A Great Father

21 Jun

A Great Father

My father met me when I was just a week old. I was adopted, but that didn’t matter and has never mattered because he always loved me as his own.

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He would nap with baby me on his stomach. He took us to church every Sunday, and read the Bible with us and prayed with us before bed every night. He would stay up countless nights with me as I worked away trying to understand my difficult math homework or perfect my art project.

He lightened his own work load and made it a priority to spend time with Paul and I while we were in high school. He would come watch my volleyball games when he could get off work in time. He patiently taught me how to drive and park. He encouraged my dreams as I went on the college hunt.

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He watched me graduate high school after I had finally just overcome a rough season of depression and was starting to look forward to the bright future God had for me.

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But then I sort of went my own way. I still loved my dad and appreciated everything he had done, but I walked away from the values and truths he had taught me since I was a child. I got trapped in an unhappy life I thought I couldn’t get out of. There were times I thought I was happy with that lifestyle, but then I’d remember my dad and just became full of so much shame and guilt. I wanted to be his little princess again, but I felt like a completely different person.

So I literally ran away to try to find myself again and start over so I could find a girl inside me who could be my daddy’s little girl again.

That’s when I moved to Japan.

and that’s when I really came home to both of my fathers! (and one of them wasn’t my birth father)

After finding an awesome church and home at Lifehouse Osaka, I came back to God, my awesome Father up in Heaven!

and after he helped me let go of my past and began healing me, I finally felt like a real daughter of my father here on earth again as well! My dad didn’t judge me. He was always praying for me! And God never judged me. He was always calling me back home! Both of them encouraged me to keep on growing, rediscover my passions and vision.

I would be lost without my dad!
And I’d be lost without God!

I’m so thankful to my two real fathers!!

My dad was able to walk me down the aisle and give me away to marry a Godly man!

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He keeps encouraging us all of the time now! Even though he is retired, he is still working for the Navigators, a Christian non profit organization, to reach the young professionals in New York City and training others to reach more people in their own cities as well!

I want to boast about him more but there are too many great things to say! He is seriously such an inspiration and such a blessing in my life.

I love you Daddy. : )

Time.

19 Mar

Time. What do we do with the time we have? How do we spend it? What if our time was limited? Would that change our priorities?

People spend their time at work to get money. Some people need that money just to pay their bills and put food on the table. Others use it for luxury to buy big houses, fancy cars and name brand clothing.

People spend their time working on relationships: building friendships, finding a partner.

People spend their time and money to look good for other people.

Time is this precious currency in our lives. If something seems pointless or not fun or not profitable we think it’s a waste of our time. On the other hand, we may think that something is very positive and worth doing but that we are too busy and someone else has more time.

Everybody’s time here on Earth is limited, though.

We share our time with people we care about and give our time to what we believe is important. For me now, time doesn’t hold as much value as the love of God. I have received this great love from God. Like with time, I don’t want to selfishly keep it all to myself. I want to go out and share it!! His love has set me free from a broken past and given me new life! I see time in a whole new way now!

I don’t want my time to be spent going to my job just thinking about how much money I’ll be earning to pay all my bills and be able to live from month to month. I want my time to be spent there teaching with passion so the next generation can learn to enjoy learning. I want to spend my time being a teacher who the students can trust. I want my time to be spent there encouraging girls to have self-confidence. I really want to honor God in my workplace!! I want to honor God in my relationships – working on maintaining strong relationships with those around me so together we can be a great net, cast out to catch people for God!

Jesus gave me this life not to live selfishly. He gave me this life to live for Him and be a light in the darkness!

Dear Grandma,

8 Mar

Dear Grandma,

Happy 91st Birthday!

