June 8 I was on the road during this time and didn't heard about the murderous knife rampage in Akihabara that occurred on Sunday, June 8 until the day after. I was shocked to realize that I travelled Sunday afternoon on the very highway just hours after the 25 year old man with a lust for murder in his heart drove on it in a rented truck he would use to plow into a crowd of pedestrians in Akihabara, the electric town of Japan. I myself have been many times to that exact same spot of the scene of the crime because it is next to a computer parts store I visit. The recent wave of indiscriminate knife murders in Japan remind me of the Scripture in Revelation chapter 12 verse 12: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time." To think that there are still some spiritually sleepy people around who are still wondering if we are now living in the Endtime just before Jesus comes. My prayer is that they will wake up.
May 17, 2008 I hitchhiked to the city of Kashiwazaki, home of the largest nuclear power plant in the world. One of the drivers who picked me up was a Roman Catholic priest from Colombia. Also with him were two ladies from the Philippines. He didn't know English well but could speak Japanese, but the ladies didn't know Japanese well but could speak English. And so I alternated between English, Japanese and a few words of my high school Spanish in my conversation with them. They drove 30 kilometers out of their way to take me to my destination!
April 11, 2008 About 6:30 PM while parking my bicycle I was startled by two Raccoon Dogs that ran past me in the dusk. One appeared to be chasing the other. They both were adults, about two feet long with short legs and brown fat backs. They whizzed only inches past me as they ran up the hill next to my house. Raccoon dogs are indigenous to East Asia. They are of the dog family but not a true dog. They're not real raccoons either but only resemble them.
April 9, 2008 At the grocery store checkout, my bill totaled exactly 666 yen but all I had on me was only 665 yen! A customer in line just behind me saw my plight and offered me a yen coin (about 1 US cent) to make up the difference. However I debated whether or not to return one of the items and told the cashier, "I would rather not be charged with this amount because the figure represents Satan's number of the Beast! :-) I wasn't too disturbed at this of course and was glad for the opportunity to educate people about the Mark.
April 7, 2008 I learned how to effectively deal with spam on email boxes whose address is supposed to be known only to a certain number of people. ...Read more
March 30, 2008 Went to Echigo Yuzawa, a ski resort in the mountains of Niigata. This time my transporation was covered and so I took the Bullet train. It took only 49 minutes to go 135 kilometers (84 miles).
January 28, 2008: Today I shared with a Japanese friend, Naoko, about my experience yesterday being picked up by Hiroe, an FM radio announcer, and that Hiroe even talked about me on the air this morning. Naoko was surprised, "That was you?! I was listening to that program while at work this morning!" I was surprised that she was surprised because she knows I hitchhike and even picked me up once herself! Naoko said that she heard the email that others sent in response to Hiroe's first hitchhike experience. Some were favorable, and some were against picking up strangers because of the increase of violent crime and robberies in Japan. Yes, crime has increased, but I still consider it one of the safest countries to live in.
January 27, 2008: After waiting about 30 minutes trying to catch a ride back home, I heard a voice in the distance that seemed to be calling out, but I couldn't see anyone. I walked further up the side of the road in the direction of the traffic and I saw two ladies in a parking lot who seemed to be waiting for me. I walked up to one of them and she asked me where I wanted to go. Their names are Hiroe and Rieko and are both FM radio station announcers. The driver, Hiroe, said that she would be on the air the next day at 10AM, and so I set my schedule alarm to turn in to her broadcast. The first thing Hiroe talked about was picking an American hitchhiker by the name of James! Thanks to this broadcast, hopefully it will be even easier to catch rides in the future:-) See another photo of Hiroe on the radio station's web page. (Japanese) Hiroe's daughter Haruna was with her.
January 1-6 I hitchhiked to Tokyo on New Year's day and spent the news year's holidays in the Kanto area fixing my friend's computer problems. I also had my first real experience working with a Mac. I still prefer Linux. :-)
Dec. 15, 2007 I went to Kashiwazaki, the city hit by an earthquake on July 16, 2007. Life is back to normal for most people but the nuclear power plant is still down for repairs.
Nov. 23, 2007: This morning I am inspired to post one of the visions of the late prophet, William Branham:Then there arose in the United States a most beautiful woman clothed in splendor; and great power was given to her on that day, before the end time. There will be a powerful woman raised up, either to be president or dictator, or some great powerful woman in the United States; and America will sink under the influence of women.
I really believe that this vision will be fulfilled when Hillary is both nominated and wins the election for US President.
Nov. 4-19, 2007 I misplaced my watch somewhere in my room and couldn't find it in the usual places. I try to keep a tidy room and so was dumbfounded as to where it could be! In the meantime I carried an older watch with a broken wrist band. I didn't want to buy another band for it because that would cost half the price of what I originally paid for the watch! The watch kept good time but the crystal was scratched and the date setting was stuck on the 19th of the month. The date wouldn't advance any further and I couldn't change it. I prayed that God would show me where I misplaced my good watch and got a check in the spirit to take my bedding all apart. Sure enough, the watch was hidden between the mattress and the bed frame! The interesting thing for me is that I found it on the 19th of the month, the same date that my other watch with the broken date setting was set to.
Nov. 7, 2007 My rich inventor friend, Mr. Ohno, took me to a spa in Niigata called "Rankeisou". This place is so famous (and expensive!) that businessmen from Tokyo bring their clients to it to entertain them, and even people at least as far away as Nagoya know about it! The main attraction of Rankeisou is that it's in the middle of nowhere with only God's beautiful creation surrounding it.
Nov. 1, 2007: The hits on this web site peaked today! Can anybody tell me why? Click on the picture of the graph below to see an enlargement.
