Cowboy Church

Just as I was going to bed on Sunday night, I ended up on the phone with my mom.  She was on her way to Cowboy Church, the Church services offered for all the cowboys who are in town to participate in the rodeo (though it is open to all, of course), and so, even though it was long past my bedtime, it being near midnight my time, I asked her to call me back once she had arrived and settled in at the service.

I rushed to finish my bedtime routine, reading and all, and had just finished everything when my phone was buzzing with the FaceTime call from Church.  Therefore, I found myself attending Church for the first time from the comfort of my own bed.  But it gets better.

The passage on which the pastor focused mainly was the one from Luke 10 where Jesus ends up at the home of Martha and Mary, and Mary sits and listens to and dotes on Jesus, while her sister, Martha, is preparing the meal.  (Martha eventually comments to Jesus about the situation, and asks him to tell Mary that she needs to help Martha, and not just sit around, and then Jesus talks about how Mary has actually picked the better and more important of the two options, and all that jazz.)

You know how there’s always the discussion over Shakespeare’s works, whether they are too old-fashioned to be fully understood to people today, and would do best being re-done in a way that people can actually relate to the various situations and circumstances, as people had been able to do in Shakespeare’s time?  Now, typically, we think of the biblical figures as following a certain type of diet, based on historical information on the region, as well as various notes within the Bible itself.  However, seeing as this was Cowboy Church, the pastor definitely took it upon himself to speak to his audience, and to make the story more relatable for his listeners.

How, you ask, did he do that?  Well, Martha wasn’t cooking seeds in the oil, making bread, or anything like that.  She was in the kitchen chopping tomatoes for the salsa, cooking and slicing the meat, heating the tortillas… in short, she was making fajitas for Jesus.

After that image, all I could see was a Jesus eating fajitas next to a jar of Pace Picante, while wearing a tunic, a cowboy hat, and boots; and then riding off on a horse, while swinging a lasso in the air.  Or perhaps I just kept flipping back and forth between a sort of Chuck Norris and a Jesus image.  Not sure – it’s a difficult thing to imagine, Jesus eating tacos and fajitas.

All in all, I had a wonderful time at Cowboy Church, and for various reasons.  i also had several firsts in that attendance.  It was, of course, my first time at Cowboy Church, and I was thrilled to be in attendance.  It was my first time to attend Church while in my bed and PJs.  it was my first time imagining Jesus easting fajitas and salsa.  And, perhaps the oddest of them all, it was my first time spending the entire service using my phone.  It was a way cool sort of bedtime story slash activity.  So glad to have such an awesome mom.  Thanks, Mom!


Post-a-day 2017



Workouts, Teachers, Tears, & Careers

I honestly don’t know how to describe today. It was good and bad and wonderful and horrible and surprising and loads of other stuff, too. I’m not sure there’re real words for it, even. And not in a bad way, of course. Just in an indescribable way. You know?

I guess the best way to describe it is by saying that today was filled with love.

I found out on Tuesday, that one of the teachers at my gym was leaving at the end of the month (i.e. this Friday).  I was rather distraught upon learning the news.  However, I wasn’t too surprised about it – she had always seemed like a superstar in our kind of gym.  We are casual, everyday family, exercising together and having fun.  She is one of the most fit, beautiful, sexy women I have ever known.  And her enthusiasm and real-ness are both top notch.

She has this one class that is insanely difficult, though totally simple, and today was the last time that she she would be teaching it.  Afterward, she kind got a little red-eyed after one lady hugged her after our high fives (she always starts and ends that particular class with enthusiastic hang tens).  When she was saying a thank-you to everyone, I started to redden around the eyes, too.  And, when she started to talk to me while I was finishing putting away my weights and bands, I just went full-out crying, and we hugged multiple times, both crying and saying thank you (in Japanese, of course) to each other.

The gym won’t and can’t be the same without her, though I know it will still be good.  In the midst of my depression, this gym, and especially this teacher’s classes, were the main thing that started me on my road to becoming myself again, and they now have been a fixture in my life.  I have never before scheduled activities around a gym schedule, nor preferred to spend hours at the gym on my own instead of, well, doing anything else.  The gym was my life for a while, and it was what helped me to be healthy enough to find more to be part of my life.  And, now that this teacher and her classes are going to be gone, I can now spend more time doing those other things that I want to be part of my life (because, up to now, I have tended to cancel other activities when they coincided with her classes, because I so loved her classes).

Plus, at some point, I am going to be leaving myself, so I needn’t be too upset at her leaving first.  But that isn’t exactly the point.  Tangent-ish.  Anyway…

The group gave her flowers, and we took a group photo with her, and various folks were crying (or perhaps it was just she and I), and it was super sweet.  

