Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week 3 - February 19-24

We have had a good week. We are still learning how to use things in our apartment; we can now operate our washing machine. Elder Oba and Ushiro showed us how. We are not good at reading directions on the washing machine when they are in Japanese. The cloths dryer is an old friend called a clothes line. We have two indoor clothes racks. One is small and great for socks and other small items.  The other for larger things.
We are learning how to get around in the city of Kumamoto. Addresses are so different here and do not necessarily get you to the point you want to be at. Garmin’s find place’s using satellite latitude/longitude.  However if the place has a registered ground phone line we can find it by typing in the phone number, i.e. the Kumamoto International Center.
 I find the sink interesting. What I thought was a garbage disposal is a food catcher. It has a metal basket with a blue net over it that catches food scraps.

We had zone meeting on Thursday. It was in downtown Kumamoto. We walked to lunch after the meeting with six other Elders.  We had Kabob’s like we ate in Germany and England when we picked up our missionaries, meat choices were different. I enjoyed a shrimp one this time. Pictured is the church house.  Notice the large parking space for bicycle.  There is very little space for parking cars and what there is, is bumper to bumper.

Friday Elder Ushiro and Oba had a baptism. His name is Yuji Masuoka or ゆじますおか. We were able to attend. The new convert is a member of the Kumamoto Ward. He was introduced to the church by a member coworker. He knew of the church here and said he always felt good when he walked by it.
Stores all look a lot alike. We cannot read the billboards and know what type of store is being advertised. We can tell you if a car is from Kumamoto though. 熊本 in kanji which means Kumamoto and is on the license plate. Kumamoto means original bear. There use to be bears on the island but there are not any today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Week 2 - February 11-18, Arrival in Japan

What an eventful week traveling from Antioch, California to Kumomoto, Japan. We had a nice flight meeting a group of Elder and Sister missionaries flying from the Missionary Training Center to the Fukuoka Mission at the Tokyo airport only to find out we were on different airlines. When we arrived in the Fukuoka airport there was not a common baggage area. There was no one to meet us. We waited until the airport started closing. We borrowed a phone from someone and called the mission president, office, home but got no answer. We left a message for the mission president. We then decided to get a cab and go to the mission home which is under the temple. The cab had a hard time finding the mission home. He eventually took us to a police station. The door was open but no one was there. He looked at a map, made a phone call and in a few minutes a policeman came. He helped the driver find the temple. When we got there we could not find people so decided to get a hotel for the night and call from there. When we got the hotel we called Salt Lake as directed and gave them our information and phone number at the hotel. The mission president got the message we left as he was going to bed. He drove to the airport but we were not there. He expected us to arrive on Wednesday. We enjoyed the training at the mission home with the single Elders and Sisters and getting to know the income group and President and Sister Gustafson. Thursday we drove to our apartment in Kumomoto. Elder and Sister Beus brought us down. We stopped by Costco in Japan on the way. It is a little bit of America here. Sadly we left our Costco cards at home. We took Elder & Sister Beus out for dinner before they started back to Fukuoka. It was an interesting restaurant where you cook your own food on the grill at the table. We have learned how to turn on the hot water, stove, toaster and heat of the apartment. Terry has been able to get internet connections with the help of the Elders. We have learned how to use the printer (directions are in Japanese). There are three ways up to our eighth floor apartment. My favorite is the spiral staircase with 98 steps. Terry and I have decided to walk up/down the stairs for exercise. It should get easier the more we do it. I definitely prefer the stairs when we are going to the church which is just across the parking lot. We have the cutest toilet. Notice the sink to wash your hands after using it. It is on top of the toilet. You can flush with a half or whole flush. The shower is interesting. It is a little room with a tub or shower but the shower is not over the tub. Main roads are nice but areas that people live in are very narrow. Terry had me take a picture of a wide street. Traffic is two way. We are driving a mission 2011 Toyota Corolla and it is a big car on the streets here in Japan. Monday morning I went to a Relief Society mini class. We made little purses. It was fun to be there with a few sisters from the ward. We communicated though each knew little of the others language. Terry and I attended two wards meetings on Sunday (Kumamoto and Nagamine). We met some wonderful people. It was very worthwhile.