Oct. 20, 2007 Folks have been sending me over the years many wonderful MS Power Point slide shows. Today I learned how to convert them into HTML to post on this web site. Because the powerpoint has been broken up into individual file, I think they are much faster to view. I hope you appreciate this one: Poison in Paradise: Mass Media Mind Control
Sept. 28, 2007 I visited my friend Nobuo in Kashiwazaki, the area hit by an earthquake on July 16th. Life is pretty much back to normal with the exception that the local residents are aware that another earthquake may occur at any time and are taking steps to prepare for it.
August, 2007 This was the hottest month with temperatures up to 41C (106F). It is also the time of Obon when the spirits of departed loved ones return to earth according to Japanese legend. This is a festive time when traditional Japanese garments such as Kimono and Yukata are worn. I hitchhiked 1300 some kilometers in central Japan during this time.
July 20, 2007 I went with my friend Mr. Ohno by car to Kashiwazaki, the city that was hardest hit by the July 16th. earthquake. There were no aftershocks during the two hours we spent in the city. For many people it seemed to be business as usual. See the photos I took of broken buildings and roads.
July 19, 2007 Today I read in the Daily Yomiuri that,
"Analysis by the group of seismic waves and aftershock distribution has shown it is likely the fault that set off the earthquake stretches directly under the plant. The magnitude 6.8 temblor's focus was about nine kilometers north of the plant and about 17 kilometers below the seabed. Aftershocks have been distributed in a southwesterly direction from this seismic source."
This is referring to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant which was damaged by the July 16, 2007 Niigata Japan earthquake. It is the world's largest nuclear power plant and is located only 60 some kilometers from my home.
Just think, a nuclear power plant built right smack dab on top of a massive crack in the earth's bedrock!! The plant has now been shutdown for inspection. It may be shutdown all summer which will mean power shortages for Tokyo in the summer heat. The local area will not be affected with power losses due to the shutdown because the lines from this power plant run only to Tokyo 220 kilometers to the southeast.My friend Nobuo who lives in the city of Kashiwazaki (which was hardest hit by the earthquake) wrote today saying,
Hello. We are now staying calm and started reconstruction.
There are many Self-Defense Forces and a lot of food. So don't worry too much.
You should stay home because the roads in Kashiwazaki are catastrophic.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Thank you very much for your kindness.
I called him asking if he and his family need help in cleaning up. I would like to visit him if I can.
July 16, 2007 There was a powerful earthquake at 10:13 a.m. in Niigata Prefecture about 60 kilometers (40 miles) from my home. The epicenter was in the Sea of Japan just off the city of Kashiwazaki and the town of Kariwa where a nuclear power plant is located which supplies electricity to Tokyo. The nuclear reactor automatically shut down after the first jolt as designed. I was hundreds of miles away in Iwate Prefecture at the time hitchhiking back from Aomori and didn't feel the quake or know about it until a friend sent me an email message to my mobile phone asking me if I was OK. I phoned home asking if all was well and was told there was no damage to our property, thank God! This earthquake was not quite as strong as the Niigata Chuetsu quake on Oct. 23, 2004 and was about equidistant from my home in a different direction. Nine people, mostly elderly, died, and hundreds of houses were demolished with 13,000 people now homeless. The Hokuriku expressway that runs along the Sea of Japan was broken in two places.The large city of Nagaoka seems to be a affected by this earthquake as it was by the last one. The 2004 quake was 15 kilometers to the south of Nagaoka, and this quake was 20 kilometers to the west. My friend Nobuo who lives in Kashiwazaki city says that his house is a mess inside, but there was no structural damage to the building.
July 7-9, 2007 Went to Aomori City and back. Read my 460 kilometer hitchhike adventure back home!
June 25, 2007 Switched back to Fedora (version 7) from Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn. Fedora is still the best Linux distribution for me. There were issues in Ubuntu that I could not fix and which were not problems in Fedora.
June 21, 2007 It's now been 6 months since stopping coffee. God gave me the grace to kick a 35 year addiction to caffeine! I don't even miss it anymore just like I didn't miss smoking when I quit when 20 years old at the time I came to know Jesus.
June 15-17, 2007 Hitchhiked to Nagano, the Tokyo area and back.
May 2, 2007 A Russian friend named Valentin who I first met in Aomori and who now lives in Tokyo came to my home to visit with his wife Yoshiko. He is a Christian who first met the Family International in Khabarovsk in 1992 when he was 17 years old! After showing them the sights around town I took them to a Japanese spa.
April 25, 2007 Switched from the Fedora Core 6 operating system to Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn. There's no difference in how I do my web work, but other factors have tipped the scale to favor Ubuntu rather than Fedora for now. I'm still interested in trying Fedora 7 when it comes out at the end of May.
April 20, 2007 Hitchhiked to Tokyo in 6 rides. The second car was a family of American missionaries! The driver of the last car asked me if I had money for the local trains. Though I replied that I did, he offered me a 1000 yen and the other two ladies in the car also offered me a 1000 yen for 3000 yen or about $25. It pays to hitchhike. :-)
March 25, 2007 There was a major earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture with the epicenter in the Sea of Japan. It caused a lot of damage in the local area and shook most of central Japan. I happened to be on the road in Tokyo at the time and didn't learn of the quake until a some time later. The folks in Niigata said they felt it strongly but nothing fell off the shelves.
Feb. 17-18, 2007 I hitchhiked 60 kilometers in two cars to go to the town of Kashiwazaki to visit my friend Nobuo and his parents. There I made some new friends including Miss Miwako, a Buddhist lady who is interested in learning more of what the Bible has to say.
