Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 17: HE SAID YES!!

Something super exciting happened this week, so I'm going to share it first and upfront!!

Last week we were housing really late, and we were almost going to go home, but we decided to house one more apartment. We met someone who actually let us talk. He had even read the bible, which is so rare in Japan! We were able to give him a Book of Mormon, and we were SO STOKED after! We were shouting "WE FOUND A KINJIN! WE FOUND A KINJIN!" all the way home!

Kinjin - kin - gold + -jin - person = golden person aka Golden Investigator in missionary terms!

We visited him the again a few days later, and this is how the conversation went:

"So we gave you that Book of Mormon last week, have you had a chance to read it?"

"Oh yeah, I'm half way though, I really like it."

WHAT?!
HALF WAY???? In a matter of DAYS????

This is one of those stories you hear about where it's like "My cousin's uncle's brother's son's friend heard this story about a missionary who..." But it really happened! In my life!

And what's even better, is after we taught him the second lesson, he agreed to be baptized!

Here's how that went:

"If you come to know this message is true, will you receive baptism?"

"Yeah."

HUH, REALLY????

"Great!"

"I'm just going to have to get rid of all of this Buddhist stuff my friend gave me first."

OKAY!!


He came to church this week, and seemed to really love it! He seems so happy. He said to us that he has been depressed recently, so bad that he can't hold a job. He has a terrible relationship with his family, and he's divorced. He really needs this message.

I'm glad we housed that last apartment, and didn't go home early.  We really made a difference in his life.  If all goes well, he will be baptized the end of October! One of us will transfer by then, so I might not get to be there, but that's alright!

So this week has been pretty great!

Not to mention we also were treated to lunch by a missionary's parents!! He was taking his parents on a tour of his mission, so they stopped by and took us to the NUMBER ONE LEGENDARY RESTAURANT among the Japan Sapporo Mission: BISTARAI BISTARAI!

Every day is Car-Free Day for missionaries. As our noble Zone Leader says, "Get Excited!"

He is also commonly quoted as saying "Yaaaaaaayyyy." (You can find Noble Zone Leader in the picture at Bistarai Bistarai in the bottom right. It's like where's Waldo, but you're not finding Waldo, so I guess it's actually nothing like where's Waldo.)

Haha and he just said from the other room of the church: "AUGH, what happened to the wiffy?? (He means wifi)" And now he's whining no. "Nooooooooooooo."

Ah, missionary life.
A picture from some meeting with my Zone and The Mission President! I don't know what the meeting is actually called, because they said it in Japanese. Yaaaaay! Look how precious Sister Doesn't Like Pictures looks hiding behind me. We're buddies.

Also I love how I'm front and center.
Not.
Look at the discomfort in my face.
You can practically hear me screaming on the inside.

This week after church (and the extra hour of meetings for the Halloween Party, which I will probably be transferred before happens) someone gave us food to eat! We were so hungry! We were so happy. We bite into our rice balls only to find....
THIS. This is a sac of fish eggs.
Not just the fish eggs, no. They were nice enough to put in the whole SAC! Delightful!

I didn't eat it.

I made potato soup from a powdered mix instead.
This is a picture of me eating my soup, uncomfortably close to fish organs.

There's a drink called C.C. Lemon which apparently has 55 lemons worth of Vitamin C in it.

Anyway, the packaging was just waiting to be used for a photo opp. This is what we call シャッターチャンス / shataachansu in Japanese, taken transliterally from the apparently English phrase "shutter chance."
This week we had splits with the new Sister Training Leader, Sister Not Australian, But Eats Vegemite! She's super cute and nice! This is the joke she said this week:

(Backstory) So I had a dream about this clementine cake that looked really yummy so I woke up one morning and made it, and upon hearing this, she replied...

"What, are you Lehi????"

You know, because Lehi had a prophetic dream and.... Yeah, it's a Sister Missionary joke, I know! But it's still funny!

