Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Me, Myself, and Japan

I am going to Japan tomorrow. Its a trip I have been planning for a while now. Because my visa for China is quite ridiculous, I have to leave the country every 60 days. I don't have to be gone any particular length of time, or go anywhere special. I just have to leave, and come back. For my first two visa trips I went to Korea, slept in the airport and came directly back. This caused quite a bit of consternation among my travel-fiend international friends. I guess a bit of that is deserved, but the way I saw it 1) I was already spending money I shouldn't of had to spend in the first place, so why would I add to the cost? and 2) My whole reason for being on this side of the world is to be in CHINA. My life and ministry are here. So why waste time in Korea?

Yeah. I'm not practical or anything.

After my second time sleeping on the floor in Seoul however, I kind of didn't want to do that again. Fortuitously, my former youth minister and his family have been living in Japan for the past 10 years, and invited me to come visit them while I was in China. Despite the tsunami they still wanted me to come, so I bought the plan ticket a couple weeks ago and made it official.

Tomorrow I leave for Japan, and won't return till next Monday. That will equal out to a full four days in Japan with a wonderful host family. I can't wait.

One of my well traveled friends asked me what my plans were for my time in Japan. Large amounts of disbelief streamed from her face when I said, "I don't know." She couldn't believe I would go without an idea of what I want to do/see in Tokyo. To be honest I couldn't care less what I see there. Oh I am sure I will get fantastic recommendation from Phil and Kim about where to go and what to see. That will be cool I am sure. That isn't why I am excited to go.

I want to go to Japan, not to see wondrous sights and hear unfamiliar sounds and taste new things, not --even-- to go and lift rubble or join the fight against disaster. I want to go to Japan to Rest. I want to go to Japan to have a Sabbath. I want to go to Japan to be Renewed.

Because really, I just need a break.

I feel like I have been going nearly non-stop for a month now between the play and work and relationships and church-- I am as busy as I have ever been. On top of that, this is my sixth month in China. There is a lot to process. The past: what it has meant, what mistakes I have made, what successes I have had, where I have gone, what I have done, the relationships I have built. The culture: where do I fit, how I understand things, what I could do better. The future: where will I fit in micMAC over the next 1-5 years? How will these next six months go? Who will I build relationships with? How can I make a difference? What will God teach me? Where will he call me?

I need space. I need time to be still. I need prayer and scripture reading. I need to turn my brain off from the immediate and cultivate my soul.

I need to write and think and pray. And then I need to write and think and pray some more. I need to free up the creative energy I will need to be the kind of person I have to be over the next six months.

I am going to Japan tomorrow. And I can't wait.

~J.L. Smith

1 comment:

  1. I just happen to be blogging when you posted this. I promise I'm not just waiting for you to post so I can read it. I'm not THAT much of a creeper.

    I like "Large amounts of disbelief streamed from her face". Haole.

    May your time in Japan be wonderfully restful and perspective findingish. And include a little bit of sightseeing...and maybe some good sushi.

    You will be missed my friend. Enjoy!