Thursday, July 28, 2016

Week 8 -- MTSEE YA LATER!!!!

Well, my companion called me a toilet this week.

Don't know if it was a simple misunderstanding of Japanese particles or if she's finally open about what she really thinks about me.

Just kidding, it was the language.
This is my companion, everyone.

I am going to be in the air flying across the Pacific Ocean to the Land of the Rising Sun on MOOOOONNNDAAYYYYY!!!!
As we say in our district, WOOF. Apparently, it's a Utah thing.

13 hour flight to Narita Airport in Tokyo, and then two more hours for us lucky missionaries going to the Northern Lands of Sapporo.
Again, WOOF.

I am going to sob my eyes out when our district has to split up in Tokyo.
It'll be grand.

A classy panoramic of select members of my district eating cookies instead of studying.
Classic us!

Nothing else really happened this week. It rained? I took a shower? We had class?

Oh wait I never told you. The MTC blankets are so staticky that you can see the bolts of electricity when you touch them.
My hair is loving it.

Next time you hear from me, it will be from JAPAN. My PDAY will be Monday, so you'll probably get my emails Sunday night!



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Week 7: 12% Charge Left on my iPad, Let's See How Far We Get

This week I have realized how weird missionaries are. At times, it feels like I cannot remember anything from my previous life. As if I am but a wee baby, a green bean if you will, born only 7 weeks ago when I entered the MTC.  I can't remember movie quotes, band names, songs.... I can't even remember people's names.  We have dubbed this strange syndrome the "MTC Bubble," and it remains to be seen whether or not it's effects will last the whole mission, though I hold out little hope...

Quote from my companion right now: "That Elder is MEOWING" (he is) "You can really tell some of these elders are 18..."

That's the closest I'll get to a tweet in a while.

This is what the MTC Cafeteria looks like, if you were curious. Photo credit Elder McColm of our Kohai.  (Although there is no exact translation into English, senpai (先輩) means an upperclassman, senior employee or other older person with whom you have dealings. Conversely, kohai (後輩) is the junior or lower person.)*

The new STLs in our district got their phone.  They had been waiting and waiting for a call, and while the Zone Leader had gotten three, they had gotten none.  Then it came, THE CALL. (Not the mission call, that came months ago.)  And it was a spam call!!!  Somebody with an Indian accent called asking if our computer was hacked, and if we could give him some personal information.

I thought it was pretty funny.

That wasn't the only technical difficulty of this week!

We were watching a Mormon Message as a part of our lesson, and while our little cute Japanese teacher was trying to change the volume on the TV, she accidentally changed the channel and the screen went to static.  We all freaked and tried to fix it, but things just went sour really fast. I guess The Bubble took away any technological abilities a room full of 7 girls and one boy had to begin with.  We ended up accidentally scanning for channels, and we were all worried that cartoons would come on and we would have to close our eyes and plug our ears.  We went on a field trip to another room to watch the video.

This week at Sunday devotional, we had a surprise attack... My companion calls it ELDER BEDNAR : PART TWO!!! 

That's right! They announced that instead of having a speaker, we would just be watching the prerecorded talk from Elder Bednar titled "The Character of Christ." We were all disappointed, but when it was over, out of nowhere, in pops Elder Bednar, the man himself! He did a Q&A session, and Sister H from our district got her question answered! It was so darn neat!

Here's a picture of Sister H on screen while she asked her question.

The best part was when he said, "I was here a while ago for a different talk, I doubt any of you were there back then"
If only you knew, Elder Bednar, if only you knew.

He had his wife come up and answer a question, and then he goes and sits down. She says: "He said he was going to help and he abandoned me. You're not keeping missionary rules" (as in staying near your companion.)

Then when he came back, he responded: "You just witnessed the wife of an apostle throwing him under the bus."

When he was choosing someone to ask a question, he pointed: "You, the elder with a white shirt... Oops, that's obvious." Two elders stood up, he pointed to one, "Not you, but I love you too, elder."

In other, less interesting news, we had a fire drill on Thursday.  These are the special things you get to experience when you have a 9-week extended stay at the MTC.

Obligatory temple picture. I'm telling you again, we are seriously cool cats!

My district and I have been thinking, and we have decided... Pokemon Go is a big deal for missionary work!

Here is our logic:
Pokemon go gets people to go to large public locations as well as landmarks.
Temples and church buildings are included in this.
In places like Russia where missionaries aren't allowed to proselyte, and they have to stay inside church buildings and wait for people to come, Pokemon Go will draw people in.
Therefore, Pokemon Go increases missionary opportunities and exposure of the church!

Basically, we all really wish we could play Pokemon Go.......