Anyway, back to the story about splits!
My companion had already left the apartment before we were ready to head out, but they left.... With the keys! So we couldn't leave!

BUT WE WEREN'T JUST GOING TO SIT THERE, OH NO!
WE WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR THE WORK!!
I attached a stick to the door with a rope so we could lock the door from the outside, without the key. If watching Cyberchase and Zoom after school every day as a kid did anything for me, it's this.

And then we walked around by the train station to talk to people and met some people from Switzerland speaking German! I was like "SUMIMASEN (Japanese) ICH HABE DEUTSCH-GO (Japanese/German) MANAB...(Japanese) Ge.... GESTUDIERT!!! UMMM UMMM"

4 years of German classes and in a matter of months all that work has been smothered by Japanese.

Good thing they spoke English…




BYE, BYE!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 16: LETS WRITE THIS IN 5 MINUTES

We went to Furano for PDAY last week, and these are the pictures I had promised last week!

It was pretty
Super pretty
There were flowers
Many colors of flowers
There were lots of stairs... I felt like Po from Kung Fu Panda
We tried to take jumping pictures again.
I got scared
And there was this thing.
How I felt about the whole experience.
And this was how I felt about my first Japanese shrine experience. (Overly excited.)
  
While at the Flower Town place, I went to use the restroom and it was my FIRST SQUATTY POTTY EXPERIENCE! In Japan, they sometimes have holes in the floor for toilets! It's for cleanliness. My first experience was successful. :)

FIVE MINUTES IS UP
I’LL TELL YOU THE REST OF THIS WEEK NEXT WEEK ALONG WITH WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WEEK.
HAHA I HAVE A LOT OF STORIES SO GET EXCITED!



BYE!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

WEEK 15: A as in Accidental Attempted Arson

I'll go ahead and explain the title first.

I almost burnt down our apartment again, whoops! I was rolling out
some dough on the ONLY FLAT SURFACE we have in our kitchen, which is
an approximately two foot by two foot counter top right next to the gas
stove (Japanese kitchens are tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny), and I set down
the wooden rolling pin and apparently it was quite close the the
flame... Because suddenly my companion was shouting fire and throwing
the rolling pin into the sink.

I made pizza though!

In the microwave.

And we cut it with scissors!

Okay now that I've confessed, let's move on to what's really important.
JAPAN HAS MCDONALDS.




AND THEY HAVE SHRIMP BURGERS.
Yes, you heard it here first, burgers made of shrimp. And they are delicious!
Like one of my top ten favorite foods now.
Freaking yum.

And because it's Japan, they had cute little cartoons everywhere. They even have a little show playing about this girl who just started as a part time worker, haha! Oh, Japan!

video
As we were parking our bikes in the parking lot, a big group of Japanese teenagers comes out and they laughed. Classic Americans, gotta get their Big Macs! You know us too well!

Haha.

PS the french fries are exactly the same.

Today I visited my first shrine!!! It was big! It was beautiful! It was culturally relevant! And you are going to have to wait until next week because we took a lot of pictures and I don't want to edit them right now. It was a long car ride back, okay??

But here's a sneak peek until then!
And if anyone wants a language update, I still can't do the whole Japanese thing, but at least now I can read the flavors of ice cream and don't have to choose at random!
My life has a lot less surprises now.

And with this week my first transfer comes to a close!
I can't tell if it feels long or short. I kind of take every second as it comes, which makes it really hard to tell what day it is. It feels like it's been one long day so far. Haha, thinking about it makes me want to take a nap!

Actually, thinking about anything makes me want to take a nap.

Aka I'm tired.

This week one of my favorite people we visit said we can't come over anymore. She's a cute, spunky grandma who is a less active, and is lonely, so she loved to talk. She would always give us snacks! But she hadn't been sleeping recently, and her doctor said it was because of the stress from our visits. We make her feel guilty, because she doesn't want to come back to church. I was pretty sad, I really liked her. We're still going to write her letters and stuff, just to tell her we love her.

