Thursday, April 7, 2011

Looking Back

It has been a dreary bounce back and forth from passable weather to rotten cold rain or even some snow.  We stand now under a winter weather advisory…yes, you heard right, an winter weather advisory.  It will be a few days then we bounce back to nearly sixty degrees.  I admit this has dampened, sometimes literally my enthusiasm to get out and take pictures.  My walks have been more for exercise and personal prayer than anything to do with my camera and I don’t see that changing for now.  I have a solution for now though since I have a large collection of pictures of our trips to Japan.  My mother in law’s departure from Japan is bitter sweet for us.  She helped us get there and now she’s gone now and things are so bad there…only God knows when we will be able to return.  All of it makes me want to look on the pictures we have and remember.  I will begin to showcase those photos again.  I hope you all enjoy it.  These are in no particular order…I love them all.


One of the most enjoyable and beautiful walks I’ve ever had with my family was in the bamboo forest of Kyoto.  This area is untouched by the nuclear mess and the earthquake and tsunami…in fact I’ve heard many have gone there until things improve in other parts of the country.  Visiting ancient temples and shrines was always an experience.  I found that it was a striking contrast between the oldand the new.  The weather during our first visit in particular was absolutely the most perfect I’ve ever experienced.  I felt invigorated and it spiked my desire to see all there was to see.  Honestly it reminded me of a born again experience where everything seemed so fresh and exiting to me.  I felt so incredibly privileged to be able to witness all of these things that I never dreamed I’d be able to see.  You never know when you’re in a place like this when or if you will return…I clung to this moment with all that I had.  Our friends Kazu and Anna were wonderful to be with.  Lovely and Anna were like two sisters.  We talked and laughed and enjoyed all there was to see.  It was often like walking into a fairy tale or through a picture frame into a marvelous image to beautiful for words.  Kyoto holds some wonderful memories…all powerful and entrenched in our memory.  This is not a local sushi bar or a Japanese garden…this, this is Japan!  This is where it wasn’t just about decorations in a restaurantor some small garden.  It was the whole nations filled with mystery and wonder.  I cannot condemn this nation or these people because I’ve been there…I both know it and love it and I believe God has a plan that is not about death or destruction.  I believe there is a future for Japan where it will rise like a heron from the banks from one of it’s serene poolsto the wonder of us all once again.  Japan has a language as complex and mysterious as the nation itself…it is beautiful in writing.  Lovely has studied it and is able to read some of it now…if only we could have had that knowledge then!  Sometimes we found ourselves in quiet little areas like this and just relished the calm.  Lovely really enjoys green tea…I can’t say I follow her in that but it was amazing to see the tea leaves picked clean in these areas.  Apparently Lovely isn’t alone in her appetites!  Bringing the team along to see the things we had seen was a totally new experience.  Here we are with Anna and Kazu…it seems so long ago already.  I loved to see the massive temple bells with the log used to ring it.  This was so different from the rope to ring bells here.  It could really rain in Japan but this never ever dampened our enthusiasm to explore!  Mysterious little shrines were everywhere…this one had a symbol much like a swastika…it wasn’t an actual swastika but did look like it.  The wildlife had a distinctive Japanese mannerism…I can’t exactly explain except to say that it looked like it was made to be thereand nowhere else.  So many wish for luck of one sort or another…some place their requests on paper that they put in various shrinesit may be there is no luck in a four leaf clover or strength in a unicorn but there is the blessed hope of salvation through Christ…I want them all to know this…it will never come through condemnation.  Whole cities were wiped off the mapin the recent disaster.  What kind of person would take that as an opportunity to judge?  Every day we traveled from station to station.  One station near my mother law’s house had a nest of little birds.  We enjoyed watching them develop throughout our stay.  I didn’t know what was written on these tags attached to these lanternsnor did I always understand what was being said by the people around me but do I have to know to love the beauty that’s all around me?  I don’t think so.  I long to walk the narrow streets again…to know that once again the dark face of judgment has been turned away andhas been shown to be nothing but a liar once again.  God’s promise will have it’s day and in the mean time I won’t judge what I cannot understand.  It is the goodness of God that brings all men to repentance.  If He be lifted up He will draw all men unto Him.


  1. I enjoyed your reminiscing of Japan. Wonderful photos. Sad to hear today of a 7.1 aftershock.

  2. A great post Joe. I enjoyed the photos very much. I too belive that Japan will rise above these tragice happenings and be better than ever.

