So today… Has been super productive! And super fun!! Oh my…
Well, I'm in Sapporo blog world! Hello snow!
And I'm loving it! I'm staying with a lady called Kayoko (who's like, 70…) and her Mum (who is 95!) and they are honestly the most amazing legends you've ever met. I have been here 24 hours and they have already made me feel totally at home, let me have a worship time on their beautifully-tuned piano, and told me I'm, quote, 'not allowed' to do my own washing because I'm here to study!! Kayoko also makes her own sesame bread. And yogurt. And jam. And pretty much anything else from scratch. Every day. And as it seems I am going to be eating most of my meals here… I also want her to teach me how to cook Japanese style!
I'm so blessed these ladies have opened their home to me, and I'm just praying that I can be a blessing in return. They aren't Christians, so your prayers for my witness these next months would be appreciated! (Their house is also a massive detached place in an amazing location. Like, this house is huge by UK standards, let alone Japan! I cannot tell you how thankful I am!)
Today I have achieved a hefty amount of my to-do list. With Kayoko's AMAZING help and translation skills making it a whole lot easier. Honestly, I could not have done today without her! I found my language school, had a wee tour of Sapporo on the underground, did all my registration paperwork at the city office, ordered a hanko (like a stamp for banking and stuff), and unpacked 2 boxes of shipped books (I have a Masters essay due in three weeks… There is reason for the madness…)
But the really fun part of today? My welcome meal! Yep. Kayoko and 10 of her friends took me for lunch to welcome me to Sapporo.
And I was expecting… You know, a little lunch. Where we could all chat and drink green tea and all the other stereotypically-Japanese things I've missed these last 6 months…
But this was not what I was expecting.
I realised when we approached the restaurant that it looked a bit fancy. I realised when we were greeted by waiters in tuxedos that this might not be the informal gathering I was mentally prepared for. I realised when one of my new Japanese-Mother figures (I now have 11 of them) leant over and whispered, 'This place does Japanese-French food. It has three Michelin stars…' that I wasn't going to get away with just asking for something I understood off the menu…
'Let the eating adventures commence…' I thought to myself.
All 8 courses of them.
First course: Duck foam. Yep. Why whenever I go for a posh meal somewhere does duck foam appear on the menu? It's a bit… Weird? Frothy? Ambiguous?
Second course: Octopus. With some kind of flowery sauce/garnish thing. Yep. I ate octopus. And I did not die. Hoorah for me! 😉
Third course: A salad that I am told contained 25 ingredients. That's a lot of ingredients. And I didn't even try and distinguish what they all were… But, it got my thumbs up on the crazy taste explosion it came with!
Fourth course: Some kind of fish with some kind of potato. Which I know is a truly unhelpful description. But I was just eating whatever was put in front of me at this point.
Fifth course: Sherbet ice cream. There are no words. In a strangely good way.
Sixth course: Duck. With more potato. I actually knew this one!!
Seventh course: Passion fruit with mango and sugar flakes… And a little merringue snowman. Ok. This was truly delicious, but looked so weird I had to take a photo…
Yep. Three mitchelin stars people!
Eighth course: Creme brûlée with tea and coffee… Which is always a win for finishing a meal isn't it?!
Ok. So that was a cool and hilarious food experience. I feel thoroughly welcomed. But do you want to hear the really cool bit? The really, really cool bit?
I got to talk about Jesus.
Actually, first I got to introduce myself… In Japanese. In front of pretty much a whole restaurant. And then my table of Japanese ladies all actually clapped. Seriously.
Ground. Swallow. Me. Now.
But then, I got to talk about Jesus.
Because I got to share my story. And answer that 'Why Japan?' question. And talk about my Theology Masters. And I got to get excited about my work with young people. And what I'm writing my dissertation on. And how I think there's hope for young people in care and hikikomori. And then one of the women asked me, 'But, if Theology is studying God, what has that got to do with young people?'
And I got to explain that God has a lot to do with young people. Because He has a lot to do with all people. And the world. And the cosmos.
So it was cool. In a Holy-Spirit-I'm-really-glad-You've-got-this-because-I-haven't-got-a-scoobies-what-I'm-talking-about kind of way.
Thank you for praying! And please keep doing so. I love and appreciate you all so incredibly much.
And you know, if you're ever in Sapporo and have a spare £140 or so to spend on lunch… Then head to Moliere on the edge of Maruyama Park… 😉
P.S. It's also freezing here (like, duh. I know there's the snow and everything…) BUT seriously, this is fierce cold. I was so overjoyed to get back into a warm house earlier that I almost lay on the heated floor of the kitchen. And I've NEVER been so thankful for heated toilet seats. Too much information I know, but some things are worth sharing… 😉
P.P.S. I unpacked the boxes of books that were shipped over today. And I realised I have never felt more at home. I have my guitar. There is a piano in this house. My favourite books litter the shelves of my room. I'm easily pleased and incredibly thankful. I love how you can fly half way round the world and know that Holy Spirit is the key to feeling completely content and secure and loved.