After she told us that, we were pretty bummed, so we went to a convenience store and bought fancy bread and Black Thunder candy bars. The two best cures for any ailment, I think.

Here is a picture of me and a tanuki.
Oh, Japan.

Remember, "It is not a wastebasket."

BYE BYE!



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 14: PUBLIC ORDER and MORE ABOUT TOMATOES

This week I learned a lot about Japanese culture! Let me share with you my findings.

JAPAN'S "PUBLIC ORDER"

I was talking to a ward member who had traveled to Italy, and when I asked her how it was, she said "It was very pretty, but the 治安 was really bad." I looked up the word 治安. It means "public order." I laughed. Of course! The Japanese are so orderly!

They are so orderly, in fact, that this week I saw a cleaning person cleaning leaves off the street with a tiny pair of tongues. He was picking up individual leaves with tongues. TONGUES! Is that the right word? Or am I spelling tongues, like the thing in your mouth... I'm kind of forgetting how to do the English...

JAPAN'S not quite right, but still TRYING

We were over at a member's house this week teaching a lesson to her friend, who is one of my favorite investigators, who always wears a classy hat wherever she goes, and is basically a church member, but she hasn't been baptized yet. She's received all the lessons, but is just putting off baptism, because she's worried about how her husband may react. She comes to church every week, and is such a sweetie pie. She's the one on the left!

(She's not unhappy, Japanese people just usually don't smile in pictures because they are so classy)

Fun fact! Classy Hat Investigator recently got a Facebook account, and is now addicted.

ANYWAY, we had met for lunch, and the member had made us pizza! Which was miraculously, amazingly, life-changing-ly delicious and it had broccoli on it. But, she didn't have a pizza cutter, so she just pulled out some scissors! My companion informed me that this is fairly normal in Japan. Cutting slices of pizza out with scissors! I was very amused.

We went to another curry place this week with a really cool investigator in her 20's who is the third generation of her family to be a part of this really strict sect of Buddhism. They have to study their religious text and take tests on it and everything! So basically seminary... But different! She is super interesting and cute and her name means Good Smell.

But anyway, this item was on the menu! Apparently, some of the curry they sell is invisible, but this one is not!

I love Japan.

JAPAN'S GENEROSITY

I know I've already commented on this before, but this week we got another huge haul of groceries from a ward member and the Fruits Basket (the food basket for missionaries at the church building.) They give us so much, it's hazardous traveling home with that heavy of a bag of food on your handlebars! We have to go extra slow so we don't die, haha!

Our current tomato stash. It's gotten so big, we've dedicated that entire drawer to tomatoes. I call it, "The Tomato Drawer."

"Enough tomatoes to kill."

JAPAN'S CULTURAL PRIDE

This week there was a small festival in one of the towns we have investigators in, so we were stopped at a light when a group of children in festival clothing, chanting "RASSHAI!" in unison as they carried the... Thing they carry... (I don't know the word for it, but it's like a small version of a shrine that is on two poles so a big group can carry it around.) The adult who was leading the procession said, "Everyone, the foreigners are watching, so do your best!"

So funny!

Last week's P-Day we went to a fun park and acted like children for a few hours. Well, I guess we always act like children, but we were only at the park for a few hours...

video

It was beautiful!

Just a city girl.
 Just a taste of what it's like to have this much hair all the time.
This climbing thing was really hot and I almost burned my hands.

PS, JAPAN HAS HELMET GREMLINS!
We had stopped by the church to utilize the wifi, and when we went to our bikes, my companion's helmet had mysteriously vanished! Luckily, we had extras back at the apartment. That was on Friday. Today, I found her helmet hidden under the weird concrete structure right near where we park our bikes.
It wasn't windy that day.
No one was around.
The helmet didn't get up and walk over there by itself.
There is only one possibility...
Helmet Gremlins!

And I'm out of interesting things to say!


Bye bye!