Saturday, November 30, 2013

Week 43 - November 25-30, 2013

On Wednesday we drove to Costco were we were able to buy pumpkin pie, Costco rolls, cranberries, hamburger buns and meat patties, bottles of nuts and flour tortilla shells.  It is always so fun to get a piece of pizza or hot dog just like in the United States.
On the way back to the office it was raining and we passed many school children walking home from school.  They all have uniforms down to hats and umbrellas.  They look so nice and so much alike.
This week was filled with lots of work and celebrating Thanksgiving in Japan.  We were invited to the mission home for a Thanksgiving dinner along with all the missionaries in the Fukuoka ward.  There were about 20 at the meal.  After the meal we were able to share things we were thankful for.  It was a very enjoyable evening.  I made my cousins "Cranberry Salad".  It was a challenge using my blender on the cranberries.  Here is the recipe.

Cranberry Salad
12 to 16 ounce package fresh cranberries
16 ounce can of crushed pineapple
4 tart apples
1 cup sugar

Wash and grind the cranberries.  Peal and coarsely grate the apples.  Drain the pineapple.  Combine pineapple, cranberries, apples and sugar and refrigerate over night.  It is great as a left over following Thanksgiving.

The mission president's wife introduced this new candied yam dish to us, it was yummy!

Yam and Apple casserole
6 medium yams
3 or 4 apples, pealed, cored and sliced
1/2 cups butter
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Parboil yams 20 minutes, cool, peel and slice in layers into buttered casserole, alternating yams slices with apple slices.  Melt butter in small sauce pan.  Add cornstarch, sugar, and salt and stir  until sauce thickens.  Add lemon juice, then pour sauce over yams and apples.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour.  Makes 8 servings. 
Saturday was a very special day for us.  Friends from Nagamine Ward and Tsuboi Ward were married in the Fukuoka temple.  That alone is very special but we had a friend from Kumamoto who brought her parents.  We were able to talk to them about the temple in the mission presidents office while the couple was married and then we all went out for the bride and groom to come out of the temple, take pictures and receive congratulations.  I asked two of the Elders from the Fukuoka Ward to talk to them with us.  One of them had served for a few months in the Shimizu Ward in Kumamoto.  It was a very special experience to share a little of our beliefs with a friends family members.

Saturday afternoon Terry and I spent some time looking up the Sawara Shimin Center.  We are looking for a Japanese conversation class in Fukuoka.  This site is above a big bus terminal and about 15 minute from our home in the car.  This evening we went to the class.  We reviewed Hiragana and Katagana.  We talked about some words with only a double letter sound that have different meanings.  It was fun and maybe it will push us to work harder on language again.

Scripture of the week
And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be make glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.  D&C 78:19

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 42 - November 19-24, 2013

 This week was a busy week.  We had 25 new missionaries from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo arrive at the mission on Tuesday evening late.  This meant a lot of work to have everything ready for them.  We had those missionaries that have completed their mission come to honbu on Thursday.  Elder Koberstein and I had the opportunity to go to dinner with both groups.  We also went to the temple in the evening with the returning missionaries. Saying welcome to the mission is always exciting.  The in coming missionaries are so enthusiastic.  Saying goodbye for a job well done is always hard.  Those going home have been the leaders but now new leaders will develop to take their place.

I have been on my own in the mission office for over a week.  It has been a learning curve but I am learning.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, sons, work and education for helping me with computer skills.  This job would be very difficult without that knowledge before you start.  Mail merge is a program I had not yet learned to use.  Friday, I spent the day trying to figure out how to use it as I will be mailing to groups often and it will make my job so much easier.  I had been exposed to it during my training but did not remember how to use it.  I know that Heavenly Father helps.  I would think about the problem and try different things and an idea would come to me.  I know it was help from Heaven for which I am very grateful.
Saturday Terry and I took a bike ride the the International Center in Fukuoka and around Ohori Lake.  The International Center is in downtown Fukuoka.  There were many people.  It reminded me of the day after Thanksgiving shopping in the United States. There are Christmas trees and decorations up everywhere now but a noticeable lack of nativities that are a big part of Christmas for me.

