Monday, March 29, 2004

More on Uchimura Kanzo.

Kanzo published "Tokyo Independent Magazine" from June 1898 to July 1900. He criticized the corruption, mammonism, narrow-minded patriotism and imperialism of Japan's upper echelon of society and that of a government that was deeply influenced by the Samurai system, the army and the wealthy aristocracy. He was an advocate of freedom, equality, high ethics and morals, and made friends with many common people, such as farmers, fishermen, merchants and rikisha drivers.

Gutsy for those times.

And I thought this was kind of entertaining. His first trip to America in the late 19th century. He had learned English by reading Christian literature, and the only white folk he had ever met were missionaries, so he was expecting something akin to the promised land. But...

Yes, Hebraism in one sense at least I found to be a common form of speech in America. First of all, everybody has a Hebrew name, and even horses are christened there. The words which we have never pronounced without the sense of extreme awe and reverence are upon the lips of workmen, carriage-drivers, shoe-blacks, and others of more respectable occupations. Every little offence is accompanied by a religious oath of some kind. In a hotel-parlor we asked a respectable-looking gentleman how he liked the new president-elect (Cleveland), and his emphatic answer was strongly Hebraic. "By G-" he said, "I tell you he is a devil." The gentleman was afterward known to be a staunch Republican. We started in an emigrant train toward the East, and when the car stopped with a jerk so that we were almost thrown out of our seats, one of our fellow-passengers expressed his vexations with another Hebraism, "J- Ch-," and accompanied it with a stamping. And so forth. All these were of course utterly strange to our ears. Soon I was able to discover the deep profanity that lay at the bottom of all these Hebraisms, and I took them as open violations of the Third Commandment, of whose special use and significance I have never been able to comprehend thus far, but now for the first time, was taught with "living examples."

So universal is the use of religious terms in every-day speech of the American people, that a story is told of a French immigrant who carried an English-French dictionary in his pocket, to which he referred for every English word that he heard from the very beginning of his departure from Havre. On his landing at the Philadelphia wharf, the commonest word that he heard the people spoke was "damn-devil." He at once went to his dictionary, but failing to find such a word therein, he threw it away, thinking that a dictionary that did not contain so common a word must be of no further use to him in America.

The report that money was the almighty power in America was corroborated by many of our actual experiences. Immediately after our arrival at San Francisco, our faith in "Christian civilization" was severely tested by a disaster that befell one of our numbers. He was pick-pocketed of a purse that contained a five-dollar-gold piece! "Pick-pocket-ing in Christendom as in Pagandom," we cautioned to each other; and while in dismay and confusion we were consoling our robbed brother, an elderly lady, who afterward told us that she believed in the universal salvation of mankind, good as well as bad, took our misfortune heavily upon her heart, and warned us of further dangers, as pick-pocketing, burglary-ing, high-way-ing, and all other transgressions of the sinful humanity were not unknown in her land as well. We did only wish, however, that that crank who despoiled us of that precious five-dollar-piece would never go to heaven, but be really damned in everlasting hell-fire...

He founded the Mukyokai, the non-church movement in Japan. Sounds a lot like Japan's original Christian anarchist:

Non-Church Christians are known in Japan particularly for their uncompromising stand against social evils. Because they are not part of a religious institution, they are not concerned with institutional survival during times of turmoil and therefore feel free as individuals to speak out against moral and political corruption. They have maintained their spiritual and theistic perspective against the invading forces of materialism since the Meiji Era.

I remember when I came to Japan around five years ago, a lot of people hadn't even heard of email. But now, I go to a internet shop like this and pay two bucks an hour. And they let you watch DVD's or whatever you want in these little rooms. I tell ya, these folks are all about catching up...
Politics trumps Morality

... John Stewart and the Daily Show are still cracking me up. God bless them for streaming it on the internet...
Study: Stretching Doesn't Prevent Injuries

... settling an argument...

Sunday, March 28, 2004

WWII bomb disposed of in Nagoya, 2,600 evacuated

Sunday, March 28, 2004 at 12:40 JST
NAGOYA — About 2,600 Nagoya residents were evacuated Sunday morning as a Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) unit disposed of an unexploded bomb apparently dropped by the U.S. military during World War II.

