Ok, so it’s late, and I’m not even home yet. As I write this it’s just after 9.30 and I think that I have just successfully boarded my final train back to Kofudai station.
I say think, because I’m not entirely sure to be honest.
Today has been a blur of train transfers from the rural part of North Osaka I’m staying in, to Osaka city, down to Kobe, back to downtown Osaka to eat tonight, and now back out. The trains out here don’t do English translation because I’m out in the sticks, so a lot of prayer has been covering my day. And so far so good! I have made everything on time, and in faith am claiming that this train will also see me where I need to go! Even the ticket machines don’t have an English translation, so I did guess the train fare to start with! 😉
It’s also been another long day, so I’m going to try and keep this brief. To be honest, my afternoon’s meetings were focused on youth work models, local authority funding and sustainable projects, so I probably won’t bore you with too much of that anyway! 😉 (It makes my brain tick and that’s all that matters…!)
But again, a wonderful day.
I had the morning free so I headed into Osaka to pray over the city. Which was awesome. Because I got to pray from a huge Ferris wheel in the centre of the city that let you plug your own music into the sound system. So I had a 30 minute ride round this thing singing ‘In Christ Alone’ at the top of my lungs (amongst other songs!) Honestly, what a great prayer experience! I must admit I did get slightly freaked out when I stopped at the top for 10 minutes… This thing was HIGH!
But there is something burdening in just realising the sheer amount of people in these cities… People will needs and broken hearts and a need to hear about a Saviour. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people. Please pray for Japan.
Here’s me feeling freaked out by the height too…
Yep. Following this I had half an hour in which to drink my first ever iced earl grey tea (does this make me really Japanese?!) before my meetings with Kobe YMCA.
And these meetings were super interesting. Maybe not for everyone, but with my thinking-about-project-running-in-Japan hat on, these guys had a lot for me to learn from. The centre is based on the 4th floor of a shopping centre in central Kobe. And the facility itself was excellent.
However, what strikes you is that these are the ‘good kids’. I had never been in a youth centre so quiet in my whole life! I did however learn about the concept of 居場所 or ‘community space’ and had some really interesting discussions about what this looks like in Japanese culture. Ok, ok, doesn’t sound interesting to you?! But I promise, promise you it is! And I think it has a lot of theoretical challenges to the church in terms of engagement with communities too.
Interestingly, I’ve been talking to some of my new Japanese friends about the way they feel church engages in or doesn’t engage in community. These guys aren’t Christians but they have loads of good ideas about what they would go to if the church ran it… It amazing how many 20-somethings have told me in the last two days that they think hiring Starbucks and playing Christian music would get them in!! I love it!! Non-Christians thinking about effective outreach!
Anyway, after an afternoon of hard work, Maiko and me headed to downtown Osaka for okonomiyaki, which she told me I had to eat if I was going to truly experience the culture here. We don’t really have anything like this in the UK, so think a cross between an omelette and a savoury pancake, with loads of cheese and BBQ sauce on top.
I’ll just show you…
Tastes better than it looks, I promise. Anyway, after a couple of hours of pretty insightful youth work chat about lecturing in Japan and the eastern theory base for community learning (I know, I’m a geek right?!), we had a bit more time out in Osaka to let me see the sights, and I am now thoroughly brain fried.
So with that. I’m signing out for the day! 😉
Oh, and here was my iced earl grey…
And the shoes I brought that I know the girls will tell me are ‘minging’!
And, on the time I have been writing this I have very almost missed a train transfer (turns out there was a sneaky final one!), until a woman who I met at the theatre on Saturday saw me and grabbed me onto the right platform! She doesn’t speak English, but I am incredibly thankful to her nonetheless! Love the ‘chances’ of someone who knows me in this huge city sitting opposite! Thank You God!