I took pictures as we biked.  Fall is definitely coming to Fukuoka.  Some of the trees are turning yellow
and some are beautiful shades of orange and red.
Birds (ducks/loons) were swimming in the lake.  I am not sure what type they are though.  Can any one help me?
This picture of Elder Koberstein is looking at the castle site.  There is not a castle like in Kumamoto  today but maybe some day it will be restored.  The castle in Kumamoto has been restored.  The site where the castle in Fukuoka stood is being preserved.
This is a picture of the apartment building were we live.  We live on the fourth of five floors.  The picture makes is look like the building is only four stories high, but the elevator says there are five (one maybe a basement).  The hill in the front is very steep.  Elder Koberstein bikes up and down it but I choose to walk up and down.
We biked to church today.  On the way home from church we stopped by the mission office for a few minutes.  This is a picture of Elder Koberstein by the mission office sign we just discovered.  It is up near the front doors of the temple.  Missionaries generally use the back entrance but since it is very close to a zoo it is crazy busy most weekends and today was not an exception.  We have discovered, quite by accident, that going out the front is really much more pleasant.  This road has few cars and pedestrians to worry about.  Bikes can navigate easily were many cars can not.  We enjoy our bikes!  It is so relaxing to go for a ride after a long day.

Scripture of the Week
Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he 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 you children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Mathew 7:7-11

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 41 - November 12-18, 2013

On the way to the mission office from the APA hotel we passed this group of children.  They are very young and all dressed alike including the staff with yellow hats.  They were very cute.
This sculpture is a land mark as we drove to the mission offices from our hotel.  When we passed this dove sculpture the next street was our turn. 
The mission president and his wife were at a mission presidents conference this past week and the mission home carpet was replaced while they were gone.  The carpet was ordered from the United States.  The picture is the pile of carpet that was removed.
 Men busy at work.  They new carpet was an exact replacement.
At Eikiwai on Wednesday night one of our students was really excited about Paul McCartney coming to Fukuoka and doing a concert.  We just happened to see the Paul McCarthney van pull in to town.  Paul McCartney is one of the Beetles from the days of our youth.  Amazing that he is still doing concerts.
This week we said goodbye to the office couple going home.  On Friday evening we went out to eat with them at a fun place where you cook your own meal over a charcoal fire pit.  It was a different experience.  We had chicken and beef with some vegetables.  The grill is about a foot across in size and set in the center of the table.
Saturday we drove to Costo and we saw the ocean on the way.  It looked like a beautiful place to go for a bike ride, weather permitting.
This is the view out our living room window and balcony in our new apartment.  You can see guest parking and the green thing is the place that we take the garbage bags to be picked up.  Monday and Thursday is burnables, 3rd Wednesday is non-burnable garbage and 1st Monday is soft drink, liquor, and soy sauce PET bottles bearing the logo and glass containers.  Garbage is paid for by buying bags at the local super markets and stores.  You can also see the road in front.  We live a steep hill.  I am not sure I will ever learn to bike up it but the walk is not far.
This is the view from our front door.  It is on the opposite side of the apartment.  It look like a beautiful home and another apartment building.  
The office couple left use beautiful pansies and
spider plants on the patio.  They also left a bag of fertilizer.  I may be able to learn how to be a more successful gardener in Kumamoto.  I knew I needed fertilizer but did not know what to buy.  It is hard not having all the language skills you would like.  
More pansies from the patio.

Our bikes arrived this week.  The bike company had a hard time finding them.  We had to have the Kumamoto Zone Leaders help them.  We are not sure if they were moved by the apartment facility person or not as we parked then in the bike parking lot and found out through the zone leaders that one must pay to park bikes there.  We wonder if that is the case here at our apartment building.  I think we will find out soon. 

Sunday we took our first bike ride in Fukuoka.  We walked from our apartment to the mission offices.  It took about 45 minutes and then biked back in about 20 minutes.  The trip is about 1.6 miles.  It was a fun activity for a Sunday afternoon.  We walked up stairs and on paths that would be impossible to drive or bike and come in behind the mission offices by the park.  Terry is getting really good at navigation with his ipod touch here in Japan for which I am very glad for.
It is raining today but we decided to bike to the mission offices.  We made it in 20 minutes and it had some up hill.  It did not rain on the way to the office but we were not so lucky on the way home.  The ride home was great.  Mostly down hill but it was raining lightly.  My bike is the white bike with the helmet.   
This is our study.  We both have computer desks and are loving it.  Terry does not regret giving up the kitchen table in Kumamoto.  We needed a desk chair for one of the desks.  Saturday we found the empty blue chair by my desk at a second hand store for 2100 yen.  The second hand store is just up the street.  I was so happy. 