I wish I could tell you in person, and tell you how important you are to me and thank you for everything you have done for me. I wonder if you remember everything you helped me through as a child. You would stay up so that you could put me to sleep. And even when you were tired you would sit next to my bed and wait for me to fall asleep because I was scared of the dark. Later, when I got older and stayed up later studying you would stay up and fix up a snack for me. And no matter how many times I said it was okay and you could go to bed you still stayed awake until I did. And you got up early every morning to make lunch for me and Paul and make sure that we got up on time. If we were late for the bus you would even drive us to school! You spoiled us so much.

Mother's Day

Everybody joked if I would be okay going off to college without you because I had never done my own laundry. Luckily, separating and doing laundry isn’t so hard. But then when I moved out to Japan everybody joked if I would be okay going off to live on my own without you because I don’t know how to cook. I still don’t, but I try throwing things together and they taste good. Your cooking is much better though. I miss it a lot. The smell of the kitchen when I would come home from volleyball practice and had a giant man-sized appetite. It always smelled good. And the food tasted even better! You were always serving us, without expecting anything in return. Even on Mother’s Day or your birthday, when Paul and I would want to cook something for you, you would still be there in the kitchen wanting to help with something. It took you a while to get used to the fact that washing dishes was my chore and taking out the trash was Paul’s chore. You used to do it anyways and Dad would get mad at you.

Me, Grandma, and Paul

You are such a great grandma! I miss you so much!

Grandma's 90th birthday

I’m so glad I was able to celebrate your 90th birthday with you last year. When I got news of your brain aneurysm last New Year’s I was heartbroken and thought I would never be able to talk with you again. I prayed so hard, as did the rest of the family. The doctors said it was nearly impossible for someone of your age to recover, but you did! God worked a miracle so you could still be here! I hope you know that. I hope you know that He has more in store for you. I keep praying that you will open up and let Him work more miracles in your life. I love you so much! and God loves you even more!

Grandma and me

Keep fighting!

Love always,

Ally

Love.

6 Feb

Valentine’s Day. It seems like people either love the holiday or hate the holiday.

Usually, those who hate it are single. I will admit it – I’ve been there. When you are single, it seems like it’s all a bit too much and over-commercialized. You can’t appreciate it because you have nobody to give anything to and know you won’t be receiving anything from anyone.

You hate the holiday not for what it is, though, BUT because you hate the fact that you are single!!! Everywhere you go, seeing all of the pink, the hearts, the chocolates; all of it serves as a constant reminder of the fact that you are single.

Don’t be depressed because you are single!
ENJOY your single life!!

Don’t be jealous of your friends who are in relationships!
Be happy for them!!

Don’t think you can’t be loved!
You are already so incredibly and unconditionally loved!!

  • Romans 8:37-39  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Don’t let your relationship status define you!
Be confident in who you are in God!!

CHANGE YOUR THINKING!!! BREAKTHROUGH THAT SMALL NEGATIVE THINKING!

God has an awesome plan for your life! Get a vision for marriage and get excited for it!!!

  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s be thankful for the amazing love we receive from our Father, give it back to Him, and share it with everybody else.

  • Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.

How should love look??

I think our image of love has been twisted by the media and commercialization. Hollywood’s version of love is really lust. Desire, ecstasy, sex.

Real love should look like this:

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

1 Corinthians 13:8

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Where can I learn more about such amazing love?

CHURCH!!

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If you’ve never been before, come and check it out!

If you are skeptical of religion, come and learn about an amazing relationship!

Every Sunday @ 12 PM and 2 PM

and                                          at Chuo Kaikan (or TB Hall) in Shinsaibashi, Osaka

Every Tuesdays @ 7:30 PM

For more info: http://osaka.jesuslifehouse.com/en

This Sunday, February 10th is Valentine’s Sunday!! Location: TB Hall   Time: 12 PM and 2 PM

Meet up at Shinsaibashi station Exit 6 @ 11:30 AM or 1:30 PM!

Valentines Day

Let go of the wheel

11 Sep

It has been about 2.5 months since I have arrived in Osaka!! Time has really flown by! In June, I was able to experience two homestays with two amazing families. I get to see one of them tomorrow to celebrate the daughter’s 6th birthday and my 22nd!! I’ve missed them a lot so I’m really looking forward to seeing them again!