When I asked for the group photo, I got to find out that she is going to be studying instead now – she wants to study physical training and English, and working here keeps her from having the time to do that.  So she’s giving up one love for a greater one. And, when she asked about when I’m leaving Japan, she was all surprised and distraught that it’s so soon (four-ish months), but was really excited for my own plans for what’s next in my life.  She could relate to how I felt about wanting to pursue the things most important to me, even if they seem a bit abnormal or crazy.

Then we took a few selfies together, at her request, even finding better lighting to make sure they were good ones, and then we hugged some more before a final goodbye.  She didn’t ask for solo pictures with anyone else – just the one big group picture.

All in all, it was awesome.  And, possibly the best part, is how much love I felt.  From me to her and from her to me, there was so much love.  I don’t know lots of Japanese (though I understand a good amount), so I don’t typically start much chit-chat with people, simply because I don’t have the words.  I always would find ways to talk with her – often using English, which often resulted in a fun befuddlement on both sides of the conversation.  She was always hesitant to use English herself, but she usually understood me, and I usually could understand her, so it worked.  However, her hesitation with English made me wonder if it were the English or the Hannah that had her be hesitant.  I always suspected it to be the English, but it wasn’t until today that I really discovered that for sure.  She loves me and I love her.  And I believe I have never cried over any kind of teacher the way I cried over her today after our last class with her.
Post-a-day 2017


the Power of Music

The thing about music is that it is incredibly powerful.

Siting around, waiting for my dance class to start, I was listening to music just now.  A few songs came on from a musical our theatre did several years ago.  As I listened to the female lead sing her song of love to the male lead, I was suddenly transported to a different time and place – I was right back in the preparations for the musical, way back when we were putting it on.  

I could hear the director talking about casting the female lead, every word as clear as though he were sitting here with me, like all hose yeats ago, and chuckling at the end of it all.  I remembered verbatim what he said.  I do every time I hear this song, and whether I want to or not.

Just one small part of the power of music, you know?
Post-a-day 2017

The Fear of Openness and Intimacy

It is often terrifying to be open with people regarding very intimate things.  Usually, though, the result of the openness is absolutely wonderful, often beyond expectations.

Tonight, after months of nervous waiting and somewhat avoidance, I finally asked a friend about something that had been driving me absolutely crazy, – it even played a decent role in my depression – and the resulting conversation was beautiful.  Rather than the worst happening, and losing the foundations on which our friendship stood, as I had somehow feared, it feels now as though we are closer than ever, and ready for most any terrain (as opposed to just being on steady ground, where any change in the land would send everything rocking to a tumble and crumble).  And, at long last, I am free of that dragging, straining haul of thoughts that had hassled me for so long.  I have a headache, and I feel like I might have a fever, and yet I am in an easy happiness as I am going to bed right now.  Life is sometimes terrifying, and that’s okay.  Sometimes it just makes the next bit even better for the struggle it took to arrive there.  So is tonight. 🙂
Post-a-day 2017

Lifetime Movies

I have no idea why, but today I was thinking about how I knew various wonderful things to do to have an exciting relationship/marriage with my future man.  One thing in particular that I recalled, is the trick of buying a guy a shirt, and getting him to try it on when you give it to him.  The situation can remain completely innocent, or can turn in a more sultry direction, if you get my drift.  As this thought was going through my head, I began to wonder why on Earth I had this idea, that I knew this was a sort of trick, and that I even thought of it as a “trick”.

It suddenly occurred to me that I knew this from a movie.  And this isn’t just any movie – this is a Lifetime movie.  Suffice it to say that I was totally embarrassed at discovering this fact.

“Really?!  You’re getting your relationship tips and tricks from a Lifetime movie?!” 

I’m not sure it can get more messed up than that! 😛

Thinking it over, though, I came to realize how much I had enjoyed Lifetime movies growing up.  It was a favorite pastime of ours: my two older sisters and I spending lazy days watching the Lifetime channel together.  It remains today one of my favorite memories of growing up.  (One of many, of course.)

I mentioned all of this to my eldest sister tonight while we were on the phone, and we couldn’t contain our laughter.  At first, I couldn’t recall why I had even been thinking about the Lifetime movies.  When I suddenly remembered that it was from the t-shirt gift trick, she was practically snorting with delight.

We proceeded to discuss a few of the movies that we remembered most clearly, which I think were also some of the last ones we had all watched together.  

One of them, of course, was the one with this t-shirt trick, starring Erica from the soap opera All My Children (it was actually a button-up shirt, and the actress’s name is Susan Lucci).  This young guy to whom she gave the shirt eventually bores her, and, when she tries to dump him, he goes kind of psycho on her, eventually meeting this slightly older guy who tries explaining to him that she doesn’t love him – it was just her thing, her most recent fling.  “She gave you a shirt, right?”  That was the key line from that film, where we realize that she likely had a whole line of poor young guys who had it all start with the shirt gift.

