Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 29 August 20-26, 2013

This week found Terry and I doing apartment checks in Sasabo and Saga.  We always try and do something fun so one again visited the park in Sasabo.  This time we arrived to late for the boat tour around the many islands.   We were disappointed but maybe next time.  Terry is standing by an interesting boat at the park.
I find this christian church very interesting.  It is on one of the main streets in Sasabo.  I wonder if many people use the front door.  Look at all those steps to it.  It may have more steps than the 99 steps to our apartment on the 8th floor.
Sunday we got up early and drove to Nobeoka for church.  The Elders had changed apartments a few weeks ago.  This is their new apartment. We were happy that the branch members helped them find a better locations.  The Zone Leaders did a junki with the Elders in Nobeoka over the weekend.  We had a fun visit with the members in the branch.  When meetings were over we headed back to Kumamoto with the Zone Leaders.
On the return trip we stopped at Gorogataki Falls.  This falls was very muddy as it had been and was raining. This river runs into a lava tube and is called a volcanic wonder.  The lava tube emptied leaving a large canyon with a 50m high straight drop for the water.  It was beautiful but very muddy as is seen in the picture. 
Our next stop was the Tsujunkyo bridge.  These two wonders are very close together and can be hiked around in about an hour.  By the time we got to the bridge is was raining pretty heavy so we did not get out of the car.  The bridge was constructed by a local official Yasunosuke Futa, in Yata in 1854, in order to supply water to the Shiraito Plateau where people suffered from water shortage.  Water flows across the top of the bridge to rice fields on the other side.  When water is not need for the rice fields the water is returned to the river by shooting out both sides of the center of the bridge.  You can see this happen today if you go at the right time.  There are pictures available on the Internet of the bridge releasing water back into the river.
This week we have been working on buy everything needed for a new sisters apartment/home.  Trying to arrange delivers before transfer time has been challenging.  This apartment is actually a house in a housing community.  We are excited about the location.  We are sad that it will not be all ready when the sister arrive as we could not get somethings delivered soon enough.  The hope is we will have the things that are necessary for them.
The Elder who helped clean the apartment on Monday left this cute little penguin on the toilet sink.
The bathroom has beautiful blue tile work on the floor.
We were able to buy yellow curtains that fit the fourteen sets of windows in the apartment for a reasonable price at  the Furniture Outlet store.  We had a learning experience with the curtains.  In Japan curtains come in a package with two panels.  The outside of the package tells what size they are but it is only for one half the pair of curtains.  We ended up purchasing twice the number of curtains we needed.  Furniture Outlet was very nice about returning the curtains we did need.  

Scripture for this week:
"For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracles among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith."  Ether 12:12

When I have the faith and do my part I see miracles.  My Heavenly Father, like my earthly father, loves me and wants to give me all the best gifts, but I must do my part and then the miracles come.  I love my Heavenly Father and am so glad to have been given the opportunity to serve him.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wee 28 - August 13-19, 2013

On Thursday evening Terry and I decided to get out and have a bike ride.  We chose to ride around Lake Kamizu.  We got to the lake just as the birds were finding a place for the night.  If you look close you will see a white duck on the island in the lake in this picture.  We decided to try and walk around the lake as we had watched joggers pass us on the bike path twice as if they had circled the lake.
We walk across a bridge in the middle of the lake.  It brought us to a little store/restaurant and some boats.  We started to walk around the building and started to hear and see lighting and thunder in the distance.  We decided it might rain so turned around and headed for our bikes.
Because of how wet we got biking earlier in the week, we put plastic bags to keep our valuables dry in my backpack.  I put my things in the plastic bag before starting the ride home.  It started to rain after we had biked a little of the way.  As we neared our apartment it poured.  
The last mile or so we rode by our little stream.  I was amazed at the roaring river it had became as the water draining from the streets flooded into it.  I wanted to take a picture but my camera likes it dry.  This one will have to do.  Just image it full of water at night.  I now know why the banks are so high and wide.  It was amazing to see.
Friday we found ourselves in Yatsushiro doing an apartment checks.  The Elders had a nice clean apartment so we all went out to lunch.  Surprises never stop.  Terry's order was boiling with a small fire underneath it when it was served to him.  He said it tasted great after he was guided how to eat it without getting burned.  Notice the little dish on the side.  It came with a strainer spoon to help remove the noodles.
  Saturday was a baptism in the Kumamoto Ward.  The person who was baptized loves to draw/paint.  This new member bought some of art work over before the baptism.  I enjoyed looking at them.  My favorites were the  sea turtles 
and orca whales.  
Today I was able to attend the Nagamine and Kumamoto Wards Relief Society Homemaking activity.  We learned about recycling in Japan/Kumamoto and then made a inside compost for things you can compost.  It was a fun activity and it will be fun to see what happens with my compost box.  I think I will put it in our spare room and not my kitchen (as we were instructed) to try it out.  Hope to get some good soil for my garden.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 27 August 6- 12, 2013