Feb. 6, 2007: I want to thank the visitors of this site for their many good and positive email comments! There have been only a few negative responses from those who apparently have a different perspective on life. If you find articles on my web site that goes against your perception of reality, I hope that you would consider doing more research to see what others have to say about the subject. There is bound to be some controversy in the world when even spouses who love each other may have opposing opinions about certain issues. :-)
Dec. 27, 2006: Stopped drinking coffee from today breaking a 30 year habit.
Dec. 26, 2006: I was slightly injured in an accident while riding a bicycle. A van pulled from a driveway onto the sidewalk about to enter the street. I didn't see him because I was holding an umbrella directly in front of me to protect myself from the wind and rain. I smashed into the side of the van! Thankfully due to strong winds from the direction I was heading, I wasn't going very fast. However my front tire put a small dent in the bottom trim of the side of the van. Ironically the same vehicle was just in a major accident the week before with a big gash on the same side I put the dent in, and so my dent was almost unnoticeable by comparison! The driver said that if it was his own car, he wouldn't report it, but because he was driving his company's vehicle he had to report it to the police. And so we waited about 30 minutes for the police to come. I was slightly injured with a bruise on my right hand, but I determined not to tell that to the policeman because that would make things harder for both me and the driver and I would have had to go to the hospital to have it examined. The driver put a band aid on the bruise because it was slightly bleeding, and because I was wearing a glove over it, the police didn't notice. I told them that it was my fault for not looking, but because the driver was on the sidewalk of which pedestrians have the right of way, the police told him that it was partly his fault too! In Japan a driver is liable for hitting a pedestrian, even if the pedestrian purposely jumps in front of him! And even though I hit him, he was bound by law to yield to me when he saw me coming. I hope nothing further comes of this.
Dec. 20, 2006: Happy Birthday, Jesus! If when along comes your birthday, on whatever date it is, wouldn't it be funny if all your friends and family decided to celebrate it by giving each other presents, and never gave you a thing? Read more ...
Nov. 19, 2006: A Japanese archaeologist picked me up when hitchhiking. I think he was the first archaeologist I ever met in my life - and maybe even the last! He says that the DNA discovered of a women who lived in Africa 30,000 years ago shows that Africa is the cradle of civilization. I told him that couldn't be correct, because the Bible says Adam and Eve were created in Mesopotamia (Iraq) only 6200 some years ago! We had an interesting discussion during the next 15 minutes until he took me to my destination. He works primarily in Japan but is familiar with discoveries in the Middle East.
Oct. 13 - 16, 2006: I had a great road adventure hitchhiking about 1093 kilometers (680 miles) in 19 vehicles. I traveled to Tokyo, Shizuoka, and then to a small city about 20 miles west of Nagoya to help my friends with their computer problems. See photos of the trip and read more ...
Oct. 2, 2006: Introduced to an informative web link about the Bird Flu "Pandemic" HOAX!
Sept. 26, 2006: Was introduced to an idea that totally changed my outlook on the universe! Please check out The Stationary Earth
Aug 27 - Sept. 1, 2006: Made my yearly visit to Kyoto and Osaka. I was glad the weather was a bit cooler than it was in mid Aug. On the way back home a Japanese man in cowboy attire picked me up in a '85 Ford Bronco and took me as far as Nagoya.
Aug 10, 2006: Mr. and Mrs. Nakano with their 3 children came from their home in Chiba and spent the night in my house! The Nakano family picked me up while hitchhiking on Oct. 30, 2005 and took me over 200 kilometers to my destination, and now I was able to return the favor by being their host! Mr. Nakano's grandfather lived in a town about 20 kilometers away from my home and so he wanted to come and pay his respects during this time of "Obon" season in Japan.
Aug 5, 2006: Saw a Japanese festival where the ceremony of Omikoshi is performed.
Aug. 2, 2006: Rainy season in Japan is finally over and the summer heat has begun! In a few days I shall begin another hitchhike adventure, this time to the Kansai area - Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.
July 22, 2006: Mission accomplished: Fire escape paint job completed.
July 18, 2006: It's been raining daily for over a week! Consequently I've been unable to complete the fire escape painting project. I'm about 90% completed. However I've had lots of time to work on my other web site: Deep Truths
July 2, 2006: Hitchhiked back to Aomori, the northern city of Honshu. On the return trip the 1000th vehicle since I've been keeping records picked me up.
June 25, 2006: Hitchhiked to Misawa city in Aomori Prefecture and back, a distance of about 1120 kilometers or nearly 700 miles.
June 17, 2006: I'm about half done painting the rusty fire escape and past the danger point! I learned how to paint areas that are hard the reach safely by using a mirror. This way I don't have have to climb outside the railing and risk falling. See a photo of my progress.
June 9, 2006: I started painting a rusty fire escape of a 3 story building! It took me 3 days to do the railing and the stairs both top and bottom between the roof and third floor. I still don't know how I'm going to paint certain areas without risking breaking my neck. This is a big job requiring me to scrape off old rusty paint first. Click the photos to see an enlargement of my progress.
The circle is around my progress to date. The photo shows the second and third floor.
May 23, 2006: After downloading about 2.8 gigabytes of the test version of Windows vista, I burned it to a DVD disk and installed in on partition 1 of a Western Digital 10,000 RPM 36 gigabytes SATA HDD ..... Read more of my adventure installing an running the new Windows Vista.
April 4-9, 2006: It's hitchhiking season again! I'll be hitchhiking every weekend to Nagano from now till at least the end of June. This trip I traveled first to Tokyo, then to Nagano, and back to Niigata in 11 cars a distance about 600 kilometers. One of the men received the Message of the Good News of Jesus and prayed to received Him as Savior! I gave him a Japanese New Testament and encouraged him to start reading from the book of John.
