Monday, March 23, 2015

The Harbor View

We recently had a fun adventure.  We dropped the two zone leader elders at the harbor so they could take an overnight ship to visit the elders twelve hours away in Naze on Amamioshima Island.  There’s a large floor sleeping area below deck, so they “camp out” for the night.  The winds were very strong, but they made the trip back and forth safely. 

We also walked along the sea wall path.  It was beautiful, with palm trees and a setting sun.  We felt like we were in some “dreamy” faraway, exotic place.  Wait a minute . . . we are in a faraway place—Japan!

It was also interesting to see the volcano from a different view. 

The weather was funny this week.  It was sixty degrees one day, and two days later forty degrees and snow flurries.  Several days after that we had volcano “ash and rain.”  (Some call it Haiame.  Hai is volcanic ash, and ame is rain).  We couldn’t see out of the car windows because of the muddy rain.  We had to wipe them off several times. 

A panoramic view of the walkway.


The elders and the friends they already made on the ship before departing.
Leaving the dock. 
The ferry passing in front of the volcano. 
Looking back at Kagoshima City from the harbor.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Volcano's Influence

The volcano, Sakurajima, is such a big part of the tourism and the culture of this Kagoshima area.  It is always on people’s minds as it looms so largely on the landscape from almost every angle.  And we think about it each morning as we look out our window to see which way the ash is blowing or just to see how the sunlight and shadows will play on it, hour by hour during the day.  One person told us recently that when she sees it in the morning she is grateful for one more day of life.  Images of the volcano seem to be everywhere on logos for businesses, calling cards, billboards, and most things that are products of this area.  It appears in a lot of artwork.  We recently attended a Japanese Washi Paper Art Exhibit, which was amazing, but we were struck by how many of these beautiful pieces of delicate art had the volcano in them.  (Washi paper is a very fine colored paper which is torn into very small fine pieces and pasted on to make the picture.  Even the small leaf veins portrayed are individual threads of fine paper).  As you look at it each day you can’t help but think of the beauty and power of nature, and for us the awesome power of God’s creations.  We too are grateful for one more day, to share God’s love for the people here.

A Stained Glass Piece of Art in the Shinkansen Train Station. 

The entrance to one of the tunnels on the freeway into the city.

Japanese Washi Paper Art.


A view of the volcano from our church this past week.