Another was about a writer who was renting out a house from these older people, and the older people got so excited knowing that they might be in her next book, because she always used people around her to inspire the characters of her stories.  There was a hot 30-something neighbor next-door, who liked to use her basketball hoop.  Beyond that, neither one of us could remember anything about the story, which led us to believe that we might’ve had to leave before we’d watched the whole movie.

The third movie we recalled, – and we recalled this one the best – was one that, at first, my sister did not recall at all.  I mentioned that the main lady was someone I knew from maybe another movie or a TV show, and her name was something like Christie, possibly three names (to which my sister responded initially with Anna Nicole Smith), and she seemed a rather largely built woman, but she wasn’t usually very heavy.  Although, she was somewhat heavy in this particular movie.

The general outline of the movie was something like that this woman was a foster mother, and she would force her foster daughter to steal things from the store when they went shopping.  Early in the movie, when the girl got caught shoplifting, this lady, the foster mother, began yelling at her and throwing a fit and ripping out from her clothes all of the items the girl had stolen, and so the shop did not prosecute.  When they get back to their house, we find out that the girl’s actual mother is being kept in the basement, and the girl has to steal stuff so that her mother can have things.

We could not for the life of us remember the name of this actress, though the movie rang a clear bell for my sister as I described it.  We figured our best bet was looking up Lifetime movies and scrolling through to find one that sounded right, or that had a picture of this lady actress with it.  However, seeing as I was sitting right next to my phone, I went ahead and tried a longshot search. 

I typed the following:

lifetime movie girl steals things.for her mom in basement

Believe it or not, the very first search result from Google was the IMDb link to the movie.  Neither one of us could quite believe the results of such a search – we were somewhat baffled, even.  “Now that’s the Internet for you,” my sister declared.

So, in case you were wondering, the film is called Family Sins, apparently.  It was a totally freaky movie, like any Lifetime movie, so totally watch it, but make sure you have your girlfriends or sisters or family with you when you do watch it.

Anyway, that’s all I care to say about all of that for now.  Be blessed.  🙂
Post-a-day 2017

Driving Lesson

Today, I had a driving lesson.  Though it wasn’t so much a driving lesson as it was my asking questions to a friend while he let me drive his car.  Japan drives on the left, so I wanted to have a practice session before going off on my own on the roads.  Not that I even have a car or anything, but I’m thinking about getting at least a scooter, to help with exploring better, as well as getting around to places with significantly increased ease.

Anyway, it was fun.  It’s magical how our brains can so easily flip-flop the physics for us, allowing me to be on the opposite side of the car, yet still drive well and safely.  Way cool.  🙂
Post-a-day 2017


Today, a friend and I, kind of for her birthday, went up to Nikko (a city in Japan).  We did several neat things, saw some beautiful stuff, and we had a very good time.  

However, the most odd and somewhat amazing part was when we pulled down a small road in the middle of town to get to the parking lot behind the city information center.  What to our wandering eyes did appear, but a band of monkeys playing in the road!

I halfheartedly attempted a photo as we pulled nearer, but they wandered off as the car got closer to them.  When we walked into the information center, I stopped at one spot next to the wall and hovered my hand over a specific spot where I had seen one of the monkeys perched a few minutes beforehand.

“A monkey was just sitting here!” I declared.  “A monkey’s butt was right here,” I happily exclaimed.  “I want to touch it, so as to have been on the same ground, but I’m not going to touch it, because a monkey’s butt was just here, but how cool is that?!  A monkey was just right here!”

So I was five for a minute there.  It was splendid.  😛
Post-a-day 2017

Love-Hate relationships

Do you ever wonder about why we can be simultaneously angry at and totally in love with someone?

I certainly do.

A friend of mine is kind of a terrible long-distance friend.  Actually, one of my best friends is rather bad at it, but we have been friends for so long, that it always works out wonderfully whenever we do get to talk and to see one another.  But she’s not the point here.  A newer friend is.  

I so incredibly value my friendship with him, that it is hard not being in contact with one another.  However, since he is such a terrible long-distance friend, we regularly have long periods of almost zero communication.  These times result in my growing very angry, even furiously fed up with him.  And yet, even in those moments of extreme anger, I am aware of how much I love him.

I suppose it makes sense, though, seeing has how the only reason I’m mad at his not being around is because I want him to be around (because I love him).  However, I just find it somewhat crazy that I can so easily simultaneously experience both sides of the spectrum – complete love and utter anger – with one single person at a single given moment in time.

It just seems nuts, you know?  While also being totally normal and everyday ‘duh, well, of course.’  😛
Post-a-day 2017

Blonde and Beautiful

Today, I went to a sort of workshop day for students in the international studies program at a very high level high school in my prefecture.  There were nine other ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) helping with the day, as well as myself, and we are all currently part of the JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) in my prefecture.

