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.