It’s Saturday today. It’s wet and miserable outside. We have been doing housework and photo editing all morning. It’s one of those days that I don’t wash my face and stay in pyjamas all day. I once heard that it’s good to not wash your face once in a while so I use it as an excuse conveniently every time I feel like not doing so… anyway I have been thinking about all our friends and strangers who are doing the Big Sleep Out tonight in Newcastle and I have prayed for the rain to let up, and that somehow reminded me of Hamish saying “God is good. God is good.” (How did your talk and the event go by the way?)
You probably guessed, the highlight of November was our trip to Japan. The highlight of that trip was that my parents really enjoyed it. That was a huge relief because I wasn’t sure if they would (for various reasons). However as Chris Kho said, “it’s hard for anyone to not like Japan”. I have a couple more posts about our trip to Japan to come and if you haven’t seen the previous ones, here they are (Guesthouse in Kyoto, Cycling in Nara, Walking the Pilgrimage Route).
I went to Edinburgh twice in October for my Japanese visa. The Waterstones on Princes Street was huge and beautiful inside despite the unimpressive shop front. There was a cafe with tables next to floor-to-ceiling windows too. However, I went to Cafe on the Mound for lunch instead, hoping to have a look in the Christian bookstore nearby but found that it had been closed in February.
There was the Rembrandt exhibition in the National Galleries of Scotland. I had only an hour left before I had to catch the train. I’m illiterate in art so I have given up trying to understand the artworks the correct way and instead, just take the “look look look” approach by John Piper. A couple of interesting things I came away with are: Firstly, many characters in his paintings have no catch light in their eyes; secondly, some portraits are so dark it would be classed as underexposed for a photo. But if Rembrandt did it, it must be right. Maybe I should try to take some underexposed portraits too.
On the second trip, I went to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The building itself was amazing. I learnt a lot about history, especially the confusing English and Scottish royal lines. Absolutely fascinating! I was a bit discouraged about photography during that period and wanted to give it up completely. But a photo of Colin Morgan in the Gallery changed my mind the second I set my eyes on it.
We had a day trip to Bristol on the way to see family. The bakery near Temple Meads train station was a delightful discovery:
And this. It was really hard to believe this was a parish church! (Andy: How do they change all the light bulbs??)
After Bristol, it was nice to see Andy’s family. Highlights included teaching our ten-year-old nephew George to play “When the Saints Go Marching In”, Rachel’s homemade pizza and jumping in a hot tub in the garden at night! I also discovered that family holiday is a good time for reading. I covered a lot of pages for the upcoming seminar.
I spent most of October reading around the subject of reading the Bible which was the topic of my seminar at JPCi Weekend Away. So, individual book reviews are on the way, but for now, the books that I found very helpful are Dig Deeper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally, Women of the Word. The Bible Project videos are superb as well. I have been reading Dig Even Deeper after the Weekend Away. Also very helpful (and funny!).
I watched all three films on the plane. All good films! I specifically like the 1940s fashion in The Bookshop. Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer alludes to the interesting topic of the power of the government, the grey area between being lawful and being just. It’s definitely not a cartoon for children anymore. It somehow reminded me of Death Note, also a Japanese manga, where an individual got the power to judge between right and wrong, and give out death sentences according to his judgement. Does it remind you of Genesis 3 somehow?
It’s now the crazy month of December. Take care everybody! (I won’t talk about work here this time otherwise Ramzi will make fun of me all the way till 2019! :P)