxes piled up in the genkan (玄関 or foyer) of the Fowler home the day before we transported them to our new apartment in Hamamatsu. A few days later, she called Elisabeth and remarked about the strips of cloth my parents had used to bind up our boxes. She had thought about it after seeing the boxes and realized that they were a symbol of my parent’s love. And it’s true.

Originally my mom had taken out five suitcases for us to use to transport all our stuff from Honolulu to Hamamatsu. But when we weighed the suitcases by themselves, they each weighed about 9 or 10 pounds. But Japan Airlines has a weight limit of 50 pounds for each piece of packed baggage. That meant the suitcase itself would take up about 20 percent of the allowed weight. Since a box only weighs about 1 pound, it made more sense to use boxes instead of suitcases.

So my mom hunted for boxes for us at supermarkets but couldn’t find any. Finally she went to Ben Franklin (a arts and crafts store) where she found workers putting product on shelves and asked them if she could have the boxes they hadn’t yet finished emptying. Thanks, Mom, for getting our boxes for us!

Then on the eve of our flight, while we were chatting with last minute visitors, my dear mom and dad were busy reinforcing our boxes. My mom had found some old fabric and cut them into rectangles. Then my dad would tie them together and strapped each one in three times (once lengthwise and then twice around the width). If you look carefully, only one box is still strapped up in the picture because I had already removed the strapping of the other boxes by the time I had snapped this photo. But one box was still strapped up. It’s hard to see it (but you can see it if you click on the photo and view the larger version), My dad even fashioned a carrying handle for the box at the top out of the cords.

Thank you so much to my dear parents. I love you so much. Thank you for taking such good care of me all my life. I miss you.

Gas Saver – 2007 Toyota Yaris (S Trim) Silver – $12,500

Bought this Toyota Yaris (with sports trim) from Servco Used Car Center in June 2008 when gas peaked at around $4.30 per gallon. The Yaris is known for getting great gas mileage. Gas prices are going up!

A/C is cold. Runs perfect.

Kelley Blue Book value is $13,455. The car also comes with an Echomaster (worth $395) which was not included in the blue book valuation.

Call (808) 232-5821 if you’re interested.

The car is under the following Toyota warranties

  • Powertrain (5 years/60,000 miles)
  • Corrosion Perforation (5 years/unlimited mileage)
  • Specified Major Emission Control Components (8 years/80,000 miles)

This S trim car has a nice spoiler at the back which gives the car a cool sporty look. It’s also specially equipped with Echomaster (worth $395) which makes the car beep when you reverse, beeping faster and faster as you get close to an object behind you. The two black circles on the rear bumper are the Echomaster sensors.

Power locks and power windows.

Automatic Transmission

Cold A/C

21K Miles

Power Side Mirrors

CD, AM/FM Radio, Aux Line-In (via mini plug in side storage compartment … great for connecting an iPod to the sound system)



Air bags on steering wheel, passenger side above glove compartment, on either side of the wind shield, on sides of both driver & front passenger seats






3 anchor brackets above/behind rear seats for anchoring child restraint systems


Rear seats fold down opening up to the trunk

Trunk and fuel door levers on floor just in front of driver seat

Cup holders on dashboard for each driver and front passenger and also one in the center for rear passengers. Can even store a water bottle in both driver and front passenger doors.

VIN: JTDBT903671084649

Reviews of the 2007 Yaris online:

Car had just one owner before us. When we purchased it, the car had only 9K miles on it.

Call (808) 232-5821 if you’re interested.

First Week in Hamamatsu

What a whirlwind week its been since arriving in Hamamatsu! After over six straight weeks of purging through all our possessions in Honolulu, giving things away, selling stuff on Craigslist, packing, cleaning, moving, saying goodbyes, traveling to Japan, buying LOTS of stuff to set up our new apartment in Hamamatsu, getting banking done and applying for an alien registration card … finally we are pretty much settled in again. Praise God! Through it all we have been SO blessed!

