Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Artist: Mirah

We celebrate the wars we won
The blood of history's ancient sons
We followed Judah Maccabee
We fought against iniquity
We saved ourselves with help from one
Who loves his children, everyone...

So now Jerusalem, you know that it's not right
After all you've been through, you should know better than
To become the wicked ones almighty god once saved you from

The lessons we should learn from all
The fighting in the days of old
When providence was still divine
The sanctuary purified
Let lightning circle all you hold
And don't uproot the olive grove

So now Jerusalem, you know that it's not right
After all you've been through, you should know better than
To become the wicked ones almighty god once saved you from
The music is interesting too

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Today, caught this gorgeous thing on the way to work. Some guys were harassing it, so I picked it up, to let it go somewhere else. It freaked them out. Bit me twice (their expressions - priceless) but it was just a harmless rat snake... Anyway, after walking up to my office and taking some pictures, I let it go in a much less visited canyon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tohoku "Let's KGK!"

KGK is a network of Christian students in campuses across Japan, and the Tohoku U.'s Bible reading club is part of the KGK network. I've been going to their club ever since I came to Sendai, and despite the fact that my Japanese skills are lacking, they have extended great friendship and hospitality towards me ever since arrival.

Something about these students that I really appreciate: I have never, ever heard any of them use any form of mockery or sarcasm towards each other. It is so curious to me, because these two things (mockery and sarcasm) are always present in the states, whether in Christian or non-Christian circles. I'm not saying sarcasm and mockery is always wrong... but I love these kids for avoiding it. And, sometimes they come across as naive for never using it, or even understanding it when I've used it... but if it is naivete it's of a kind that I'm completely OK with.

Last Saturday was the annual meeting of all the KGK students in the Tohoku region, (large - some people drove 6 hrs to get here), and it was a pleasure to be able to attend. Just meeting the kids in the Kawa-uchi group has made me glad that I have come to Sendai. So, I was thrilled to meet the kids in clubs from the other colleges in the Tohoku region. It was also interesting because there were some students older than me as well, which is unusual because I am a grad student. I got to take some photos of the meeting (mostly just the end of it) while I was there. I adjusted gamma on a couple of these photos, and cropped a few, but for the most part they are unadjusted.

A group picture, but without Saki and Keita who had to leave early (Saki and Keita are brother and sister, and are an integral part of the Kawauchi Bible study):

Break time... this is the church's tatami room
Most of my pictures didn't turn out, but here are the ones that did.
I did not meet the girl on the left, but the guy in the middle is Makoto. He kicked my butt at bowling... I think the scores were something like 70 to 176. The girl on the right is Yoko. She is very knowledgeable, but rarely speaks. However, when someone has a question, they normally ask her, because her thoughts are highly valued. She is also a Pastor's daughter.
These are some girls from other Bible studies who are about to leave. I believe the girl in the middle is Chamy and the girl on the right is Mariko. Chamy had to drive 6 hours to get here.
I don't remember this guy's name, but he was a leader of one of the bible studies, I think. Or, at least, he did announcements and stuff.

I met the guy on the left, but I can't remember his name. He also drove for 6 hours (with Chamy) to get here. To the right is Narumi, she is KGK staff, and the coordinator for the whole Tohoku Region. She is also a saint.
This is Karachi. Karachi is his adana, (knickname) and it means "car brake." He was a total character, a lot of fun. He is one of Keita's good friends, and he is learning to become a doctor.
I can't remember her name, but she was also a character. I thought this expression on her face was great:
This guy's name was hard for me, I tried it several times. I think it was like Hotaro or Hotoro or Horoto or something. He was extremely energetic as this picture indicates. I told him that I wanted to see a monkey here, and apparently there are a lot of monkeys that live near his hometown, an hour away. The guy in the background, to the left, is Sato. He is another quiet, thoughtful type. I think that, when he is a senior, like Yoko, the students will look up to him.
The girl on the left is Hatoko (means "dove child"). She is another very important person in the Kawa-uchi Bible study. She is really outgoing, the type who puts the awkward ones (me) at ease a lot of times.

Here's Yoko and a friend looking out the window
The only picture that turned out of Yoshitomo. He is studying Chinese literature, and is a senior. Like Yoko, he doesn't talk much. But when he talks, everyone listens.
A couple of us (Yoshitomo, Hato, Yoko) biked to school. So, when it started to rain REALLY HARD we had to wait it out...

But it cleared up before long
Like I said, I took a lot more photos, of a lot more people, but they had too much motion blur to post. But, I think you will get an idea of what they are like from these.

