Monday, September 24, 2012

September 22, 2012

I stole these two pictures off of Lee 長老's camera. They're from last transfer. Click images to enlarge.

I entered the MTC two years ago today.

Jacob asked me to answer these questions in my weekly email:

Q: Share an inside joke you had with one of your companions.
A: There's too many to remember them all. I can't think of a really good one off the top of my head. I think I wrote about T-san and the uchiwa (a fan) while playing "Do you love your neighbor?" I still giggle everytime somebody says uchiwa or holds one. By the way, she's getting baptized today.

Q: Describe each of your companions in one sentence.
Elder Grady Bowman - The only human being I know that doesn't get tired.
Elder Mitsugu Matsukura - "焼肉夢だった!ざんねん!("It was only a dream about Korean Barbecue. Dangit!")
Elder Akihito Nishio - Has a skin disease and a lazy eye and is still the happiest little guy on earth.
Elder Wesley Schramm - 真面目(Serious)
Elder Malachi Anderton - Baby face that can quote any pop culture reference.
Elder Dustin Nukaya - American trapped in a Japanese frame.
Elder Jacob Maris - I made him like sushi.
Elder Craig Singleton - Blonde, always satisfied....and Canadian.
Elder Richard Bevan - Never frustrated and always carrying a Costco chocolate muffin.
Elder Kentaro Shigeta - Will always get the job done, even if he has to kill somebody.
Elder Shogo Shinohara - More sarcastic than most Americans and more cuddly than most stuffed animals.

The one sentence rule kind of turned this more into an opportunity to tease all of them in my head. They're all remarkable people though. I'm thankful for the time I had with each of them.

Q: What's the funniest thing that's happened to you lately?
A: Elder Batis and Elder Boice in the apartment are pretty hilarious. I don't know if I can describe any of their funny behavior.

Q: What has been your favorite area and why?
A: Marugame. It's just magic. The church is like a temple. People just walk into it. Plus there's a McDonald's next to it. There are lots of special people there.

Q: Which American food do you miss eating regularly the most?
A: Mexican food.

Q: What cultural thing will you miss most about Japan?
A: Oh gosh that's impossible to answer. I'll miss it all. It's not utopia though. There's certainly things I won't miss. All in all, I think Japan has really been permanently nailed into my blood. I mean, it should've been that way since I was is half of who I am anyway. I feel now though that I truly have become "half-Japanese" not just a weird 80/20 mix I was before. One recent moment I had that I can think of: on the shinkansen (bullet train) ride home, there were two old people, I assume a couple. The man stayed on the train, the woman got off. She of course bowed about 6 times, then walked down the aisle and got off the train. She then, about a minute later, started knocking on the window that was on the opposite side from where her husband was sitting. The people next to the window leaned over, got the husband's attention, and then the couple continued bowing and waved until they were out of each other's mutual site. Beautiful.

It's been an eventful week.

Last week, there was a guy that passed the church twice with his eyes open wide and a huge smile across his face. We were waiting for another investigator and we just assumed he was a member that had shown up early for institute or something. When he passed the second time, we ran after him. He said he lives close and has always been interested in the building. He came to church on Sunday and seems really interested. We've taught him twice now. He's a really great guy. We'll have some challenges with tobacco and depression down the road, but we're shooting to have him baptized on the 10th. We'll see. He's coming to a ward activity and a baptismal service that will immediately follow today.

The Dalling's had us over on Sunday for dinner. Spaghetti, with very American ingredients. They eat a lot of Costco supplies. They're fantastic people. They're trying hard. It's so fun to see them so out of place in Japan. This is their first time out of the country. They've mostly stayed on the block they live on for their entire mission. They're very frank and there are things that they can't get used to, but they're always smiling.

We have a new companion, Elder Takeda (right) in the office. It's fun.

All of the district leaders in the mission came to the honbu (mission home) this week for training so that had us pretty busy.

We tried talking to Sister O about baptism this week with one of the zone leaders. She said she knows she'll be baptized eventually but wants to put it off. Not sure what her worry is. The scary thing is she could pass-away any day. She's healthy...just so old. Elder Lee pushed her pretty hard but she wasn't going to budge. Still thinking about what to do with her. President Zinke recommended taking her the temple edition of the Liahona and having her search it for answers since one of her biggest draws to the gospel is her dead husband.

Nishio 長老 who I wrote about above dropped by the apartment a couple nights ago. He goes to school in Tokyo but his family lives in Amagasaki right next to Kobe so he came to see me since he's home for summer. I've seen so many returned missionaries since being's weird.

It cooled down drastically about two days ago. Stopped using air conditioning. It's really nice and I think a lot faster than last year.

President Zinke called us Thursday morning and said that if we had time, we needed to take Takeda 長老 back to Takamatsu to go straighten up the apartment and get it ready for sisters that are moving in today. Putting sisters there is a pretty bold move. They're putting a 5th transfer missionary and her 1st transfer companion in. They're both American. We ate Sanuki Udon on the way home. It was so perfect. I didn't think I'd get to eat it again.
The drive to Takamatsu. Maybe two at a time?

Crossing the Seto Ohashi Bridge into Sakaide and Marugame
Sanuki Udon from Kagawa Prefecture. Yum.

The poster says "Welcome to the land of Udon."

Yesterday we had to go look at a new apartment in Senri. You've probably noticed I haven't been in the office much this week. Lots of stuff is piling up. Gah. Stress.
I manage all of the referrals for the mission, as the recorder. I was sending one off to another mission the other day and noticed "Gladys Knight" in the drop-down menu for the first time. I laughed. I wonder how many referrals she generates.

Two missionaries that got released here in Kobe from the Tokyo mission told me that Shiozawa 長老 had gone home one transfer early for school. Also, his last area was Shibuya so I met his last companion. I wonder if the missionaries I met in the MTC even remember me....

Um, I haven't had even 6 seconds to think about what I'm going to pack. But I imagine I'll be throwing away a lot of these rags that used to look like clothes....especially garments. I'll need to go shopping for new ones as soon as I get home. Hopefully I'll have time to swing buy a post office and send some last minute things home.

The Assistants have been out for most of last week and for a lot of this week training zone leaders. President Zinke has come into my office a couple times and keeps talking about marriage. He's convinced my wife will be Japanese. Elder Johnson (also half) who I lived with at the beginning of my mission in Kobe and was the first Assistant President Zinke chose just got engaged to a girl from Tokyo. That is far way in the future, just in case you were wondering. Far, far away.

I'm starting to feel like my days are limited. It's really sad and makes my heart heavy. I'm trying not think about it. There are still lots of things left to accomplish. I really, really hated saying goodbye before my mission. I've been good at it on my mission, but I can feel this swelling within me that makes me really scared of the final goodbyes. I just feel like hugging my companions all the time.

I really want to observe mom's class. I don't know what to say, that sounds so difficult. I'm sure mom is aware of this, but really all you can do is just make sure that the kids know that you love them. I'm sure there's some that are so easy to love that it hurts and some that are so hard to love that it hurts.

Sam. Good grief.

I can't recall ever going on a walk with Clint. I assume we will have lots of time to spend when I get home. I wonder if anyone will take me in for work.

Well I think that's all for this week. This has been pretty long. Until next week...

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