Work has lately become much harder than it was. Maybe it was because in August I got to teach the class with the 2 and 3 year olds who are so easy, and now I’m in charge of the 6 year olds. Their schedule is much different and they have so much to cover but their problem is that they don’t like to listen! Well, some of them don’t. I try to go in with a positive attitude but it’s so hard to keep the class fun and in order. I think this is really a challenge for me to learn that I can’t do this on my own. Because no matter what I’ve done to change the lesson or try to adjust my attitude I still leave that class feeling completely drained and disappointed with myself. In church this past Sunday, Pastor Luke talked about bringing God into our workplace with us. I think that’s exactly what I need to do. Ask for His strength, wisdom, and love to guide the students. I can do all things with God so why not bring Him with me when I go to work. I mean He is with me all of the time, so I should need to rely on Him and let Him take the wheel instead of asking Him to take a seat in the back while I drive for a while. When I’m behind the wheel, though, I lose direction and end up not where I wanted to be. I need to let Him work through me so I can love the students with His love.

A New Journey

24 Jun

As many of you know, but some of you might not know, I will be moving to Japan soon. And by soon, I mean in t-minus 3 hours I will be on a plane moving to Japan. In one hour I will be leaving my house and my parents, and my hometown friends. I interviewed at BE Academy, located in Osaka, while visiting my friends for a week after my graduation from Lehigh University. For most of university, I was on a pre-medical track. I thought a career in medicine was what I wanted. There were many times throughout college, though, when I wavered from pre-med. However, I always remained a psychology major. I loved and still love psychology and realize that that is truly where my passion lies. I took an emotional development course this past spring semester that opened my eyes to this. I realized children, education, and psychology were all areas I wanted to research in. I have always loved Japan, though. After all, it’s in my blood. Japan has been tugging on my heart ever since I left after 7th grade, and once I went back I felt so at home. In the future, I want to be able to do research in Japan. I believe this year working there now is but just a stepping stone in my path to reaching that future. I am without a doubt unbelievably nervous… I have lived out on my own in California an entire summer, and studied abroad for the summer in Shanghai and for a semester in Osaka before, but somehow I feel like this time will be different. I know it will be different. I know it will be challenging. But I’m also excited and ready for this new journey to begin!

A Journey.

10 May

It’s almost graduation. Just 11 more days. I keep saying “this is the last time ~.” Like “this will be my last time eating chicken fingers on Friday at one of the dining halls with my friends.” But the closing of one chapter, just means that a new one is starting. I usually consider myself an optimist, but for some reason, I like that idea even less. This new chapter is filled with uncertainties, while requiring that some part of me be certain. I have to move forward, in some direction or another; there is no turning back. There are so many paths though… how do I know which one to take? How do I know that after I pick one I won’t regret it and want to go down a different path later, when it’s too late? That’s my problem, the real issue. My indecisiveness. I see so many people around me, so sure of what they want to be, and where they will be going after graduation to get there. Why am I so uncertain about where I want to be? I really have no destination in mind to be honest. There are a number of paths I have considered, but none I can be sure of wholeheartedly. I wonder if anyone is really 100% sure that what they are doing is the right path for them. I wonder if those people care if what they are doing is what they really want to be doing. I care. I don’t want a job for the sake of having a job. I want to do something that I love… I just haven’t found what that is yet. Is that a crime? I’m only 21. I still feel like there is a whole world out there for me to explore, but at the same time I feel stuck because part of this world is telling me I need to get a job and support myself or at least figure out what I want to do now so I can get there soon. Why does that part of growing up seem like an end-point? Like once you reach that point where you are a working citizen that is when you have grown up. I don’t buy it. I don’t want to hit an end-point because where do I go from there? I want to keep growing, keep learning, and I want to help encourage and inspire others to do the same. I don’t want to be content or comfortable in one place if it’s not what I am passionate about, but I don’t want to count those experiences off because it is all part of the journey. I want to stop worrying so much about where I will end up, what I will do with the rest of my life. I think for right now it’s okay that I don’t know. But I will continue to move forward into this new chapter believing that wherever it is that I do end up, it will be because it is what I love to do.

