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  • Living in a foreign country is one of the greatest life adventures anyone can have,

  • but what happens when you it no longer feelsforeign?”

  • This weekend it's our annual men's retreat up in Okutama,

  • And it looks like we might even see some snow here, we'll see.

  • While we're weren't born Japanese, is it possible for us to truly become Japanese?

  • It's "Life in Japan," you know?

  • [Life in Japan Theme Song]

  • After all it snowed up the mountain.

  • That's right.

  • But it's not collecting on the road, so that's good, isn't it?

  • That's right.

  • Having lived in Japan for almost 10 years now, the cultural shock of Japan has worn off,

  • and now if anything, the Japanese way of doing things has become quite normal.

  • Oh yeah, look at this piano. I love playing a real piano!

  • Everyone good?! Yeah!

  • Yet there are others still who have been here a lot longer than me.

  • I was born and raised in Japan...

  • How many "Made in Japan" men are there?

  • Who else was Made in Japan?

  • I've met many people along the way that I had no idea were Japanese,

  • and others I presumed were Japanese were not actually at all.

  • The old sayingYou can't judge a book by it's coverholds true,

  • and it makes you stop and wonder what does it truly mean to be Japanese?

  • The scenes out here this morning are absolutely majestic,

  • Just the snow, up above us on the mountains,

  • And you get down here and it actually froze last night, it's like -2C (28 F) out right now

  • There's a little bit of ice, you gotta be careful.

  • But, wow!

  • There's no doubt about itJapan's geography itself has had a huge impact on what it means to be Japanese.

  • From the very beginning, the people living here have been defined by mountains, valleys and ocean.

  • It's almost impossible to imagine Japan without these things.

  • And now it's coffee time. Oh yeah.

  • Careful attention to detail has made Japanese businesseslike convenience storesbecome world renown

  • Not to mention the train system here! Wow!

  • That pursuit of perfection is something beautifully woven into the fabric of Japan and something I have grown to admire.

  • Ideas often come to Japan and get perfected here.

  • It's been exciting to apply that same Japanese pursuit of perfection to church life and see the results.

  • A pretty sweet place where we got to stay last night,

  • Now we have one more session and here we go.

  • But the true test of any society is at it's base unit — and that's the family.

  • Imagine taking the same pursuit of excellence prevalent in Japan, and applying it to the family.

  • Well, that's what we're aiming to do.

  • How was today? Really good.

  • Was it good? Yea, pretty good.

  • You had your big test today, huh?

  • Yep. I did really good at P.E.

  • Oh yeah?

  • I think there's like 50 points and I think I got like 40 about.

  • P.E. Master.

  • Did you see what I got for Momma chan?

  • She doesn't know yet.

  • So I'm going to take and give it to her, you guys can film for me, ok?

  • This is the Becca cam. I'm going to record for Daddy.

  • What's in that?!

  • Strawberry Mochi things that Momma chan loves.

  • Shhh! She's in a meeting!

  • One of the greatest contributions you can make to society is to treat your family well.

  • So, Happy Valentines Day!

  • Is this what I think it is? Some strawberry mochi.

  • And a Raisin Sando for me.

  • Daddy! It's Valentine's Day! Well it's Valentine's Day! It's for both of us!

  • No, she's going to give it back to you in a month.

  • And then just a nice little, cute little bouquet of flowers

  • Kissy kissy kissy! Yes!

  • I love it! Thank you.

  • Those are beautiful. They're so red! Yea, I know!

  • Are those real flowers? Of course!

  • Tonight we are going out, we're going to double date with Ben and Debbie as well,

  • Holidays around here often take on a hodgepodge of traditions from many places.

  • Alright, we're heading over

  • Becca and Anna are going to watch the kids tonight

  • While we adults go out and celebrate. Yes!

  • Alright, the Dude Razor-Ripsticking for the first time!

  • Look at you, just going all over the place!

  • Truly one of the interesting parts of living in Japan is learning Japanese customs along the way.

  • Some of them even find their way into our homes.

  • Dude, sowhat have we got going on here, man?

  • We have a special Japanese display which is to celebrate daughters.

  • And it's very elaborate.

  • Including a real sword here.

  • Oh Dude, look at that!