The bomb squad defused the 1-ton bomb, which was about 180 centimeters long and roughly 60 cm in diameter, GSDF officials said. It contained about 500 kilograms of explosives. (Kyodo News)

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Monday, March 22, 2004

Tonight one of my students was talking about a well-known Japanese Christian who he deeply respected, Uchimura Kanzo. So I googled him and, well, looks like he might be my kinda guy:

He became concerned for the poor and handicapped, concerns which would stick with him through life. Back in Japan, he shied away from formal church settings, preferring what he called the "non-church." Believers need each other, yes, but not necessarily in the context of a brick or wood sanctuary.

Uchimura's confession of Christ cost him several jobs that he took rather than accept mission funds. He edited a Christian magazine of Bible studies, took a pacifist stand in the Japanese war with Russia, outraging his homeland. For years he preached to 500 or more people in a rented hall. His endeavors in behalf of the poor the suffering, and small nations won him worldwide recognition. Among his many books was How I Became a Christian. As a teacher, he influenced an entire generation of Japanese intellectuals, some of whom became Bible readers if not Christians.

He sounds a bit like a Japanese Kirkegaard...

Another renowned Japanese Christian I have come across, Kagawa Toyohiko, had some very similar elements in his biography. If these are the heroes of Japanese Christianity, Lord, I think you sent me to the right place.

For Kagawa, the cross symbolized the power of the love of Christ and the power of suffering for righteousness' sake. That is why he chose Japan's worst slums as his field of labor and lived among those he sought to help. Kagawa was not highly regarded in theological circles in Japan. Here is his own explanation. "There are theologians, preachers and religious leaders, not a few, who think that the essential thing about Christianity is to clothe Christ with forms and formulas. They look with disdain upon those who actually follow Christ and toil and moil, motivated by brotherly love and passion to serve. . .They conceive pulpit religion to be much more refined than movements for the actual realizations of brotherly love among men. . .The religion Jesus taught was diametrically the opposite of this. He set up no definitions about God, but taught the actual practical practice of love."

I like to read on the train, and recently I read mostly Japanese history. I know that reveals a bit of a nerdy tendency in me but hey, some people are fascinated by John Grisham, I am fascinated by history. So sue me.

Anyway, about two months ago, I had decided that all my train reading would be dedicated to studying Japanese. I am at stage of ability in Japanese that allows friendships to be built, but only in spite of embarrassingly poor Japanese. But it is a funny thing how a person can have so much motivation to read one thing that so many people find boring (history) while being unable to muster any focus for language learning. I read history because I just flat out like it; I can relax and enjoy it. Japanese I only learn because it is the path to communication with people I wish I knew better. If I could just download it into my brain and skip the learning process I very would.

So yesterday in Hiroshima I changed my mind. I quit with the only-Japanese-study-on-the-train bit, because I think the one helps the other along, makes it feel less like a chore.

So for those who care, you can likely expect a few history related posts...
Went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum on the weekend...

Masatada Asaeda

3rd Grade Student in 1945

When we were playing in the school ground, an airplane came, but we kept on playing, only saying "Why did they give the all-clear?" All of a sudden, there was something like lightening and I covered my face with my hands. When I opened my eyes and looked around, it was dark and I couldn't see anything. While I was feeling around in the darkness, it became light. I was thinking of going home, and I found that all the houses around me had been destroyed and fires were burning here and there.

I started running home, crying and calling, "Mother! Mother!" But I couldn't tell where my house had been. I just went around this way and that, and then I heard my sister calling my name. I was shocked when I saw her, because she was stained with blood all over. I looked at myself; the skin of both my arms and feet had peeled away and was hanging off. I didn't know what all this meant, and I was frightened, so I burst into tears. Meanwhile, Mother had crawled out from the pile of tiles and dragged an overcoat and Father's cloak out of a trunk and wrapped us in them.

We spent the night in Yasu Shrine in Gion. Because of their burns, everyone was crying for water all night. The next morning, we were taken by truck to a Buddhist temple in Kabe. That night, my sister died. How can I describe Mother's grief? How can I describe the horrible scenes I saw in the temple then? Who can imagine the miseries we went through except those who were there themselves? It is entirely beyond my power to put the terrible sight into words. Countless people suffering from burns and wounds, groaning with pain, their bodies covered with maggots, and dying in delirium, one after another. It was hell on earth.

