I'm going to talk about the good thing first, before I get to the scary thing. Last week I was at the mall and I met a woman who had her one year old daughter with her. We started talking a little bit. I was talking in very broken Japanese, and she knew only a teensy bit of English. (When I speak Japanese I know I sound like a caveman because although I'm learning vocabulary, the Japanese grammar is really hard. So I am bad at constructing sentences, and I know I say things backwards all the time). But, nevertheless, we were able to hold a conversation (sort of) for about 20 minutes. She asked me if I had any Japanese friends...I said that although I know Japanese people at school, I don't have any "friends" yet. She also asked me where I lived and we discovered we lived near each other. So, I thought God might be nudging me to invite her to hang out. I asked her if she wanted to meet at one of the malls where there is a kids play area. Thankfully, she accepted. We met together this morning. Our kids played at the play area for a while, then we got a sandwhich at a coffee shop. It was very hard to communicate since we both know so little of the other's language. In fact, at times it was really discouraging. I kept wondering if she was having a good time or just being frusterated that we couldn't talk very well. She told me her husband drives a tractor somewhere other than our city, so he only comes home on Sundays. So she is at home by herself all week long, taking care of her little girl alone. She sees her family once a week, and her sister maybe twice a week. But, she seemed lonely to me. (Random fact-she is 32, and was a hairdresser for 10 years). I tried to tell her what we were doing here, but she didn't understand "church" but she did understand "Christian." I don't know what she knows about Christians or their faith. I didn't know how to ask her that. At the end of lunch she asked if I wanted to come to her house on Thursday to hang out again. So, I thought, maybe she was having a good time? I was so glad she invited me to do something. I said yes, of course. I am really looking forward to it. I am going to look in my dictionary to see how I can say church and explain some of what we are doing here and what a Christian is. I am praying that this can be a lasting friendship while we live here in Okazaki, and that I can share the gospel with her eventually, as I study Japanese more. You could pray for that also!
I also met a girl who is an employee at Starbucks, who I think I could befriend if I can keep going there on the days she works. Some of our teammates have already befriended someone there and have hung out with them more than once. The Starbucks employees are all very young, many speak some English fairly well and are very interested in hanging out with other young people, especially since we are foreigners. They are more interested in us than older people are. So, I'm also praying that that can turn into an opportunity and friendship. Third, I am in the process of getting a new tutor, and one of my favorite teachers at the school said she might be interested in being a language partner with me. She could help me, I could help her. I am hoping that could be another friendship/opportunity. Lots of exciting things, and I am just praying that God will lead me and direct me and make open doors in all of these situations.
Now that I have written so long...I need to get to the scary part. Here in Japan there are no poisenous spiders or bugs except for one...that is the centipede. Here its called a "Mukade." Well, most people don't see them, but we have seen two in our house already. It was totally disgusting and scary looking. They bite, and if you are bitten you need to take antiobiotics. Then, you will be ok. So, I know that is not the end of the world, but it has really freaked me out and I have been on edge living in my house. What makes me so nervous is that we live next door to an abandoned junk yard. Its gross. Japan is extremely strict on where and how you throw things away. We have to sort all of our trash and take it to specific locations. All of Japan is very clean. Our neighborhood is very clean and pretty, and in all of Okazaki, the one place that is probably most full of centipedes happens to be next door to us for some reason. There are cracks all along the baseboards of the wall that faces that junkyard. So, we are prime targets to be seeing more of these things all summer. These things cannot be smashed and killed because they have a hard shell. You have to cut them in two, but even after cutting them in half both sides of them will run away and can still bite. So you have to boil them or drown them in hot oil to kill them. Mike caught the first one in a bowl and cut off his head, then after the body ran away, Mike was able to still catch him and kill him in a boiling pot of water. We rent our house from our school, and they are sending some proffessionals to come look at our house this week to see how they can seal up all of the cracks and (I'm hoping) maybe do something outside of our house to help prevent them from coming in. So far this has been the one thing that has made me want to move away. (Well, at least from our house). But, I am really trying to be brave. I remind myself its just a bug, even if it bites any of us, we'll just take medicine and be ok. I have prayed for courage a lot about this issue! I feel like a wimp! Ok, now I have to stop writing and thinking about it..I could get myself all worked up again. :)