Shinjuku

I have grown to like Shinjuku. It is one of 23 wards in Tokyo. However, it does not seem befitting to describe it as a ward when on its own Shinjuku carries the presence, energy and features of a big city. If Shinjuku is just one of the many wards, then Tokyo must be massive! My fondness of Shinjuku has been derived from a concoction of recent memories and reflections. So, here are a few that come to mind…

Jellies and Doughnuts

In our work trips, my colleagues and I usually reside at Citadines (if it isn’t fully booked), a small hotel, whose rates are reasonable in expensive Tokyo and is located in a quieter part of Shinjuku. And for those who take pride with Singapore brands, Citadines is owned by a company from the little red dot. The hotel has the availability of a convenience store adjacent to it. This is not uncommon since convenience stores like Seven-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson are into the tens of thousands across the land of the rising sun. They are a traveler’s constant companions. It is almost a ritual for me to visit this next door store in the evening to buy at least one cup of fruit jelly since consuming these gelatins is my way to end the day. These jelly cups are not only embedded with generous amount of fruit, they are refreshingly delicious without emitting the taste of preserved fruits.Continue reading “Shinjuku”

Peace in the midst of Rumblings

Since March 11 there have been hundreds of aftershocks. This is my seventh time visiting Japan and I might finally get to experience the earth rumble. I stole the word from Clinton Shi’s pre-departure facebook status: “All set and ready to rumble, I hope” It is not that I am looking forward to earthquakes or aftershocks but in all my previous visits, the earth had maintained a relative calm. The Bible speaks about a calm (peace) that passes all understanding.

Checking in at Changi International, I was greeted with the information from fellow peacemakers that the radiation levels at the Fukushima plant had been raised to the highest rating. That integrated into our understanding. While having lunch at Changi, the server inquired about our flight destination and upon knowing where we were heading for, continued with a response that she and her girlfriend had cancelled their trip to Japan because they were “afraid to die”.Continue reading “Peace in the midst of Rumblings”

Going

Tomorrow afternoon, we leave for Japan. It is a short trip, just five days. We’ll be there to meet up with some friends in Tokyo and help with relief work in the area near Sendai. There is really not much we can do in such a short time but we do hope that our intentional going will provide a “being there” kind of support to our old and new friends in Japan.

Two Sundays ago, our local church’s congregants donated graciously and generously in an one event mission financing project – Hope for a Broken World: Japan. Churches and mission agencies will honestly and humbly admit that funding are vital for sustaining their operations in bringing hope to the broken. However, while mission financing must never be abandoned, it must not excuse us from going. Likewise, the goers should not excuse themselves from financial participation.Continue reading “Going”