Walking through the museum, I couldn't help but think, wow, this is how the "good guys" fight a war. If there was any doubt, this place helps to drive home the point that there are no good guys in war.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Hmmm. This article gives a pretty clear picture of what it means to be kingdom people living within various other kingdoms:

Politics per se are not the church's business. The church is not to preoccupy itself with results. It has not even to practice "pacifism," that is, reject arms with the object of stopping war. No, God expects only one thing of it: that it walk in obedience to the gospel, refusing violence in whatever form because of that obedience, without concerning itself with the consequences, good or bad, that such refusal may involve. Such faith puts into practice the justice that marks God's kingdom. The church's business is not to establish peace between the nations, but to bear witness to the love of God, to live in his peace and righteousness...

One might well imagine a scene at the Last Judgment, before the throne of God. There, side by side in the dock, are the state and the church. God addresses the state first, demanding an account of its crimes: "Why did you tolerate the exploitation of the poor? Why have you oppressed, persecuted, tortured, and murdered? Why did you make war on other nations, devastating their cities and killing by the millions?" The state will bow its head, knowing it has sinned, and will ask for pardon. It will also plead an extenuating circumstance. "The church here," it will argue, "never translated your commandments into practical deeds. It never prophesied or showed the way. Instead it became rich. It became an institution where earthly concerns tempered its zeal. It collaborated with me and gave me its blessing. It was because of its blindness that I went astray. I accept your judgment, but also ask that the church be more severely condemned."

Then God will turn to the church and say, "Why did you say nothing when you saw the rich in your midst exploiting the people? Why did you pretend not to know what the state was doing, how it was oppressing, imprisoning, and torturing? Why did your members take part in its wars? It was not your part to be the soldier's foot, the hand or the brain of the nuclear technician, the arm of the artilleryman or the pilot, but the clear-sighted eye, alert and ready to give the body of the state warning of the abyss toward which it was moving."

God will not relent. "You were my chosen one, but you have renounced your vocation. You were charged with a special mission, but you cast it aside. Like Jonah, it was your fault that the storm broke loose and the ship almost foundered. If Jonah had not repented, Nineveh would not have heard his message, would not have repented, and would have been destroyed. Now you have not followed Jonah on the path of repentance, and because of you I am obliged to condemn the state..."
I have been reading around different places about the emerging church etc etc but not posting any opinions here. That is because I am undecided on the value of the blogosphere discussion regarding such things. Does the conversation move beyond the high response, hot-button issues toward more depth, honesty, and substance? I think we are waiting to find out.

One thing I have found valuable, and perhaps does move things in a good direction, are the email conversations that can result from all the heat generated. I have had a few good ones. And in an email you can take a few more risks in what you express without it blowing up in hurt and misunderstanding so easily. Because part of clear thinking, I think, is being able to say risky things that you are not even sure you agree with 100% yourself; you need to be able explore avenues of alternative thinking, see where they go, and have the option of turning back if the road turns out to be a bad one. But in a very public forum, that is very rarely a safe thing to do.

Anyway, the one question that my surfing of emerging-type blogs raises in my head, in conjunction with some stuff going on here recently, is the one of the need to name and label ourselves. I am chewing on whether or not it is a positive thing or not, and leaning toward not. It is the old argument of function vs. position. We seem to want to give ourselves a name to define what we are rather than acting out our most important values, and letting that define who we are. If we are too quick to give ourselves a name, don't we risk erecting a facade that in reality has not very much to back it up?

A friend of mine used to say, "beware the prophet who calls himself a prophet". That kind of captures it. Even the early Christians didn't attach the label to themselves; they were given it by the people who were around them watching.

To the point. A quote from a book by J. Denny Weaver, and a story from Hauerwas:

Influenced by Lindbeck, Hauerwas argued that it is not the case that we develop a theology, and then move on to develop the ethical implications of that theology. On the contrary, ethics, or the way one lives, gives expression to the ultimate values, that is, the theology to which one is readily committed. Hauerwas related the oft-repeated legendary story of a resident of Shipshewana, Indiana who was confronted by an evangelist and asked if he was saved. After some thought, the farmer wrote out a list of ten people who knew him. The man suggested that the evangelist ask these people whether he was saved, since he would not presume to answer for himself.

The point is that Christian faith is lived, and that theology emerges as the Christian community's reflections on what it means to live under the reign of God...

