Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Hope everyone had a Happy Merry Christmas, as the song goes! Meanwhile in Japan, my companion and I spent an hour trying to door-to-door carol to people, and only one person would let us. We just want to sing to you, people! Spread some Christmas cheer!!

Oh well!

But don't you worry, the ward members here treated us missionaries really well, and tried their very best to give us an American Christmas! Lots of cold mashed potatoes, attempts at gravy, and lots and lots of cake. Not quite right, but I can't complain at all!

Here's a little peek into my Christmas adventures!

Here is us caroling at a home for blind people!

(Little known fact: Japanese people take really flattering candid photos)
We even got to borrow a Christmas tree for our apartment!

Lots and lots and lots of little green plastic bits to clean up! :) If that's not what Christmas is all about, I don't know what is!

I've been dreaming about this for years now, and it finally came true! Now I can mention it in every Christmas card I write.
All hints of Christmas are all but disappeared now, as preparations ramp up 10 fold for SHOGATSU, which is JAPANESE NEW YEAR!! Literally all the decorations changed over night.

What else happened this week, let's see.... Oh I know. My Ward Mission Leader called me fat!! Okay, okay, it was actually a roundabout fat joke about another missionary, that I was the unlucky one to get caught up in... But in his defense, I was on my second piece of cake...
They pressured me into taking another slice, I swear.

It was also my birthday this week! I was on companionship splits with my Sister Training Leader, Sister Grape Juice Brand, and we went out for Round-About sushi!
Little known fact: the best part about sushi is actually the after-taste that stays all night long. Mmm, sushi burps! 

Oh and I never explained the title. It's simple really, we went caroling by the train station at 10 BELOW. It was Celsius, granted, BUT STILL!! How cool am I? (get it,  it's a temperature joke)


Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 29: Excuse me Waiter, but there is a fl-EYE in my Soup!

The original title of this installment of On My Knees With The Japanese was going to be "Who Had The Best Week Ever? This Sis Mish!" which is still true, but during my meal with our investigator a few hours ago I came up with this gem instead. Here's the story...

So! All over Japan, each region has their own famous "Hot Pot" dish, called なべ (pronunciation: "Nah, bae.") And Hokkaido's version of this wintertime classic includes gobo root, daikon radish, Chinese cabbage, pork, tofu, mochi, and no, not just fish, but the whole fish, chopped
up--or rather hacked--into not bite-sized pieces, but pieces of carcass just the size to fit your whole bowl!

Haha I know it sounds kind of unappetizing, but it was literally delishish uh delicious. Couldn't spell that one for a minute.

So when you eat, there's a little bowl for everyone to toss their bones into. :) Japanese table manners are really different, dear mom, I will come home a slob. :)

ANYWAY I AM OVER-EXPLAINING THINGS AGAIN! Long story short I was eating, and came across a mass of flesh and, while I was trying to decipher what was edible and what was not, suddenly a strange looking, curved... Oh is that a lens? (my freshman year biology vocabulary
pertaining to the parts of the eye clicked in) I can neither confirm nor denEYE whether or not it was an eye, but I wasn't quite keen on finding out (and it so totally was.) Before I could start hyperventilating I quickly tossed it with my chopsticks and a swish and flick into the bones bowl. I then continued eating, and had to pretend like it never happened so I wouldn't freak out. :) Eyes are
gross man! That's actually probably the one thing I have yet to bring myself to eat...

Oh and my companion got the jawbone with teeth still on it!

Yeaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!! Hardcore hardcore.

Um, so I am so sorry but, that was only one story from the best week ever... You're not close to being done... But don't worry, I have pictures!!

And one of my MTC district friends is finally working with me! よろしく、ね! (pronunciation: "Yo, Roe, she coo'.") (It literally means "treat me kindly," and Japanese people say it alllllll the tiiiiiiime.)

The elders in the mission always get the coolest striped ties that say "To Become" (sort of a Mission Motto, if you will) on them and they always wear them to missionary meetings and they all match and all of the sisters are jealous.

Last year, the sisters got scarves for Christmas.  This year, we got stamps.  AND THEY ARE SO CUTE!!


Yeah, I made it rhyme.

One of the sisters in the ward was sick, so of course it's Sister Missionaries to the rescue! Vitamin C power!!  I don't think I ever have been or ever will be this sister missionary in my life. I drew a nativity on oranges. And put cute quotes on the back.  And I have never been more impressed with myself.


Okay, so sounds like a pretty awesome week, right? WRONG!! Well, you're still right, but we haven't even hit the best part yet!!

*T*H*E* *W*A*R*D* *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S* *P*A*R*T*Y*!*

The missionaries had a big part in the program, because whenever you need someone to make fools of themselves in front of an audience, of course you invite the missionaries!