Monday, May 21, 2007

concerning Logos

Recently, I've been hearing a lot of smack talk about my old high school, Logos. I don't have the patience, or the readership to write a really long "defense" of the school, but it seems on a surface level that most of these comments are stemming from bitterness and not thoughtful evaluation.

My own opinion of the school sort of went like this:

1) Junior high - wanted to leave.

2) High school - neutral about it, except that since I was so crazy about Sally I didn't want to leave anymore (haha).

3) Senior year - loved it, because I loved my class.

4) After 1 year - nostalgic. As a side note, I would like to add that, due to Logos' education, I was ahead of 99% of all the other students in all subjects ranging from biology to calc to liturature. Also, "why do some girls get pissed when I hold the door for them?"

5) After 2 years - slightly suspicious of some of the world view related things I learned at Logos. Later in the year, really suspicious.

6) Next few years - some genuine irritation with the school, and trying to sift through which of the world-view related things I learned I should keep or discard.

7) Recently - downright grateful for the school, but recognizing that it is heading in some problematic directions.

I can identify with people who feel like they learned some things at Logos which did not, uh, reflect the reality outside of the little Logos community in Moscow Idaho. I had to do some major thought-line reconstruction after I graduated.

So, if I wanted to be miserable, I could get bitter I suppose. But lets think about this: you are probably irritated with Logos for 1 of 2 reasons. Either 1) because it taught you to think wrong things, or 2) because of past grievances of a personal nature.

In the case of 1), you might be right. I can think of a whole list of things I completely disagree with, that I was taught at Logos. However, something Logos did extremely well was teach a person how to think, even if you disagreed with what was being taught. If you are a graduate of Logos, but disagreeing with the way it does things, obviously it doesn't just churn out mindless automatons. On the flip side, something Logos DID do for you is give you a much better ability to figure out exactly where you disagree with them, and for what reasons you do so. This isn't to hard to argue - Logos is very good academically. Statistically they do extremely well on standardized tests, and most graduates will tell you that they were leagues ahead of their colleagues when entering their first year of college.

In the case of 2), where you have past grievances, this is mostly your own problem. Someone may have unjustly done something to you there, or taught you crappy things that have really hurt you. In which the correct response is to confront with sin and deal with it, not complain about it on the web, and laud others who do. But, if you remember the parable of the unmerciful servant, you have really no reason to be bitter. What they owe you vs. what you owe God is like comparing a couple bucks to millions. If you want to hold it against them just remember "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."

If Logos is continuing to do some things which you perceive as damaging, then this is certainly a good reason to not send your kid there. And, perhaps, if your friend is considering sending their child their, warning them about. And, if you are really really bent out of shape about it, writing to the school and attempting to fix. However, forming a circle of people who just want to rip on the school is in no way productive.

For myself, I have returned to Logos many times, and sat in on classes. These are my observations:

1) The students take their work seriously.
2) The students participate whole heartedly, and enjoy learning.
3) They discuss the subject material at a very high level.
4) They don't laugh at the dumb kids or the smart kids.
5) They treat professors and each other with respect.
6) The professors love teaching. And, love the kids.
7) Parents are involved in their children's education.

1) Unaware, for the most part, of the culture outside of the school.
2) The students are not exposed, first hand, to a wide variety of perspectives and may not see the legitimacy behind world-views that aren't nearly exactly like their own.
3) The school breeds very little compassion for people.
4) Some of the upper-level faculty seem to insist that their method of education is the only legitimate method of education.

The first 2 in the bad list are due, in large part, to the continual absorption of the school by Christ Church, in Moscow. I respect the church, and the pastor certainly, but I see that Logos is in bit of a bind. On the one hand, (and this is hear-say,) I have heard that the Christ Church community has criticized Logos for being too worldly. As a result, families in Christ Church are less inclined to send their kids to the school. Considering that this is where most of Logos' funding comes from, it would basically spell the end of the school if it lost the support of that church. However, if Logos is absorbed by Christ Church, this means the alienation of any people in the school who do not attend that church. Furthermore, it really restricts the perspectives that the students are exposed to.

And, lastly, about being culturally unprepared after graduation. This may be true, but people are amazingly flexible. My personal experience is that I've gotten to know a wide variety of people, been a wide variety of places, and done a wide variety of things, and I've adapted just fine. Most people I can think of from my class appear to be functioning in society just fine, (or, if they aren't, it doesn't seem to be a result of their high school so much as other problems), even if they say otherwise.

Now, I wonder if anyone will read this.