The last, and best thing that happened to us this week was SO FUNNY.
It wasn't actually funny, but we have all gone stir crazy in the MTC.
Anything is funny at this point.
This is another effect of THE BUBBLE.

Our cute Japanese teacher was saying a sentence with the word "llama" in it, which in Japanese is "rama." We were all quite confused. 
So she explained it in the second language we are learning, charades.
She hunches over, puts her hands into fists, and walks across the classroom I'm a gliding motion saying "RAMARAMARAMARAMARAMA"


Here is a video of me reenacting it:

Here is a video of me eating a fish (it wasn't actually that bad):

Here is a picture of the apple flavored conyak jelly I also ate:


*(See you later...I think)

*Explanations added by Mom

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Week 6: Sapporo Only 3 Weeks Left (I Think. Math is Hard.)

This week, we said goodbye to the big kids! They flew far far away to the land in the East. Even though they traveled west to get there.

Spheres, am I right??

Our whole zone before they left us!

Jokes aside, we are the new big kids now (DAI-SENPAI!!!)  The green beans will be here in a few hours.  And the new Japanese district came last night! They are SO cute, funny, and nice. We all already love them. I've only met a few, but I already know that Japanese people are the best!

Now that we're the big kids, both the Zone Leader and the Sister Training Leaders are in our district! Elder Solo is the Zone leader, if you couldn't infer that on your own. He gets a cell phone and everything!

It was so funny, the first time he got a phone call, we heard it ringing but we were all confused for about 5 seconds until his face lights up, and he shouts, "I'm getting a phone call, that is so cool!" And then he casually answers, "Hello."  We were all laughing so hard that he had to leave the room to hear the phone call.

Now to get serious, I have some grave news.

I've caught Punnitus.

My symptoms are as follows:
Uncontrollable giggling at my own jokes
Involuntary release of bad puns during conversations
Inability to control coming up with bad Japanese-based jokes

I don't know what I've done to deserve this PUNishment!!

It's starting to affect the people I love. Twice in class I have made terrible puns that have made everyone laugh. 

Like Monday, we were learning about conjugating adjectives (Oh, the joys of Japanese!) The teacher asked us to conjugate the adjective "ōkii" (big) into "not big." Before I could even think about the real answer, I blurted loudly "CHISAI!!" (Small) 
Everyone laughed.

And then, yesterday, I opened up my Preach My Gospel only to find a flash card with the Japanese symbol for the sound "heh" (へ) on it resting on the page. Before I could stop myself, I turned to my companion and laughed "heheheheheheh"
Even the teacher was laughing!!

I don't know what to do with myself, I'm just too punny!!
In all seriousness though, I'm such a jokester. I don't know what to do with myself, I make myself laugh so hard it's embarrassing. 

I'm not the only one doing dumb things though! My district was talking about airports, and the TSA came up, but none of us could remember that it was called the TSA. We were like "TCA? TAS? TRC????" (TRC is the Training Resource Center at the MTC where you can teach church members. We do it every P-Day.) We finally figured it out in the end!

As always, I also have funny stories about my teachers.

My companion and I were a tad late to Brother Investiteacher's class one day, so we come up to the door to find a sticky note posted on the outside (photo evidence provided below.) The sticky note read "DOOR APPROACH をしてください!" which literally means "DOOR APPROACH DO PLEASE!"

So we had to knock on the door to our classroom to try and gain entrance.  We aren't very good at door approaches, apparently, because he slammed the door in our faces twice. I guess I better get used to it!  But then the next class period, when he wasn't even our teacher, we were late (again) and he sees us down the hallway and he just starts BOOKING IT to our classroom. He had his game face on and everything. Actually, it was kind of scary, haha! My companion had to shove herself through the door as it was closing so we wouldn't have to go through that experience again.

This week, we celebrated a Japanese holiday! You write your wishes on small pieces of paper and tie them to bamboo. We tied them up to a string in our classroom that we hung over the flag. I'll take a picture of it sometime and show you guys, it's way cute!

This was my wish!

 Anyway, that's all for this week, folks!

Have a great week without me, and don't forget I exist!


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Week 5: Salt, Senpai, Suitcoats, and Other Things That Start With S

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, all of you Americans reading this! (Aka anyone who is reading this. I mean, I can pretty safely assume you're American, or at least in America somewhere.)


Here at the MTC, we do not celebrate the 4th or July. Instead, we celebrate the


During the INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM, we missionaries are encouraged to, and I quote, "reflect and ponder on the events that allowed for the restoration of the Gospel."

In reality, we had a devotional about the history of the restoration starting with William Tynsdale, who I think was the first person to translate the bible? I don't know, clearly I wasn't paying enough attention (I never do.) There was a cheesy slideshow with red, white and blue star transitions, so I'll be honest, I was distracted by all of that patriotism.

