Here we go. I realized that any story I've ever really, really enjoyed had this grandiloquently named list of characters at the beginning. Not wanting to create a story I wouldn't read, I figured I'd follow the model.
Gabe: Me. I'm sure you know that unless you stumbled onto this blog by accident or possibly my Mom directed you to it even though you and I have never met. Either way, I'm glad to meet you.
Brian and Bryan: These two guys are long term staff in Shizuoka. They both have families with 3 kids apiece, speak fluent Japanese, and are guiding our team through the next 5 weeks.
Nagai-San: Describes himself as The Last Samurai...Which is probably an understatement. If Dos Equis ever needed a Japanese "most interesting" spokesman Nagai-San would probably be overqualified. Also he began the Shizuoka ministry over 30 years ago.
Laura: Our Shizuoka team leader. She's full time Navigator Staff at Kansas University, unbelievably organized, came to Shizuoka back in 2007 (the year before me), and a great strong believing woman.
Rachel and Kathryn: KU students and the rest of the Shizuoka team. It's their first time to Japan, but they're handling it much, much better than I did so far. Together with Laura have a kind of "Three Amigos" thing happening with Rachel, Kathryn, and Laura as Ned Nederlander, Dusty Bottoms and Lucky Day respectively.
Martina: A mid term Navigator staff (down for about 2 years) woman from Germany. Helps the Br(y)ians on the female student side of things. That's about all I know about here so far.
M, S, G, and U: My Japanese roomates. (They're pretty careful about privacy over here so we're going to go with initials for these guys, I mean I could give them placeholder names like "Frank", "Jerry" etc. but the possibility of that confusing me is pretty high) M is a senior at the university, solid leader in the Club I'm working with and speaks great english. G is a freshman speaks incredible english for his age, talented artist and always quick to laugh. S is the head of the house and Nagai-San's 2nd in command. U is a pretty big mystery to me. He's not a student and doesn't seem to speak much english. There's a good chance you won't hear too much about U this summer and a lot about M and G. So really just remember M and G.
Best Club: The circle of people from the local university we plug into. The club is an acronym for Bible, english, sports and travel these are the things the club is about, and these are the things we do together. The students in Best are very close, there is an almost family type atmosphere the pervades get togethers.
I believe that's about it as far as main players go. I'll post soon about how this first week in Shizuoka went and some prayer requests going forward.