Friday, May 23, 2014


I went on an adventure.

 I've been trying to find things to do since I have so much free time and it'd be a waste to spend all day inside when I'm in the world's biggest city. Since I've been to essentially all of the touristy locations, I've started to look off the beaten track. I discovered Shimokitazawa. It's a little area just west of central Tokyo that is buzzing and thriving among young people as of late.

It's hipster heaven. The streets are too narrow for automobiles, so everyone is walking. The community has fought hard to keep it from being overdeveloped. It is populated mostly by vintage clothing and thrift stores, foreign cuisine, cafes, and underground theaters and music venues. Everything reeks of nature and starving artists; and I love it.

The Darwin Room: a slightly eerie, but mostly delightful taxidermy store/exhibit/cafe.

I'll come back and eat here for sure.

Underground Theatre where lots of Japanese movie stars got their start. 

I just love making discoveries like this. I'll be coming back to dine in a hammock, play with bunnies, and see indie theatre. So excited.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On Friendships and the Gospel

So, I'm in Japan for the next few months. I'm here teaching English for BYU (aimed at kids trying to get into English speaking universities; more on that later) and I feel like with this kind of study abroad/internship experience, blogging is a tradition (and in BYU's case can result in cash prizes) so I figured I'd contribute my fair share for myself and readers (Dad).

This country isn't exotic and mysterious to me. I've been plenty of times and for considerable amounts of time. however, in the past week I've begun to notice specific aspects of culture and behavior that I feel deeply connected to and inspired by. Hopefully I can capture and record them while they're fresh on my mind.

Before that though, I'm going to have to wax rhapsodic about the mission. I met up with my last mission companion yesterday and have been smiling ever since. We didn't really make a specific plan, we were just satisfied with the fact that we could spend time together. It was as if nothing had changed and we slipped right back into the conversational patterns we followed as missionaries.

It made me realize how truly miraculous the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is. The "Families are Forever" moniker is well known inside and outside of the church, but I've come to realize that because of restored eternal truths and especially priesthood authority, all relationships can be forever. That "forever" is dependent upon each parties' commitment to the covenants they've made; so long as both are faithful, they remain connected. I remember one of my investigators (who converted to the church) telling me shortly after I'd gone home that we were sealed by our beliefs and am now realizing how profound that really was. Even though we were geographically separated, our beliefs, furthermore the covenants we've made are the same and we can take comfort in the fact that we're headed to the same place.

Were it not for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, I would have no reason to have left everything for two years and tell every soul I possibly could that there was a plan for them. Had I not served a mission, I never would have crossed paths with dozens of people that I can't imagine life without at this point. We were once companions and met up yesterday as friends, but I honestly felt that this kid is my flesh and bones. There's no doubt in my mind that we came from the same eternal parents. It's such a relief to know that we're headed back to them and will make it so long as we keep it in line.

No matter how I prioritize my life, I cannot continue without that being the end goal. I know that it's real and it seems that He always chooses to teach it to me through people and their love.