March 11, 2006: From 3 days ago on March 8 I have begun to eat a couple tablespoons of flaxseed every day. It is supposed to be good for overall health because it is high in vitamin B17 and lignans which are phytonutrients that benefit the immune system. The seeds are small as you can see in the photo. I grind them up in an electric coffee grinder and mix it with yogurt or sprinkle it on rice. I like it! Read more about it.
March 9, 2006: A major layout change on this page thanks to: glish.com
Feb. 5, 2006: Hitchhiked back to the snow country of Tokamachi to help my friend Keiji.
In the photo Keiji is standing next to his house. You can see that the snow is piled up over 10 feet or about 3 meters! The photo below is the road to his house lined with walls of snow. A snow plow comes twice a day when it snows to keep the road clear. It is the sole path to get to the house. The dark figure inside the red circle is a cat taking a stroll! Click on either photo to see an enlargement.
Feb. 4, 2006: Makoto Hasegawa gave me and my family and friends 14 free tickets to the Niigata City basketball game! They sell at $30 each on the day of the game. His team, Niitaga Albirex beat the Tokyo Apaches by a margin of 10 points. This was largely due to Makoto Hasegawa's baskets. His the team captain and best player. I'm not so much a sports fan myself but couldn't turn down an opportunity to have an outing with the family.
In the photo, Makoto Hasegawa is being congratulated at the end of the game
Jan. 4, 2006: Happy New Year! Today is my first hitchhike adventure of the year. I went to snow bound Tokamachi to help fix a friend's PC. It is about 200 kilometer round trip. On the way back a Japanese professional basketball player, Makoto Hasegawa picked me up. I think this is the very first time ever to meet a professional sportsman. When I showed his business car to 13 year old Andy, he replied, "That guy's famous!"
But because basketball is yet only a minor sport in Japan, Makoto Hasegawa is famous only among basketball sports fans. I got to talk to him deeply about man being more than just a physical body, but having also a spirit that needs to be fed properly. He seemed to agree. Because I forgot my hat in Mr. Hasegawa's car, he called me up and arranged to meet me again.
Dec. 15, 2005: A friend introduced me to SoyOnLine Service - the truth about Soy . This site outlines the dangers of soybean product consumption. My friend said that soy consumption could be the reason for my wife's depressed thyroid gland function. My initial reaction to this site was one of disbelief..... read more!
Dec. 12, 2005 Together with a Christmas card, a relative, sent me a card about the size of a business card that said, "Free Ticket"! I thought it was cute and scanned it to post on this web site. Click the graphic to read the details of my Free Ticket!
Nov. 26 - Dec. 4, 2005 Traveled over 1500 kilometers (950 miles) by hitchhiking to Tokyo, Aomori and back to Niigata.
Nov. 6, 2005 While riding the train I was amazed to see a girl about 17 or 18 years old wearing a sweatshirt or sweater with some unusual markings on it. Toward the top of the material was written "Girls" in a peculiar font type. Under that were pictures of a bird and a young deer which gave it a Disney type of flair. Below them were large thick black numbers: 666 and below that was a Star of David . I never saw such a sight on somebody's clothing before! I really wanted to take her picture but she seemed shy. I think she noticed me staring at her. :-( Read a story about 666 - the "mark of the Beast"
Oct. 28 - 31, 2005 I hitchhiked to Shiojiri City in Nagano, then to Noda city in Chiba, and then back to Niigata in 3 days, a distance of about 710 kilometers in 12 vehicles. In two of the cars were little children.
The highlight of this trip was the Nakano family, a young couple with 3 children all under 6 years old who took me all the way to my distination in a single ride, a distance of over 200 kilometers (125 miles). They were on their way home and I was on my way to visit friends to help them with their computer problems. Mr. Nakano is the friend of the groom of the marriage ceremony that I led just the day before. The Nakano family attended that ceremony and recognized me as the preacher! The city on their license plate was the exact city that I needed to go! Mr. Nakano, though he himself is not a Christian, used the word "miracle" to describe our encounter! Their home was only a few minutes drive from my intended destination.
On the way back home to Niigata the next day, I saw what appeared to be two Russian men at the Kamisato service area of the Kan'etsu expressway. I walked up to them and greeted them in Russian. They greeted me back in Russian and shook my hand. Russians, unlike the Japanese, are really good hand shakers! The older man asked me where I was going and I told him Niigata. He said after he and his partner have some lunch, they would take me. And so I had a fun time chatting away with the Russians for the next 3 hours while we traveled. They are in the tire business and were driving a truck. Both say they believe the Lord.
Oct. 21, 2005 It's been a while since I updated this blog, so this is a summary since my last post of Sept 5. I had 16 days of hitchhike adventures traveling in 57 vehicles a distance of about 3050 kilometers (1906 miles). Of the 57 vehicles, only 6 were trucks and only one of them was a dump truck. (Many people seem to think only dump trucks pick me up!) One was a milk truck. The dump truck was really fancy and only a few months old.
Kazumi, a lady who picked me up on Oct. 2. She has a 21 year old daughter!
These trips were mostly back and forth from Niigata to Nagano but once I went as far as Tokyo. On Sept. 11 I walked for a little over an hour at night in rainy weather with all my luggage from Ryuo Station to the Futaba service area on the Chuo Express to hitchhike to Tokyo. I was thankful to have an umbrella then. Though it was already dark and even in the daytime in good weather I've had to wait up to two hours at Service Areas for a ride, my efforts to get to Futaba were not in vain. I got an immediate ride by a kind middle age couple who were going to Kawasaki!! My destination was an area of Tokyo that is next to Kawasaki, and the couple took me to the very train line I needed to go to get to my final destination! It was right on their way. I also met some foreigners the past few weeks. Chinese from mainland China and one Brazilian truck driver who liked the Christian music CD gave him.
