Sunday, September 16, 2012


It has been a pretty typical week at ARI. So we'd like to share with you specifically about our big weekend.

Blueberry Farm

First of all, this is a three-day weekend for us (yes, you get Labor Day weekend and we get Respect for the Aged weekend!). With an extra day to rest, we have not hesitated to fill our weekend thus far with non-stop fun! We started out Saturday morning going to a nearby blueberry farm with six other people form the farm. The man who owned the farm had been inspired by the "Little House" series, so he visited Wisconson, learned about dairy farming, and started a dairy farm in Japan. However a few months before the Earthquake, he decided to sell his cows and start farming blueberries. He hired an American contractor to come and help build a replica of the cabin from the Little House series on his farm! Never did we ever think we would see something like this in Japan. We just happened to sign up for this blueberry farm visit, which happened to be owned by Hide, a lover of the Laura Ingalls Wilder book series, what a small world! Here are some pictures from that venture for your enjoyment.

Flea Market

After we had returned from the blueberry farm and eaten lunch, we headed to the seminar house (a building on the edge of campus where visiting groups stay) for a flea market! The ARI gospel choir, Minngos, performed, as well as other groups of volunteers. There were vendors present selling baked goods, furniture, clothes, art, books, etc. We bought delicious coffee and blueberry soda, homemade focaccia, clothes, and a coffee drip.

Soccer Game

To top off our eventful Saturday, we played a solid two hours of soccer! Right now there is a University group staying at ARI, and they organized a soccer game for us at a local field. There were probably too many people playing on the field, but we all enjoyed the exercise. Sorry no pictures to show here, too busy showin' off our mad soccer skills ;)

Multicultural Festival

This Sunday morning, we set off on our bikes to find a nearby park where a festival was being held. After turning around a few times, we finally made it to the park. There were vendors set up selling all kinds of foods and drinks, and different people singing and performing on stage. If it weren't for the fact that it was bright and sunny outside and we didn't have hats, we might have stayed longer. But we did stay long enough to enjoy a kakigoori (snowcone!).

For the rest of today, we will rest and prepare for tomorrow, when we will take a group trip to the river! Also, we want to give you a heads up of what is coming up in the next couple of weeks!

1) Next weekend: September 22, Opening Ceremony and Memorial Service. ARI sustained some damage from the earthquake and has since been working on rebuilding Koinonia, the dining hall/chapel/classroom. It is scheduled to be finished next weekend for this opening ceremony. In addition, the ceremony is also honoring a former ARI director who passed away.

2) Weekend after next: September 28-30, Doug and Jenny's anniversary trip to Nikko. We will be celebrating our one year anniversary in a couple of weeks and have decided to take a little weekend trip! Nikko is a town about an hour and a half away by train, with lots of hiking trails, onsens, and shrines to visit. We look forward to spending a few days together off the farm and seeing more of Japan!

3) Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration (HTC): October 13-14, this is a HUGE annual event at ARI. It is a time when 800-1000 people will visit to eat, play games, tour the farm, and support the efforts of the ARI community. The first meeting for this event was the day after Doug and I arrived in Japan. So we have been actively planning for this event essentially since we got here (although, we are sure they technically plan all year round). The next couple of weeks we will be very busy with weekly meetings and hands on preparation for the event. Jenny is on the food committee, Cordon Bleu, and Doug is on the worship and logistics committee, Great Angel. We will be talking about this in the coming weeks, so consider this your formal introduction!

4) Last but not least, we plan on posting again tomorrow our official ARI campus tour for you. We apologize for taking so long in showing you where and how we are living, but we hope you will have a better idea of those things after tomorrow.

Also, we've been enjoying PB&Js the last two Sundays, yummy!

PS. Wilson made it home safe to the Philippines where he was able to spend a couple of days with his wife before she passed. We are preparing letters to send early next week. Please keep Wilson and his family in your prayers as they embark on this healing process.

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