Sunday, February 25, 2007


Den-Den Town

"Den-Den Town"

By Ramone - January 3, 2006

I'm a bit late in putting up this picture! I had not thought it fit the theme of this site, but then when I was sifting through pictures today I came across it and read what I'd written on the back -- a prayer for the Nippombashi area.

Nippombashi (or "Den-Den Town" - "electric town") is the electronics district of Osaka, located in the south. It's dying, though, because of large electronics stores opening in other parts of the city. Now smaller "otaku" stores are coming to the forefront -- places with comics, action figures, and pornography.

I used to work in Nippombashi for six months back in 2002. Behind the main street (pictured) there are more odd otaku stores and also homeless people, living in crates or boxes. There are also some apartments, but I think most people don't want to live in the Nippombashi area. I confess that it's a bit tiring for me to walk through, since I'm not an electronics person and crowds make me tired.

A few days after New Year's 2006 Yoko and I were relaxing in a cafe and I sketched this picture of the street outside. It was the first time, I think, that I used the gray-brush/black-ballpen combination, and I was very happy with it, which probably helped me think of it in a different way than the rest of the pictures on this site. But here is the prayer I wrote on the back:
1/3/06 from Holly's Cafe at Den-Den Town in Nipponbashi.

God, please come to Nippombashi, too, in Your time and in Your way.

Hmm, I feel You sneaking up the side streets... yes, where people live, where the homeless are, and even where the warui & otaku places are.

Jesus, come. I pray for Your presence & passion to fill the hearts of those in Nippombashi's streets, and to rest on that place & in those streets. In Jesus' name & Your perfect timing, Amen.

(You know all of them, each one who works, lives or visites there. You know each one & all, and how best to reach them with Your love! Lord! Holy Spirit reach them & draw them to You, Jesus. I claim them for You, in Iesu no namae, aamen.)

Friday, February 23, 2007


Relationship's Pillar

"The Pillar of Relationship" "The Center Pillar"

By Ramone - February 20, 2007 (second picture Feb.19, 2009)

The other night I emailed someone very dear to us who had been suffering under a problem but trying to handle it mostly on their own. I wrote: "Please NEVER ever try to handle everything by yourself... some things are beyond our ability to handle on our own, and the more that you keep it to yourself, the more your stress will increase. If two people can carry a burden together, the burden is lighter. But if one person carries it too long, they will sink under the weight of it. And if three people carry it..."

It reminded me of this scripture:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
As I shared the email I'd written with Yoko, she saw a picture... the picture came from an email my friend Scott sent me back in May 2003:
"Christ as the Pillar of Relationship"
Scott Arany

My partner and I are standing on the ground. We both have firm and secure footing on the ground (which represents Christ). Facing each other, we reach our arms out and hold hands. The holding of hands represents our relationship together. We hold hands in mid-air with nothing for support except our own arms. We can't let the hands fall apart and separate because that would break the handhold and thus the relationship). But what is holding this relationship up and keeping it together? Only our own strength. Even though our feet are grounded in Christ, eventually our arms will grow tired and need rest. We don't have the strength to hold our hands like this for a long time. The relationship will be broken even though we had our feet on Christ.

As we start to grow tired, we realize that we need something to support our hands. But now it's too late to go reaching for that support. To do so would involve letting go of each other. It's physically impossible to build a support now and still maintain the handhold.

Now we need to start the "relationship" over again. We let go and bring a pillar to set between us. Like the ground, the pillar also represents Christ. Again, we reach out and hold hands, resting our hands upon the top of the pillar. This relationship no longer depends on human strength for support. Nor is there a need to break apart to search for support; the two of us are supported from the very beginning. In this position we can hold hands for a very long time without growing weary.

Never start a relationship without the pillar in place. Never move the pillar. So long as we rest in Christ together our relationship will not falter. The foundation of our relationship shouldn't be about *making* God our support -- He should *already* BE our support. Even though our own personal bodies are supported by the rock of Christ, we too often trust in the strength of our arms to hold-up a relationship in mid-air. Christ is to be the rock for both our feet (personal walk and faith) and our hands (shared walk and faith).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Having a Cup of Jesus Together

By Ramone - February 18, 2007

Getting together over a cup of Jesus...

"For where two or three come together in my name,
there am I with them!" (Matthew 18:20)

Monday, February 19, 2007


Window in the Skies (2)

"Window in the Skies" (2)

By Ramone - February 17, 2007
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
This is the second version of an original I painted from a wonderful new U2 song that I can't get out of my head and out of my heart...