Sept. 5, 2005 I was concerned for the fate of a good friend I knew in Japan, Cynthia, who moved to New Orleans a few years ago. I learned today that she and her husband escaped the devastation of Hurricane Katrina safely! Water had risen to to their chests. However they lost all their possessions. My Christian fellowship, the Family International is actively involved in helping the survivors.
Sept. 4, 2005 A Buddhist man picked me up hitchhiking and went at least 30 kilometers out of his way to take me home. He listened attentively to the good news of Jesus. I told him I think many of Buddha's teachings to be be very good and asked him if it would be a problem for a Buddhist to believe in Jesus Christ's teachings. He said problem at all.
Aug 26-28, 2005 I met a famous Japanese entertainer while hitchhiking from Tokyo to Niigata. Read more of the story ....Aug. 2005
Aug. 2, 2005 It has been exactly 2 years since I have been keeping statatics of my hitchhiking adventures. Exactly 675 vehicles took me approximently 32,650 kilometers (20,400 miles) over a period of 183 days averaging about 178 kilometers (111 miles) per day and 48 kilometers (30 miles) per vehicle. See more stats....
Aug. 1, 2005 I met a young lady while hitchhiking who picked me up and took me most of the distance home. She works with handicapped people. Working with the handicapped was her dream of a life's occupation since a child. I asked her one of my stock questions to open a conversation about the Lord, "Do you know how life came to be?" She replied, "God created life!" I asked if she was a Christian and she said that her folks are Buddhist but it was only since working with handicapped people that she identified with the Message of Jesus Christ! I happened to have an extra Japanese New Testament with me, plus an Activated Magazine and gave them to her. I'm hoping she will come over for our Sunday evening fellowship Bible studies.
June 24, 2005 My beloved Siberian Husky, Prancy, suddenly passed away. Unknown to me she had Heartworm. I really loved that dog and tried my best to care for her. Heartworm and the unusually hot summer this year were just too much for her. How true the Scripture, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." - James 4:14
June 10 - 13, 2005 I hitchhiked to Saitama City which is just north of Tokyo. The round trip was over 600 kilometers or about 400 miles. This put me a little over 30,000 kilometers traveled by hitchhiking since August 2, 2003. Of the 9 drivers, two of them were young women, two were men with a good command of English, one was a truck driver, and one was a foreigner from Iran who picked me up a couple years earlier! I didn't recognize him at first for which he chided me! He said that forgetting a man's face who helped you is as bad as forgetting God... :(
The Iranian man was perhaps the most interesting man to talk to. He said that he fought in the Iranian / Iraq war of 1980-1988 and could have been killed several times. Once he was supposed to catch a train but missed it by mistake. He had to run to town to do an important errand and later caught a bus instead. Had he ride that train, he would have been killed for it was later blown off a bridge by the Iraqi Air force! The train was filled with soldiers and was therefore considered a military target. His buddies were killed by his side in combat. Later he worked for the Iranian secret police but quit after a few months and ran away to Japan. He knows that ultimately it is governments that make war. The victims are always the poor common people on both sides of the conflict. He said that religion had nothing to do with that war. It was merely a struggle for power and resources as all wars are.
During this trip I attended the funeral of Marina Gruenhage. I wasn't sure I would be able to attend and so didn't come prepared, but God provided everything I needed at the Family Home I stayed at: a black suit, black tie and black dress shoes. They all fit me perfectly! Marina's spirit went to be with Jesus as she was holding her husband's hand looking him in the eye. She apparently saw angels coming to take her and she passed on with a smile on her face. May God give me the grace to do so when it is my time! That smile was still on her face as her body rested in the coffin!
June 9, 2005 My dear friend, Marina Helene Gruenhage, 53, went to be with Jesus on 5:30 AM Japan time. She fought a long battle against cancer. Please click here to read her beautiful poetry and see her art and photos!
June 3-5, 2005 Had a great hitchhike adventure to Nagano and back, this time with very quick rides. Highlights of this trip: Both on the way to Nagano and coming back, I met men who know "Mr. Pachiko" -- a wealthy man who gave me a ride back in 1999. One of those men was driving a brand new Mercedes Benz. It costs about $120,000 to buy such a vehicle in Japan! The other man who knows Mr. Pachiko took drove me at least 200 kilometers out of his way to take me toward my destination. Yet another highlight was a mother with 2 small children picked me up. These 3 relatively rare occurances made for a special trip indeed!May 9, 2005 The boy in the photo is a college student visiting from Santa Monica California who picked me up hitchhiking today. He said he saw the "Passion of the Christ" and was moved by it. I took the opportunity to share that Jesus not only died for us, but rose from the dead on the third day proving that He is indeed the Son of God! The young man replied, "Is that really true?" I said, "There were over 500 witnesses who saw Him over a period of 40 days after His resurrection! The early Christians were willing to die as martyrs because of their belief that Christ did indeed rise from the dead and that they were merely trading their earthly lives for Heavenly ones! The young man readily prayed with me to accept Jesus Christ as his savior.
April 27, 2005 Today is the start of my long awaited road trip to Osaka! I woke up at 5:00 AM to prepare. Before I set out, I read an email from my friend saying that he hoped to meet me around at the Osaka train station around 7:30 PM that day. I knew from experience that unless I got very quick rides hitchhiking, it would be pretty tight if not impossible to make it. There have been times when it took a whole day to travel only half that distance! Read more....