Really though, we're great at parties! 

Here are a few of the highlights!!

TOP : Because 12 Days of Christmas is apparently THE NUMBER ONE FAMOUS Christmas song in America, and of course all of the missionaries from America know it, we had to do it for everyone... In Japanese. Which is one of the hardest languages to sing in, I'm sure. 

Apparently I was really adorable though...... When I had to do my bit (AND I WAS DAY NUMBER ONE, SO I HAD TO DO IT THE MOST) hushed squeals of "Oh my gosh, so cute!!" broke from the crowd. I thought I was just self conscious, until church the next day. When people asked me to repeat my performance. Yes, my Japanese is so bad, that it's adorable. Or something.

LEFT : Our very under-practiced performance of John Lennon's beloved Christmas classic, "Happy Merry Christmas"... Oh, is that not what it's called? Because that is what these two adorable young Japanese dads thought it was and I was literally dying.

For the record, the actual title is probably "So This is Christmas" or something, you know what I'm talking about.

RIGHT : I finally did it. I participated in a nativity play. I don't know how I've gone so far in my life without doing so, but I finally did it AND IT WAS SO GOOD PEOPLE!! I was like the best Mary anyone 'ere seen before! And my companion Sister Rory Gilmore (from Gilmore Girls) was Joseph. Yesssss, LOOOK AT THAT BEARD, GURL!! We killed it! And of course, the elders were totally under prepared on the side of costumes, so I stepped up with my three years of high school fashion class skills and look at them now. We even had sheep. You may recognize the sheep costumes from Halloween, but that's my little sheep-cret. (I laughed so hard my companion was worried about me with that pun. Oh gosh.)
This is the best photo of me ever.

And then, to cap off our evening, one of the cool sisters drove us home in her tiny cool car. She says, "Oh, I just have to stop somewhere really quick!" It's 30 minutes until curfew, sure, Sister, you do that. She's a little lost, the time is passing away. "Uh, Sister, maybe we can help you find it. Where are you heading?" Her enigmatic reply was only, "A beautiful place..."

30 minutes later we pull up to none other than KFC, the GO-TO Stop for all of your Christmassy dinner time treats, from which she bought us a lovely, greasy meal.

A beautiful place indeed.
Man, I think that's everything! I'm sorry I wrote so much, I must be happy or something! My head still hurts from laughing at that sheep pun I made earlier...

Anyway. Here's me, signing off, have a fun Christmas in a Christmassy place where they actually get a day off for Christmas. I keep forgetting its Christmas... But at least I am having FUN FUN FUN!!!


Monday, December 12, 2016


And I mean that! It will be short short short!

Just a few items of business...

One, it was transfers, they happened! I am still in the Siberia area, and our snow is snow crazy. My new companion, who just so happens to look just like Rory from Gilmore Girls, is also going home after this Transfer! Which means, in all likelihood, I will remain in Siberia for another transfer after this too. :) And I literally couldn't be more excited, I never want to leave.

I'm going to get everyone to call me the New Queen of Asahikawa—the name of my area. The old queen was a missionary who just went home and had stayed in the area and surrounding areas for a long time, so I think I'll take the name for myself. My reign starts now...

ITEM OF BUSINESS TWO! We watched a One Direction music video this week. NOOOOO!!!  It was so funny. Our investigator is OBSESSED with this one Korean pop star -- posters cover her walls, when you call her phone his song plays, and every time we walk into her home she is playing one of his concerts on TV. She is the coolest 70 year old lady ever. :) BUT ANYWAY!! We were talking about our favorite music idols, and me, being the classy lady I am, mentioned The Beatles, but my companion of course had to go and say One Direction... Our investigator didn't
recognize the name, so she pulled up a video on her phone and played it for us, while me and Sister Rory, You Know Rory From Gilmore Girls and I averted our eyes awkwardly (technically, missionaries are not allowed to consume media) and tried not to bust a gut laughing. It was so funny.

AND THE THIRD AND FINAL ITEM OF BUSINESS IS THAT... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
 Me and the ward Christmas tree.
And these little cuties hanging out above our map are the cardboard friends my district leader Elder Dogfather (we are together for another transfer, that makes three!) made for me while we were making 12 Days Of Christmas signs for the ward Christmas party.

Their names are from left to right : Happy Fred; Armless, Harmless, Farmless Jerry; and Skeptical Richard.

We have fun. :)

Oh, also, the missionaries will be performing John Lennon's "This is Christmas (War is Over)" for the Christmas party. Sweeeeeet!

Okay so in the end I feel like this post wasn't actually that short! I guess you can call me a liar... I'll be more careful next time, I promise! Belieeeveeee meeeeee!


Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 27: This was my Thanksgiving!

Our Mission President paid for us.

