My Life in Japan

The Ins and outs of my time here in Japan.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What we have to look forward to...*jokes*

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Not quite the scenario or picture you envisioned of u and your loved one growing old together aye?

Well you know what they say... " Different strokes for different folks!"

Some of us if we are lucky will just grow old, then there are those fortunate ones who have the together part down to T. As for the rest we're just gonna have to find that other half first and then decide if we wanna do both together..*jokes*
image hosting Not every body's relationship sours as the years go by some fall deeper and deeper into love coz the years have brought understanding and acceptance. Love is not always doomed there are many couples who have managed to live happily ever after.

So I say live well coz we might not live long and live close by even if we can't live together but most of all just live we all have different ideas on how to do it but as long as we live happy, healthy and productive lives we can figure out how to make the most of it (ie:find out what gives meaning to ur, work, faith, etc) as we each go through our respective journeys.

Have a great one people. Over and out.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Terrific Thursday June 1.

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Quarter break is just a couple of days away. Come Thursday, we are off to Oita Nogyo Bunka Koen or "Oita Agricultural Park" which is like 45 minutes away. It is a lovely place they have tucked away here coz it looks like part of the country side has been transplanted to the middle of this concrete jungle.

It's a vast tranquil area with fruit trees, and soft waters winding their way through the compound like a snake pursuing some unseen prey. Lush gardens with butterflies dancing on flower petals and windmills like a scene out of the "Man from La Mancha" (the adorable but wacky Don Quixote) There are several well placed gazeebos enhancing the beauty of the landscape. Fun slides and rides for the young and old alike. There are Butterflies displays, ice cream parlours and other stalls in the main complex. Yep there's something for everyone.

But I am getting ahead of myself meaning "we" I am referring to our Friday Family Fellowship Group. This will be our 4th Camp and a perfect opportunity to get re-aquainted with each other as we have been busy with school. It is also a fun way to get to know our new members. As in all our past camps we invite both Christians and non christians alike, as well as APU and non APU students.
"Elsa at the Park our excercise for the day"

Registration Fees is only 2000 yen or $17 dollars but it's really a sweet deal.The cottages are spacious, elegant and clean. The grounds as I have mentioned before are just breath taking, there's lots of leisure acrivities that one can partake in. The meals which we will prepare ourselves will be awesome I just know it. (I'm in charge of the food so you can bet it's gonna be good) We are gonna have, chicken stew, pasta primavera, saladimage hosting

baked lambblog Layouts , thai curry and good ole sapasui he!he! yum yum..
We will have our bible study, group sessions, men/women sharing time, meditation hour, quite time, personal time, group talent shows, country performances,testimony presentations. Lots of singing, games, fun you name it. I know that we will have 3 fabulous days and 2 wonderful nights. I pray for great weather but rain or shine I believe we will have a grand time.

"Maro's cake from Indra, Chica and baby Wira"
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My husband's birthday is today but the poor man is at work. I feel for him but he's willing to work on his birthday so that he can have Thursday & Friday off to join the Camp. We can celebrate his birthday there instead but we did have a fun time yesterday after church. We my husband, Mark and I went to Fresh Burger a great new place downtown. After that it was off to see Da Vinci Code at 4:40pm. Malolo fell asleep half way thru.. ummm after paying $15 bucks I made sure he was up for the remaining one and half hours. Had late dinner with our fambam around nine in the evening with lots of ice cream and cake courtesy of Felise n Shiori n Yoshiaki. The gurls made yummy salad again. I still owe him a present but I am such a good wife he says its all he needs *jokes*
Moving along I am excited to be out in them wide open spaces again I have one paper that needs to be in by Wednesday so I guess I better go over it again. I don't want to spend any time thinking about school requirements while I am camp. I am looking forward to being refreshed...rejuvinated..revitalized. Maybe to catch up on much needed sleep but I so want to take advantage of the beautiful natural surroundings I might forgo the notion of sleep. But for now I have to start rummaging thru our dresser to pack the clothes we need, toothbrush etc etc.


As I have mentioned Camp is Thursday 1st June. Though it will only be Wed 31st back home..I still want to wish everyone a "safe and enjoyable Independence Day!"
blog layout God Bless Samoa: from the Head of State and his deputies,to the PM and his Cabinet. The Honorable Members of Parliament. Church Leaders, Traditional Chiefs, Heads of Depts, Parents, children, the aged, this sick, the disabled, wealthy the healthy, teen agers, govt workers, private companies/businesses, foreign expats, prisoners. cops, nurses, whatever be ur ambition or present status in life. If you are Samoan I wish you a fun time.
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I miss watchin' the early morning parades. It remains one of my fondest memories of my dad sitting on his shoulders watching excited faces pass by, the long boat races, the brass bands and marching girls competitions, school performances etc.