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Continuing with my committment to annoying Rob, I will be posting this quote with no commentary:

Where was God on the 11th September ? Why did he allow these terrible events to happen to innocent people?

This is of course a variation on a much bigger and well known question of the same form. It implies, of course, that it's God's job to step in and stop people doing radically wicked and inhumane things; and, since we know about the Holocaust etc., we know that this isn't in fact how God works. Actually, most of us wouldn't want to live in a world like that, since it would mean that every time we were exercising our free choice in a way which went even a little against God's will he would put up an invisible wall to prevent us doing so. That would make us puppets, not people.

In fact, of course, people inother parts of the world have been asking Britain, America, Japan etc. for the last fifty years: why doesn't God step in and stop the wicked exploitation we suffer from the North and West? Why does God allow us to get hooked into massive unpayable debt? Why are our fisheries being destroyed by global pollution? As soon as we ask those questions we see that there are uncomfortable answers coming from a quite different angle.

Of course, in relation to Sept 11 and every other asking of this kind of question, the greatest biblical answers are:

a. the book of Job: no easy answer, just a fresh and bigger revelation of the true God;

b. the death of Jesus: God taking the very worst that inhuman humans can do, taking it upon himself, exhausting its force and power. Somehow as Christians we are bidden to see these awful, terrible events in the light of those two texts.

Tom Wright answering various questions.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

People tend to think of nonviolence as a choice between using force and doing nothing. But for Jesus, the real choice takes place at another level. Nonviolence is less a matter of "not killing" and more a matter of showing compassion, of saving and redeeming, of being a healing community. One must choose between doing good to the person placed in one's path, or the evil which one might be doing by mere abstention. For Jesus, there is no no-man's-land, enabling us to portion our attitudes, to do a little good to our neighbor without taking the risk of becoming involved for his sake, or to do him a little harm while still remaining charitable... To do good is to save a person; not to do him good is to kill him. To save someone is to restore that person physically, socially, and spiritually. To neglect and postpone this restoration is already to kill.

Another reason to use that xml newsreader I was talking about earlier. I found this daily minute thing from the Bruderhof. A fantastic little meditation. I need something just like this...

Sunday, March 14, 2004

"vampire Christians." "They only have use for Christ's blood, but not for Him."

I have mixed feelings when I hear of more talking being done at more conferences, but hey, sounds like they are talking about some good stuff ... I should just chill...
For any of you, like me, who are just getting in to reading blogs via newsreaders (and btw, Jordon has a good post on why you might want to do that here), I found a newsreader that I quite like. It is web-based, so I can check it when i am in the city too, called Bloglines. Very easy to use and convenient in oh so many ways. Now to convince everybody that they need to go and add that simple little rss feed....

Friday, March 12, 2004

"We had a hard time in Germany at first," she recalls with a laugh. "I spoke no German and I had to imitate all these different animals in restaurants and meat markets when I wanted something. I even acted like a chicken in a restaurant once just to order an egg."

I've done that.
Out of Eire

One-hundred years after his death, Lafcadio Hearn remains a favorite in his adopted country of Japan. Steve Trautlein goes in search of the writer's Irish connections.

I've heard a lot about him, but now I think I am going to have to read him.
Coppola's ode to Tokyo

"Lost in Translation" was shot in just over four weeks in October 2002. It was filmed mainly at night due to the Park Hyatt's insistence that guests not be disturbed. The small cast and crew could only film in public areas after midnight and before 6 a.m. At all times, a hotel employee "chaperoned" the cast and crew - at one point, Bill Murray got so exasperated by her strictness that he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder, encouraging her to lighten up...
Toyota unveils music-playing robots

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp on Thursday unveiled two trumpet-playing robots as part of a project to develop humanoid robots to assist humans and ease possible labor shortages in the future.

One of the 120-cm-tall robots played "When You Wish Upon a Star" with a trumpet. It bowed to the audience and waved its arms to respond to applause following the brief performance...

...Toyota plans to have the robots form a band for the first time at the Aichi Expo starting on March 25, 2005.

You guys better come. We are a fifteen minute walk from the Expo site.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Interesting point. I am not sure but I have had this thought:

Back in the 1920's E. Stanley Jones wrote something to the effect of, Christ did not come to abolish Judaism but to fulfill it. Jones when on to build a case challenging the colonialist missionary movement of his day, arguing that Christ didn't come to destroy Hinduism but to fulfill it, fulfill Islam, fulfill Buddhism, etc.