ADVENTURES

2 Dec

It has been a long while since I have blogged about life so here comes a long one, or maybe I’ll break it up… we’ll see how it goes.

NISHINOMIYA/KOBE:

I went on a weekend trip with a bunch of my friends to Kobe. It was a group of 10 of us at first, four of us being international students, and the rest being Japanese students. One of our friends let 7 us stay at his place in Nishinomiya for the one night we were there. That was a fun night of walking around the mall, eating Coldstone ice-cream, walking all the way to his house (more than 30 minutes away), eating my friend’s birthday cake that his mom made, walking over to the beach, sitting and having a girl’s talk on the beach (while the boys went to buy us food), walking home, and then staying up and talking until 4 am. The next day was great as well, waking up to a wonderfully delicious breakfast, going over to the port at Kobe, walking through Chinatown, shopping in fancy stores and finding a cute dress on major sale (WIN!), shopping at the flea market at Merika Park and buying a really cute used jacket for 500 yen, and seeing the port and kobe tower all lit up at night. It was so much fun! And it made it even better being with a bunch of great friends ^^

FUSHIMI-INARI SHRINE:

This past Sunday, it was a really nice day outside and I was going to just waste it spending the day in because I had no plans, but I made one of my roommates, Catrin, come with me to Kyoto because I wanted to go exploring. So, we hopped on a Kyoto-bound train and along the way figured out where we were going to go. We hopped off the train and hopped back on because in reality we had no idea where we wanted to go. We ended up getting off at the stop for Fushimi-Inari Shrine so we walked up to it. Along the way there were cute little restaurants and souvenir shops. There was a stall selling really nice, but used, yukata jackets for 500-1000 yen, which is so cheap! We left telling the lady we would come back on our way down so we didn’t have to carry it up the mountain. So up the mountain we climbed. It was quite a long climb, but it was such a sight! There were rows and rows of brightly-colored red tori (the gates in front of Shrines). We made it up to the top of the mountain right when the sun was setting behind the set of mountains way on the other side of the city. It was such an impressive sight! It was only 5:30 pm when the sun set, but once it set it started to get very dark fast. So we set off downhill towards a path that said it would circle around and bring us to the bottom of the mountain where we ended up. Somehow we ended up near some deserted area of the shrine and had to climb up to another path because ours had ended. We kept going downhill from this new path believing it would take us down to the same spot at the bottom of the mountain somehow. All the while, though, there was nobody to seen. Granted it was a bit late and the shrine wasn’t terribly crowded that day either, but we were nervous all the same. We were in the woods, where the trees were blocking the last bit of light in the sky, so we not only were we nervous because we didn’t know where this would lead us and because there was no one around, we were also starting to get a bit scared. As we started to become very scared, a pack of runners with bells around their necks and headlights on their foreheads ran by saying the “Konnichiwa,” as custom when passing someone on the same trail as you as I found when hiking in Tokyo. We were so relieved because we figured that meant civilization was close. It was rather close after that, however, not the civilization we remember when we left to climb up the mountain. We ended up on a road that was lined with normal houses, which were really in the middle of nowhere! We kept walking downhill and eventually, after about 20 minutes on this road, ran across another temple where we asked for directions to the nearest station. It turns out that we had walked 2 stations over!! The station was rather close, but we wanted to eat so we went in search of a good restaurant, which also took a very long time. We walked this entire strip of shops that were all closed, maybe because it was a Sunday, and thought we would turn around at the end of it but we saw some lights in some shops up ahead so we kept walking and ran across an Osho restaurant, which is Chinese food. We looked at each other, and then both reached for the door saying this is it! We were so happy to have finally found food and a place to sit for a while after walking for so long. We got some really really yummy food to share and then walked to an entirely different station because we had walked that far! What a long day that was. So many good memories though 🙂