April 25, 2005 The worse train accident in over 40 years occurred this morning on the Fuchiyama line in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. At the time of this post, 106 people have died. The driver, only 23 years old, apparently hit a right curve at a speed twice as fast as he should have been traveling! The train derailed and hit a building squishing the lead car like an accordion according to The Daily Yomiuri news paper. It took until Thursday evening for rescue workers to finish their search when they finally covered the body of the driver. I am pretty sure I traveled on that particular train line in 1998. Amagasaki is about 10 kilometers or 6 miles from central Osaka.
April 16, 2005 The cherry blossoms have finally begun to bloom in this area of Japan. Click the photo to see an enlargement.
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My Siberian Husky, Prancy, is gentle to people and other dogs. All other animals, and especially cats, are considered game. In the photo below, Prancy is more interested in Kinchan the cat than Mac the Bernese Mountain Dog. Mac and Kinchan are buddies. Kinchan took the hint that Mac didn't intend to hinder Prancy's approach and left the scene a few moments later.
March 25-28, 2005 I've been on the road hitchhiking every day for the past four days. What has been unusual is the rather high number of religious people who have picked me up during this time. In 4 days there were 6 people of 5 different religions: The first was a Tenrikyo minister, the second a lady from an indigenous Japanese theist religion whose difficult name I couldn't catch, the third a Jesuit (Roman Catholic), the fourth a man of the Nichirenshoshu persuasion of Buddhism, the fifth a Roman Catholic young lady, and the 6th a Jehovah's witness preacher. Of the 5 religions above, only one of them - Nichirenshoshu - doesn't claim faith in God as the Creator. Most Japanese I meet on a daily basis are nominal Buddists who do not have a consciousness of God as the great Designer of the universe.
The photo is Azumi, the Catholic girl who picked me up on Easter Sunday! She told me repeatedly how glad she is to meet a Christian missionary! Japanese girls often give the victory or "peace sign" when their photo is taken. Even after 26 years in Japan, I still don't know why they do that.
March 13, 2005 I performed a wedding ceremony for Takeshi and Kumiko in Nagano. The wedding chapel people are really fussy about time. They give me only 15 minutes for "counselling" the bride and groom before the ceremony but don't mind cutting into that time shorten it a few minutes. And yet they don't like me going over into their time! However today was different. Because the groom, Takeshi, actually works at the wedding chapel and has some authority there, he didn't like it when my time was up that the choir ladies brought in people to start the wedding rehersal just before I was about to lead them in a prayer for salvation, and told them to leave! The choir ladies are afraid of him and so promptly obeyed, ha!
March 2, 2005 From last month I am attempting for the second time to switch over from Windows to the Linux operating system. I downloaded and installed Fedora Core 3 on my second hard drive. So far so good! I like it! This page is now being updated in Linux using the Bluefish HTML editor.
Feb. 26, 2005 I performed a wedding ceremony for Shinobu and Chinami (see the second photo below). Click here to see the photos I took!
Feb 12-13, 17, 2005 I hitchhiked to a city close to Tokyo in 4 rides, and returned back home in 3 rides the next day. Among these 7 cars, 3 of them carried children and in two of these 3 cars were children under 5 years of age. One of families who picked me up were foreigners from S. Korea. One of the drivers had tattoos all over his body. He referred to himself as "Yakuza" -- the name for the Japanese Mafia. I don't meet very many Yakuza as I did in the earlier days, but they are usually pretty friendly and kind. They only make trouble with Yakuza of other gangs, not with the common people.
On Feb. 17 I met Angie who was raised in Florida. Her father is a Baptist minister. It's not often I get to make new American friends. Kazuyo, a 32 year old lady who picked me up hitchhiking last January, introduced me to her.
Feb 8, 2005 Chinami and her husband to be, Shinobu, drove all the way from Nagano to visit my home -- a distance of about 230 kilometers or 144 miles one way. Click here or on the right photo to read how I first met Chinami!
Feb 3-4, 2005 A new hitchhike adventure through snow 3 meters high! Click here to read all about it!
Jan 29, 2005 Learned some helpful technology to improve this web site -- SSI for navigation and more CSS code.
Dec. 31, 2004 Posted English pages of the Bridge of Love website for my friends in Hiroshima.
Dec. 3, 2004 A young mother picked me up when hitchhiking. She was accompanied only with her 5 month old baby and two small dogs.
Nov. 4, 2004 Just after waking up this morning, I read the sad news of the results of the USA presidential election. As if a premonition of things to come, the house shook again from yet another earthquake aftershock. Though it as been 12 days since the Niigata Chuetsu earthquake, aftershocks continue.
Oct. 29, 2004 Went to Ojiya, the largest town closest to the epicenter of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake on Oct. 23. Together with Megumi and her son Makoto, I was a volunteer to help the earthquake victims. Click here to see the photos I took.
Oct. 24, 2004 I hitchhiked to Tokamachi, a city next to Ojiya, the town that was hardest hit by the earthquake. My close friends, the Kuriyama family lost their expensive tropical fish when the fish tanks fell over on the third strong tremor at 6:34 PM the previous day. Nearly 500 liters of salt water spilled on the floor. The water splashed into the new computer I built for them a couple months ago. The motherboard is toast. That night I slept on the second floor of the Kuriyama's house while aftershocks continued. It was hard to go to sleep with the house rocking from time to time. We may have been the only people in town to have slept in a house that night. The rest of the town camped out in tents or in cars. More about this story ...
