Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 38 - October 22-28, 2013

Week 38 - October 22-28, 2013
For the longest time it seemed like the pretty purple flowers turned yellow.  This picture shows both plants with blossoms at the same time.  They are two different plants but the purple must blossom a little earlier.
We saw rice drying in the field in two different ways.  These bundles are draped over poles.
The rice in the move is tied up and stood in groups of at least three sheaves.  We drove to Oita and Beppu during the typhoon San Francisco.  It was mild but if was raining as the video shows.  The rice is very wet.  Sorry about the movie, I cannot figure out how to load it so it shows right.
The Oita Elders live in this apartment building.  There is no car parking but it is nice for bikes and in the center of the town which is an advantage.  When we first came to the mission there were only two Elders in this area.  We now have eight.  It is amazing.
  One is starting to see fall colors in the tree.
The typhoon started to clear by the time we returned home to Kumamoto and the sun shown though the clouds for a beautiful sunset to welcome us home.

Scripture for the week:
Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to then that ask him?
3 Nephi 14: 9-11

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 37 - October 15-21, 2013

The tall apartment build behind the Direx store was started since our arrival to Kumamoto.  It is starting to look like an apartment building.  We had a funny experience.  There was a very little old crowded Direx store in front of it when we first came last February.  Direx is a great place to shop.  We used it a lot for shopping.  It has a good variety of groceries, small appliances, cloths etc.  One day we went shopping and it had been closed.  We were soooo sad.  We watched it being torn down.  We wondered if it was going to be parking lot for the apartment building.  Recently they started building on the site.  We were so happy when a Direx sign went up.  It looks like we will soon be able to shop at a new, larger improved store.
We see Japanese persimmons in the grocery stores now.  They are delicious.  When we were in the country we saw this persimmons tree.  You can see ripe persimmons on the tree.
They have multiple seeds inside that are about the size of a cherry pit.  The most seeds I have seen in them so far was four.  You can see a seed on top of the cut fruit and one that is embedded in the slice of fruit it is sitting on.
I have been looking for cattle.  We finally found a barn full of Holsteins.  I grew up on a dairy farm in Wyoming.  My dad milked Holsteins just like these.  We have not found many places with cattle in this area.  These are the first Holsteins.
Monday was one of the Kumamoto Elders birthday.  I make curry for a dinner birthday party.  This Elder is from Japan and curry is one of the few things from Japan I know how to make.  Here is the recipe given to me by two wonderful Japanese Sisters missionaries for my birthday.

Japanese Curry 
Box of curry
1 carrot
2 small potatoes
2 onions
200 grams or more of meat thinly sliced ( I have used beef or pork)
800 cc water

1.  Slice vegetables into bit size pieces.

2.  Fry potato, carrots, onion and meat
3.  Add water, turn off heat
4.  Add curry cubes, sir until melted
5.  Put back on low heat, stirring occasionally.
6.  Serve on rice.
Serves 3-4 adults

When it is served the Japanese way, the rice is put on one half of the bowl and the curry on the other.  They mix it as desired as they eat.  I would have spread it over the top of the rice.  It is delicious and could be make with chicken or a mix of the three meats.

Scripture for the Week:
Be thou humble; and the Lord they God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.  D&C 112:10