外大際 KGU’s International Festival!! INFES 2011

6 Nov

This past week at Kansai Gaidai was, by far, the most fun I have had here in Japan during my study abroad!! So you have all heard about the Halloween Party (if you haven’t read the post below), but after Halloween on Monday came KGU’s school festival! In the US there is no equivalent for these school festivals! Every university, high school, and junior high here in Japan put them on at least once a year. Every student-run club on Wednesday was setting up their tent. It was so impressive watching everyone help in putting them together. It sounded quite chaotic with lots of metal bars being dropped and all of the talking to get the bars in the right place so they could lift the tent up, but it was done very efficiently so they were mostly all done by 1 pm when I got out of class. The big field/basketball court, the area surrounding it, and in front of the two main classroom buildings were lined with these tents. The clubs all sell various edible goods, such as takoyaki, tempura ice-cream, baby castellas, yakisoba, goma dango (sesame dumpling with red bean anko on the inside), tonpeiyaki (pork omelette), tamasen (egg inside a folded senbei), waffles/crepes with various toppings, etc. So after they were all done putting up their tents they went inside and made/decorated their posters. It wasn’t just one person or a few people doing this; it was the entire group working together! The group orientation that Japanese exhibit never fails to impress me! Thursday was a holiday for even the international students (the Japanese students got off Wednesday-Sunday) so we could enjoy the festival! The opening to the festival was a greeting from some important school-head figures. Then there was a really cool routine done by the Pirates (KGU’s cheerleaders) who apparently in the past ranked #1 in Nationals. The fliers would actually fly and would do flips into the basket instead of just dropping backwards. The cheerleaders in my high school and even in my college now were not up to this level, so I was really impressed! After the cheerleaders there was a marching band, but not just any marching band… it was a marching band consisting of all kindergarten-age children! They were SO adorable!! There was a little girl who was at the head with the baton and she could twirl pretty well and would blow her whistle to have them start marching and to stop. They played an Arashi song, “Troublemaker,” which I love!! They were definitely a hit!  

I walked around with one of my friends, Sarah, all day. A bunch of my friends were working this one tent, which was for SWISH, the basketball circle I was a part of. So for a while I walked around with some of them with a sign around my neck telling people to try Tonpeiyaki, “Tonpeiyaki ikaga desuka?” But then my friend thought we should maybe speak in English, but Tonpeiyaki in English is “Pork Omelette,” which we thought sounded funny so we still said Tonpeiyaki, but instead would say, “Come try Tonpeiyaki!! Meccha (very) Yummy desu!!” It was so cute how whenever I would go over to that tent I would always be greeted so warmly! And when I picked up a sign to help out they all would say, “Ganbatte!” After helping out SWISH, Sarah and I went to watch some of our other friends dance in the “K-Pop Exhibition” where they danced to really popular K-pop songs by artists like SNSD (Girl’s Generation), KARA, 2ne1, Big Bang, etc. I went twice because some of our friends wanted to go watch it later after we had gone to see it the first time, but every time it was so crowded! K-pop has so much popularity here in Japan! It’s crazy! The dances were so cute, and I think for some of them they would copy the dances done by the artists in their music videos because they are so widely known like SNSD’s “Gee.” After watching the shows we just walked around and bought some food and visited with friends at their stands.

