Is it day one or day two? It might even be day three. Jet lag and travelling time zones does that to you. Anyway, yesterday I arrived in Japan, and made my way to Hikone.
A taste of Hikone
Hikone’s a nice enough place, a fairly big city dominated by a castle which this year is celebrating its 400th anniversary. The area around the castle is quite touristy, with old-fashioned buildings and beautiful clean plazas; moving away from the castle you get to Bell Road, another main shopping street, and just of Bell Road is Megumi Christian Church, where I’ll be based for the next two weeks.
The pastors at Megumi are Martin and Julie Crowhurst, a couple I first met when I came here in 2003, and who are also the WEC field leaders in Japan. I have nothing but good things to say about Martin and Julie, not least because I know they read this blog.
Saturday was spent wandering around and sleeping, but today is a Sunday so it’s my first day of work - our regular musician was unavailable today and so I had to fill in on the piano at short notice. It was not our greatest musical moment!
I also managed to get a chance to show my face over at Nagahama church, which is where I’ll be working in the medium term. The plan is to stay here in Hikone until the WEC field conference at the beginning of May, sorting out orientation and determining my schedule - and probably doing a few computer bits and pieces with Martin as well! - and then move over to Nagahama after conference.
Nagahama is quite an industrial city, with many Latino migrant workers. It’s got the cheapest taxes in the area, yet the council seem to be putting on lots of amenities and activities. And the church in Nagahama is growing - they have four different congregations, the largest of which is broken up into cell groups. People in the church seemed to already know me - some I remembered from 2003, but many who have been following my progress and praying for me for a while now.
Fun fact: Nagahama is pretty much only famous for “Nagahama ramen”, a noodle dish. Unfortunately, Nagahama ramen doesn’t come from Nagahama city. It comes from a beach called Nagahama in Fukuoka prefecture, nowhere near here. So it’s actually famous for… well, nothing, really. But it’s home.