This is a close up picture of a rice field.  The plants are good sized but notice water is still being run though the field.  No rice heads yet.  I wonder how long before the field will be drained.  It has been so fun to observe.
The Japanese O-bon holiday started this week.  It is a Buddhist ceremony for welcoming back and appeasing the souls of their ancestors.  There were fireworks that we enjoyed from our eighth flour apartment balcony.   The fireworks were done at the National Defense Base in Kumamoto.

Wednesday was a two zone conference (Kumamoto and Kagoshima).  President and Sister Gustafson came and taught us.  President Gustafson taught us about faith.  He quoted Ether 12:12 "For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore he showed not himself until after their faith."  He also quoted President Harold B. Lee "The trouble with you is you want to see the end at the beginning."  I don't remember who President Lee was talking to.  We were taught that you must learn to walk a few steps in the dark and then you will see the light.  He had us read Exodus 14:15 "And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me?  speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:"  We need to do all we can and step forward.
After zone conference we drove the Oita Elder's back to their apartment and then did their apartment check.  They were in good shape so we had lunch at JoyFull.  We finished very early so decided to go home rather that stay in Oita.  It is a three hour windy road drive from Kumamoto to Oita.  I enjoyed the many flowers.  My favorite ones were the pink flowers pictured above.  This group was a little past prime.
We also saw beautiful yellow flower.  I remember calling them canons in San Diego.  I can find no flower by that name on the Internet.  We had red ones growing between the sidewalk and fence on our lot in San Diego.  The space was about a foot wide and got a lot of afternoon shade.   Here one sees big stands of them along the roadside.  They are probably planted but may be wild.  I do not know.  Can someone help me with a name in Japan or English?
 We stopped by the creek on the way home and I took this picture of Terry in a beautiful setting.
For preparation day we decided to go on a bike ride.  As we biked along I saw these flowers on the road side.  I stopped to take a picture.  When Terry came back, he spotted a butterfly.  It reminds me of the painted lady butterflies we used in the classroom to show the stages of development of a butterfly.  Do you think Japan has Painted Lady butterflies too?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 26 July 30-August 5

Across the taxi cab parking lot looking from our balcony we had this view of a home being worked on.  Here in Japan when they work/construct they put up a nice shield to protect the public.  It also serves as scaffolding for workers to access the job i.e. painting, window cleaning, etc.  
This is a multiple story building that is being built near our apartment. 
Wednesday when we walked in front of the castle the lights were set up for the ceremony of the lights of Friday night.  It looked like it would be beautiful.  We were not able to see it lite.
This week we did apartment checks in Nagasaki and Isahaya.  The Elders and Sisters in Nagasaki had wonderful clean apartments so we took them out to eat.  We went to a sushi bar.  It had the conveyor belt.  You choose your lunch from displayed on trays or order what you wanted from an electronic menu.  This was a new experience for me.  
I picked the cooked variety of meat for my lunch.
In Nagasaki we stayed at the Inasayma Kanko Hotel.  It was up on the hills of Nagasaki instead of the usual place down on the bay.  This is a picture of the city from the top of the hotel. 
 The Elders at Isahaya made our job easy.  They too had a wonderful clean apartment so we took them out for lunch.  They chose an okonomiyaki restaurant.  I had a seafood okonomiyaki and Terry enjoy Hiroshima seafood okonomiyaki with the Elders.  It was good food and great company again.  The wonderful young people we work with make our job fun.  
Saturday evening we biked down to the Hi-no-kuni-matsuri celebration by the castle in Kumamoto.  Hi-no-kuni means country of fire. It was fun to see so many beautiful women in kimonos dancing together.  It was interesting that just before the parade began they dumped buckets of water on the street.  We think it might have been to make it cooler for those in the parade.  The different groups in the parade danced to the folk song "Otemoyan (did you get married?)"  We watched the first hour or so of the parade before deciding to start home as it was starting to sprinkling a little.  We lucky this time and did not really get wet before we arrive home.
 Today there was a break in the weather.  Terry and I decided to bike around Lake Ezu.  Terry is the white dot on the path ahead of me.
 There was not a lot of people there.  We saw a few bikers, fisherman, people walking dogs and children. 
It was a beautiful wet ride around the lake by the time we got home.
Terry waiting in a dry spot of me.