At night we met up with a bunch of people and went out to Karaoke!! There were about 11 of us so we packed up a big room and also had a small room so people would run back and forth. It was so much fun, though!! They were all so crazy and had so much energy!   And one of our Japanese friends was so amazing!! He would sing every once in a while at school but when I heard him at Karaoke I was so impressed!! And he knew all of the words to a bunch of songs in English like “Honesty” by Billy Joel and “Hey Jude” by the Beatles!    That was a long night… we spent the full 8 hours from 7:30 pm until 3:30 am!! More than half of my friends who went with me went home early because some lived further away and needed to catch a train or had to wake up early in the morning, so in the end it was just me and my Japanese guy friends. We took some Purikura where we sort of all looked pretty decently awake for having been there for 8 hours! About an hour before our 8 hours was up about 3 of them were passed out on the couches haha. But we biked back up the hill towards school together, went to the convenient store to get an early morning snack because we were all starving, and then on to our own homes. By the time I reached the gate to the front of my seminar house it was about 5 am, and, just my luck, I realized I had left my key to get in through the gate in my running shorts from when I went running a couple days ago, so I had no way to get into my dorm and the gates wouldn’t open for at least another 2 hours and nobody I knew in the dorm would be awake or wake up to their phones. So I called one of my Japanese friends who I was just with who lives close by and in his own apartment. He let me use his shower, lent me some clothes, and let me crash on his futon! I was so grateful! If he had immediately passed out when he had gotten home I would have been so stuck and probably would have just hung out in the park across from my dorm until the gates opened and wouldn’t have gotten to sleep at all. Granted, I did only sleep for about 4 hours, because I got up at 10, biked home, got my bookbag, and then biked back to school for my 11 am class for which there were only 5/10 students in class that day!! After that class I walked around the festival again to get some breakfast, met up with and hung out with friends, and advertised for SWISH again. I stayed at school until the very end of the festival and everything was being sold discounted, which was nice because I was hungry and needed dinner! The clean-up was just as group oriented, with everybody cleaning the supplies used to make the food, counting up the money, and taking down the tent. I went and played some basketball with some of my Japanese guy friends at the little hoop across the street from the dorms. There were a bunch of students there who were practicing and they were so good! We ended up playing a game against them, and I got paired with this really tiny boy who was 12 years old but shot a really nice 3-pointer! They ended up beating us, but I’m not sure if that’s because my friends weren’t really trying because they’re pretty good at basketball too. It was fun, though, and it was so cute at the end when a couple of them left before us they spoke in keigo (formal speech because we were they’re senpai ‘seniors’). And when we left they said the very typical “Otsukaresamadesu,” while we were able to just say “Otsukare” because we didn’t need to use Keigo! That was the first time I experienced something like that! I was especially surprised because we had just met them, but they were still so polite!

From such a young age the Japanese have this idea of respect for one’s elders instilled in them. I witnessed it today too while I was riding my bike. I was riding behind a big group of junior high-looking students who were biking very slow and taking up the whole sidewalk, so impatient me decided to go off the sidewalk onto the street and bike past them, but when I went back onto the sidewalk my tire hit the bump between the street and sidewalk awkwardly so that I lost control and ended up falling over in a little bed of flowers that they have on the sidewalks around here and got all dirty. I was so upset that I quickly got back up and started riding away so that the boys wouldn’t catch up to me because I thought they were most likely laughing and making fun of me, but from behind I heard a voice and finally after a couple times could hear what he was saying, “Daijyoubudesuka? Sumimasen, daijyoubudesuka?” He was asking me if I was OK! I was so surprised and sort of touched to the point where I wasn’t mad at them, blaming them for me falling, anymore because I was obviously the stupid one. But I kept thinking how if that happened in the states and if I had gotten up and pedaled away really fast the kids wouldn’t have cared and bothered to yell out to me to make sure I was OK. I wish kids everywhere had this much decency.

Halloween @ KGU

2 Nov

Halloween at Kansai Gaidai was a spectacle I will never in my lifetime forget. Sure, in college you dress up to class sometimes if you have a funny outfit and of course you wear the sluttiest outfit that night and go to all of the Halloween parties that the different fraternities are hosting, but never, in the US, would you see something as crazy as what happened at KGU this Halloween! Dressing up wasn’t something kept just for the night at the parties. A multitude of students, both international students and Gaidai students, wore their costumes to class during the day. In the CIE lounge, where the international students mostly hang out, they set up a costume competition. You could sign up for one of four categories: General, Horror, Funny/Cute, or Group. They would take your picture and then post it up on the bulletin boards so people could come in and vote. I didn’t think there would be that many contestants and that not that many people would actually vote, but there were about 40-50 contestants in total and so many people came into the lounge to look at the pictures and vote!

