I'm still here with Elder Bowman. We are one of about 5 companionships in the mission that actually stayed the same. There were a lot of surprises this transfer. Elder Starks (his mom cut your hair) is no longer an AP and that shocked everyone. He's re-opening Abeno (the most Tokai area in the mission), they've been struggling for years apparently. That area has the most people in it, yet the ward is dwindling and really doesn't help the missionaries. It's been a Shimai area for about 6 months and he's there to re-open it. So Elder McLaws from Washington is the new AP. Elder Maeda got transferred and Elder Johnson is the new recorder. So there are two new people in the apartment. Elder Johnson is from Maryland, half-japanese (parents met at BYU) and lived at yokosuka for 11 years.
Monday was really fun with Grandma. We went to Brazilliano's (a right of passage for Kobe missionaries) and she loved it. The other missionaries absolutely loved her. Sister Shields and Sister Wajima gave her big hugs when she left. Sister Shields said she wants her to come back already and start coming to church and activities. She sent me pictures today. Did you get any? She walked around for a little bit with just Elder Bowman and I and bought us about $30 worth of expensive chocolate. It was a short visit, but it really was great. I was a little bit stressed about it Monday morning. I was worried that I would lose my focus, but she was very respectful and understood that we were busy. In fact, she dismissed herself earlier than she needed to. We probably could've spent more time with her, I think she just wanted to move along. I'll probably need a break from family visits for a few months or so. I don't want to look like I'm just here to see family. But it is also a dendo opportunity. Finding the balance was difficult. Overall it was a fantastic time. When we picked her up in Sannomiya, she said she had just got off the phone with mom. That was weird.
I got to see Ilch (Tamir) Shimai Monday night. She's doing fantastic. She stayed two days in Kobe for transfers and the Shimai taikai because her area is so far away. Plus her new companion is Sato Shimai so the two of them are bound for miracles this transfer.
Bowman Choro's birthday was Tuesday but we celebrated Monday night, of course with a face cookie and the Mission President. On Christmas, Bowman Choro gave Sister McIntyre two singing stuffed animals that ward members gave him because apparently she collects them. Usually when we throw surprise birthday parties, Sister McIntyre asks me "odorimasen ka?" She thinks parties are supposed to have entertainment. And yes, you guessed it, she danced at this one. She wore the stuffed animals around her neck and choreographed a dance with the office elders. Definitely one of the funniest things I've ever seen. President McIntyre filmed it but I'm not sure if anyone will ever see it based on the horrified look on his face.
We met an investigator Monday night named Yoshihito. He said he is homeless but sleeps at a shelter. He's 23 and the oldest of five, the rest are in foster homes. I got a really creepy feeling talking to him. I actually spoke to him for 90% of the contact (probably the most Japanese I've ever been able to speak on the street) and he agreed to come Eikaiwa that next night. He showed up at Eikaiwa and was pretty nuts. He was picking up little children and then started talking to me and grabbed my butt. He calls us at the very least, five times a day. When Bowman Choro picks up the phone, he immediately says he wants to talk to me and calls me "Low Chan." His story has changed a million times. He says he has a job interview everyday and that he got the job every time. He said he "found his house" twice now. I think he's schizophrenic, and he's definitely in love with me. We've decided he's not allowed to talk to me on the phone anymore. He always says he wants to come visit me at the apartment. The other thing is that he's teachable. He says he wants to be baptized. We'll see what happens.
The new missionaries showed up on Tuesday. There were only two of them. Sobrihno Choro and Tsuji Shimai. I actually took Sobrinho Choro out for his first 3 hours of Dendo. He didn't act up, but he didn't say anything either...I don't think he knows how. But, he's here. That actually did all kinds of things for my confidence. It makes a huge difference when you can't rely on your companion during contacts.
We also got our bikes taken by the city this weeks and it costed us 2000 yen. When we showed up to get them they laughed and said "ohhh, morumon kyo, yappari"
I'm actually going to Kitta Rokko for three days this week. There is leadership training here this week and no room to sleep in the apartment, so I'm going back with Kuroda Choro (his companion needs to be here for leadership training) to Kitta Rokko. It'll be good to be out of my area. I've only been here and in Amagasaki.
I went on an exchange on Saturday with Elder Nielsen, the AP from Twin Falls, Idaho (he and Elder Bowman were friends in high school). He's awesome. His dad is Elder Nielsen of the first quorum of the seventy who's on assignment in New Zealand. We had a lesson with a man from Mongolia that night. He was completely fluent in Japanese. I dare say he was better at Japanese than most Japanese people I've talked to. When we said words like "fukuin" "aganai" "fukkatsu" and "seiyaku" he not only understood the meaning, he'd draw the Kanji for them. Japanese people usually have never heard those words before. This guy was nuts. Mongolians are linguists I've discovered. He also said he's from "inner-Mongolia." I've never heard of that. Apparently, the northern part of China is inner-Mongolia and those people speak both Chinese and Mongolian but have Chinese passports, but they claim to be Mongolian. So this guy is tri-lingual. In fact, his job is in translation. He typically translates Chinese into Japanese and vice-versa...and he's Mongolian. The location of the lesson was another story. He originally wanted to go to Starbucks but it was full, then to Mister Donuts which was also full, so we eventually ended up at KFC. There was a girl sitting at the table right behind us and her boyfriend showed up in the middle of the lesson. As we started the baptismal commitment, the two of them started ferociously making out. I was in shock. I have NEVER seen that in Japan and Elder Nielsen said he hasn't either and he only has three transfers left. Heck, with the way they were going at it, I would've been shocked to see that in the U.S. It was terrible because we couldn't look at him, without seeing them. He actually agreed to a baptismal date, despite our difficulty to focus. We came out of the lesson laughing really hard.
We visited the Taneda Sr.'s (the parents of the other family I visited) last night as a district. They fed us pizza, spaghetti, fried chicken, and french fries. And they never stopped bringing food out. There were like 6 pizzas. We could hardly walk out of there. They have 7 kids, two of them living at home. One of them is 27 and not married and probably the most beautiful person in the ward. Mormon culture in Japan is so fascinating. I'll probably send a picture next week. Sister Shields puts them on this computer but she hasn't emailed yet today.
I'm out of time. I'll see if I can send some pictures. Have a great week!