Monday, March 21, 2011

March 22, 2011

It's been a long week.

On Wednesday we got a call from the zone leaders saying that 42 Tokyo missionaries were indeed coming our way. Nothing changed in our apartment. There's still four of us here. Mitsukawa 長老 leaves for the MTC (he was called to the California San Francisco/Oakland Mission but had visa problems. He's from within the Kobe mission but is working here temporarily. I talked about this situation, right?) this Sunday. I assume that we'll turn into a san-nin (threesome) then but we really have no idea. I don't want to be a san-nin to be honest. It's no fun.

We went to Tanaka 兄弟's (Brother Tanaka) house to eat dinner on Tuesday. He's a former stake president and the friendliest member in the Takatsuki ward. He had his friend (also named Tanaka, no relation) help him prepare the meal. It was sukiyaki. I should've taken a picture of it. I've never seen so much food in my life and there were only six of us there. It was SO good too. Possibly the best meal of my life. Matsukura 長老 walked out saying he was dissappointed because it wasn't as much food as last time. That's hard for me to believe. Last time, apparently, Matsukura 長老 requested that he make shabu-shabu. Tanaka 兄弟 bought a shabu-shabu appliance just for that meal. He's incredible. Both Brother Tanakas were also so friendly. They were praising my Japanese like crazy which I haven't really experienced a lot with members. The Kobe ward members weren't as forgiving. Tanaka 兄弟 said that I had really 綺麗 (beautiful) pronunciation. They also happened to find out that I'm a descendant of Ii Naosuke and about fainted. They said that being here in Japan was a huge 責任 (responsibility) for me and that a member in the Takatsuki ward was actually baptized for Ii Naosuke. By the way, has ANY temple work for mom's side of the family ever been done. If not, why not? Anyway, Tanaka 兄弟 is awesome. He just gets it. He was telling us that he knows that missionaries can't do it without the members. He always wants to join us for lessons and goes right to investigators when they're ate church. He always shows up an hour early to church, trims the hedges, picks up garbage, throws the doors open, and invites anyone that walks past to come inside. He's incredible.

We didn't find any investigators this week. First time on my mission. It's pretty tough. We did have some lessons and visited a couple less-active members though.

We also went to our service activity for the last time this week. They're moving to another location and it will be too inconvenient to have us visit from now on. We went on a walk and I had to hold Takatsukawa-kun's hand in order for him to keep up. It's crazy how they're all just children in adult bodies.

Osaka-jin's (Osakans) are really different. They have no problem being rude to us. I got it occasionally in Kobe, but it's crazy here. Add ugly Kansai-ben (local dialect) on top of it and you really feel like you're being chewed out. Speaking of Kansai-ben, there's an awesome less-active here named Hanada 姉妹 (Sister Hanada). We park in front of her restaurant everyday and she comes out to talk to us. She invited us in this week and basically shoved ramen down our throats and wouldn't take our money. She has the strongest accent.

My companion continues to be hilarious. We go to Mister Donuts a lot. We walk past a lot of restaurants and I hear a lot of "今度 いこか?" ("Shall we go there next?")  I asked him if he did Karaoke before his mission and his answer was "もちろん!!!やらない人はぜんぜnいない!”("Of course! Anybody who's anybody does it.") He told me stories of how he'd done it for nine hours straight before and made me promise that we'd go after I get home.

We were called Saturday morning by the stake president saying we needed to come to stake priesthood meeting. All of the elders in the zone were there (three of which are from the Tokyo mission). We found out in the middle of the meeting that we were going to bear our testimonies and that basically was the majority of the meeting. They read a letter from the first presidency in that meeting also. They also read it in both sacrament meetings on Sunday. I heard it three times but it was in ultra-polite Japanese so I think I got the hang of it by the third time. Basically: please help, we'll use tithing funds for relief, the Tokyo and Sendai missions are closed.....honorifically. The church has been PACKED with relief and supplies all week. I don't know where it's coming from, but it's all going north.

That fundraiser looks awesome! Well done!

I guess that's all. I'd really appreciate any update I can get on the conditions up north.  I hope everyone in Machida is ok. Have you heard from them?

Have a good week!

There's the Tanaka's and us. Great people

I didn't know the half-mast flag is a Japanese thing also. There aren't so many flags here, but I've seen a couple at half.

I've heard that this church has the biggest gym of any church in Japan. It was FULL of boxes and stuff.

"Tim-tam slam." They're chocolate biscuits that are really popular with missionaries. Last night they had a competition to see who could eat the most, but they had to "slam" them. To slam, you bite both ends off and then sip hot chocolate through it and then suck it up like ramen. It was pretty gross. And hilarious.

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