  3. This was perhaps the post of posts, to me, Joe. I understood it deeply and thoroughly. ALL of it.

    I am grateful that your MIL has made it back to the Philippines, yes but I understand the sadness and the sense of loss as well for things that were. It's so difficult in so many ways.

    I share the sorrow at what has happened there and now, another earthquake I read today. I can't comprehend what it must be like. But I can care. And I do.

  4. Ya know Joe, you should be out taking pictures in the ugly weather. It to will bring back memories. The ugly is also a part of God's plan.

    I don't go out in the cold like I used to but I do enjoy looking at those pictures I took in the cold howling wind.

    Pictures are a nice record of time stopped and memories to be re visited. Before cameras there were paintings and drawings.

  5. Joe, first of all I am happy to hear that your MIL is safe, and back in the Philippines. That is good news. My heart goes out to the people of Japan. We need to be Gracious in every way we can and show the love of Jesus, to those in need. Praying is good, but we need to put our Faith in action by our deeds as well, within our individual means. We are the Body of Christ, which means we are His hands and feet, and what ever else we are called to be here on this earth.

    Your photos of Japan are very interesting and Beautiful to look at. I especially like the bamboo forest. I have never seen anything quite like it.

    Hey, dust off your camera, and go for a walk. You will be surprised at what you might find. I sure was, last time I went out. Not many signs of Spring but I truly was Blesses by what the Lord showed me through part of His Creation, last Sunday afternoon,
    God Bless you Joe, and keep smiling.
    Dianne :)

  6. Hi Joe,
    So glad your mother in low back in the Philippine.
    and she will be safe there though you and your wife must pleased with that too.
    You have has a bad weather and we will have a wintry blast will make its presence felt over the weekend cold blast for Melbourne BUT no complained
    Joe. because place like Japan and in here some people were still they don't have anythings..
    some insurance company not payed yet and some were not covered their home because the floods are cause by natural storm not storm waters..

    I never get tired of see your photos of Japan.
    I really enjoy look at all them.
    I would like to show some of mine but how I can put five photos in same post likes you do?

    Have a nice weekend.

  7. The photos of Japan that I never tired of see them
    as same time how sorry for them too.
    And another one that I hear from TV this morning.
    As you said you have has wintry blast weather and ours too coming this weekend BUT no complained.
    Have a nice weekend with your loved ones.

  8. Joe, I have to say your post was so peaceful in that you explained what I feel as well and just I guess I need to have that reasurrance that you believe that God has a plan for this beautiful country filled with such a humble people and they will rise out of the ashes into beauty as they once knew and came to love. I loved you view. I know how you felt as I felt this in Hawaii this time again and strong as I guess I have matured since I first went. I was so glad to hear your MIL is home and safe. I pray for the ones you have left there , the people the time the govements get it together to put some kind of stop to the Nu. Distuction and all that is happening. I can only just imagine how you and Lovely must feel and I know both your hearts break . Prayers for you all.
    Pass on a Hugs to Lovely

  9. I cant wait to see more of the photos. What an amazing place.

  10. Joe thankyou for stopping by and your kind words.
    Bless you

  11. What wonderful trips we get to take through the eyes of your camera and you beautiful discriptions. Such a beautiful country and so sad to think of all the troubles there. Thanks again Joe.

  12. visiting a country with a total diff.way of life as urs is soooooo interesting.
    I wont judge what i cant understand..
    trrue Joe.
    i know
    i let myself into new things when i visit for the first time SL The first time kids touched my feet.
    Its respect...But i had no clue.
    So things happen then But when ur open for it.its a new world opening for u
    ur a priviliged man Joe..U know that
    u tasted already so much diff .ways ppl live their life.
    its beautiful
    i know how it feels to feel good..where u come
    feeling at home PPl are open for u and ur open for the ppl
    its a two ways road.
    as always ur fotoos are overwhelming

  13. I really have to believe and agree that a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs in school at various grade levels, because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it. Your photos are simply splendid and because I have not traveled to Japan 'yet'... you have brought her closer to me without the expense of airline tickets, hotels, etc. :) You mkae for one awesome tour guide too!!!
    I totally hear what you are saying about the weather. Geeesh! I guess the weather could be used as a great metaphor for life... sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.