Saturday, June 26, 2010

Break, Camp, and Homestay

Anna, one of our Japanese translators, took a few of us girls out shopping and for lunch on our day off before camp! It was so much fun…and so necessary. We really needed to get out of our isolated camp area. That’s Anna and Amazing curry and nan (bread)! She also took us to a photo booth; what day of shopping is complete without one?

I didn’t know what to expect concerning the first camp. My teammates and I felt pretty unprepared; we had 5 new people join our team (to make about 17 of us) a day before camp started, and we didn’t have many details from the school regarding rooming lists, schedules, or expectations. However, I was really nervous for other aspects of camp; namely, would the kids actually like me, or would I just be that awkward counselor that everyone dreaded having?

When the kids came, in all honesty, the nervousness disappeared. Being a camp counselor is the most fun and freeing thing that I’ve ever done. It gives me the excuse to be crazy, to sing and dance and encourage other people to come out of their shells, and to find those kids who are like me (more quiet), earn their trust, and let them know that I think they are absolutely wonderful.

This was a predominately boys school, so in my rotation, I had all guys groups, but that made me very happy. My first group was a bunch of shy, intelligent boys that would barely talk to me at first, but by the last campfire night, they were singing, dancing, and smiling with me. My 1 minute drill group (memorizing English phrases and saying them in 1 minute) guys were good, too, because they not only improved, but I was also able to convey to them WHAT they were actually learning, and I think that they actually enjoyed it. My camp skit group was amazing! We won =D They were a bunch of crazy boys, so we did Mario and Luigi off to rescue Princess Peach (Peach even borrowed a girl’s skirt and hammed it up.) It was so good…they got so creative with their costumes! The Boss (bowser) made horns and spikes…and he gave them to me as a present as he was leaving. So cute!

It was definitely some of the hardest days of my life; trying to get the kids to speak English was at times like pulling teeth. Most of their English levels were very low. But it was incredible to watch them warm up to us; when we first started singing camp songs, they would just stare at us, but by the end of camp, they were all singing and dancing and going crazy! For some strange reason, they loved the baby shark song, the banana song, and La Touche. Gigolo too…although they made it dirty really fast.

Here are some pictures of my boys! Shoya, Fumiaki, Mazaki, Tadashi, and others…they all love doing the peace signs in pictures.

Group C…cam p skit group winners!!! Princess Peach (Arashi) on the top right, Teppei (Boss) on the left, Luigi (Tadashi) in front, and Ryousuke (Mario) Yoshitaka, Ryouta, and Yousuke on the right.

Team Awesome! My serious boys who are very calm and collected…but it made my life to see them dance with me!

incredible team…I love them so much. Everyone is so different, but we all complement each other so well. Job well done for Camp 1.

Now I’m at my homestay, which I was originally super nervous about. However, I had no reason to be, for my family is wonderful. Isoji, the mom, is super driven a get-it-done person, and she is hilarious. Masakazu, the father, is so sweet and tries to speak English with me when he can. The kids, Hidei and Haruka (27 and 16) are shy but so sweet.

The parents took me to see the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum today, and that was so sweet of them. It was hard to be there…but a good experience.

It was within a mile of where the bomb hit, and it stopped at 11:02, the exact minute of the explosion. On the drive home, they also pointed out to me the exact place where it hit; it’s hard to put into words what you feel when you see something like that…so I’m just not going to try.

After that, my family took me out to lunch, where I had Eudong and Tempura, which are Japanese noodles and fried vegetables.And guess what? *gasp* I liked them! Mom and Aunt Michelle, I even took pictures to prove it! Oishi! (delicious)

I’m just relaxing a bit now….not quite sure what these next few days here will hold, but I hope that I won’t be too much of a burden on my host family.

Please please please facebook me or email me ( and let me know how I can be praying for you. Tell me how you are doing! I will try my best to answer while I have internet here.

And this picture just looks cool.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So i tried to add pics, but its not sorry this japanese cafe isnt working lol.

“Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus is playing on my seat radio on the plane, “ I’m on my way home tonight…party in the USA.” Oh, the irony. I’m definitely on a plane headed to Osaka, Japan. I’ve been on for about 7 and a half hours now, and I have 2 or 3 more to go. It’s definitely been survivable; life isn’t too bad when you have a movie screen in front of you and some extra leg space as compared to the last flights! But I can’t watch anything anymore…so I’ll just write.
It’s definitely still surreal. Yes, I’ve been traveling all day, but I don’t think that the reality will truly hit me until I walk into Osaka’s airport, face a deluge of Japanese, and endure constant staring from the Asians. By that point, however, I think that I’ll just be trying to survive. I’ve been up since 1:15 this morning, and it’s 8:45 p.m. Central time. I think we’ve passed the International Date Line, and it’s now Thursday, June 17th, late morning! So I will be up for another 8 to 10 hour *smiles* adventures yay =)
The girls I’m traveling with are wonderful. We are going to have an awesome 6 weeks, I think. Flights have all gone super smoothly, and with the exception of me and Denise getting motion sickness (yay for Drammamine!), life has been wonderful.
Thank you, Mom, for the wonderful card you gave me! I love you! And thanks everyone for the prayers…I am so appreciative of it. God has been good. If you can remember, my knees are doing alright, but they’re still causing me some problems, especially with all the constant strain from the travel.
Post prayer requests or just let me know how you are doing! *hugs*

