Ikeda or 池田市, is a city in northeast Japan located in the prefecture of Osaka. Ikeda has a population of about 105,000 people with a square footage of about 22.1 kilometers squared, meaning the population density is a staggering 4,700 people per square kilometer.
Ikeda is home to a castle wherein once resided a daimyo- a Japanese feudal lord- the castle and the ruler that once abided therein date back to a period in Japanese history known as the Edo period (about the year 1600). Ikeda is not known only for the castle that rests within its borders, but also for something a bit less conspicuous. During the Edo period Ikeda was known for its charcoal and is still praised today for its high quality charcoal.
If castles and charcoal aren’t enough to stimulate your interest for Ikeda then you may want to go and see the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. Yes, you heard that right, and you thought a spam museum was bizarre- which it is, so all bases of interest should be covered for anyone adventure seeker. There is a castle for those that desire a majestic, more standard sight, charcoal for any enthusiast, and an instant ramen museum for, well whomever would be interested in that.
Ikeda seems to have some interesting sights and locations, but unfortunately it is also home to a horrific and terrible tragedy. On June 8, 2001, a massacre occurred in one of the elementary schools there in Ikeda. In an attempt to alleviate any post-traumatic stress or flashbacks to those atrocious events the school decided to remodel the school. This is indicative of a struggle we all face, when something happens we attempt to cover it up. Please understand, I’m not saying their decision was wrong and they shouldn’t do that, but it is similar to how the unsaved world lives their lives. Instead of realising their need for a saviour they just cover it up they mask it and hope no one sees behind their mask. This city has a population of about 105,000 and a good majority of them have never had a gospel witness, Japan is almost void of any witness. Who will go and tell these people that covering their sin will not help but their is one who died for them and will completely remove their sin. So pray for the people of Ikeda, and maybe consider going to tell these people.
Fujimino is a city in the country of Japan with a population of about 100,00 people. The city contains about 5,000 people per square kilometer. The city is part of the Saitama prefecture which resides about 30 km. from central Tokyo. It is bordered by the three cities: Kawagoe, Fujimi, and Miyoshi; it seems like having a neighboring city with such a similar name to you would raise confusion. This city serves as a reminder of the great emphasis the Japanese people place upon education due to the massive quantities of schools in this city alone: 8 kindergartens, 12 elementary schools, six junior high schools, 2 high schools, and a single university (Bunkyo University). If you are in the area and don’t think that going to one of the many schools would be an advantageous or exciting or wise or whatever reason you may have, decision then you can always go sightseeing , and this city has some great places to go and sights to see. One attraction worth considering would be Oi benten park and bear witness to the beautiful cherry blossoms that litter that area. Two festivals held in the city of Fujimino are the Kamifukuoka Tanabata Festival and the Oi festival. The former involves two types of dancing: Awa Odori and Bon Odori. The latter is a parade of portable shrines known as “mikoshi” that are carried through the city. Here we see a city that values education, a noble pursuit, but such emphasis on education can and, if we allow it, will take our attention and affection off of God. Finally we see the parade of shrines the most obvious and apparent rejection of God. It is important that we keep in mind that over emphasising something that is good, such as education, can be detrimental to our walk with God just as something that is a more blatant rejection of God. Fujimino is a city with over 100,00 people that embrace these idols and are in desperate need of our prayer and in need of men willing to go and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hanamaki Is a city whose population reaches to about 100,000. Hanamaki resides in the center of the Iwate prefecture which dwell towards the north of the island of Japan. The city is situated at the joining of the three rivers: Sarugaishi-gawa, Se-gawa, and Toyosawa-gawa. The valley in which the city resides is surround by the mountains Matsukura and Hayachine. Hanamaki is home to some rather interesting attractions. One of the aforementioned attractions is the hot springs (or onsens). In fact, these onsens bring most of the tourism to this city. Along with the onsens, Hanamaki is also the birth city of famous Japanese agriculturalist and poet, Kenji Miyazawa. Due to the abundance of mountains in the region the city is also known for its ski slopes. However, as interesting as all of this is, it is not why you are here reading this. As previously stated, this city contains about 100,000 people, that is 100,000 souls that have little to no gospel witness in their midst. As beautiful and attractive as this city is and as awesome as it would be to visit and take in the local attractions, it doesn’t change the fact that many of these people live their entire lives never hearing the good news of Jesus Christ, This beautiful city needs our prayers and it needs men and women willing to give their lives to reach these people.