Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the 3/11 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear disaster in Japan. Here in Germany there were documentaries about Japan on TV every single night last week. We attended two memorial events this past weekend – one at the General Consulate in Frankfurt as well as a smaller event at a theater in Giessen (Gießen).  The event in Frankfurt was a bit disappointing – it was not much more than three speeches, an all-you-can-eat gourmet sushi buffet and other delicacies, and a dozen vendors selling their wares. It was not very meaningful for us and while I was thankful for the fabulous food, it didn’t seem like a proper way to honor the tsunami victims. The program in Giessen included lots of Japanese folk music, violin and piano pieces, poetry readings, and dancing. We even invited to participate by sharing about our volunteer work in Japan with a small crowd of 100 people. We really enjoyed ourselves and stayed until 1:30am talking with Japanese and German young people who attended the event.

Singing “Furusato” (my hometown) in Giessen

Matthias got to chat with the General Consulate in Frankfurt

In a previous post I think I mentioned that I wouldn’t be posting much in the coming months. Well, that might not be true after all. Two of my best friends are coming to visit us from New Jersey in May and we are going to Japan next week week for a short trip! Matthias needs to renew his visa and we are going to search for housing and see more concretely how we can serve after we move to Japan in July. We are so excited to go to Japan, even though it’s just for a short time. We also look forward to celebrating Easter in Ishinomaki, Japan, where we’ll be staying for two weeks.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what we’re going to do in Japan once we move there. I don’t have a crystal clear idea (or really any idea). But God has been reminding me that when we get to Japan, we can start by doing the things he has already told us to do: show hospitality. Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Love people well. Learn to die to self. Put others’ need before my own. Help meet physical needs of needy people. Keep listening. (Listening seems to be one of the biggest needs in Japan right now). Cry with people. Be available for people.

I am hopeful the specifics of our work in Japan will get clearer later on. I don’t need to know all the answers right now. As I once heard a pastor from Sudan say, “Bloom where you are planted!” That’s exactly what we hope to do in Japan.

By the way, here is our summer schedule for those who might be wondering where we’ll be and when:

June 5th-July 20th   NJ/ Philadelphia
July 20th-24th  Portland, Oregon
July 25th – fly from LA to Tokyo (Narita)
July 26th~ arrival in Japan!!! (and the beginning of a whole new and very exciting season of our lives♥)

Lastly, I’ve been thinking of quitting this blog and starting a new one when we move to Japan, but I can’t think of a good name. Krammels in Japan? Krammels in Tohoku? Danielle in Japan? If anyone has a snappy suggestion, please let me know.