Olympics Logo
Since I was in Beijing this summer and saw the Olympics logo OVER AND OVER AGAIN, this cartoon posted at Japundit was absolutely hilarious to me, though a bit violent. If you aren't grossed out by the site of cartoon blood, check it out and laugh a lot.


written by Ruthie @ 7:46 PM   0 comments
Colossians 1:15-20

I love pancakes. I love to make them, and I love to eat them. My grandfather taught me how to make the best pancakes: lots of butter, eggs, milk, sugar, and flour. It’s a tradition for my family to make pancakes together. When I make pancakes in my kitchen here in Japan, I think of my family.

When I make pancakes, I also think of creation. I have the power to make something good, something I love. I can do what I want with the pancakes—I can eat them with syrup or marmalade or salad dressing or with nothing on top. I can make two or ten pancakes. I can make them like a circle, or an oval, or like Mickey Mouse’s head. I have complete power over the pancakes.

The example of my kitchen and the pancakes is similar to God’s connection to His creation. God creates humans with complete power. He can make them any way He wants. He also loves the humans, and thinks fondly of them. But in this example, how do the humans feel? Think again about pancakes. Can the pancakes understand why I created them? Can the pancakes understand the great power I have over them? Can the pancakes understand the love I feel for them? No. It is impossible.

Although my power over the pancakes is much less than God’s power over humans, this example is still an enlightening one: the created thing can never understand the creator. Moreover, the created thing can never have the same power as the creator. The pancakes will never be able to create pancakes of their own. The pancakes will never understand the person who created them, or even why they were created. The creation can never understand the creator.

Now think of a computer. A computer is much more complex than a plate of pancakes. A computer can remember information, perform tasks, obey the user. Even so, the computer can never understand who created it or why it was created. The creation can never understand the creator.

Now look at today’s passage. This passage speaks of an amazingly powerful God. He is invisible, He created all things, He is the head of all things. I cannot even begin to understand this God. Have you ever thought about how big the God of the Bible must be? I cannot even imagine it. I can’t understand why he created me. I can’t understand how big His power is. I can’t understand how deep his love is. I cannot understand the bigness of my creator. I am like a plate of pancakes.

Sometimes I hear people say that they can’t believe in Christianity because they can’t understand God. I think it is a good thing that I can’t understand God. He is so much more powerful than me, and He loves me. He cares for me and wants what is best for me.
I’m glad I don’t understand God. I know that He understands me. Even if I don’t understand God, it’s ok, because I know he loves me.


written by Ruthie @ 9:08 PM   1 comments
I had the sudden realization today that I will not once during my twenty-third year of life set foot in my native country. The thought crept up on me, struck me unawares. I don't know how to feel about this. A whole year in a foreign country, on foreign soil. A whole year outside of my homeland. An entire, consecutive year consumed by Japan. All the years from 1 to 22 were spent in the United States--over half of those in Iowa. Then all of a sudden year 23 and parts of year 22 and 24 are in this totally different, often bizarre environment. I don't really know if this thought is extraordinarily significant or not. It really surprised me, though.

Sometimes I have a vague suspicion that my body knows its in unknown territory and is silently rebelling. My stomach definitely talks more in Japan. I don't know if that's because I generally eat less food here or because my stomach is revolting against seaweed, konyaku and miso shiro. If I were my stomach, I'd revolt too. That stuff doesn't qualify as food in my book.
written by Ruthie @ 8:44 AM   0 comments
I see this type of fountain at a lot of shrines. It must be lucky or holy or something. All I know is that it looks super cool.


written by Ruthie @ 5:19 AM   1 comments
For a brief, shining moment this evening before I transferred money home, I was a millionaire.

In Japanese yen.

Converted to US dollars, I'm only a ten thousandaire. Nothing to sneeze at, but not a millionaire.

I must say, however, that not having to worry about money is a great feeling. In college I scraped by every month on my work-study paycheck-- half of which went to paying bills, and the other half went to personal expenses (deodorant, underwear, chocolate-covered granola bars, etc.). About once a semester I almost vomited from being so worried about not being able to make an interest payment or not having enough money to stretch to the next paycheck. Now that I am in a full-time, salaried position, I never have to worry about running out of money. I do, however, have to keep myself from buying frivolous stuff even more than I did when I had almost no spending money. Because I know I have money to burn, it is sometimes difficult not to buy another cute Engrish T-shirt or buy more origami paper or eat out at MOS Burger again. Still, I'd rather be in my current situation than be flat broke.
written by Ruthie @ 5:09 AM   0 comments
Art Exhibit
Yesterday Ami and I were wandering around in the mall when we stumbled upon this cool art exhibit on the fifth floor:The artist was there, and she spoke English well, so we chatted a bit about her work. She said she wanted to create a very comfortable piece of art that people could walk around in and enjoy. She also invited us to lounge in the bathtubs in the piece:


written by Ruthie @ 12:12 AM   1 comments
Osaka is often referred to as the "concrete jungle." I actually went to Osaka to take the GRE, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to do sight-seeing, but I really enjoyed what I saw. The most famous tourist spot in Osaka-- and actually, in all of Japan, so a tourist guidebook told me-- is the Osaka Castle. Built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi and rebuilt by the Tokugawa regime, the castle dates back to the 1500s and was the site of several battles. It was completely renovated (including the installation of two elevators and air conditioning) ten years ago to boost the tourist industry there. Probably the greatest part about the castle is the huge park it is situated in. It was like Osaka's Central Park. From the top of the castle I could see the whole park and the city stretched out beyond it. Very cool.
People also complain about Osaka because there isn't a whole lot of touristy stuff there to do. I was only in Osaka for about two days, but I really enjoyed my time there. Lots of great shopping and restaurants, nice people, easy to get around, and some fun tourist stuff, as well. But it was definitely a concrete jungle:


written by Ruthie @ 1:49 AM   1 comments
Magnet Poem
My new colleague brought some magnetic poetry with her to put up in the English Lounge. Here's the first magnet poem, written by yours truly:

We imagine wild wishly walking
through rain and corn and castles
we whisper very different onces & nevers
like a yellow sky and a green snow


written by Ruthie @ 10:59 PM   1 comments
My Enemy
This morning as I was preparing for another day at school, I glanced into my water closet (that's right: I have a separate little room for the toilet. How quaint) and caught a glimpse of an unfamiliar brown spot on the wall. It was a massive spider. The diameter must have been close to the size of a golf ball. I stifled a gasp, then quickly grabbed some tissues off the back of the toilet tank (note: it's a good idea to keep tissues in this spot, just in case you run out of toilet paper. I know this from experience). I looked again at the spider, dropped the tissues, and grabbed a sandal from the entryway. I was going to rub out this spider's life as swiftly as possible.

Of course, since I'm a horrible aim, I missed the spider on the first try. And the second. And third. But on the fourth try, just before he disappeared behind the toilet, I squashed him against the wall, leaving slimy bits of leg on the bottom of the shoe.

As I started to breathe again, I realized I was tingling all over. I was seriously freaked out by this massive spider. But, after my heart rate returned to normal, and feeling like I had conquered a foe, I turned to walk away from the bathroom. Suddenly something at my feet caught my eye and I screamed.

It was a piece of string stuck to the bottom of my foot. I am such a wimp.


written by Ruthie @ 10:40 PM   2 comments
Test of Doom
I came.

I saw.


And I did better on the actual test than the practice tests I took. So I'm happy. And very glad it's over. On to writing statement of purpose essays and filling out applications!
written by Ruthie @ 4:49 AM   1 comments
On the way...
When I see the clouds from above, I feel two things: 1) that there really is a god. 2) that I need to thank him for this.


written by Ruthie @ 7:19 AM   1 comments
Abe to resign
After months of the Japanese public "screaming" (though the Japanese rarely actually scream) for Abe's resignation, he finally gives in. BBC has the story. Japundit has a possible explanation for the resignation.
written by Ruthie @ 3:03 AM   2 comments
Test Mania
I am taking the GRE this weekend. I'm a little freaked out because I have to travel to Osaka to take it, so not only am I taking a very difficult, stressful, standardized test, but I'm taking it in a strange city. I'm staying in a hostel called the Sumo Backpacker's Club. According to the map there's a Starbucks nearby, so I plan to spend the evening before the test there studying. The test itself is three hours long, and includes two writing sections, a math section and a "verbal" section (analogies, antonyms, and reading comprehension).

And when THAT's done I can start studying for the Japanese proficiency test I will be taking in December. This test is written entirely in Japanese. There's listening, writing, and reading comprehension. And I have to memorize a buttload of new kanji (borrowed Chinese characters). But I think it will look good on resumes to have a proficiency in such a difficult language. Plus, it's a fun challenge that will keep me occupied for a few months.
written by Ruthie @ 8:29 PM   1 comments
I am what I like to call a "token foreigner" at Baiko High School. Being a token foreigner means I have my picture taken at public events to show that the high school has it's very own full-time foreign teachers (so it must be a good school!). I often wonder what happens to these photos, and today while cruising the Baiko website I found them: Ruthie in action! Teaching a writing class!

The witless foreigner being guided through the yukata-tying process.

The whole group of foreigners on stage for the Japanese elementary students to gawk at in a mixture of awe and fear.


written by Ruthie @ 9:03 AM   4 comments
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven (天公園)is where the Emperors and Empresses of China went to worship. Along with the Great Wall, the temple has become the symbol of China, seen on billboards and posters for many different Chinese organizations.
It cost us 15 kuai to get into the park, but it cost another 20 kuai to get into the enclosed area that included the temple. Rachel and I decided it was enough to take pictures from the outside.

The park was absolutely beautiful, and quiet. I enjoyed it much more than the Forbidden City because it was so peaceful, uncrowded, clean, well-kept-- if you are planning a trip to Beijing, I highly recommend stopping at the Temple of Heaven.
Like the rest of Beijing, the Temple of Heaven park had to have a little Olympic spirit. I thought this bicycling dude was pretty cool. If you look through the middle of the sculpture you can see the temple.

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written by Ruthie @ 8:58 AM   1 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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