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On February 20th for some reason or another after using a utility to clean up this website from junk code, each and every page and post was deleted! Whether it was a bug in the utility, or perhaps a malicious attack by a hacker, I cannot say. I was able to restore most of the pages and posts from a backup file, but I lost several days work, 4 posts including 3 whole books, many editions on other pages and … Continue reading →

Love before Suicide Campaign

Turning our mess into a message in the country of Uruguay. This is the testimonial of my new friend, Amy Gilmartin, and her vision to forsake all for Jesus to show God’s love to the spiritually starving people of Uruguay. Hi friends, Joseph and I have some exciting news! We are selling everything we own and moving to Uruguay! Before you think we’re absolutely crazy, hear me out! About nine years ago, in a place of absolute desperation, I turned … Continue reading →

Japanese musical instruments: The Koto and the Shakuhachi

Mr. Murata

On June 22, 2012, Mr. and Mrs. Murata picked me up from Nikaho, Akita Prefecture and invited me to drink tea with them in their home in Akita city. Mr. Murata’s hobby is making and playing a music instrument made from bamboo which is called Shakuhachi. Mrs. Murata plays the Koto, a stringed instrument. I was honored to be their guest and hear them perform. Mr. Murata wanted to give me a shakuhachi for a present, but because I couldn’t … Continue reading →

Attempt to hitchhike to the Fukushima Pacific coastline

August 6: Today I thought to visit the Pacific coast and take some photographs of the tsunami aftermath. Fukushima Prefecture is neighbor to Niigata Prefecture where I live. As the crow flies it’s about 185 kilometers from home to the Pacific. I hoped to hitchhike there and be back home the same day. Later I realized how unreasonable a feat that would be! I had no guarantee of a smooth ride back. A kind lady saw me hitchhiking on a … Continue reading →

Hitchhike adventures since the March 11th earthquake

I haven’t felt it appropriate to write about my adventures meeting people hitchhiking in Japan since the catastrophe of March 11th. People are still suffering and I want to do what I can to help those who are going directly to the disaster areas to treat people with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is just to say I’m still hitchhiking, people still pick me up, and I still need to travel this way to do my job and save … Continue reading →

Government and banking institutions’ mistrust of aid collectors since the East Japan Earthquake

A couple days after the massive magnitude 9 earthquake in the Pacific 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Northeast Japan which caused a massive tsumami destroying the northeast coast of the Tohoku region, I was asked to make a website http://helpjapan2011.net for the purpose of raising aid to buy goods and materials for volunteers to take to the survivors of the disaster. Help Japan 2011 is sponsored by a Japanese government recognized NPO called Leap High … Continue reading →

Visit to friends in Sendai

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On March 26, Charles Begley and I drove to the city of Sendai to bring supplies to a small Christian community of 6 adults and 7 children. It was a 4 hour drive along the Banetsu and Tohoku expressways and was through Fukushima prefecture. As you see from the map, the Tohoku expressway is about 58 kilometers or 36 miles from the two troubled nuclear power-plants in Fukushima. Charles’ van was completely filled with supplies, thanks to friends in Niigata … Continue reading →

Bringing supplies to friends in Sendai

Tomorrow, Saturday March 26th, Charles Begley, the director of Begley Productions and I will travel to the city of Sendai, the largest city in northeast Japan that was affected by the earthquake, to bring supplies to a large family of 4 adults and 7 children. They are sitting in a cold house wearing their winter coats for lack of kerosene for heating. So far we have acquired, 4 containers of kerosene holding 18 liters each equaling 72 liters. 60 kilograms … Continue reading →

Message from an acquaintance of the people who are fighting the radiation leak in the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima

I received the following email from a friend about the situation of the nuclear power-plant in Fukushima. Dear everyone, I have an urgent request for prayer. Right now there are people who are giving their all to save our country, its people, and you and your family at the risk of their lives at Fukushima atomic power plant. Please pray for the success of their work. The Soldiers of Special chemical troop of Defense army (those who are working at … Continue reading →