Two of my friends and I joined the competition under the Group category and titled ourselves “Asian Sandwich JK.” JK stands for Joshikousei, which means high school girl. So we wore school girl uniforms, but then made our look sort of ‘gyaru’ meaning we curled our hair really big, wore heavy make-up and fake eyelashes. Our friends were really impressed and a couple even told me I should wear the look more often!! LOL! It took me about an hour that morning to curl my hair, and because my hair is so straight it hates to be curled so it started to fall out after a few hours of being at school!! So, no, I will not be pulling off that look on the regular. めっちゃ大変!Too difficult!

Some of the funniest costumes consisted of guys wearing girl costumes. One of my classmates wore a maid costume that had long socks but he shaved his legs where you could see skin. He even wore a wig and walked around carrying an adorable fluffy bunny stuffed animal/backpack. And when you took a picture with him he would make the cutest baby face in the world!! All of the girls were dying!! One of my friends, who is a Gaidai student, wore a JK outfit too, and even let us put the wig and some make-up on him! From behind it was sort of hard to tell that he was actually a guy because his legs are so darn thin!! Other people dressed up like Spiderman, Harry Potter, anime characters, Pokemon characters, Jackson 5, The Mystery Gang (Scooby-Doo), zombies, witches, Sadako (the girl from the Ring), policewomen, big babies, pizza (actually had pizza toppings stuck to his body and carried around a pizza box), nerds, maids, JKs, and a PANDA BEAR.

Not only was there this costume contest, but there was a costume fashion show!! (one of which I was not aware of until after we signed up…) There is a big stage area in the middle of campus which is where the event was held. All of the participants were held in the CIE lounge until the show was about to start and then they let us walk out there. When we got there the place was absolutely PACKED!! Every single seat in the stands was taken, people were standing all around the sides of the stage area behind where the participants were to be seated, and the 2nd and 3rd floor balconies were full of people watching too! Seeing all of those people and knowing I had to do something in front of them made me SO nervous!! But the event was one of the greatest things I have ever witnessed and participated in! There was a judges panel made up of some teachers who were all dressed up as well (Winnie the Pooh, a maid, a rocker, a nerd) and they got audience members to come and be judges as well. There were 3 hosts for the show, two were Japanese and one was from Hawaii so he spoke English. Each participant/group went up one by one on stage with an introduction by the hosts and could do a little performance. Some people just walked/skipped/danced around the circular stage and would pose in front of the judge’s table and wave and blow kisses at the audience, while others actually had a routine up their sleeve. The best routine was from a group of 3 guys all dressed like Spiderman and they did this dance to Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” that was SO funny!! It mostly

consisted of a lot of sharply hit muscle poses on the down beats in the song that just worked so perfectly!! I was DYING. The whole Halloween Costume Contest/Party was like a real talent/fashion show! I was so impressed with how it was all set-up and how organized it was! And the crowd was actually very involved and interested! It was so much fun that when it came our turn to walk onto the stage I wasn’t nervous anymore! Our performance consisted of a little rhyme that we had to scream, but luckily they turned off the music so we could be heard. It had arm movements that went along with the words: “Ue (up), Shita (down), Migi (right), Hidari (left), Girigirigirigirigiri (circle your arms), Don’t Touch Me! (cross arms in front of chest, straighten, tilt head)” To my surprise, it was a hit!! So many people came up after the show and would do it back at us! We didn’t win the Best Costume or MVP for the Group category, but it didn’t matter, at least to me. I just had so much fun just participating in something like this that winning didn’t even matter! I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into, but I’m so glad I did!