It's yummy stuff over rice. Welcome to Japan!

Also, apparently I'm turning Japanese because at an investigator's house, the snack of the evening was dried fish dipped in mayonnaise and soy sauce, and I was LOVING IT. Either I'm turning Japanese, or it was because that's the food that broke my fast.


Also, I made tortillas.

We had a fiesta. :)

English Conversation Class this week consisted of the three older punks, and the cutest, tiniest girl in the world.

So you had these punks in one corner.
 And in the other corner you have THIS ADORABLE PRINCESS.
She knows what to do in front of a camera.

Now let's talk about what's happening with the snow.

One morning at 6:00 AM we woke up to the elders shoveling our snow.
They built us a chair from the snow mountain covering our door. 
(A nice picture of me trying to hair flip)

This week, I had my first REAL LIFE "$B@c9g@o(B, SNOW WAR," as they call it in Japan!
And the best part was that it was with the worlds most adorable children. And then the elders showed up!

 (My companion getting buried)
As this week is transfers week, this is probably my last full district picture. Next to me (if you don't remember which one I am, look for the mustard colored skirt) is our investigator who just accepted a date for baptism! January 14th, look forward to it! I'll keep you updated.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 25: FAT, FAT, FAAAAT !!

We got "gochi-ed" (fed a meal by members/investigators) so many times this week!

And we took pictures ~~~~
(Us with cookie mustaches, and me with an actual mustache.... Don't ask...)

I had a fun week everyone! Our district is so fun. We’ve been together a lot recently with all the food we've received, so super fun mega bonding time. #ShimaiLivesMatter (the new slogan for sister missionaries in the Sapporo mission.)

And we also went to THE BLUE LAKE again, and it was FROZEN!! We made jokes that it was Blue Hawaii flavored shaved ice.
 We're adorable.

Here is someone else, who is somehow, miraculously more adorable than us.

Japanese primary is the best primary.
Well, I'm off to celebrate Brother Golden's 50TH BIRTHDAY!!! We bought him a plant. :)

Also PS I spent 40 dollars today at a stationary shop and I now have three yearly planners for 2017.... Japan will be the death of my wallet... Tell no one of my shame.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 24: It's SNOWvember!!

Get it.

It's November, but it's snowing??


These are the things that cross your mind when you are walking (aka waddling) across solid ice for an hour or more at a time.

And then you waddle back home, sit in front of your heater, and eat ice cream you bought at a convenience store. It's kind of just what you do.

I am literally eating more ice cream now then ever.

Speaking of, this week we went out for 31 (as they call it in Japan AKA 31 Flavors AKA it's actually called Baskin Robins) with our investigator who is SUPER DUPER RELIGIOUS in this super um... What's the word ... Strenuous? Like, really oh STRICT. きびしい. That's the word.  Anyways it's a strict religion called "Sougakakai" or something...?  That one still sounds like a jumble of sounds to me too, so don't worry if you can't say it either. Anyway, she's presh and we love her strong faith in a higher power. She loves the concept of being with your family and friends forever after death, something her religion does not believe in!
Anyway nothing else really happened this week... EXCEPT. This is a short story, but I was using the restroom in a grocery store and I kept hearing something nudging at the door and I was really confused but it all made sense when I came out and saw a grown woman literally doing the potty dance. Apparently she was there five seconds after I went in. I felt pretty guilty, she looked miserable!

Oh today though we had a lesson where our investigator fed us mochi (pounded rice) with cheese inside <<and I almost chocked on the powdery outside, but I only coughed once, like a champ. A darn polite champ.>>, tea made from a root called GOBO, and watched a home video of her performing in a traditional Japanese dance in a festival. Very Japanese evening, I have had.

We also ate this food as a partial district (some of the elders live far away, so... Yeah, they weren't invited) and it’s this awesome Japanese food where you sit at a table with boiling broth in front of you and you stick meat in, let it cook, and then eat it after dipping it into raw beaten egg and it was AMAZING!! It was also all you can eat. And so was the ice cream.

BUT... We neglected to take pictures!

So here is a picture of District Leader Elder Dogfather showing off his boots instead.
We have a lot of groceries to lug home and it's late, so BYE BYE!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Yo, yo, yo!

Or rather, if I may, snow, snow, snow!

Because that's legit what's up (and down, and all around.)

It's already up to mid-calf and it's barely November! :)

This week I had some new ICEperiences!

Literally the first time I have ever shoveled snow.
This picture was from the beginning of the week. There's much more snow now, which is why we shoveled the whole church parking lot (can I get a woot woot?)
And then (this is the titular story of this blog post) the new missionary, straight from the MTC, totally biffs it as he's running the snow shovel across. He catches it on the ground, and he is literally flung from the bars into the snow in front of him. We didn't catch it on film, but here's a picture of the aftermath to remember it by.
It was snow funny.

