• Lessons on Brokenness & Business

    sue plumb takamoto 2021

    Reflecting on the Ten Years since Japan's Triple Disaster

    By Sue Plumb Takamoto

    PART 2

    In Part 1: "Looking Back on Ten Years: Finding Beauty in Brokenness", I highlighted the unimaginable damage and challenging aftermath from Japan’s March 11, 2011 Triple Disaster—a 9.0 earthquake that triggered a tsunami and caused a nuclear power plant meltdown.

  • Looking Back on Ten Years: Finding Beauty in Brokenness


    Reflections on the 10-Year Remembrance of Japan’s Triple Disaster

    By Sue Plumb Takamoto

    PART 1

    There is beauty in brokenness. This is a message that we all need to hear right now.

  • Learning to Be Good News


    Reflections on 10th Anniversary of Japan’s Triple Disaster

    By Kent Muhling

    As the ten-year commemoration of the March 11 disaster approaches, many of us think back to our experience of that day and the days that followed. I am reminded of some of the lessons I learned then, lessons that continue to shape our ministry today.

  • Remembering 3.11 and the Gospel of Hope


    Reflections on 10th Anniversary of Japan’s Triple Disaster

    By Dan & Casi Brown

    We all have triggers in our lives. These triggers could be an event, a word, a certain place, or circumstance. For many in Tohoku, earthquakes are a trigger. On February 13th, almost 10 years to the date from the March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan, we experienced a 7.3 magnitude earthquake, labeled an aftershock of that disastrous event. This aftershock was a trigger for many in our community in which we live.

  • Transformation Through Tragedy

    Eric Takamoto & Kent Muhling unloading boxes in disaster zone

    Reflections on 10th Anniversary of Japan’s Triple Disaster

    By Eric Takamoto

    So many of the images and memories from the triple disaster are as vivid today as when I experienced them ten years ago. I realize in reflecting on those experiences that they have changed me forever.

  • Kintsugi and the Gospel: Remembering the 10 Year Anniversary in Japan

    kintsugi illustration

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
    2 Corinthians 4:7

  • Looking Back on 2020, Praying Forward

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    Dear Friends,

    As 2020 wound to a close, the Lord impressed on me the following passage:

    "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind." —John 1:4


    2020 was such a disruptive year. Yet the life of Christ is the light of the world. That gives me hope heading into 2021. I pray that your Christmas and New Year’s celebrations brought joy and the reminder of what is most important, even in the midst of the challenges from 2020, some of which continue to persist.

  • A Window Seat on a Bullet Train into Japan

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    Here is a fresh look at Japan from a first-time visitor to the country.  This entry was written by Ken E for his travelogue and was slightly abridged with permission from the author. We think it accurately taps into the emotions and surprises that first-time visitors to this country experience.



    For three weeks now, I haven't needed or wanted the counsel of the empty page. Japan has been a warm embrace, a beguiling friend, a show of lights, a geisha bow. Twenty days have felt like two. I didn't need to write because my waking thoughts were deeply invested in Japan.

    window mtfuji ramon kagie 58 J9vByMmY unsplashThis country is for me, and may always be, a flash of excitement -- a window seat on a bullet train, time-lapse travel through a time-warped land. Japan is a place that has seemingly reset the properties of time. It moves at a frenetic pace, but stops to idly sip tea. It's a place that hurls eagerly into the future with a velocity unimpeded by the weight of its reverence for the past. It preserves as much as it reinvents.

    Japan is a riddle of contradictions. It is as much about Zen, Kabuki, Sumo, and Geisha as it is about Sony, Toyota, and Panasonic. It is a hyper-modern sprawling metropolis; it is Mt. Fuji peering through the clouds over miles and miles of autumn-burnt parklands. It is a maze of metal and glass skyrises; it is a narrow alleyway with wooden homes with dragon-tiled roofs.

    Japan is heavy drinking—sake, whiskey and beer—but it is also a work ethic that revolutionized the world. It is Sweet Home Alabama crooned karaoke-style; it is a late-night Yakitori snack from 7-11 (or wait—was that just me?) Japan is a public bathhouse where tattooed and fingerless gangsters (yakuza) bathe communally in lavender- and chamomile-scented spas (onsens). I could go on, but put simply –

    Japan is an enchanting amalgam of contrasts, where the juxtaposition of old and new, delicate and bold, revelry and refrain, colors the country brilliant and fires the pulse of its people electric.

    Japan is also a land of gentle grace that survives long-forfeited imperial ambitions. With honorific salutations and demure bows, the people of Japan are as hospitable and polite as you may find anywhere in the world. If you pull out a map on the street and look at it cross-eyed, a random pedestrian will present himself to you within ten seconds to offer help. Say "Arigato gozaimasu" (thank you) and he may even walk you to your destination.

    In striking contrast to the rest of Asia (and maybe even the rest of the world), Japan is a teenage wonderland of post-modern punk. It is a Hello Kitty button on a Sex Pistols T-shirt. Gothic makeup, black taffeta and steel-studded belts seem to be as acceptable as rainbow stickers and Powder Puff Girl handbags. For all the piercings and all the hairstyles that would make even a Londoner turn his head, the youth of Japan have an enduring affinity (that seems to follow them late into their twenties) for anything that is cute. From saccharine Sanrio to the cries of "Kawaii!" (how cute!), it's hard not to notice this generation’s obsession with the commercially cute. (They even manage to make punk rock look cute.) They may try to act sick and twisted in outfits that make their parents cringe, but the kids in Japan are still cheek-pinchingly adorable.

    It's too early for me to know how lasting an impression this place will have on me, but what I do know is that I am compelled to visit again.

    Ken E


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