  • It's amazing!

  • They're called "Hina Ningyo."

  • "Hina Ningyo"

  • Wow- For Hina Matsuri (festival)

  • Look at how elaborate the fabric is here. Isn't that wild?

  • So how long is this up?

  • Until March 3rd. March 3rd is girls day, and then you should not leave it up much longer than March 3rd.

  • I see. Tradition says you need to take it down like the 4th or the 5th.

  • Oo curry!

  • Mmm. Tchau!

  • Bye!

  • Please do not plan to go to Singapore again!

  • I cannot take it.

  • You never know what will happen when we go out!

  • And Miss Nicole could come babysit then! Yes!

  • Yea baby!

  • Tchau Tchau

  • While Valentines Day isn't much more than a day to give chocolates in Japan, we're taking it up a notch.

  • So I think the last time we double-dated we planned a trip to Singapore.

  • Is that right? Yes.

  • Sarah was like "Don't you dare plan a trip to Singapore!"

  • Let's go! Let's go!

  • So how do we decide what part of culture, whatever culture it may be, to incorporate into our life?

  • We filter everything through the Bible, as it gives the original blueprints for society, starting with the home and moving out from there.

  • Although the church has grown to be really big in a lot of western countries,

  • the actual context for most of the Bible is EasternMiddle Eastern to be precise,

  • and usually fits better into a Japanese context as opposed to a Western one.

  • Now that's been something I've been so surprised to learn.

  • I've said it before and I'll say it againliving in another country and culture different from your own is one of the best things you can do to grow as a person.

  • There it goes!

  • And tonight we're celebrating just that!

  • Hope you guys get it back.

  • It's gone!

  • Well girlfriend, she booked this place for us, how about this?!

  • Yes, but Ben selected it. I just threw out a bunch of options.

  • Yea- the pictures looked great!

  • But one of the biggest things that changes you as a person is marriage itself, as both Ben and I can attest to.

  • Since we married sisters here, they both got us into country music, didn't they? Yeah.

  • They like their country music and well, we had to start liking it too.

  • Look at this! This looks so amazing!

  • Dinner has come! Yea!

  • Ben with the Lamb Shanks, Debbie and I with the beef

  • And Ruth! Going pasta. With the chicken.

  • My forever valentine. Awww.

  • And mine, aww!

  • Valentine's Day Dinner is done, Yea, what is happening?!

  • We're in the kids section... Shopping.

  • You knew it was bound to happen too. That's right,

  • Between us we've got seven kids, we've gotta be here. Yea.

  • It's gotta happen.

  • Happy Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day.

  • Alright, Ben got his car back, and that's just the way we like it.

  • That's just the way we like it.

  • Here we go.

  • We're headed home, OK? OK.

  • Are Joshua and Sarah almost asleep?

  • They're watching Bob Ross now.

  • They're watching Bob Ross? OK Yea, Bob Ross

  • The longer we're here, the more we learn about Japanese solutions to common problems.

  • Take the chill of winter for example.

  • For generations Japanese people have been warming up under heated tables called Kotatsu

  • tthat sit just above the ground and envelope you with a warm blanket.

  • This has become a winter staple in our house

  • I see you have moved your office.

  • To the warm confines of the Kotatsu... Yes.

  • I have.

  • You will often find the family huddled around the Kotatsu on any given winter day, and it serves as a great gathering point for all things family.

  • Talk about a fantastic Japanese tradition we have adopted!

  • Hi.

  • Hi. Is it ice cream time here? Watching the iPad and some Dude Perfect?

  • Oh my goodness, it's like wind city!

  • What are you doing Momma chan?!

  • I'm checking my stuff!

  • My goodness! Everybody back inside!

  • Back inside! Oh it's so windy right here!

  • I know! Back inside!

  • This year we are reaching a very important milestonewe will be applying for permanent residence in Japan.

  • While this doesn't mean we become Japanese on paper, it is one step closer to making Japan our permanent home,

  • which is very exciting, even if the taxes are not.

  • Well I have to see honey, I haven't made this for so long!

  • I mean, my mom used to make this when I was a kid.

  • What are you making? Fried bread.

  • Can I be the first one to eat it? Oh boy!