Welcomed home

We spent four nights at Elisabeth’s parents home. And we were well taken care of. Noah was doted on by grandpa, grandma, Aunt Joanna and the three girls live there as part of the family: Emiko, Youko and Mami.

The Fowler home

Noah and Grandpa Ben in his office with three computer monitors!

Grandma Chany, Bebe and Noah going out in the cold for a stroll.

Noah loves Aunt Emiko! She makes him laugh!

TEN Flat: fantastic new digs

When people think of living in Japan, they probably think of cramped living spaces. But not so with us! We left a one bedroom apartment an old building in Moiliili for $1150 a month. But God put us into a much larger two bedroom apartment in Hamamatsu for only $670 per month! We have been so blessed. So many people gave generously to us both in Honolulu and here in Hamamatsu. We have been overtaken with blessing!

My desk is already set up with all my computer stuff in our master bedroom which has a niced sized closet. The church had a desk and chair I could use.

Noah now has a room of his own for the first time! It’s great for putting him in there and letting him cry himself to sleep. We are trying to train him again to be able to sleep through the night … something he hasn’t been able to do since we moved out of our old apartment four weeks ago.

The tatami mat room works as a great living room. It even has sliding doors which will make it great to use as a guest room. I’m so thankful for the old digital piano that the church lent me. We’ve had some good worship times already using it. Thanks, Gloria, for the soft and rocking chair! We decided on an orange and dark brown theme for the living room.

Here’s Bebe in our new kitchen/dining room just before we had our first dinner in the apartment (take out from an Indian restaurant which is just a few doors away from us). Yummy!

Brand new appliances, again!

Back in 2006 after our wedding, God gave us brand new appliances (refrigerator, oven and washing machine) in the Moiliili apartment. And now He’s done it again: almost brand new appliances (refrigerator, oven and washing machine). And we’re not talking about cheap appliances. We got top of the line stuff! One of our relatives is friends with some people who work for Corningware who were relocated to another area. So they just gave away their appliances and we got them for free!

This high tech washing machine is also a dryer … an all-in-one machine.
Our snazzy refrigerator is ambidextrous. The top level can open from either side! The oven looks like your ordinary microwave oven but it can also grill and bake. On our first morning we baked frittata for breakfast. Hopefully Elisabeth will be able to bake pies, cakes and brownies in there, too…our secret weapons for hosting parties.

Ofuro

Sunday was our first night in the apartment. But the gas man was not coming until the next morning (Monday) to connect our gas. So we didn’t have any hot water. We weren’t sure whether to take a bath that night or not. In the end we make about 10 pots of boiled water in our electric kettle which made about 2 inches of water in the tub. After a very quick and COLD shower, we jumped into our shallow tub of hot water and used a tupperware container to scoop the hot water over us. It felt SOOOOO good!

Hamamatsu Church of the Savior (HSK)

On Sunday we got to go to HSK, the church Elisabeth’s parents planted 25 years ago. Sunday was a special day because it marked 31 years of being missionaries in the Japan for the Fowlers.

Here is Elisabeth’s sister, Joanna, praying for her parents, Ben & Ruth Fowler (my favorite in-laws).

Hiro and Sara with Noah

Mami, Masayo and Bebe

Other first week highlights

Had a fantastic anpan … it was so fresh the bread was still warm and soft.

Weird English translations never cease to amuse me.

In Japan you have a choice of drinking sweat or cow piss! 🙂

You also get a choice of small or large flush when you’re done using the toilet!

Oh and I almost forgot to mention the very sanitary bidet feature of our toilet. … I tried it today and couldn’t help but wonder how they keep the little spout germ-free!

Apples are HUGE (look at my iTouch in comparison) and delicious! But green peppers are super tiny.

Today I got to have a delicious bowl of ramen (in Tonkotsu flavored soup) with my new friend, Hiro.