This has me thinking again about our reading of the Palmers book, "Jesus Sutras", Bjork’s "Unfamiliar Paths", and Oleksa's "Orthodox Alaska".

What if in the name of Christ we sought to preserve and fulfill the beauty of God seen through other religions? While always nudging toward Christ. Like if Saddam Hussein began to follow Christ, should he renounce Islam and become a Methodist. Or could he live Christ in Islam?


This may come as a surprise to some who have visited my site before but I think part of the "image of God" may be about gender, or better said may be about difference.

If we hold to the image of God as the "possession" of the individual then certainly the image cannot about difference (gender etc). If however, we understand the self to be intrinsically relational, so much so that we bear the image of God in relationship (See Grenz, van Huyssteen, Shults, and Janzen), then it may be precisely in our difference (including gender) and our choice for oneness that the image of God is manifest.

It may be that in this way we most reflect a God who is plurality and oneness. We have very real differences and yet are one.

I see every interpersonal relationship as "image bearing" (the plurality and oneness). Anytime "self" is served, we witness "the fall" (in varying degree) of relationship; while anytime we see self-emptying, we see God's dream incarnated.

But I don't limit this to marriage, it's just that marriage has been one of the most approachable human examples of this divine reality, (though that may be changing).

One of the reasons why marriage is such a great Trinitarian example is that the fruit of its love is so tangible. Two unique selves come together forming an "us." The spirit of love is infinitely creative and desires to share its love beyond its perichoretic self and a child is born.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Derek is reading Ellul. He say:

Here is a quote I found interesting from Ellul - talking about the point at which the church started to become "successful."

"In the fourth and fifth centuries, then, we see a slide away from love and grace to service and "social action." But this completely changes the Christian perspective. And it correlates with the rise of the institution, the break between a clergy of priests and a laypeople, and the nce within the church of the rich and powerful. A break also comes between those who show a concern for others, who tender service, who give expression to charity, and those with whom they are concerned, who are the occasion of charity, to whom they render service. This was the real break in the church. flow, under these conditions, could it maintain a theology or even more so a practice of nonpower? Certainly everywhere in the church there are examples of the rich who give up all things, who become poor for God. They did exist. But in doing this, they either chose the hermit life and withdrew from the life of the church, or they were canonized and held up as miraculous instances of sanctity, that is, they were excluded from the concrete life of the church, set outside the church as "saints" whom, of course, there was no question of ordinary people ever imitating."

Up until the point of the church's worldly success, it was love and grace, brother and sister. But one of the problems of the sudden influx of the masses, was that issues of power entered the church, and instead of adopting Christ's perspective on power (upside-down kingdom) they embraced the world's and this created a rift between the serving and the served. They stepped out of community and into institutions.

I found the "saint" stuff interesting as well. I did not know how far back the concept went - of only certain "super-christians" being called to community with the poor. It seemed like in the kingdom-living of Christ, it was simply part of being the church, and not a special calling for special christians.

Friday, March 05, 2004

And speaking of Marilyn Manson, I was just listening to a song of theirs where the chorus is;

"I'm not a slave to a God who doesn't exist"

And I thinkses to myself, yeah, well, me neither.

In fact, I wonder if we could use it in church?
Top 5 Songs You Secretly Really Like But Something Tells You You Shouldn't

5. As Long As You Love Me - The Backstreet Boys
4. Lucky - Brittany Spears
3. The Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson
2. Teletubbies theme song
1. American national anthem

No more secrets...

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Check out this "biblical views on marriage" piece. The guy fairly conveniently leaves out Christ's words on marriage, but at the very least it shows what a bad idea - almost hilariously bad - it is to form doctrine from the Old Testament.
"I found Jesus - He was behind the couch the whole time"

Monday, March 01, 2004

Friday evening was the annual Hope Dinner at the Hilton put on by our friend Lowell. Lowell does an awesome Robin Hood-style job of getting a bunch a rich folk together in a fancy hotel for a big feed, so that hopefully they will dig into their heaps of cash to help Hope build some wells and schools in Cambodia, Ethiopia, and a whole host of other places. The thought that struck me as I was sitting there is just how odd it is, the collision between the two worlds; up on the screen kids who can't find food so they eat leaves, and there in the Hilton banquet hall, us rich westerners who need to get dressed to the nines and wined and dined in order to be convinced that we should share a little.