Progress on raising aid for the earthquake victims

So far Help Japan 2011 has raised nearly $600 in donations through Palpal! Most of the donors are in America. One is in Australia, only in the UK, and one in Tokyo. A family I have known through the years in Sendai report that they have electricity again, but still no kerosene to keep their house warm. As I write this post, it’s 5 degrees Celsius or 41 degrees Fahrenheit outside in Sendai. They are dressed as warmly as possible … Continue reading →

Satellite photos of the affected areas of Japan before and after the catastrophy

My brother Mike sent me the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html One of the photos on that page: Each photo has a slider in the middle. Move the slider back and forth by putting your mouse pointer in the middle of the center bar and holding down the left mouse button, and you will see the tremendous difference and amount of destruction caused by the earthquake and tsunami. Simply awful! Seeing the difference of before and after is simply heartbreaking. I’ve been … Continue reading →

Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown

I live in Niigata Prefecture which is the neighboring prefecture to Fukushima. Thankfully there is a mountain range between us, and because the wind normally blows from the west to the east, I do not anticipate any radioactive fallout from the nuclear power plants in my area. A friend sent me this link http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/ which is pretty encouraging. I sure hope the author is correct! … Continue reading →

Joined an NPO project to help the Sendai earthquake victims

It was an auspicious time for me to come to Osaka after the earthquake. I was contacted by a friend, Josh DeSantis, the chairman of Hiyaku28 NPO, to come to Kobe to set up a new website to raise donations for the earthquake victims. Josh participated in the relief efforts of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Kobe is only a 360 yen train ride from where I was in Osaka. I had just enough money to get to Kobe with 69 … Continue reading →

The situation of my family and friends after the Sendai earthquake

I’ve been calling all my friends, and especially the ones that live close to the earthquake epicenter. Nobody I know was hurt during the earthquake in the slightest. Everybody in Northern Japan experienced the shocks of the quake, but nobody was close enough to the coast to be affected by the tsunami. My family in Niigata reports that they all went outside during the earthquake, but then went back inside when it was over because of the cold. Simon in … Continue reading →

Shook up while in Tokyo by massive earthquake

March 11, 2011: At 2:46 PM local Japan time I was sitting in a MacDonald’s in Sangenjaya, only two train stops from Shibuya, a major commercial center of Tokyo. An earthquake began shaking the building. There are earthquakes in Japan from time to time that are strong enough to be felt without doing any damage, but this one was the strongest I have experienced in my life doing damage right before my eyes! It got stronger and stronger to the … Continue reading →

Misogi – a Shinto purification ritual of standing under a waterfall in the winter

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Today I attended a traditional local ceremony at Shiratama waterfall in Niigata Prefecture. I’ve been to this waterfall several times in the summer to escape the heat, but this is the first time to see it in the snowy mid winter, and the very first time to see people stand under it! It’s actually a religious ceremony. Misogi (禊) is a Japanese mountain ascetic practice of ritual purification. This may be undertaken through exhaustive activities such as extended periods without … Continue reading →

Adventure to Akita station

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November 12, 2010: I needed to travel from Niigata to Aomori city for important business the following day. If I hitchhike, I like to give myself two days to be on the safe side to be on time for such matters. Aomori city is 470 kilometers from home and mostly by regular highway. I often can only get as far as Akita city – a little over half way – where I spend the night at a friend’s house. But … Continue reading →

Explanation of Al Qaeda from a young man from Pakistan

On the train today I noticed a foreigner across the aisle and sat next to him. His darker skin and features told me that he’s probably from Pakistan, which he confirmed. I told him that I am a Christian and he replied that his wife is Christian and from Peru. He asked me what I thought about the preacher guy, Terry Jones, who threatened to burn the Koran on September 11. I said I don’t like people who go out … Continue reading →

100 kilometer cycling adventure

Mt. Yahiko and Mt. Kakuda from a distance of 20 kilometers

I enjoy taking long bicycle trips from time to time. I thought it would be a good day’s challenge to circle two famous mountains of Niigata, Mt. Kakuda and Mt. Yahiko and return home before nightfall. Mt. Kakuda and Mt. Yahiko are not famous for their height. Mt. Yahiko is only 600 some meters high. They are famous for being the only mountains smack dab on the coast of the Sea of Japan in the midst of the flat rice … Continue reading →