More entertaining, however, was the wonderful joke at the beginning of the devotional:

"Elders, you may now take off your suit coats. Or not. It's a free country."

And then after the devotional, we got to go into the parking lot to witness, through the trees and many tall elder's shoulders (now bare of their suit coats), the Stadium of Fire or whatever it's called. Some big firework show with a musical guest. I wouldn't know, I couldn't really see it.

The highlight of the night, however, was definitely the joke about suit coats and freedom.

(Art provided by Sister F. She is actually diagnosed face blind, just kidding.)

The news in District 5c this week is that, sadly, we had to let go of the Crazy Elder. He has moved on to an English speaking district, and he couldn't be happier. He is actually getting reassigned missions, and his call should be coming today! He's probably the only Elder in the MTC who doesn't currently have a mission call. Fancy that!

Here is a photograph of his once-was companion, now a Solo Elder amongst a sea of 7 Sisters. If you look closely, you can see his "Solo" sticker in the bottom right of his name tag, a symbol of his sadness.

One of our mission presidency's wives made the joke that "Now you know what polygamy is like."

Despite the separation, we still keep up with the Crazy Elder. He emails us weekly, and sometimes he even pops his head into our classroom building and yells Japanese phrases at the top of his lungs.

Did I mention he's a little crazy?

Speaking of crazy, our senpai (there's no English word for it other than "piers who are slightly more seasoned than us," but then I'm just like "well, what seasoning did they use?") (I'm not funny, I'll stop.) are leaving on Monday! And then we will take their place as the Dai-senpai (aka big-deal-senpai.) 

Which means literally nothing.

This week, our teacher Ole-Fuchino-Katō-Sensei was in a really good mood, after having been married. We made the joke that our investigator, Fuchino-San, got married in the temple. We were so proud!!

Since he was in a good mood, we had a fun day with him.

The progression of that day is as follows:

We are all discussing how one time, he drew a perfect circle. One sister said "oh, drawing perfect circles is easy, I do it all the time."

Being the sassy district that we are, we went in for the kill (have I mentioned we are ruthless? One misspoken word, and we don't forget it the whole day.... We do it out of love. I think...)

After a good three minutes of us going at it, salty comments flying to and fro, our teacher speaks up: 

"Man, I didn't get my salt intake this morning, so keep on going!"

The funny thing is, he's the sassiest one in the room!

Then, he finally accepted our wedding gift! The traditional Celebratory Wedding Apple from the MTC Cafeteria (I know, we shouldn't have.)

He washes it, and then takes 5 minutes to split it in half with his bare hands while we just watch. For 5 minutes. And then he just sits there and eats it, and we were all just sitting there. 

He is so much fun.

THEN, while we were reviewing grammar and came across a word we don't know, Sister M asked what a word was in English.

His answer: "I'm not going to tell you the answers when you have so many resources."
Her response: "One of those resources is you!"
His reply: "I'm not going to be here forever, Sister M!!"

Finally, it was time to teach our investigator, Katō-San (Aka our teacher)

We get into the lesson, share our message, then ask, "Do you have any questions?" But in Japanese.
Then he says, "Is any question okay?" But in Japanese.
And then we both say, "Yes, of course! Go ahead!" But in Japanese.
And then, HOLDING BACK A SMIRK (and not well, might I add) he asks, "How do I become super wealthy?" But in Japanese.
He did it just to haze us. 
How do I know?
We bring it up in class, and the only response we get from our Investerteacher is that same smirk, except this time, it was unimpeded.

He's a fun guy.
And if he were eating mushrooms, he would be a fungi.
But in Japanese.

For my dedicated readership, here are some other things that happened:

WARNING, THIS IS KIND OF GROSS: My companion had been feeling sick from lunch, but was going to stick it out until we taught our lesson. We taught the lesson-- and it went great, we committed a less active member to go to church again--but I find out later that she had, how do I put this lightly, thrown up in her mouth a little, then swallowed it, and just KEPT GOING. Now that is dedication. I could not be more proud. Or more grossed out... Nah, I could probably be more grossed out, it's fine.

Sensible Elder, who, now that he is a Solo Elder, I guess I can just call him The Elder, but I think I will call him Elder Solo aka Elder HAN Solo, ANYWAY, Elder Han looked in the Lost and Found bin outside of our classroom one day to find a small tub of ice cream, untouched, with a spoon to go with it. He was very pleased, though confused, as he enjoyed his tasty treat.

And that's it for this week. 
Included at the bottom of this email, you will find some pictures that did not fit in with the events of the email above, but are still relevant to my week.

Aaaaaaaand, bye.
See you next time.
Sister Stewart, signing off!

These girls are nice to me. Also, my skirt, featured on the Wendy Williams Show.