The shackles are undone
The bullets quit the gun
The heat that's in the sun
Will keep us when there's none
The rule has been disproved
The stone it has been moved
The grave is now a groove
All debts are removed

Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
Oh can't you see what love has done?
What it's done to me?

Love left a window in the skies...
I love the words of this song, the new single by U2. It's what Love has done -- God is Love! What He has done in giving His Son for us has left a window in the skies, a window in the heavens that sheds the light of love on us. Knowing what He has done is so awesome!
Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. \ (Ephesians 2:4-6)
And it is also what His love does among us! Having shown us His love, He now tells us that when we pass His love to one another, heaven opens among us. It is so true! When love, grace, opens up among us, it shocks us and there is a bit of heaven on earth between us.

It reminds me of the "greatest commandments", to love God and to love your neighbor, but before we know these commands, we can see that they are a reflection of God's love for us! He has loved us first! And He has loved our neighbors! We love because He first love; these are His priorities, and they're ours too.

And a word to Christians who are longing for an "open heaven" --

Yes, seek Him, but read Isaiah 58! Do you want "heaven to open"? Then choose to give His love! Pass His love and watch heaven open on earth.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Still Praying

By Ramone - February 16, 2007

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in His word I put my hope.

My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with Him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
(Psalm 130:5-8)

"I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the Lord,
give yourselves no rest,
and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth."
(Isaiah 62:6-7)

Wait for the Lord and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land.
(Psalm 37:34)

Monday, February 12, 2007


Winter Fruit

By Ramone - February 10, 2007

I got this picture the morning after The Fallen Tree, one of a few on the theme of "trees". It is a persimmon tree ("kaki" in Japanese). It's not a beautiful tree. Dark, large, and kind of scary, but in the wintertime it brings forth some of the sweetest fruit in the world.

It is in our "winter" seasons that God can bring forth some of the sweetest fruit.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The Cave Exit

By Ramone - February 5, 2007

The other night as I was laying in bed, I remembered some encouraging comments a friend had made about something I had written, how God had blessed them and spoken to them through it. It's funny how sometimes something that seems normal or clear to you can be incredible to someone else. As I thought of this, I felt the Lord remind me of something that had happened maybe when I was maybe about 12 years old at summer camp...

I was on something called "teen outpost", which meant we didn't stay at the camp but instead went "out" to places to do some activities there instead. I chose the "whitewater rafting & rock climbing" outpost, which took us to West Virginia. It was sooo awesome, even though I had to leave camp early because my ankle swelled up after I got bit by a bat (we think) and I had to get rabies shots... but that's another story! I got to basically do everything I signed up for plus more:

We seemed to find some extra time early on and decided that in addition to our planned activites, we would go caving as well! It was all fun in retrospect, but at the time the fun wore off when the cold, dark & muddy cave seemed to just go on, and on, and on, and on! Actually, we got lost and didn't know the way out. At one point we stopped in an open area and were going to go left, but I noticed some writing painted on a rock wall, indicating that the way out was to the right. I didn't think much of it but told someone about it anyway. The leaders ended up heeding the sign and we eventually got to the surface.

Later that evening at devotion time, they made a point of thanking God for noticing that arrow. I didn't think much of it because after all, I just saw it there, that was all. But the other night God brought it back to me, helping me understand how He uses me and others. We sometimes notice things that others don't. It's not about "us", but rather we just point people to the signs He's already put up to lead us out of the "caves" we tend to get lost in.

Oh, and I finally thanked God for showing us that writing on the wall. (^_^)

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Desert Longing

By Ramone - January 31, 2007

After so much color (see Gallery #11) I kind of wanted to sketch something in black & white brush pen again, but I wanted to wait on God. The hankering came on the last day of January, though... kind of a feeling, a longing, a picture of being in the desert.

The desert... it's a lonely and barren place. Sometimes God takes you there because He wants you to seek Him and know Him. He takes you away from fruitfulness & busy-ness in order to romance you:

"Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her.

There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will sing as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

"In that day," declares the Lord,
"you will call me 'my husband';
you will no longer call me 'my master'." (Hosea 2:14-16)
At the time (at this time, really), I am feeling a longing for the "desert"... for leaving behind so many distractions and seeking intimacy with God. It's something He's been convicting me of, and I'm slow to run away from other things to Him. But He is alluring.

The feeling reminds me of the song by U2, "Where The Streets Have No Name" --

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside.
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name.

I wanna feel sunlight on my face.
I see the dust-cloud
Disappear without a trace.
I wanna take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We're still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It's all I can do).

The city's a flood, and our love turns to rust.
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust.
I'll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We're still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It's all I can do).