The PacRim 2004 voyage is now over. Most blogs start with now and scrolling down takes you further into the past. We've reversed the order here so you can read from the beginning to the end. Or click on the categories to the left to skip directly to what you're interested in.

Participants

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Journey Starts

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Our journey has begun. We left Oklahoma Christian University at 5:45am on August, 27 2004. Arrived at Will Rogers Airport and that is where John Osborne and Nancy Moran (Travel Agent) met up with all of us and helped us get through the ticket counter. 

Then we left for Salt Lake City where we would connect with our next flight to Los Angles. Our Final flight will be from LA to Narita, Japan. Once we landed in Narita, we went through customs just fine, but baggage claim was another thing. Chris Verner’s Luggage got misplaced in between Narita and Oklahoma. Total amount of flying on the first day of travel is 6881 miles!

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Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City:

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Tuesday we went to see the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. While at the square it was the first encounter for all of us with the street vendors. Some of us were being followed around by these vendors as they were yelling all around for us to buy there things. The Forbidden City is an awesome place with great beauty and heritage. Just realizing that we were walking through so much history was an awesome experience.
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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Great Wall

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This has been by far the coolest site that we have visited in Beijing. The Great Wall has been a dream fulfilled for me. We left the hotel at 8:00a.m. Saturday morning and traveled about an hour out of the city. When we saw the great wall in was an awesome site. I thought to myself, “This is a two thousand years old and it is still standing.”

The wall is not flat at all but very steep in a few places. It was a very great place to see. We spent around 3 hours at the wall. While at the wall we found out that Kent Breese is a great bargainer with street vendors. imageimage

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Emperor Mings underground Tomb

This tomb was cool because it was built in the 15th century and it is all underground. Our tour guide told us that when the Emperor died, he wanted everyone who helped build the tomb to be sealed in there with his coffin.

It was really cool to go underground about 50ft and walk into a large open area. There were four chambers in this tomb with very high ceilings. It was very beautiful and I am glad that we got experience this place.
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(Danny leaving Mings Tomb)

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Temple of Heaven

imageOn Sunday September 4th we left for the Temple of heaven. This is a very special place for the Chinese people.  There is a huge park where every weekend there are people getting together playing games, singing, doing some type of judo, or just sitting and pondering.  There are three temples in this park. One of the templtes, the temple of Heaven, is a very beautiful place with a lot of Chinese heritage.image

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Fragrant Hill:

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Fragrant Hill is not a hill but a mountain. Fred (our tour guide) told us that every year elderly Chinese men and woman climb to the top of this mountain to prove that they are still young. Fragrant Hill has 2200 steps to the top. It is not an easy climb, but once you get to the top, you see the entire city of Beijing and how large it really is.
Jacob Barnes said, “The name of the hill should be changed to ‘The mountain of beauty and pain.‘”

At the top we sat and took it all in for about an hour, then we ran down the 2200 steps to the bottom. We all enjoyed this trip to the top of Fragrant Hill.
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Chinese Courtyard:

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Our last scheduled event in Beijing was a trip to a Traditional Chinese courtyard. This courtyard was very beautiful and large. While there, I just sat and took in the beauty of this place and could hardly believe how old it is. In this courtyard there was a large duck pond with orange goldfish, many buildings, and a huge rock formation (that you could climb). It reminded me a lot of the Chinese garden in Portland OR- but this one is a few hundred years old and actually in China. imageimage
(Special Thanks to Kent for all the photos on this blog)

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Goodbye Beijing and all our new friends:

It was a sad day on the 11th of September, because it was time to say goodbye to Capital Normal University.

The university was an awesome place for us to stay and learn about the Chinese culture. Thank you too all the professors and staff for making our stay at Capital Normal a very memorable experience.
A special thank you to our friend, Fred, (tour guide) who made Beijing come alive and who went above and beyond the call of his duty. Beijing would have not been the same with out him. So, thanks for everything Fred.

We also made a lot of friends with people from Europe and the US. To all of you- it was nice to have people to talk to and also to help us get around town. Thank you everyone for making Beijing a great first stop on our busy semester studying abroad.

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(Leia, Mckayla and their new friend Theresa (US) and Sarah (UK)

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The Largest Dam in the world:

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This trip the Three Gorge Dam Project was a really awesome experience, because, as with the Great Wall, it fulfilled a dream of mine - to see this project.

Unfortunately, this dam is causing 1.3 million people to relocate and destroying a lot of Chinese heritage in the process. On the other hand, it is going to alleviate the electricity shortage for the growing Chinese economy and also control the Yangtze flooding problems. When it is completed, it will be the largest dam in the world. I was truly amazed at the size of the project.
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Up the Yangtze with out a Paddle:

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We spent 3 days traveling up the Yangtze River in China. It is a very beautiful and scenic part of China. One of the most interesting parts of our trip was the trip to the three Gorges.
While on the boat I think most of our group got a true sense of the Chinese culture. We were the only westerners and there was not a single western toilet! The trip truly pushed some of us out of our comfort zone. We took a two night boat ride up the Yangtze River and a trip through the Three Gorges.