And the moment I personally have been waiting for: MY FIRST SNOWMAN
Yeah, okay, not anyone's best work, but the bus came and I was still in the piling stage so I had to slap a smile on it and call it good.

This week a member took us to a planetarium (which is closed on pday, but we were able to go because there was an investigator theorem ka-chinggg) And, that day, I just so happened to be wearing my CONSTELLATION SOCKS. So on point with that one.

Two groups of teenagers took pictures of us because we're white :)

This week we made a new friend. This tiny girl coming home from school while we were going house to house started following us, so we talked to her and she gave us candy, and told her to come and meet her mom. Every missionary's dream situation. Turns out her mom had come to the church Christmas party last year, so she was totally up to talk to us, and she will be coming to this year's as well!

That little girl was so cute when we told her about our English Conversation Classes for kids, and she was just BEGGING her mom to go. So. Cute. 
I tried to translate a text we got from one of our investigators who thinks we can read kanji. Can't read kanji, can't read the translation.

A picture from last week! This is the remains of my missionary training booklet.  And turns out next week's Zone Training homework is from the same book....(I never do the homework anyway)
That's all I got!


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Week 22: A White Halloween


Here I am, Halloween day, sitting at a table in the church surrounded by the elders in my district. We just got back from the zoo (my second time, woowoo!), ate delicious Sumo Wrestler soup, and there is no candy in sight.... Maybe I'll find some by tonight!!

A White Halloween?! can't wait for the White Christmas around the corner!!

Halloween is not really a thing in Japan.... At least my Map App will celebrate with me!
Thanks, Map App!

But! Our ward did have a super amazing party!! Over 130 people showed up, it was amazing! So many tiny, adorable, chubby-cheeked Japanese children in costumes. And you should have seen how WELL DECORATED it was!! I was shocked, they put so much work into it!

Hopefully I'll get pictures later, but for now I only have the one of us!

The district in their costumes:
The costumes, left to right: I'm wearing a bow tie and I'm American, we are SHEEP, Marshmallow from Ghostbusters aka I am wearing a sheet taped to my body, a grump who put on a not costume only for the picture, and "An American." YEAH!!


I am finally done with training.

I am no longer an underling.

Well, I'm still a junior companion, but... Okay, so I'm still an underling.

But at least I'm not a training underling!!

I had a photo of me ripping up my training book and being happy, but... I never got it sent to me from my last companion.... And probably never will........ Oh...

Anyway, yes! I got a new companion!

She is on her last transfer!
She's really confident, so that's pretty cool.

And that's really all about this week! Let me tell you about last week!!

***_>|%^]*++[======= //time travel mode: S T A R T

(So of course we had ice cream)

(Look Mom, I'm wearing my gloves!)

Aaaaaand, that's kind of it.
I forgot the stories that I wanted to share from last week, so.... That's all, folk!


Monday, October 24, 2016


So much has happened. I apologize for the gush of photos that will now flow forth, in as fast as I can type because I've already used a lot of my email time!!

Let's start with the good stuff! Mr. Golden Investigator--now Brother Investigator--was baptized and confirmed this week!

But before we cut to the good stuff, let us discuss one of the lesser known obstacles to baptism : finding white underwear.

As Elder Dogfather put it, "We spent 5 minutes with the entire bishopric discussing how to get this man some underpants!"

Yes, you read that right. In our bi-weekly coordination meeting with the bishopric, we derived a game plan on finding this man some underwear.  And it was really, really funny.

Now back to the baptism! IT WAS SO AMAZING, AND SO JAPANESE!

Now, what I mean by that is it was mildly awkward (which is oh so very Japanese,) and when we went to the font, not just the children sat on the floor, but everyone was on their knees to view it. There wasn't even chairs set up in that room. OH, JAPAN!
He doesn't look happy in this picture, but that's just because Japanese people don't smile in pictures!

Also, don't you love the slight blur and finger showing in the bottom corner of this photo? Our Ward Mission Leader takes the worst photos, but he always volunteers as photographer. We love him!
(Side story: apparently, every time you ask him what he does for work, he always says, "I'm a thief." He says jokes all the time, allegedly. I wouldn't really know because he has the fastest and most numbly Japanese in the ward.)

And on Sunday, after Brother Gold was confirmed, he came up to me and my trainer, and said the sweetest, most heartfelt thank you. "If you hadn't visited my house, none of this would have happened. Thank you. I am really happy."

It was a real blessing that I could understand that without my companion translating it for me. It was a really tender moment, ahhhhh!!! I love that man.



So I am going to have to finish this week's email next week!!!!

But to tide you over while you wait, here are some pictures of the food we ate! (IT RHYMES!!)