Lowell and the folks at Hope are motivated by the heart of Christ. When listening to them talk, I think I can pick up a sense of their bottom line: it is that 1. we have been given much, 2. there is great need, so 3. we can't wait around any longer, we have to do something. "To whom much is given, much is required", and these folks are doing what they can, in creative ways.

So afterward, when Diana and I were driving home, our discussion turned to the fact that there are so many people in Japan (and of course at home too) who, despite having huge amounts of money, do nothing of any real value with it. And here's the catch: these people aren't the least bit evil; well, at least not any more so than us. In fact, they are pretty nice, and kind. We were talking in particular about a student of Diana's who has money for fancy cars and Louis Vuitton bags and designer clothing, and really is not at all stingy with her money, but there is a kind of stopthink that kicks in when it comes to helping people in another place. It is just not considered an option. So why? We were thinking that it is not so much a question of good/evil as it is of perspective and awareness. This student is the kind of person that would never allow a friend to starve or go without, and would very likely gladly help, but when it comes to the global situation, the problem is just too big, and too "out there" to seriously considering involving your life and money in it.

So of course, in thinking about solutions, our thoughts came back to the idea of community, and all the dreams of globally inter-connected communities of faith that we have been having for a while now, and why we have to continue plodding (ever so slowly) toward that dream. Because there would seem to be incredible value and potential for change when there is an exchange of people between communities, with friendships formed, and lives intertwined together. I guess I should explain more clearly what we mean. We lived for a while in a rough part of Winnipeg and made some good friendships with some people in that area who were in rough circumstances. Now we are living in Japan, trying to find and build some more friendships. There's a good chance, if all goes well, that Joey will take off to India in a few years and start building that orphanage. And we have some good friends in Eastern Europe who dream the same dreams (some of whom may be moving to Japan for a while). Now, it is not happening much yet, but I get excited about the redemptive potential of joining those communities together, with human traffic going back and forth. Because friendship closes the distance. It is one thing to feel blah about giving to the kid on the tv screen with flies on her face, but it is a whole other thing when that kid is your friend's niece, or something of that sort. We live in a time where our global mobility is at a high point, and it is exactly that kind of mobility that could narrow the huge gaps that we find ourselves just getting used to.

I am thinking particularly that it is vital that this kind of exchange be a two-directional - or multi-directional - thing. For example, and just indulge me some dreaming here, people from the Winnipeg community come live in the Japan community. Some of the kids from the orphanage here go back to Winnipeg to study, or maybe off to India to work with the people there. Some of the kids or friends made in India come to Japan or Winnipeg or Eastern Europe, etc etc. And with those communities interwoven by the friendships that would result, the feeling that those are "foreign places", places far off that I don't have to think about, would lose its destructive power. Wasn't this at least part of what Paul was up to in his missionaries journeys? He would go from one community to another saying, "hey, your family over there in Jerusalem is poor and starving so let's get together and share so that this equality that God so desires can come about." Well, maybe not in exactly those words.

I think we are looking for an end to the missionary mindset that says we "together" westerners will head off to some poor place to help and heal them. That ignores our own areas of poverty. It is like when Dave used to talk about the difference between giving and sharing ("giving" being the one we want to start with, and "sharing" the place we want to get to). He would say that giving tends to throw money over the fence. Sharing tears down the fence. The point that the missionary mindset forgets quickly is that we need fixing too. It's no different in a missions context than it is with the poor. We don't seek out the poor only because we have something to give, that is truly only half the reason. We also go because we have something to get, something to learn, something important that God has placed in the realm of poverty that we can find only there.
The company I work for asked me to give some thought to moving to Kobe. I was there last weekend and it is a nice place, but you know, I think the only place I would consider moving to if asked would be Tokyo. But that would be a challenge seeing as Andrea says she will never live there. Of course, two years ago she was saying the same thing about Japan, so who knows. But generally I just like Nagoya too much to think about living somewhere else. Lots of Japanese people think it is kind of a hick-town good-for-nothing place, but people say the same thing about Winnipeg (and we might add Nazareth!!) and I like it there too. Ten years ago I loved the idea of going someplace new every year or so, but now the thought of leaving roots and connections is not really a welcome one. Expanding them is one thing, but starting over is another thing entirely...