Oct. 23, 2004 5:56 to 6:34PM local time: Niigata experienced 3 earthquakes of significant magnitude! As I write this the rest of my family is still standing outside the house for safety. There apparently was major damage in Ojiya city.Oct. 17, 2004 Mr. Kobayashi lost the election for Niigata Prefectural governer to a man only 42 years old! :-(
I was also picked up by two men who are Buddhists of the Nichirenshoshu sect. Nichirenshoshu and one other sect called Sokagakkai, unlike other Buddhists, will make no bones telling you how wrong you are in your faith in Jesus. But just to show you how wrong they are, they actually believe that evolution is true scientific fact!
Perhaps the most educational part of this trip for me was meeting a man who is a professional working with Asperger Syndrome children. He described the basic character of my son Jeremy as if he had known him for months! He said that Asperger has been a field of research in Japan only from the past 10 years since 1994.
July 24, 2004
July 25, 2004
July 15 - 19 2004
July 8, 2004 Went to Nagano and back meeting some very beautiful people along the way!
July 1, 2004 Ran into Phoebe from the Philippines. Click on the photo below to see an enlargement of her with my Siberian Husky, Prancy!
June 29, 2004 Yukari san took me part of my way back home. She was driving a huge truck!
April 18, 2004 Chiaki, together with her 2 young children, sees me hitchhiking offers to take me part way to my destination. She first takes me to her home where she treats me to a delicious sukiyaki lunch -- my favorite Japanese dish! It is only the second time since 1998 that a lady with children unaccompanied by a man took me home for lunch.
March 2004 I was zapped with a bad cold this month. While in bed using my "Text to Speech" software I listened to George Orwell's 2 classic novels "Animal Farm" and "1984". I first read 1984 when a teenager. Security lesson learned: Winston's first mistake was to keep a diary. ;-)
Feb 27, 2004 Yasuko picked me up and took me out of her way to get to my destination. She is 23 years old.
Another lady with her mother also picked me up and took me to the very door of my destination.
Yuka and Yui, both only 19 years old, picked me up at Yoro SA in Gifu and took me to as far as Kyoto.
From Kyoto a man took me practically to the door of my friend's home in Osaka where I spent the next whole day teaching him computer skills.
Day 4: I traveled to Kita-Kyushu passing Kobe, Okayama, and Hiroshima.
Hiroyuki and Yukari (photo below) took me from Osaka on the Chugoku and Sanyo expressway to a parking area in Hyogo Prefecture a little past Himeji, a distance about 100 KM. Hiroyuki is a scientist. We had a great talk debunking the false teaching of the theory of evolution.
Kazunori and Kumiko, a married couple, took me from Hyogo to Okayama, a distance about 70 KM.
Nov. 15, 2003 Met a Russian man named Gennady at Yoyeyama Service area when traveling to Kanazawa. He works as a translator and is now working on a Japanese / Russian dictionary. Gennady is a linguist and speaks English, Japanese and German but he seemed happy to speak with me in his native Russian. I was glad to have the opportunity to speak and hear the beautiful Russian language again. He took me to the city of Joestsu which is about 34 KM down the highway from were we met. Click the photo above to see the entire scene with the beautiful Sea of Japan in the background.
Oct. 27-29, 2003 Had a 3 day vacation. Toured Aizuwakamatsu of Fukushima and Mount Yahiko of Niigata.On the right is the Sea of Japan just after I descended from Mt. Yahiko.
Oct. 5, 2003 Chiari came to Sunday fellowship today with a new friend, Yui. (Photo left to right:) Chiari, Yui and Angela
Sept. 27, 2003 Yutaka (20) and his girlfriend Ayumi (19) met me hitchhiking and took me all the way home. I told them that Heaven is a place where love is, a place where even if a man approaches a women who is a total stranger and walks up to her and greets her with a hug and a kiss, she would respond in like manner! (That's my idea of Heaven) Yutaka said that he wanted to go there. I told them all about Jesus and if they take Him as savior, He will bring them to Heaven. They both readily prayed with me to receive Christ. After that they visited my home and met my family. Ayumi remarked upon leaving that she would miss us. "Hurry back!" I said.
Sept. 17, 2003 Today I visited Kazuki, a 20 year old
college student from Okinawa. He liked the literature I gave him upon
meeting him in front of Niigata University and wanted to talk about it.
In the photo he is holding a 3 string instrument used in Okinawa.
August 2: My dear mother passed away on July 15, 2003. She was only 5 days short of her 85 birthday. My brother Mike and son Jeremy wrote me immediate emails. Mike asked me to come immediately and so I booked a flight that left the very next day and arrived in Chicago the evening of July 17. The wake was held on the day she would have been 85 on July 20. I returned to Japan two weeks later on the 31st.
June 25 The main event this month was that a single mother with 6 children came to live with my happy family! "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction....." James 1:27 Or I might add, bring them to visit and live with you!
May 9 I just returned from a 1200 kilometer hitchhike adventure traveling first to Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture, then Toyota in Aichi prefecture and finally Hamamatsu of Shizuoka prefecture. One boy who picked me up is now separated from his wife but would like her to return. I told him to tell his wife that he loves her but he said he can't! Did you know that the Japanese all know the expression "I love you" but that they don't say it? It is perhaps one of the basics flaws in their national character. They all know that Americans, Europeans, and most other countries of the would express love verbally, but they seldom say the words themselves. It is very rare when they do. During this trip I visited my Brazilian friend, Paulo. He is a principle of 3 schools he founded for children of Brazilian immigrants to Japan. What a man of influence he has become! He has regular visits with the mayor of Toyota city and the Brazilian ambassador to Japan. He has never attended university. It shows what a man of vision can do with God's help.