Day 2
Location: Nagasaki

Yay! Jet lag pity time for an hour, so I decided to write for a bit. Yesterday we traveled for about 20 hours. We arrived at the hotel, which was definitely a relief after the plane rides, and I had my first experience with one of the infamous Japanese toilets. This baby had a bunch of buttons with pictures by it, and I figured I’d push a few of them. One was called “spray” and it had a picture of water…well, spraying out of the toilet onto your butt. I was like “yeah, no way that’s what it means” and I decided to push the button. Nothing happened for a few seconds, so I thought it was pretty useless, until suddenly I felt a sensation alike to the pressure from a fire house spraying me from inside the toilet. I screamed and jumped up, which probably wasn’t the best idea, considering the water then sprayed onto the wall across from me. Good times.
We traveled by coach bus from Fukuoka to Nagasaki, and parts of the landscape were absolutely beautiful.
When we arrived at our camp facility, we were all in good spirits despite the rain and humidity. We were going to be dropped off at our rooms, but then the bus couldn’t find the right route to them, so they apologized and told us that we were going to have to hike. *laughs* I can honestly say that I haven’t done something that hard in my life. My body is already out of shape because of my injured knees, and you add 7 hours of sleep that is trying to fight off the effects of jet lag, and a 45 lb. suitcase to the hill that we had to climb. It was incredible, though. Felt like part of the adventure =D P.S. Mom, if you are reading this, my knees are going to inevitably face setbacks…*sad face* but keep praying for them!

Oh my goodness we had a half hour presentation on how to make our beds! It made my day.

My team is incredible. There are only 12 of us, but everyone has had such good spirits, and we are all game for anything. There’s a bit of diversity on our team, which is awesome. We laugh and do crazy things, and it’s wonderful.

Day 3: More Prep for Camp
For the past two days, we’ve been preparing for the first camp that’s coming up. It’s a highschool with 240 kids; the first 120 kids are coming up on Wednesday, and the next group will come a week later. We’ve been making signs, decorations, and awards for the kids, plus brainstorming lots of games and songs. I swear, I haven’t sung so many camp songs in my entire life as I have in the past two days. It’s been actually really fun to prep and to get to see the different talents that my teammates have.

The food has been..interesting. In all honesty, I’ve always despised any type of asian food, especially when it involved seafood. Well, that’s about all we get! Haha everything is either slimy looking, obviously fish, or…well, you just shake your head. I’ve felt kind of sick the entire time that I’ve been here, so I haven’t been too adventurous with my eating habits; I figured it would be better to not risk the whole throwing up thing this early into camp. But I haven tried eel and fish paste and either squid or cuttlefish…and I’m sure that I will broaden my horizons in the near future.

Tonight we had a “practice” campfire, aka an excuse to eat something sugary for once! But it was rainy, so we had to improvise:

Good times.
We are getting up early tomorrow to go sightseeing, so that’s when I’ll be posting this. We don’t have internet access up at this camp, so I’ll find an internet cafĂ© and hopefully get some quick update time. Unfortunately, that means I won’t have a chance to update until at least the 25th.
I miss you guys a lot! And keep praying for me…it’s hard to find that alone time to do devotions and really focus on just spending time with Jesus…but some of the girls are getting up tomorrow early to pray, and I’m really excited about that! Pray for my knees (today was a good day praise God!), that I can think of others as better than myself so that I can be a better teammate, and that this upcoming camp the children would just be so positively impacted.
Please post how I can be praying for you! And I think my brother posted on his fb (david nibbe) the address you can send me snail mail at (which would make my LIFE!!!!!). I love you guys!
Cassie, I saw the CUTEST asian baby and almost kidnapped him for you.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Quick update. Two days from now at this time, I'll be in Japan. I know that I won't have constant access to the Internet, but I will update this as often as possible. I figured it would be the most efficient way to keep people updated on life over there...but I will definitely be checking facebook and creeping on all of your lives =)
Add me on skype (katie.nibbe), because I'll have a webcam, too.