Elisabeth’s Dad’s Birthday Dinner

Tonight we celebrated Bebe’s dad’s 61st birthday in our apartment … our first dinner party here.

Truman, Elisabeth, Ruth, Noah, Ben, Mami, Youko, Emiko

Of course we had to take one crazy picture … keyword: constipation.

Happy Birthday, Dad-in-law!

Thanks!

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading through my LONG blog post! We have a busy week and are so grateful for all the Lord has provided for us and everyone who has helped us so generously. Tomorrow the mattress we ordered will be delivered. It will be great to sleep on a bed after a week of sleeping on futons on the floor. And tomorrow I’ll finally be able to get back to work on my business.

Whew, it’s 11:27pm. Can’t believe I was able to stay up so late! I think we’re finally conquering our jet lag.

From Honolulu to Hamamatsu

Hi everyone!

Aloha from one odda island! We made it to Japan, arriving 2 days ago and welcomed by Elisabeth’s family and friends here. We had a nice little time having breakfast with Truman’s parents outside of the Hawaii airport.

The flight was really good…Noah was a little fussy but nothing too awful. And God blessed us by not having to pay any extra fees for all our luggage. We looked life refugees traveling with 5 boxes tied with strips of old sheets, 3 suitcases, knapsacks, and a baby. It was quiet the adventure.

We feel like so much has happened already here in Hamamatsu and that our Hawaii life was a long time ago. Strange how we could be in one country just the other day and now be living in a totally different environment. Truman and I went walking the first morning and he commented that it felt like an Asian Europe over here. The neighborhood that my parents live in has a lot of closely built homes, narrow roads, and little shops and supermarkets along the way. We walked alongside a river bank lined with cherry trees, the branches almost bare. The air is chilly but not too cold, a light jacket was enough. At night, it’s colder outside and we’ve been sleeping under several blankets.

Noah refuses to wear socks (never has in all his little life). I guess when his toes start to get frostbite, he’ll succumb. ha, ha. We walked to the apt we will be moving into which took only about 8-10 minutes from my parents’ house. The building looks fairly new and clean from the outside. 2 or 3 doors down is a Nepalese curry restaurant that looks really yummy! 2 nice supermarkets are within walking distance and a bus route close by. We forgot to take our camera but will take pics today and send some your way!

We had an appointment with the realtor for our apt. yesterday. We met them along with my dad and handed over a wapping sum of money…almost 5 months of ren! So, today, we will get the keys and be allowed to start moving things in. After over a month of moving, packing, and cleaning, we’re looking forward to getting settled into our new home! Here’s a map of our neighborhood. We’ll be only 0.7 km away the Fowler house!


View Our Hamamatsu Neighborhood in a larger map

We bought a cell phone already (the prepaid kine that doesn’t require a contract). Unlimited text/email for only 300 yen a month!

Last night Elisabeth’s mom made us a nice dinner and surprised us with anniversary gifts … socks that really came in handy because it’s COLD here!

It was bittersweet leaving all of you in Hawaii. And if I think too long and hard about, I’m gonna start crying so I’ll just say, WE LOVE YOU!!! You are the awesomest peeps in all the world and we’re so grateful for your hearts of generosity and love towards us. We’ll keep in touch, k?

Your missionary friends,
Elisabeth, Truman, and Noah

Psalm 1 and 2

My wife and I are playing around with Garage Band to record the Bible. Fun!

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Psalm 1Open Link in New Window (can you hear Noah playing with his toy in the background?)

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Psalm 2Open Link in New Window (cool background jingle)

MooEditable – Pure Javascript & CSS power

I’ve been working on extending an MooEditable (a MooTools Javascript powered WYSIWYG in-browser HTML editor) by Lim Chee Aun which integrates Ascribe Dialog and uses icons from famfamfam with WordPress-inspired buttons.