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Reminiscing about special days like the Independence Celebrations makes me pray even more that God will grant me the opportunity to bring my little girl home one day so that she can eat sugar cane and lopa. Peel some mandarin oranges and buy BBQ on da roadside while watching the colorful parades go by as I used to do.
image hosting "Ia faamanuia le Atua ia Samoa ma lana Sisiga Fua"
Best of luck to our Guard of Honor during Inspection time. Hopefully this year no one will faint. To me that has become like a classic feature of the Celebrations, like the Papauta girls with their talcum powdered hankies and the Avele Boys with their insgnia yellow seashell necklaces.
blog LayoutsGod Bless all of us. Long Live the People of Samoa.
Till next time.
Fa laia.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

I love Rugby.

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Watched the Finals of Rugby's Super 14,blog Layouts Hurricanes versus Crusaders... oh did I say watch it was more like tried to, as the conditions were deplorable. I can't believe that the final game was allowed to be played in such poor weather. It was so foggy that all I could make out for most of the time were little bits of red n yellow all mangled up together.

I know that it would've been difficult for the players to agree to cancel the game coz of the thousands fans who turned up but boy, what a match it would have been had visibility been at 100%. But the game is over and the Crusaders Team once again have proven the mettle. It's congratulations to them and they deserve their win but you also gotta hand it to Rodney n his boyz they came out fighting and kept the top team tryless right up till the last 20 minutes of the game. Tana Umaga, Jerry Collins, Weepu,Maa, Isaia Toeava n the others went out hard and gave it their best. They should all be proud of what they have managed to achieve during this Super 14 Tournament. It was one of their best performances ever.

Though I was rootin' for the underdogs the 'canes I wasn't upset when the Crusaders won as the only try was from Casey Laulala (Samoan decent), there's also Mose Tuialii and a couple of other boyz with Hamo blood in them in the Canterbury side. Don't know if they have been to Sa lately but I'm proud of their skills anywayz.

I love rugby all kinds of rugby :union 15 and 7 aside, touch, league... I miss watching live games (ie: sitting at the stadium screaming your lungs out!!) lol.. but thankfully the Japanese are into rugby as well now. They have lots of foreign players playing for diff clubs here.. they must be paid good money as Leon Mac Donald, Willie O (former Wallaby) and other seasoned players of great calibre have signed up with wealthy clubs like : Sony, Coca Cola, Sanix, Kubota, Panasonic etc.

There are a lot of Tongan nationals also playing for these teams a few Samoans but I wish more of our talented youngsters/players would find their way over so that they can earn some good money for their families. A three year contract with the possibility of an extension is a good opportunity to fatten up one's bank account.
I wish the SRU would find a way to get some of our boys over here.

Congratz again to both teams for a fine effort despite the lousy conditions.
Ps/this fiercely contested game highlights the fact that New Zealand has so much talent to choose from. The skills and strength displayed by the players will ensure the All Blacks remain a force to be reckoned with in the Rugby world.
I don't envy the job of the NZ selectors but I wish our local selectors had the same pool of talent to choose from.

For our "Manu Samoa" I hope and pray that we will be able to field and send a formidable team that will live up to the proud legacy our past reps have worked so hard to establish.
I can't wait for the next World Cup.
Rugby Rocks what can I say...
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Day.

Had a quiet morning, didn't do much but sit, eat n blogg while contemplating my status as a student studying in a foreign land. Why now??? I guess I am still hung up on how the spectrum of life can change in the blink of an eye. How we could be on top of the world one minute and then find ourselves in the dung heap the next.
blog Layouts Take for example the Samoan student now on possible charges of manslaughter for the death of her newborn baby which she tried to dispose.
How far can this moment in her life be, from when she first discovered that she's one of the precious few to covet a scholarhip to study in New Zealand??
How half way through her studies she finds herself in a totally alien and scary situation.
How difficult and heartbreaking it must be for her, to bear witness to her own life spiraling out of control landing her in a nightmare that is able to perpetuate itself even while she's awake.
How many times must she replay that fateful scene in her head wishing she take could take it all back.
How riddled her heart must be with a sense of shame, guilt n remorse.
How painful the images she is inwardly processing, the pain amplified as the faces of her loved ones becomes clearer in her mind's eye.
blog I love the Samoan word for students and other people sent overseas to study/work etc
Hosted by SparkleTags.comLupe Faalele
I don't exactly know the direct english translation for this term but the image that comes to mind are little white doves being set free to soar.
The only thing that troubles me is, what happens if one of the doves hits a snag along the way and break one of its wing? Who will help it to heal?
What if they get caught in a trap and is unable to free itself? Should it be retrieved?
What if they get lost who will lead them home?
What if one returns home without an olive branch how will it be received?
Though I am speaking metaphorically I really hope the answers are positive. At least for my sake.
blog Not everybody can breeze through Uni. There are those who's characters are tailor made for the world of higher learning. Then there are people like me who need to give it a 101% each time in order to make it but can only cough up so much as 51% as my poor brain has but a few functioning cells remaining as the rest were fried in the last 2 decades.
blog As Fotu mentioned there is a lot of additional weight that we bring with us on our initial trips to college/uni, aside from the apa pisupos that our mama's stuff in between our clothers just incase we are not used to the food or get hungry in da middle of the night. (God bless all our mummies) The expectation of parents, villages, govt plus families who've already worked out which office you'd work for and how much ur likely to earn can weigh heavy on the minds of the young and eager to please Sons and Daughters of Samoa.