May 3 I road a bicycle over two hours to visit a Russian exhibition. The photo on the right shows a typical Orthodox church. My purpose to go there was not really site seeing, but to try to meet some Russians. I met only one that day, sweet Olga from Khabarovsk, mother of a two year old child and a university student. She speaks both fluent English and Japanese. I hope to meet her again and get introduced to her friends.
April 29: My family had our yearly barbecue at a local park. We invited all our friends. In the photo from left to right are Chieharu of Paul and Megumi, and the twins Masami and Masaki. Notice the chopsticks in Masaki's (or is it Masami's?) hand? They are called waribashi. "Wari" means to divide and "bashi" is a form of "hashi" which means chopsticks. Waribashi is at first one stick that is partially cut in the middle so as to easily pull apart to make two sticks that are used as chopsticks. Environmentalists won't like the fact that waribarshi are only used once and then thrown away.
April 21: I visited a new friend in Ibaragi prefecture just north of Tokyo. She says to call her "Lady Ray" if I post her photo on my web site. Lady Ray is a very spiritual Christian and introduced me to "Reiki" which means "spirit energy". It is a practice of laying hands on a sick person to pray for their healing. I listened and received what she had to say because it is clearly a biblical practice to lay hands on people to pray for them.-- Mark 16:18
April 15 Today the cherry blossoms are in full bloom against a bright blue sky! Took photos of them today.
April 13 The twins Masumi and Masaki came again to our Sunday fellowship meeting. They are both eager to learn God's Truth from the Bible.
April 6 I spent part of the last 2 days with a man suffering from bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression. He was throwing money at shop clerks but they refused to accept it! I bet he couldn't do that in most other countries of the world! Well, I guess he could, but the clerks would readily accept his tip! Here's a good web site I found on bipolar disorder: mddaboston.org/bipolar.html
March 14 I had an extended road trip that week travelling as far as Kobe. The couple below took me on the expressway from Otsu parking area in Shiga prefecture (right across from Lake Biwa) to Ishikawa Prefecture. From there it was easy to hitchhike on the low road to get to my destination of Kanazawa. The distance travelled was about 170 KM.
February 24 An old buddy by the name of Jonathan who I haven't seen in 11 years and who now lives at the exact opposite site of the globe from me contacted me because he found this web site!
February 19: I received an email offering me a donation of $6,000,000! Read how I learned the mail was really spam from Nigerian gangsters!
February 17: Traveled to Nagano Prefecture to see Chinami, a girl who was anorexic. She is doing much better now, thank God, because of her willingness to admit her problem and her prayer asking Jesus to help her.
February 13: I learned why MSIE was demanding Japanese character support for my English pages and fixed the problem. It also fixed the problem of the Russian fonts on my Russian language pages.
February 3: Since the last entry I finished the Pentium 4 computer I was building, and it works great! David Wallace who lives near Tokyo bought me a case when I visited him. The case was the last item I needed.Highlights of the past month:
January 3, 2003: I bought a Pentium 4 1.8 GigHz CPU. Now all I need
is a case and a memory stick to finish my relatively low cost super computer!
Can you see the actual chip on the right hand side of the picture? I laid my toothbrush is in the foreground to show the relative size of the chip. How small compared to the fan and the cooling fins! And yet the Pentium 4's technology still pales in comparison to the DNA of one single human cell. Just as man designed the Pentium, God designed the cell.
December 27. I've almost got enough dough to build my first computer from parts! Already I bought a mother board, an AGP card, a CD ROM (RW), a 17 in. used monitor (cheap at only $25), a keyboard and a mouse. Now all I need is a CPU, a memory chip, and a case. Any contributions toward my computer fund are joyfully and graciously accepted. :-)
December 21 was one of the toughest hitchhike trips ever! I left home around 11AM and hoped to travel 300 kilometers by 5 or 6PM on the expressway, but nobody was picking me up. Finally a kind man, a company president took me to a certain city part way. Normally I would not get off the expressway there knowing that that particular entrance is difficult to hitchhike. I had trouble therefore. But not wanting to wait any longer, I went with the man. Sure enough I could not get back on the expressway even after an hour! So I opted to take the low road. The sweet girl in the photo, Keiko, took me to another city about 30 kilometers down the road from where I could get back on the expressway. Even so I didn't reach my destination until after 11 PM! But I sure had fun along the way and met some interesting folks.
On December 15 we held a Christmas party for our friends and contacts. About 207 people attended! There was food, Christmas songs, skits and 3 live music groups. Everybody really enjoyed it. Most of the people I didn't even know. They were friends of friends.
December., 11. -- Today was the first big snowfall of the winter. Prancy, my Siberian Husky was barking wildly with expectation at the thought of running through the snow. As I unleashed her, the chain slipped out of my hand and she ran away savoring new found freedom with the chain still attached to her collar! Because of clear dog tracts in the fresh snow it was easy to track her down. I caught her while riding a bicycle after about 15 minutes. Try riding a bicycle on snowy roads. What fun. :-)
On Dec. 6, I was picked up for the first time in my life by a truck loaded with 20 head of cattle! The truck swayed a little bit but not too much.
On Dec. 3, 2002 I was picked up for the very first time by a politician, or at least a former politician. He was mayor of a fair size city for 10 years.
On December 1 I experienced one of the most unusual marriage ceremonies ever. The bride fell down in a dead faint during the proclamation of marriage. After a few minutes she revived and I tried to continue with the ceremony, but one of the choir ladies was so upset that the bride fainted that she broke down crying when she sung Amazing Grace and could not finish.
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