Today marks my 300th day in Japan! (Danielle is just a little behind that.)

The passage of time stops for no man; or virus for that matter. Despite the last few months playing out as it has per Covid-19, I hope this finds you in health and happiness.

Danielle (otherwise known as マリー, Mari, here in Japan) and I are happy to report, 300 days into our life in Japan, we are doing very well.

Yesterday we finished our 3rd quarter of language school

(Our class and Sensei at graduation)

It was an interesting semester, to say the least. At first, we suspected the semester would be canceled, only to be surprised with online learning for the first month.

(Learning online)

Our regular commute costs us 10 hours a week, which is incredible burden on our already packed schedule, so we didn’t hate online classes. As Covid cases dwindled here (today we’re back up to around 20 cases per day in Osaka), we were sent back to class where we had our temperatures taken and recorded daily, washed hands in alcohol, and of course, wore our masks.

We even made silly face shields out of clear binders. Fortunately, their use didn’t last a week.

(Good idea… Practically, didn’t work so great.)

We’re making good progress with Japanese (we think?)

I feel like I flip between feeling like I’m getting a handle on things and “oh my gosh, I know nothing, this is insurmountable.” But, I think when learning anything new there’s a point where you know enough to be dangerous, and at the same time begin to understand how much you don’t know. It’s a road-sign indicating progress.

We have made substantial progress this semester though. On most days in class, I would say we both understand 90%+ of what our teachers tell us. With our friends/classmates, we’re communicating more complex ideas, feelings, etc.

(A story from our textbook about being asked to give a speech at a wedding.)

When we first received this past semester’s textbook, we were pretty worried. It looked way harder than anything we had done so far. But we’ve grown to the point that reading and comprehending two pages of text is an ordinary task!

(Our empty classroom)

Our next semester starts just next week. Though we could use more of a breather, we’re excited to keep our language learning going.

梅雨 Rainy Season

It’s rainy season here in Japan. I’d say somewhere around 80% of days there is rain. But, we love rain, so we’re not complaining! Despite the weather, Ruke’s daily activities go unchanged.

(Sleeping the rain away)

Other life updates

Though overall we’re doing great, this season hasn’t been without it’s share of difficulties, disappointments, and heart aches.

We’ve given up many things to follow the call of the Lord here, to Japan. The most painful has been that of our good buddy, Mythe, our cat. Anyone who knows us knows we love our pets. Due to his various illnesses we decided it would be best to wait a bit before bringing him here to Japan, leaving him in the extremely gracious, and generous, care of good friends back in the States.

We hoped that his condition would improve, find a Vet here, and then be able to bring him over. But, it didn’t. We had to make the difficult decision, from the other side of the world, to put him down.

(Miss you, little buddy!)

Our primary plans concerning life here in Japan, something we’ve been dreaming together for near 10 years with others, have fell through in the most surprising and disappointing of ways. We’re mourning the loss of those as well.

Less serious, especially now that it is behind us: I also had my own Covid scare! I had every symptom, including the difficulty and pain with breathing, but kicked it in two days, so it was likely just a flu. Anyway, here’s a funny picture Danielle took of sick me.

(Got that morgue-like skin tone and everything.)

On the positive side of things: We’re getting in the groove of life in Japan. Things that were at first a major chore are becoming easy.

We’ve also made many new friends, which we’re very thankful for!

Danielle had a girls’ hot-spring day…

I’m weight-lifting 4 days a week with our new friends and neighbors… (They also just took us to some bomb 焼肉 (yakiniku)! )

And of course we get in lots of time with our classmates, practicing language, and hoping to make sure they, as fellow foreigners, are feeling loved and cared for.

Joy is not conditional

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. If your tree is healthy, planted in the right place, fed the right things, fruit results.

Despite the season, various troubles, or any type of circumstances, Joy of the Spirit can remain. It does not wane and wax.

We can produce our own joy. In fact, many in the world spend great amounts of time, resources, effort etc. obtaining and keeping the fleeting, man-produced version.

Our message from this season is that Joy that comes from the Lord does not leave. It does not bow to circumstances. It remains, just like He and His promises continue to do.

Prayer Requests

  • Continued grace on…
    • our ability to maintain our self-discipline in the busiest season of our life.
    • language learning
    • relationship building
    • doors opening

Thanks for reading! Bless you, and we hope to hear from/keep in touch!

In Christ,
Cody and Danielle


  • Miss you guys and proud of you guys. Sorry to hear about Mythe. Your Japanese skills are getting stronger though! It’s inspiring and we are cheering you on from Seattle. Much love from the Chois. ❤️

  • Jennifer

    I love reading your updates (you articulate things beautifully). I can relate to a lot of these things too..
    Big love Jen

    • Thanks, Jen! Always happy to hear from you. I’m sure next time we get to see you guys we’ll have a lot of new things we can relate on! Praying for ya and what’s going on.

  • Lorena

    Great newsletter! Love the many pictures, sharing the successes, blessings, and difficult challenges. Best of all, I love your message of joy remaining no matter what – “…like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither and in all they do, they prosper.”

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