After two degrees it hasn't gotten any easier for me. Every time I sleep in, I can distinctly hear my mom's voice my very own built in alarm system saying " Nofo i luga e te fiu lava e moe pea oo mai le oti, taimi lenei faaaoga lelei aso mai le Atua aua ele mafai ona toe maua mai"
Get up you can sleep all u want when u are dead. Use wisely each God given day becoz once they're gone they are lost forever." Learned a lot from my dear old mama hope I can pass on the same constructive advice to my litte girl when she is old enough to appreciate it.
image hostingI have never been on a Samoan govt scholarship though. I have been real fortunate yes extremely blessed. I was on an AUSAID scholarship when I did my B.Admin in Australia @ James Cook University, my M.Sc and presental Doctoral pursuit I owe to the generosity of the Japanese people via the Mombukagakusho or MEXT Scholarship. Though I am not obligated to go back to Samoa and work as I am not a party to the usual govt bond I will gladly go home if there is a job there for me. Samoa is my heart and I am fiercely patriotic (can u tell?? har har) Though the money one makes back home in a year is like a fraction of what u can earn here in a few months. I don't mind going back home to some obscure cubicle or shared office somewhere.
blog layouts Though I am not here on our local tax payers blood n sweat.(or is it $$ from other ODA's diverted to the Education system ?!?) It's even more difficult for me as I see on a day to day basis the elderly Japanese doing menial jobs. I constantly find myself thinking "its their money..don't fail..its their money".
Hosted by SparkleTags.comRitsumeikan Asia Pacific University is a private University so the tuition fees are a much higher than the public ones. My tuition fee is 700,000 yen per semester (abt $6,500 USD)multiply that by 6 semesters as the program is 3 years. The total comes to 4,200,000 yen about $40,000 USD. To me that's a lot of money, my papa don't have that kind of doe so I am very grateful for the financial assistance. I don't know how to repay it except to do well and finish strong.
image hosting I am half way through my program (wheww!!but I know I will need a whole lotta prayers to make it through. I also need to read my Bible
blog Layoutsdaily and Trust in the Lord to take care of my needs. I know I will need a lot of prayers so please send some my way. Well it won't be long now so I guess I better dig deep and do what I need to do. I have to stop procrastinating it will come back and bite me in the @$$ one day.
Anyways keep you loved ones close and thank the Lord for his many blessings every single day.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where do we Turn? Who do we Turn To?

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After reading Jody's blog today about the Samoan student who after giving birth to her baby tried to hide it in the garden outside her dormitory brings a lot of unsettling questions to mind.
Like who does one turn to in times of trouble when they are too scared or too ashamed to ask help from family and friends?
Who can they share their burden with whilst being assured of discretion and absolute confidentiality? (is this possible?!**)

One of the first thoughts that came to my mind was a story my momma told us when me and my sisters were young (Yes I once was young mom was very open with us concerning all aspects of life,love, marriage etc.
She touched upon the topic of pregnacny one day n said "Should one of you fall pregnant and if whoever knocks you up" * not her words but u get my drift* " does not want to marry u or acknowledge the child. Your father and I (dad was not part of the conversation nor was he anywhere near) will take care of you and your baby. However if it happens again, it will mean 2 things 1: You still have not learned and are extremely gullible or 2: you actually like it and with that you will have closed the door on yourself " (dear old mom never one to sugar coats her words)

Anyways on with the story : When she was working at our National Hospital back in the days there was an English nurse who was also a nun who worked in the Maternity Ward. My mom said that whenever a young girl in labor was brought in she could feel how uncomfortable the other nurses on shift were. She discerned the same look on the faces of those bringing in the young mothers to be. Sad aye?

