Monday, June 25, 2007

The Road to Koshien

Koshien is the name of a stadium in Osaka, I believe, and is the location of the "High School World Series" of Japan. Every year, one team represents each of the 47 prefectures of Japan and competes for fame and glory. The Okinawa representative is being determined in a local tournament that started last week Saturday (the 16th) and lasts until mid-July. So yesterday was my school's first game, against the dreaded (well, not really) Nago High School. The result: a predictable 7-0 victory for the good guys! Here is a shot of our pitcher mid-windup. He pitched a strong game, and with the help of solid team defence, did not allow a single run. Next up: I don't know. But if at all possible, I will be in attendance at the game!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Italian Salmon

Last night was a sweet time of reunion with an old friend. Aaron DeLeon has been in Japan since the summer of '02. He spent his first year in Okinawa, teaching at OCSI (the one year I was absent during my stay at the school), then moved up to Osaka. He later on met Kaori, and then Aiki came into the picture about 7 months ago. Anyways, Aaron and I have become good buddies over the years, despite never having worked together. We were roommates for about 10 days, onigiri buddies a few times, cell-phone-syndrome sufferers for a long time, and onsen travelers as well! He brought his family down to Okinawa to meet his friends, and also to have his baby Aiki dedicated at Calvary Chapel Okinawa. It was awesome seeing him again!

Monday, June 18, 2007

More farewells....

Next week around this time, my good buddies Matt and Jess Andersen, along with their beautiful baby Ella and their two dogs Sparky and Roxie will be leaving Okinawa and heading back to the east coast of the States. Matt worked 2 years at OCSI, then transfered to Lester Middle School on base. They have been going to Calvary Chapel Okinawa this whole time, and Matt has even been leading the worship team for a while now! Jess, too, has used her beautiful singing voice on the worship team for some time, too.

Matt has been an awesome friend to talk to about almost anything, but definitely about sports. As a guy who likes the Yankees and Lakers, I can always find something to argue with him about! And having been in the same fantasy sports leagues with him for the past year or so, I have really enjoyed smack talking in person about how much better my teams are! Now it will have to be done only by e-mail or chatting.

I'll miss you guys a lot... I know God will use you in the States to minister to a lot of people, and that someday we will meet again and create a whole new set of memories together! Perhaps Willmar in '08???

Happy Birthday to...

This past weekend, we got together and celebrated many many birthdays. Besides my own, which was on June 14th, we also celebrated Amber's (14th), Josh's (15th), Nicolas' (16th?), Joe's (22nd), and even Tom's (19th) and Ayu's (21st)! Whew, that's a lot of celebrating! We ate a lot of good BBQ and even had a delicious Spiderman cake, made by Nicolas' loving mom, Elizabeth! Nico turned 2, by the way, and is so much fun... though somewhat dangerous at times, too. His grip is strong for a li'l guy!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Another sweet reunion!

Last night was OCSI's 39th graduation ceremony. The school has been in existence for 50 years, so this was a special night. The class of 2007 was made up of 23 unique individuals, each endowed with special talents that (prayerfully) will be used for God's glory. Of course, all graduations at OCSI are also reunions of sorts, as alumni come out of their shelters to meet with classmates and teachers they haven't seen in years. This year was especially big, since it's the school's 50th anniversary. I got to see Amy Johnson, Kathleen Rice, the Zosels, and many others. What a beautiful night! Above is a picture of me with the Class of 2005 alumni who showed up, minus Hadji, who was outside dancing or something. (Pictured: Andi Nakasone, Hiromu Migita, Kristine Calcaben - though not Calcaben any longer - she got married in February!)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Take me out to the ball tourney!

Today at Okisho, the high school kids participated in tournaments all day. Classes put their best feet forward on the volleyball and basketball courts, competing for class pride. Okisho boasts a sports program - some students do sports all afternoon - but this does not guarantee victory for these super-athletes! In fact, to the best of my knowledge, only the boys' volleyball tournament saw the sports course kids victorious. The runner-ups were an 11th grade class that I have the joy of teaching 4 times a week. Seen above is Daisuke Matsuda, one of my "Yambaru boys", who did everything he could to keep his team alive. Also pictured are the 12th grade girls from class 3-5, who lost their opening match. Below are the 2-6 girls after winning a volleyball match, and the 2-5 girls, who took the basketball tournament championship home. My voice is hoarse from all the mad cheering I did. I love Okisho!!!