35. I’m So Hungry!

“I’m sooo hungry!” I said, “I want to eat something!” “No,” my wife said. “We have to keep going. If we eat now, there won’t be enough for later.” We were in one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet, a remote part of the High Sierras in California, and all I could think about was food. This was hunger like I’d never known it before.

34. Hope Will Not End In Despair

Today I’d like to introduce you to Daisuke Yokoyama, an amazing Christian singer songwriter here in Japan. I had the privilege of meeting him in the relief movement shortly after that terrible earthquake of 2011. I remember one concert we played together in a high school gymnasium, not far from the broken nuclear power plants in Fukushima. When he finished singing, he walked around the room to talk with people. They were stuck in their designated areas surrounded with cardboard walls. He met with them, gave them one of his CDs, and, if appropriate, prayed for them as well. Daisuke is a master at making people feel loved.

33. Global Mission Chapel

So here they were in this position of weakness. They had an unfinished building. Their numbers were small. They were still rebuilding trust in their congregation, and they were still getting to know their neighbors. And then the earthquake struck in March 2011, and their world literally fell apart. …

32. Kintsugi Academy

I’d like to share Kunio Nakamura-san’s message about Kintsugi Academy and the role kintsugi can play in our lives. This traditional Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold is packed with meaning. Here Nakamura-san is answering the question, “Why bother fixing broken pottery? Why not just buy something new?”

31. Tsunami Violin

This week I’ve been working on putting subtitles to the various talks from our “Aroma of Beauty” conference we held here in Tokyo in March. There were so amazing stories shared. Although it was all in Japanese, with subtitles soon you’ll be able to watch and hear them as well. But I want to take this time to share one of them with you now in this podcast. …

30. Setomono

Everyone in Japan knows the word setomono, because you find it on quite a few boxes you get in the mail. It means “fragile,” but it also literally means “product of Seto.” Seto is an art village known in Japan for its ceramics with over a 1,500 year history, longer if you count the indigenous people who lived there before that time. And today that pottery tradition is alive and well. Last week, I went to Seto …

29. Cow Pie Water

All forty were completely empty. I lifted each plastic gallon jug just to be sure. Hikers in the previous town promised a huge cache of water here. Whatever drops had been left quickly evaporated as the sun mercilessly beat down. The hot dry wind blew in my face, bushes and cacti too short to provide any useful kind of shade at all. My wife and I were on the Pacific Crest Trail …

28. Ryokan Taigu

I’d like to introduce you to a little poem by Ryokan Taigu, who lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and is one of the most popular figures in Japanese history, known for his poetry, calligraphy, and a very unique way of looking at the world. “Taigu” is a name he gave himself, and anyone who can read Japanese will immediately recognize the meaning. It means “big fool” or “great fool,” so Ryokan called himself “The Great Fool.” In this short poem about food, Ryokan asks a very basic, and seemingly very foolish, question. And that is “Why do people eat?” …

27. The Hotel

In the city of Minami Sanriku, on the northeastern coast of Japan, the Kanyo Hotel sits on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. This is a really nice hotel, which usually costs well over $300 a night to stay there. The food is amazing, and there is a really cool cave-like hot spring built into the side of the cliff, so you relax outside in hot spring waters while feeling cool sea wind blow in your face, and watch the sunset over the ocean. However, I didn’t get to experience any of these things. …