This was one of the most beautiful canyons I have ever visited. It was a very peaceful boat ride for me and I was really glad that we were able to experience this part of China.
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We Have Internet - Yeah!!!!

Well, after spending a total of around four hours with the Ibaraki Christian College tech people I was able to set up my computer and start loading up blog entries.  You can expect entries on a more regular basis now. Thanks for being patient. I will start up loading Smugmug photos this week too.

Always Here,
Jon
PS. If you have any questions email me .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

OC/Cascade Pac-Rimmers loses a heart breaker: Danny Kratzer

imageHubei University of Economics takes its foreign soccer matches very seriously. This morning we were each presented with our own school jerseys and shorts for the afternoon soccer game. OC boasts an enrollment of (fill in the blank); today over 2000 students of the Hubei University of Economics came out in the 90+ degree weather to see us play their soccer team. We are all out of shape and only two of us have ever played competitive soccer before, yet with the amazing skills of MVP Adam Potter in goal we managed to keep the score to 0-3. After an exhausting game everyone still had a smile on their face; and even though we couldn’t speak with our opponents, everyone felt honored to be able to play with each other.
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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Arrive at Ibaraki Christian & Omika Church of Christ:

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When we first got to Ibaraki the staff and our IC buddies were there to greet us until our families got there. When all the families finally arrived we headed to our new homes for the next month.
The next day we all met up with the Pac Rimmers and went to Omika church of Christ. After the service the Church prepared a Hamburger lunch with home-made ice cream. The church fed us well treated us with great respect.

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First Week at Ibaraki:

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We have been at Ibaraki for one week. This week has been fun but very busy. We started are Japanese language and culture classes. This has been very challenging and a lot of fun.
In between classes we are meeting up with Japanese students to help them with their English, we use the “Let’s start Talking book” so we are also teaching them Gods word in the process. Pray that through this that the students have a better understanding of the Bible and learn about becoming a Christian.
This week’s activities contained a Karate demonstration, a welcome party, and learning to play the Koto (traditional musical instrument). So far we are adapting well to life in Japan and looking forward learning and growing while here.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Weekend Retreat:

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We had the opportunity to get together with a bunch of IC students for the weekend. The weekend stated with a traditional Japanese BBQ, and a time of fellowship. The food was awesome and very filling.

After dinner we got together and played a game that was very challenging for us because we were not aloud to talk to each other. They game was like Spades with a twist everyone was given a different set of rules for the game. After the game Batton Sensei told us that when you are in a different culture you need to be aware that people have a different set of rules which they live by.

The next morning we had the opportunity to see a Japanese sunrise, but I was so tired from staying up late I didn’t get up.

That morning was a special time for us Pac Rim group because one of our own deiced to get baptized while at the coast. McKayla Brooks was baptized on Saturday October 2nd around 9:00am. So congratulations to McKayla, our new sister in Christ.

I thought that this was a great way to end an awesome fun filled weekend.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Busy Week Two: Stephanie Coil

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We got the honor of being invited to attend a Rotary Club meeting as their guests.  Although very few of the members (mostly business men) could speak English, we had a great time.  We had lunch and took turns introducing ourselves.  We experienced a true Japanese tradition:  gift-giving.  We each received a small gift from the Rotary Club, which was much appreciated. 

Also this week we visited Omika elementary school.  We were split into groups and got to spend time with different grades; playing games, sports, and singing songs.  We had a great time eating lunch with the kids and, of course, at recess. 

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Busy Busy Busy Week 3 at Ibaraki

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Our culture class this week was over the Japanese Haiku.  We got to experience an age-old traditional Japanese style of writing, called “oshuuji.”  Our teacher translated our names and haikus into Kanji, and after some practice we wrote them on strips of paper and hung them on a bamboo shade.  Here we have Danny, Stephanie, and Isaac; who took first, second, and third place for their haikus (our teacher was the judge).

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This week was completed with a trip to the Oarai aquarium, or Aqua World.  The aquarium is right on the beach, and complete with everything from sea lions to clown fish.  While at the aquarium we also got to watch an amazing dolphin show.  The same day some of us attended a Halloween party, put on by the English Bible Class.  We carved pumpkins, ate pumpkin pie, and laughed at each other’s…costumes.
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This past Sunday, October 17th, Hiromi Yamada was baptized at Mito Church of Christ.  Hiromi is a junior at IC has been studying the Bible for the past four years.  It was touching to see Hiromi’s baptism this morning, knowing how much of a struggle she went through to get to this point, and in a country that’s less than 1% Christian. 

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McKayla’s Web Page
Stephanie’s Web Sit


Above are links to Mckayla Brooks and Stephanie Coil’s personal websites, with their own thoughts and pictures as we journey through the Pacific Rim. Feel free to check them out! 

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