Scripture of the Week
And he saith unto them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
Mathew 4:19-20

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 40 - November 5-11, 2013

This is a picture of our parking place at the temple, mission offices and mission home.  See the Toyota we drive in the left hand corner also notice the scaffolding for the men working on the temple above on the right.
This picture shows the missionaries bicycles by the mission office (honbu).  We have been sad as our bikes have not yet come from Kumamoto.  You can see the hall way to the mission offices to Terry's left.
The front door to the mission home is across the breeze way.  Umbrella stands are used a lot during the rainy season.
This is an entrance to parking for the mission home, mission offices and temple.  You drive in and along the left hand side of the temple.  There is another parking lot at the other end of the temple for temple patrons.
This is the area where the secretary at the mission office works.  The room is shared with the AP's, recorder and MSM Elders.
Wednesday we went for a walk in the Fukuoka Ohori Park Japanese Garden after lunch.  It was beautiful!
 We shared this beautiful place with a couple taking wedding pictures.

On Saturday Terry and I visited Gokoku shrine.
Terry had learned about getting autographs in kanji at shrines.  He was interested in a autograph book for this purpose.  The book is bought at the office at most shrine.  I think we may be learning shrine etiquette and visiting many of them over the duration of our stay in Japan.
 This is the shrine autograph book and the kanji signature for the Gokoku shrine.  It is beautiful!
This picture was taken from the car just before the parking lot where we parked.  The shrine is near the castle and the Fukuoka Ohori Park Japanese Garden that we visited on Wednesday.  See part of the ruins of the Fukuoka castle through the trees. The castle has not been rebuild like the beautiful one in Kumamoto.
We had a ward dinner after the three hour block pf Sunday meeting.  In Japan everyone brings a dish and they enjoy a meal together.  It is so fun to visit and eat.  The ward was saying good by to the returning office couple and welcoming about three families, including us, into the ward.  Sacrament Meeting was a treat.  It was the children's primary program.  We were able to understand much of what was being saying by the children.

The street picture was taken on the way back to the ABA Hotel, which has been our home since coming to Fukuoka, it was raining and a beautiful blend of grays.

Scripture of the week:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, 
where moth and rust doth corrupt,
 and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, 
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, 
and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, 
there will your heart be also.
-Mathew 6:19-21

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 39 - October 29-November 4, 2013

On Friday we wrote our bikes over to visit a nonmember friend and notices an amazing amount of traffic on the road.  There were policemen on every corner.  We knew something important was happening.  Our Eikaiwa students told us that Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan had visited the Kumamoto Prefecture.  We had been out as people were trying to get a glimpse of her car.  A friend of ours took this picture of the car as they drove by.  Our friend was not home.  We wondered if she too was trying to glimpse the Emperor and Empress.
Because of the two zone conference on Monday, which is preparation day, we had p-day on Tuesday of this week.  Terry and I decided to go the the Kumamoto Zoo.  When we got there we found out that it was closed because of the holiday when the Emperor was in town.  We then decided to go for a bike ride and shopping trip.  We had fun doing both.  This is Terry parking his bike so we can go inside a store to look for children's Christmas stories.  It ended up being a fun day.
Wednesday was our last day of Japanese lessons at the International Center.  It was hard to say good by to our friends and students but maybe we will see them again soon when the work in Fukuoka is finished.
Thursday found us doing an apartment check in Yatsushiro.  The Elders had a very clean apartment and so we all enjoyed lunch together.  Terry got the bowl with fire under it again.  On Friday we checked the Shimizu Sisters apartment.  We almost finished our fourth round of apartment checks before going to work in the mission office for a time.  We had two areas we did not get done but they will be first when we return to Kumamoto.
As we prepared to move, I decided to mail packages home instead of move them.  Here is Terry finishing up the wrapping and notes on them.  They will probably be early this year.
The foundations was laid for one home this week.  It was an interesting process.  The yard is very small with room to park one car.  It is amazing how close to the property line the home is being built.  
After a birthday party breakfast for a sister missionary at our apartment on Saturday Terry and I started to pack.  Things did not seem to fit back into the suit cases the same way.  It was sad to say good by to our friends on Sunday.  We will miss the fun times but look forward to new challenges.
We will miss the beautiful eighth floor sunsets in Kumamoto.  We will be living on the fourth floor in Fukuoka on a big hill but will not get the sunsets we have learned to love.
We see palm trees in Fukuoka so winters can not be that bad.  We have been told it snows. 
This is a view of the Fukuoka Temple from the road as we drove in to the mission offices on Monday.  The mission office and mission home are under the temple.  The temple is being worked on as you can see from the scuffling around it for the workmen.

Scripture of the week: 
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
3 Nephi 15:21