Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 34 - September 24-September 30, 2013

Many Wednesdays when we go to the International Center to teach English class and take a Japanese class I am fascinated by the beautiful flower arrangements that are on display there.
This last week was no exception.  There were two new arrangements.  Both were beautiful in there own way.
Last week, in my English class, we talked about foods that are found in different cultures.  The breads in Japan filled with sweet beans came up.  I learned that the sweet beans are called anko.  Anpan is bread filled with anko.  I find this a delightful sweet treat similar to donuts filled with fruit but not near as sweet.  This is a package of five different rolls filled with sweet beans.  It was delicious.
Saturday, Terry and I had scheduled an apartment check in Nobeoka.  It is a three hour car trip from Kumamoto on very winding mountain roads. About an hour into the drive is the Tsujunkyo Bridge.  With the help of my English class students we found out that the bridge releases water every Saturday and Sunday at noon.  This bridge was build in in 1854 to supply water to the Shiraito Plateau where people suffered from water shortage.  When water is not needed to grow rice the water flowed out each side of the center of the bridge and back into the river.  We arrived at the site with ten minutes to hike to the bridge.
It is fascinating to me that the arch has a keystone.  The bridge does not look like it has mortar between the rocks but water does not leak out so there must be some kind of mortar to hold the water in the ditch across the top.
This is looking across the bridge.  The water has been released and you can see it coming out both sides of the bridge.
This picture shows the man releasing the water.  There are two holes on each side of the bridge that are opened.  This picture shows the two streams of water on this side of the bridge.
What a beautiful functional treasure found in Japan.  It is a wonder created by a genius who had and ingenious solution to a everyday problem.  Today the public has the opportunity to enjoy this wonder.
This is the view from where we parked the car.  Notice the rice fields still being used around the bridge.  Water still flows though the bridge to the rice fields.
Sunday evening we had a dinner appointment with the family of one of the members of the Stake Presidency.  We were served a wonderful meal with katsu chicken.  We enjoyed getting to know their family.

Scripture for the week:
Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him?  Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.
1 Nephi 7: 12

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Week 32 & 33 September 10-23, 2013

We had a fun day at the International Center.  Our teacher introduced us to some important kanji.  The  kanji on the sign says emergency exit "hijouguchi".  This is not like and emergency exit in the United States.  It is an exit that we can use to go to the bicycle parking lot
when it is not an emergency.
Monday, September 16, Kumamoto celebrates Fujisaki Hachimangu Shrine Festival.  It is also known as the Drunken Horse Festival because horses are given alcohol, colorfully decorated and then paraded around the city.  They leave from this shrine early in the morning and then return in the early evening hours.  We bikes to this area to check out a problem in one of the apartments.  As we headed home we passed the activities on the street to the shrine.  Mid day was set up with many activities for children.
As we drove to Omuta on Thursday, September 19, I took this picture of the exit kanji.  It is nice that there is English below the kanji for those on use who do not read the kanji.
After our apartment check in Omuta we drove to Fukuoka and when shopping at Costco.  Terry is pictured waiting for our two whole pizza we ordered.  We always enjoy a Costco hot dog with sour kraut on it.
We ended the day with the seven o'clock session at the Fukuoka temple.  We arrived at the temple about an hour early so took some pictures outside while waiting.
Today for preparation day we went for a bike ride.  We passed this field of sun flowers.  They are miniatures compared to the giant ones in the United States but probably a different variety.
This is a stop sign in Japan.  It is not very important in that it is only used on very small narrow streets where you have no choice but to stop and look to see if it is clear to drive one.

Scripture of the week:
 D&C 11:20
Behold, this is your work,
 to keep my commandments,
 yea, with all your might,
 mind and strength. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 31 September 3-9, 2013

Terry and I have three Skype classes from the MTC every week.  This is a picture of Terry set up and ready for our class.  We have been working on interviewing ward members and making phone calls.  After our class I called a nonmember friend and thanked her for the Asian pears (Nashi) and a not in English she sent to us by way of the Elders in the Nagamine Ward.  I also asked her if we could come and visit her.
Thursday was our zone meeting.  Terry and I had arranged for Nitori (a local furniture store) to deliver four desk chairs and the appliance stand not realizing it would be conflicting with zone meeting.  The zone meeting was held at the Shimizu/Tusboi chapel and that is close to the new apartment.  We were able to go to the apartment and accepted the delivery and still come back to most of the conference.
Now the sisters can arrange the kitchen and maybe put the table in the kitchen not the living room area of the home.  It will be interesting .
Thursday we took a bike ride and on the way we came across this bamboo grove.  Terry had wanted to see one up close so we came home a different route and looked at the bamboo.  It was a beautiful bike ride!
My balcony garden is growing another watermelon.  I have been a successful bee.
Sunday we drove to Yatsushiro Branch for Missionary Coordination Meeting and then Sunday meetings.  We were given the opportunity to bear our testimonies and introduce ourselves. We visited three English speaking members with the Elders.  It was a very enjoyable day.  We look forward to future visits.  This utility manhole cover was in one of the subdivisions.  It was not painted but the medal work is beautiful.  I wonder if each city in Japan has a particular type of utility manhole cover.
Today was preparation day.  We were able to Skype with some of our family.  We helped a sister missionary get to a bike store so that she could buy herself a bicycle. While at the store we found some mirrors that go on the end of our handle bars.  Terry put mine on before we went for a bike ride.  It was wonderful to be able to see what was coming behind you.  We will enjoy the mirrors.
Wednesday (our International Center Language day) it was raining very hard in the morning.  We knew we had to leave earlier to get there in time to teach our English classes.  Traffic was so bad that Terry dropped me off and I combined the two classes while he parked the car.  I was about ten minutes late.  It was so sad to see the bikers pass us by as we sat on the parking lot road.  I think everyone had decided to drive.  We decided to buy rain gear so we could bike and stay dry in the future.  Here is my rain gear.  It seems a little hot but hope it will not be to hot when it is raining.

Scripture of the week:  
2 Nephi 9:20
O how great the holiness of our God! 
 For he knoweth all things,
 and there is not anything
 save he knows it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 30 August 27-September 2, 2013

This is the gate to the subdivision where the new sisters apartment/home is.  It will be an unusual place to live in that it is a home in a subdivision.  As we went to and from neighbors seemed very friendly to us.  One of the neighbors had us park our car in their parking spot so it would be easier to unload the car.  I think it will be a great place to be.
There is a very old Buddhist temple and graveyard in this area of town.  It has a beautiful bell in the corner tower
and very old looking grave markers.
This week has been filled with lots of rain bought to us as the typhoon dissipated coming up from the Philippines.  Sadly we have not been able to ride our bikes and stay dry so find ourselves using the car.  I have enjoyed the beautiful clouds we can seen from our apartment.  This is looking toward the hospital.

Our Skype class teacher from the MTC has challenged Terry and I to interview five ward members each week.  This has been a very challenge goal for me.  This week I had the extra challenge of needing to ask to use someone's sewing machine.  I chose a sister from the Kumamoto Ward and asked her.  She said "no" that her machine was in need of repair but a brother from the Nagamini Ward heard me and offered his wife's machine.  I was able to get to know his wife and lengthen the curtains to finish covering the windows in the new sister's home.  We are so blessed to work with such wonderful people in Japan.  

Scripture of the week:  
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:  for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  1 John 4:20