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 36 - October 8-14, 2013

For the past couple of weeks our black taxi parking lot has been under construction.  Since we arrive in Japan we have enjoyed watching a driver, who rides a bicycle, parks his bicycle in the place of his taxi.  The bike stays put until the drivers day is done.  This picture shows what the lot looked like during the day time when the taxi's were at work (bicycle not visible).
 On October 2nd we noticed that the taxis were gone and the lot had become a construction zone.  The gravel was removed by excavators and dump trucks and was leveled out.
A brick wall was constructed on three sides of the lot. Dirt was brought in and spread over the lot.
Done for the day.
What looked like an office for a construction crew was brought in on a flat bed truck.
With the office in place, wooden stakes were placed around the lot evenly.
Flags were placed on each wooden stake.
The flags livened the lot.
A closer look at the brick wall and the flags that line it.
When we walked over to the flags we realized they were advertising  Kyuken home.  Thank you for the English words to help those of us who do not read kanji.  This must be a construction site for homes.
Watermelons are expensive in Japan.  I decided to try and grow my own.  Pictured is the third little watermelon from my patch after the last typhoon. The plant had been blown around a lot.
This is my patio now after cleanup.  I have a watermelon and a peanut plant that seemed to survive.  I hope the watermelon grows a little bigger.  
On Monday for preparation day Terry and I decided to hike Mt. Kinbo/Kinbo Yama (欽慕山).  It is one of the mountains we see from our patio window.  We are told on a clear day you can see from the Pacific Ocean to Mt. Aso.    The above picture was taken at the beginning of the hiking trail.  
This picture is taken from our balcony of a sun set this past week.  Kinbo has a total elevation gain of 1100 ft. in about a mile from the hiking trailhead.  The total height is 550.9 m (1807 ft.).  Many road bikes were making their way up and down the mountain.  It appears to be the Mt. Diablo of Kumamoto for cyclists.  It is the tallest mountain you see in this picture.
This is a picture of the view from the top of Kinbo Yama. You can see Kumamoto Port on the Shimabara Bay which is part of the Ariake Sea. This sea is between Kumamoto and Nagaski prefecture.  The ferry we take to Shimabara starts from this Port ending at the city of Shimabara.
This is looking toward Kumamoto on the other side of the Mt.  It was not clear so we can not see very far.
There is a Buddist Shrine between the two look out points.
The hike was a fun activity to end our busy week.

Scripture for the week:
8.  And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts: and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing.  For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray: for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.
9.  But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint: that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
2 Nephi 32:8-9

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 35 - October 1-7 2013

There where Halloween decorations out at the International Center in Kumamoto when we were there on Wednesday.  Decoration like we use in America are being used more in Japan but many people from Japan are not familiar with Halloween.  Kumamoto Eikaiwa has a tradition of a Halloween Party which is being planned for October 30th during Eikaiwa time.  My students at the International Center have never experienced a Halloween Party.  The decorations remind me of home.
  This week we did an apartment check for the Elders and Sisters in Nagasaki.  They had two clean apartments.  Terry and I had the opportunity to take them to lunch.  They chose an Indian Currey restaurant.  This is  picture of my lunch.  It was very good.  The bread was made by stretching out bread dough and cooking it on the sides of a hot oven.  It reminded me of my childhood.  When mother ran out of bread and was making more she would cook us scones.  They were made by stretching the bread dough out thin and putting it on a hot iron surface to cook.  We use to cook it on the top of the wood burning stove.  They were always a delicious treat!
After taking care of the apartments in Nagasaki Terry and I tried to visit the the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and the Peace Memorial Hall.  We rode the trolley from our hotel to the park (first attempt at using public transportation).  The museum was closing for the day when we arrived  but had a activity going on in the hall next to the museum.
We saw a sign to an observation deck.  We decided to walk up to it and see what we could see.  It was an awe inspiring experience thinking about what happened on this spot in 1945 and watching the sun go down.
This is a large photo from the same place after the bombing in 1945.  You can see the same mountain in the distant in the photo as we were looking at.
We were able to sit on a bench and watch a beautiful sunset overlooking this place.  It was an amazing experience though we did not get to go inside the museum this trip.

The trolley car (densha) ride back to the hotel was a bit of an adventure.  We rode it from stop 19 to stop 28 which is in front of the Toyoka Inn.  Going down was very easy.  We thought the return trip would be the same.  We boarded the trolley and started counting stops.  We counted to 27 and then got off at the next stop but there was no hotel.  The street looked very different.  We later discovered that there was a Y in the track and we had boarded the wrong line.  More learning is necessary.  We walked back to the Y intersection and up the other leg of the track to our hotel.
Sunday we attended church in Yatsushiro.  It is a wonderful little branch of the church.  I enjoyed our visit their.  After the visit we enjoyed a visit with some of the members that live about a ninety minute drive from the chapel on the Yatsushiro Sea.  Pictured is a little marina near their home.
Terry and I biked to The Suizenji Jojuen Garden on Monday.  It is a beautiful place with a natural spring.  
The Izumi Shinto Shrine is next to/part of the park.  We visited it as well.
Another interesting place in the park.
One more view from the park.
As we drive though the country side we see that the rice fields are starting to be harvested.  This field has already been done.
This picture show the rice drying waiting to be thrashed.

Scripture for the week:
Alma 32: 21
And now as I said concerning faith-Faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not see, which are true.