We fly to Japan in less than a week. For the past few weeks, I have been passing the days by studying Japanese for four or five hours per day. I have a pretty good study system going and I hope I can continue to be this disciplined in the future. However, when it comes to German, my speaking ability remains on a basic level. I had to speak in front of a group of thirty Germans last night and I totally messed up my self-introduction. My German was really terrible (my husband agreed) and it was quite humbling for me. It’s funny how living in a foreign country and not knowing the language can totally augment your personality. In Japan I am the animated, cheerful, happy, and chatty foreigner and in Germany I’m the silent foreigner who says very little.

We will stay in Ishinomaki for two weeks and spend a very short time in Nagoya and Tokyo as well. Ishinomaki was one of the cities hardest hit by the tsunami. We were there a few times last May and June and I’m curious to see how the clean-up efforts have gone since last year.

Matthias and I are looking forward to meeting a lot of amazing people in Ishinomaki who are doing relief work. It’s amazing that so many people are relocating to Ishinomaki from all over Japan, particularly people with many years of experience in Japan. We knew some of these folks way before the tsunami and look forward to some happy reunions.

Aside from making connections and networking, we will explore various housing options in Ishinomaki or in the vicinity. We would love to be able to find a Japanese host family for the first few months until we find long-term housing. A friend in Ishinomaki said he has someone in mind for us, and we are praying this person might be willing to host us.

We also to see two of the Japanese children we spent a lot of time with last May and June. Both kids survived the tsunami and one of them lives in temporary housing (not sure about the other one). Today we sent one of the children a care package of German chocolates and candy with a little message telling her that we’ll be in Japan soon and would like to stop by and see her.  I hope we get to see these precious kids and can continue a relationship with them once we move to Japan.

This will probably be my last post until we go to Japan. I am very thankful to think that the next time I write in my blog we’ll be in Japan, jet-lagged but very happy.