Barbecues, Onsens, and Malaysian Curry

Barbecues, Onsens, and Malaysian Curry. What do these three have to do with each other? My weekend of course. 
A group of us got together Saturday night for a Japanese barbecue. It was such a fun group. Here you can see Koichi, Marie and Akito's son, grilling the veggies. Other partakers included Manuela, Akihiro and Carrie, Tomokun, Marie and Akito, Imawa-san, and Doug W., a visiting brother from San Diego, CA.

First time I've had grilled onigiri, rice balls. They have the perfect texture, soft on the inside but crispy on the outside. Nicely done, Akihiro.

A peace sign is not a joking matter for Tomokun :)

What a blessing it was to have such blessed fellowship and friends!

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If you check out my prayer journal page, you'll notice Shioda plans to build a new church at the end of this year. Here's a sneak preview of the plans. Those twelve rectangles in the front are parking spaces and the church sits right behind them with a nice awning for cars. Currently, the church stands on the small portion where the parking lot will be.  

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And yes, I had my very first onsen experience. Obviously, I couldn't get many pictures but I took what I could. Eiko took me to one of her favorites in the area. And it was really relaxing. At this hot spring, since no one wears any covering I thought it would be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But I was pleasantly surprised. Since everyone else is at ease, it's easy to find yourself completely forgetting that small detail during the relaxing experience. Here's a photo of the outside.

The sign for the onsen

And the one carefully timed picture I was able to get inside the locker room. That door opens into a inside shower area, hot tub with jets, cool water tub, and sauna. Then on the other side of the room is a door that goes outside to a couple small large rock lined pools of natural hot spring water. There's a great view of the mountains and a nice row of bushes to prevent wandering eyes from surrounding buildings. One on side of the outside wall there were also two pipes high on wall. Water trickled out of the pipe up really high and came down with some force. The idea is that it could give a small massage as you stand below it and it hits your back. It was super hot but a nice feeling.

And sweet Eiko. What a dear she was dealing with all of my insecurities and making me feel so at home. She was probably the best person to come with. We chatted the entire time in the outside pools. It is a great environment to just share. In a strange way talking in an onsen reminds me of talking around a campfire back at home. It's easy to just be open and honest, sharing what's really going on. What a great way to really get to know someone better. 

Then that night, Biren-san made a classic Malaysian meal of curry, casserole, and rice.

Side note: the roses, bara, are flooded with blooms right now. They are all so very pretty!

Oh and homemade shrimp chips. Yep, you are right in thinking they are chips that taste like shrimp.

I've been so lucky to have so many fun eating experiences. The next night I babysat in Shiotsu and Zen-kun's mom made me a classic Japanese meal (from the right to left): salad with tofu, main dish: a salmon mixture with wasabi leaves and rice, a small bowl of soy sauce(bottom left), a large bowl of white miso soup with clams, and raspberry gelatin(upper left)