This was not so with the English nun, mom went on to say how she'd tend to the patients so tenderly and with her limited knowledge of the language tried to comfort and encourage them. The memory that has stayed with me was what the nun said to one particularly distressed girl of about 19.

After giving birth the girl refused to hold or even look at her baby. After the baby was cleaned up the nun brought the child to his mother for his first feeding. The girl refused to take the baby until the nun said ..."Tilotilo i lau pepe, fai mai le Atua o o'u foliga na ua avatu e foliga iai lau tama. E faamanatu atu ai lou alofa ia te oe"
" Look at your baby, I have given him my face to remind you that I love you!"
Yes love can cover all.
Hosted by SparkleTags.comPerhaps God did not really say that but its not impossible, even if that nun just said it to make that young mother feel better. How wonderful it must have sounded to someone who must've been carrying a heavy load of guilt n shame.

I wish someone, anyone had spoken a word of encouragement to that young student.
How different things might have turned out.
This is a problem that needs fixing NOW before another precious life is lost or destroyed. It can happen to anyone, to people we love and care about.
Hosted by SparkleTags.comMy daughter was born in the first year of my Masters Degree my situation was a little different as I had a fabulous support team. Koyu, Line, Nydia, Edna, Patricia and the rest of the Crew. There were some difficult moments but everything worked out in the end.

In recognition of my heartfelt gratitude I named my daughter after the girls Kolinyedcia in abbreviation of all their names. It wasn't much but at the time it was the only thing a financially strapped student & new mother could come up with.
But in all seriousness I too needed help to sort everything out. In retrospect of my situation compared to that of this poor student in Otago I belive I was mighty blessed.

2 and half years later. My family all together...One degree down and one to go, my daughter has become a naughty lil' minx (quoting Mr Simon Cowell of American Idol) healthy and happy. Everyday I learn something new about myself whenever I am with her hopefullys she's learning something too. As mentioned in an earlier post Kolinyedcia has her own place in our University. She's coveted the distinguished Title of APU
Hosted by SparkleTags.comGetting back to the issue : My prayer is that this young girl with help from God, her family and friends will be able to get herself together and move past this dark episode. Granted it will not be easy but from the shards of her old life she can forge a brand new one.
Little sister I pray that you will be comforted
image hosting We all make mistakes, some life threatning others not so serious. How we deal with it is sometimes influenced by the reaction of others (family /close friends/society etc.) Usually we can get ourselves off the ground if someone puts out a helping hand.

So please don't knock someone who is already down.
Don't sneer or laugh when someone even those you are not very fond of get in trouble.
Somebody somewhere quoted "If Malice had a physical shape it would be that of a boomerang"
Please spare a kind word or always have one on reserve. You never know one of the people you may have spoken to within the course of a day would sincerely appreciate it.
images Note to self : Be a little more sensitive, a little more understanding, forgiving patient and generous.
No I am not striving for sainthood (my halo is still intact) *jokes* Nah we have enough of those self proclaimed "Purrrfect Beoble" already.
Hosted by SparkleTags.comLife is not always easy but most of the troubles that some consider insurmountable can actually be worked out given time and patience. Some parents can and do get over the shock of a pregnant daughter though a little disappointment may linger it is usually washed away once they see the little baby's face.
Even the coldest heart can melt at the sight of these immensely cute little creatures
People will talk, some will point fingers, other will turn up their noses others will pretend not to know you but all these obstacles can be overcome with a little faith in urself and a lot on da man above.
image hostingAll I can say is that for those who insist on carrying on with their fia kanak ways they'll just have to bite the bullet for as they say in France "cest la vie". Yup yup get ur heads out of the sand people we are living in the 21st century.
There are more devastating probs to consider such as how to change the ignorant minds of the NCC and let the sachiks watch DVC *jokes*

Pregnancy is the natural result of having unprotected sex. Lesson well learned no need to rub it in. Not being able to watch a movie coz a bunch of old guys think they know u better than u know urself is not natural and has to be remedied. But I'll strobbit there as this poor topic is like already been thoroughly discussed.
Hosted by SparkleTags.comSo in answer to my question where do we turn, who do we turn to??
Hopefully to :
- loving & understanding parents.
- Loyal and trusting friends.
- an Accepting and forgiving church
- a responsible and supportive partner/boy friend/sperm donor etc
- a compassionate support group initiated by govt.
- our everloving ever forgiving God who clearly states in Isaiah 43:25
" I even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."
So when you are tired of looking around.. look up!
image hosting For everyone who has been touched by this tragedy. Let us all strive to do what we can to prevent this from ever happening again.
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