The ALT who works at this particular school, John, happens to be from Texas, and is kind of what one might describe as a blonde babe.  He now has a handlebar mustache, but that in no way changes the fact that he almost always looks like he’s in a sort of advertisement, usually of a sort of Calvin Klein style, but with clothes. He is tall and lean and fit, dirty blonde hair, tanned skin, and bright, bright blue eyes.  AKA he is like an unreal dream for Japanese people.

As we were hanging out together this morning, we ALTs, before the workshop day was starting up, one of the guys  asked John how students had reacted when he first showed up at the school, if they hadn’t just swooned at the sight of him, and if they didn’t still go gaga whenever he walked past them, wishing they could have class with him for all six class periods in a day.  While things weren’t quite that dramatic, John assured us, it seems that all the girls certainly were and still are in full-on fangirl love with him and his beautiful eyes and hair, and everything else.

Later in the afternoon, that same ALT who asked John about girls being in love with him, turned a similar question to me.  Are students not totally in love with me at my schools?

Now, I certainly do not see myself to be of a similar quality of model perfection as our friend John, so I asked about the background to his question.  Well, he explained, when I had walked in a bit later than everyone else that morning, for our opening ceremony, the entire population of girls in the room had turned full attention to me, casually finding my spot at the front of the room, facing everyone.  He continued, saying that the gazes that were following me were of a specific nature that suggested young girls looking up to their older sister, who is their own personal embodiment of womanly perfection…  Wow.  Wasn’t expecting that one.

“Well, students are still amazed whenever they look right at me and see that my eyes are blue – they announce it to all nearby students, and get all of their friends to gaze into my eyes for a few seconds.*  I also get a lot of love from kids.  Boys and girls alike tell me on a regular basis, whether passing me in the halls, or saying goodbye after we’ve been chatting, say to me, “I love youuu!”  So I guess they kind of are totally in love with me…”


I wonder if I’ll ever be able to go back to being plain white bread after this adventure.  I mean, I still totally am plain white bread.  However, I’m plain white bread in a place that doesn’t really do plain bread in the first place.


*How odd is it, that I am totally comfortable with this now?  Seeing as how it has happened consistently for the past seven+ months, how could I not be?


Post-a-day 2017

Trains, Phones, and Social Experiments

Riding on the train tonight felt like a sort of social experiment.

In all the trains in Japan, there are signs, and even announcements, informing everyone not only to put their phones on silent mode, but to refrain from talking on the phones.  Therefore, even though almost every single person on the train is using his or her phone, people are usually using headphones, and the train is always rather quiet.  Tonight, therefore, when I heard a noise that was clearly coming from a phone, I looked up immediately.

The girl standing near me seems to be playing a video on her phone.  I wondered what the deal was, seeing as how nobody ever did such a thing, letting the sound play openly from the phone.  After a quick visual evaluation, I realized that although I knew her phone was playing the video on loudspeaker, she likely had no idea.  I watched as she turned up the volume to full blast, even, and had to refrain from laughing.  People around the train car kept looking up from their own phones, clearly wondering what on earth was going on.  (I wonder if they thought I was the one doing it at first, seeing as I was before and are on the train, and then they were surprised that it was a Japanese girl.)  Now I knew that this was kind of a huge sort of social faux pas, but what I really was excited to discover was whether anyone would actually do anything to correct this girl’s utterly unfathomable and inappropriate behavior (as it seems to be for them).

This girl, you see, was wearing headphones.  They just simply were not plugged into her phone.  After the sort of music video ended, I kept an eye on the grill and her phone screen – she was scrolling through some sort of news feed on what looked like a Japanese social media site.  I kept waiting for another video, to test my theory that she had no idea that her headphones were unplugged, and that it wasn’t intentional that she play just the one thing out loud, not caring at all what other people thought.

After a few minutes, I got my chance – a video started blaring from her phone again.  Oddly enough, it was actually the exact same video as before.  So, I’m not so sure what was up with that, but whatever… Perhaps 20 seconds into the video, as I was watching in an attempt to figure out what the video was, the guy sitting facing her right in front of her, who happened to be wearing his own headphones, quickly but casually waved his hand in her frame of view, and then quickly but gently grabbed and handed her the unplugged end of her headphones, which had apparently been just hanging down in front of her the whole time.  In a sort of fluttery panic, the girl took her headphone cord from the guy, attempted multiple times to pause her video while turning down the volume, – she did eventually succeed – and then plugged in her headphones cord to her phone.  I had a huge smile on my face for not the first time with the incident, and I found it incredibly difficult not to burst into laughter right then and there on the newly silent train.  😛
Post-a-day 2017