ARI Week 8 in Review

Last weekend we traveled to Tokyo once again to visit a church service at Japan Lutheran College. It was a joint worship of two congregations, one English-speaking and the other Japanese speaking. We enjoyed the service very much and the international community reminded us of our great year in Slovakia at the Bratislava International Church.


In the chapel on campus

The college was also celebrating its fall festival which had lots of food and dancing to enjoy

We also carved out a little more time to visit a few places in Tokyo that we missed the previous weekend. I neglected to take many photos–the city was beginning to wear me out, I'll be honest–but I did manage to snap this one of the coolest escalator I've ever been on (at the Edo-Tokyo Museum).

Back on the farm it was another busy week of work. The participants left for their 'Western Japan Study Tour” so it has been much quieter with only staff and volunteers on campus. In addition to transplanting onion seedlings, we worked on getting the soybeans harvested. I spent a lot of time running the one row cutter before the beans are brought to be threshed.

Pretty great scenery around the bean fields

We have plenty of soybeans to bring in because, as the farm manager told me, 'Japan is a soybean culture.' Soy sauce, tofu, and miso (a paste used to season soup and vegetables) are some of the main products made with soybeans though there are numerous uses. A few weeks back we tried soy milk ice cream flavored with green tea. I was somewhat skeptical but it was darn good. Another benefit of all these soybeans is that they help to clean the soil of radiation caused by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Here are some of the beans in the drying room being preserved to be one of the staples for the ARI community in the coming year.

Once a bean field was harvested and tilled we moved to planting winter wheat…by hand. This was something of a shock to me coming from North Dakota, but with no machinery in sight I figured I had better learn quick how the process worked. Pretty simple really, if you've got a big group to help. Stretch lines across the field. One guy or gal step along the line to make a home for the seed. Next guy or gal come along behind to shake seeds and cover with feet, preferably all in motion. The whole thing gave me an appreciation of how wheat has been planted for centuries and I came away with a new awareness of the care and time it takes for us to have daily bread.

We have also seen great fall colors characteristic of Japan. Take for instance the small town park a few minutes walk from ARI.


But because enjoying the Japanese autumn wasn't enough cultural immersion for us, this weekend we dipped our toe into the rushing whitewater that is Karaoke. Japan claims it invented this cultural revolution and I have to say it is a well-oiled machine.

Step 1: Find a bunch of friends and pile into a van.

Step 2: Look for one of the biggest buildings in town and chances are it's the Karaoke hall.

Step 3: Consider your beverage options.

Anna's brain has much to consider

Winning choice: Greenest Fanta

Step 4: Procure your own private karaoke pod.

Step 5: Belt it out.

First song was a bit rough but I think I rebounded later in the evening.

This man sings Queen better than anyone

'Country Roads' in Japanese

So that was week 8 in review. As always, thanks for reading and following our journey. We appreciate your comments and emails VERY MUCH so thanks for sending those along.


One response to “ARI Week 8 in Review”

  1. DeNee hansen says :

    I love reading all about your adventures and you and Anna are so blessed to have this opportunity. It will be a lifetime of memories and tons of sermon fodder in the years to come. 14degrees today with a chill factor of below zero with plenty of ice underneath the snow.. Zion has a very big day today with new members and a 100 year old birthday party. I, however have opted to miss it and not try and navigate the ice. I have fallen twice at Zion when it was icy and am not ready to make it three. You are both so blessed and we are too by being able to share in this way..lGram

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