I’m very excited about MooEditable because I’ve never before felt that I could have complete control over the previous HTML editors that I’ve used before. It is much more intuitive for the user to be able to interact with elements directly in the editor when possible rather than having to use the toolbar. With MooEditable, I can finally do that. So far, I’ve got a pretty robust link functionality. Next up: write a customized image button which utilizes Ascribe Dialog, allows uploads from the users computer and browsing of photo albums in the Ascribe CMS for photos to insert.

Source code of this fork

Demo … try clicking on a link in the editor








Noah vs. the Apple Sauce

Noah vs. the Apple Sauce from trudat on Vimeo.

Noah ate a lot of new things today. Besides a couple fruit flavored puffs and a mum mum (rice cracker), we also gave him some apple sauce.

Ooops, he just got a little red rash on his cheeks. Maybe it was the apple sauce.

Secure Your Facebook

Keep Your Photos Out of Facebook Ads

FacebookAccording to Facebook Terms of Service, although you maintain ownership of any photos and videos you upload to Facebook, the very act of uploading them to Facebook grants Facebook a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use your photos and videos worldwide for any purpose … as long as you haven’t specifically informed them not to in your privacy settings. As of May 1, 2009, the TOS reads:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how we share your content through your privacy and application settings. In order for us to use certain types of content and provide you with Facebook, you agree to the following:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account (except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it).

Under these terms Facebook allows advertisers to use your photos in their advertisements on Facebook. In the privacy section of your Facebook account, Facebook allows to to set whether or not you wish advertisers to have this permission:

Facebook occasionally pairs advertisements with relevant social actions from a user’s friends to create Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends. These respect all privacy rules. You may opt out of appearing in your friends’ Facebook Ads below.

So if you don’t want your mugshot appearing in an ad for “hot singles in your area” on your spouse’s Facebook page, then take the following steps to specifically deny permission to use your photos in ads.

1. Under Settings, click on Privacy Settings.

fb-privacy

2. Then click on News Feed and Wall.

fb-newsfeed-wall

3. Click on the Facebook Ads tab.

fb-ads

4. Set Appearance in Facebook Ads to “No one”.

fb-no-one

5. Click on Save Changes and your done.

Remove Your Public Search Profile

Another security risk is the public search listings available on search engines like Google. If you have a Facebook account, do a Google search on your name. Chances are your Facebook public search listing is near the top on the first page of search results. Or pick almost any name you can think of and search it on Google. You will probably be able to find a public Facebook listing. The public search profile shows the person’s current profile picture, a link to send the person a message, eight of the person’s friends with their pictures and a sampling of the products, companies, television shows, etc. that he or she is a fan of. This is a LOT of information about you that you probably don’t want public available and easily searchable on the Internet. In Facebook, because you have to sign in with an account in order to use Facebook, as a user you are lulled into a feeling of security that only your friends and family will be able to see your profile picture or know what kinds of television shows you like to watch. On the contrary, Facebook makes it public to the planet by default.

The good news is that you can shut off your public profile. To do so follow watch this video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK6RlI-oZqs[/youtube]

Banish Facebook Ads

I was annoyed sometime last year by the content of some ads on Facebook, so I decided to see if I could get rid of them. It was astonishingly easy. Use the Stylish Firefox add-on to add site-specific CSS styles to hide the ads from view. To do hide Facebook ads on the Firefox browser follow these instructions.

1. Use the Firefox browser.

2. Install the “Stylish” add-on:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2108
(requires browser restart)

3. Go to a Facebook page.

4. Look at the bottom-right corner of the browser and click on the icon of a pen on a document.

5. Mouseover “write style…” and select “For facebook.com …” in the sub-menu.

6. Under “Description” you can name this style rule anything you want (e.g., remove facebook ads).

7. Down below in the style code box use this code:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);
@-moz-document domain(“facebook.com”) {
#ssponsor, .home_main_item .social_ad { display: none !important; }
}

All you have to do is copy and paste in the code the is bold into the appropriate place in the box.

8. Click “Save” and you’re done! Ads are gone!

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