First Japan Email
Posted below is a copy of my first Japan mass email. I know I forgot people in this email, so I wanted to post it here also. If you regularly read this blog and would like to recieve email updates, please reply with an email address. I would love to litter your inbox with long, syrupy letters full of my Asian Exploits.

After a lot of thinking, a lot of working at HyVee, and a lot of paperwork, I am going to Japan. I still need to get my visa, but I plan to shove off around August 25. I will be teaching junior high and high school English in Shimonoseki for two years. I will be living in an apartment provided by Baiko Gakuin University, the school I will be teaching at. Here is my address and phone number. Please bug me. Or at least mail me something or call me so I know this address is correct.

Shimonoseki, Japan (zip code is 751-0827)
telephone: 0832-22-4506

Please pray for me as I go into a job I have no experience in. I didn't really intend to go into English teaching, but I have always wanted to live in another country, and many of you know I love Asian culture! All that to say... I am excited and nervous. Keep me in your thoughts.


written by Ruthie @ 12:00 PM   2 comments
The Da Vinci Code

Yes, I am halfway through the Dan Brown bestseller-recently turned box office flop. Before you cross your fingers in front of your face and hiss at me for reading a book by a heathen, I would like to expand on a few of my observations on the book:

1. Dan Brown is not a good writer. He writes like I imagine Michael Crichton would after a bad stroke. There are too many "surprises", too many attempts at cliffhangers, not enough down time for the reader. The dialogue, as my older brother says, "makes me want to vomit." I think the only reason Brown's book is "The #1 Worldwide Bestseller" (as the cover of the book purports) is because of the controversial contents, which brings me to my second point.

2. The ideas of the book are not really that controversial. Every couple of years, usually around Easter, another report about secret documents containing information that Christ's bones are hidden in Pittsburg or Pakistan try to overshadow the true reason for the celebration of Easter. Brown sensationalizes Indiana Jones-esque myths about the Holy Grail and secret societies that we have already heard, for crying out loud. His motive seems to be a contempt for the church, but that's another thing I have noticed:

3. Brown doesn't really understand the Christian faith. In one section of the book, the main character, Robert Langdon, muses over the use of a cross symbol as odd in the Christian faith. "Langdon was always surprised how few Christians who gazed upon 'the crucifix' realized their symbol's violent history was reflected in its very name: 'cross' and 'crucifix' came from the Latin verb cruciare-- to torture" (Brown, 157). Duh. The reason Christians celebrate a symbol of torture is because we should have been the tortured ones, but instead "He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). So Christians rejoice in Christ's brutal and bloody death, just as we rejoice in His ressurection.

I'm only halfway through the book now, and when I'm finished I'll try to write a little more on the book if anything else comes to mind. Have any of you read the book or seen the movie? What did you think?

written by Ruthie @ 1:04 PM   3 comments
This post is extremely random.

I tried to make xi-fan yesterday morning. Xi-fan is a rice porridge that I had for breakfast a lot in China. They had a certain kind, ba bao xi-fan, that I really liked. Ba bao means "eight treasure;" the porridge had eight different "surprises" in it, like nuts and fruits. My recipe for xi-fan is this:

wash/drain white rice
cook the crap out of the rice
cook it some more
then put it in the microwave with a lot of water over it and pretend you're cooking oatmeal
add a generous helping of sugar
enjoy (but don't burn yourself)

It was sort of successful. It reminded me of mornings with Lynne or Junhua and my quest for bean-filled bao-zi. Oh, how I loved bao-zi.

I had an idea for a coffeetable book, or something people would buy at Barnes and Noble because it looked cool. I want a book that has "hello," "goodbye," "thank you," "please," "Where is the bathroom," "how much," some fun nouns, numbers 1-10, and maybe some fun facts on every language possible. Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Hindi, Swahili, Sudanese, Arabic, Pidgin, French, Portuguese, Czech, Bosnian, Afrikaans, Zulu, Spanish, you get the idea. The section for each country could also contain a map and some facts on the country, like currency and its value against the American dollar, population, major religions, current president, type of government, etc. I want a book like this because I like greeting people at HyVee in their own language. I can say "hello," "goodbye," "thank you," and "please" in Bosnian now, and yesterday I learned how to say "hello" in Vietnamese. I love learning languages, and I thought it would be fun to be able to say that I can say "hello" in twenty languages or something.

I have been housesitting for my aunt for two weeks now. Tomorrow I move back home. I am sad to go back to living with two boys and my parents. I have really enjoyed having my own place, my own dog, my own car, even taking care of a house all by myself. It makes me feel like I can really do this adult thing. I'm not as inept as I thought. I can survive a twenty-minute commute to and from work everyday. I can work forty hours a week. I can cook for myself. I can even buy my own alcohol and ice cream and have no one to tell me I can't. I use coupons and look for bargains at the grocery store, because I'm buying food with my own money. I water the lawn. I clean. And I like it. Oh, look! I'm a grown-up!


written by Ruthie @ 2:15 PM   2 comments

Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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