Sunday, January 26, 2014

Week 51-January 20-26, 2014

This week was a slow week at honbu.  The president and assistants to the president (AP) were on a tour of the mission, so not as much action.  During one of the slow times Elder Koberstein took a picture of me at the office secretary desk.  I love the picture on the wall by my desk.  My area is shared with the AP's. Materials Supply Manager (MSM) and Recorder Elders.  The office shares the printer, fax machine and shredder that are also in my area of the office.
This is the office of Elder Koberstein where mission fiances are discussed.  He has his own separate office with a door.  It also has the microwave, refrigerator and a window to the outside in it.  This week he discovered one more thing, his own thermostat to control office temperature.  He will not have the freeze any more.
  Because it was slow Elder Koberstein and I decided to take a walk at the Botanical Gardens next the honbu and zoo(Fukuoka dobu-tsuen).  I liked this display of barrel cactus.  Cactus are plants that grow easily in California and some have such beautiful blossoms.
In the rain forest room there were beautiful displays of orchids in blossom.  We enjoyed looking at all the different types.
There were large and small orchids and all colors too.
This is a view of Fukuoka from a look out point in the Botanical Garden.
Another view from the Botanical Garden.  The garden, zoo and temple are all on a hill but the temple is lower than the other two.
We walked across the bridge between the zoo and garden and took the tram down to the zoo.
Looking down at the zoo.
 The temple as visible from the zoo.  We had a wonderful afternoon walk.
There is a ward member in the Fukuoka Ward that has an antique shop.  She imports antiques from England once a year.  We biked over an looked at all the beautiful dishes, things and furniture.
She had an old butter churn similar to the one that my uncle had when I was a child.  We had just talked about making butter at Eikaiwa (English class) recently as in the Little House in the Woods by Laura Ingles ma made butter.  We are reading and discussing this book
Saturday after our morning Japanese class we stopped by the Fukuoka City Museum.  They had an Impressionism Exhibition by European masters which was a collection on loan from over 40 museums in 8 countries including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA; the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France; and the Wallrat-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, Germany.
My favorite was the "Dance of Bougival" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  It was a huge painting that looked so real.  Pieces in the exibit were before the car.  They show horse and buggy days.  It was really a 1800's history lesson.
After our Sunday meetings we were invited to attend a special recital of the winners in a piano contest for grade school through eighth grade children.  The concert was held at the Fukuoka Symphony hall.  It was amazing to hear these talented young people play.
The Acros (Asian Cross Road Over the Sea) Fukuoka building it was held in was amazing.  This building was constructed in 1994.  It was a new solution for a common urban problem of developer's desire for a profitable use of a site and the public need for open green space.
The other side of the building looks like any office building.  The back side has a roof garden and park.  This building fulfills both needs.  We saved the hike to the top for another day though.

Scripture of the week
Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Week 50 January 13-19, 2014

Monday we had the opportunity to share in the New Years tradition of making mochi.  The Fukuoka Ward members made mochi together.  We enjoyed tasting it many different ways and Elder Koberstein got to try his hand at pounding the mochi.
Machigome, japonica glutinous rice, is steamed and then pounded into a dough like substance that is molded into many things.  This picture shows three batches of rice cooking.  The rice was cooked four layers high taking the rice from the bottom and adding new rice to the top.  There are only three batches of rice cooking pictured.
 This is mochi in a sweet bean soup.  It was very good.
After mochi making we went to the Fukuoka Dome for a swap meet but arrived to late.  The clean up crew was all that was left so we took a walk around the dome.  They had a display of important/famous people that you could shake hands with.  Elder Koberstein is shaking hands with Paul McCartney.  It was fun to see who had been there and left their hand for other to shake.
The fingers on this statute must be important  as many like to do this when pictures are taken.
Thursday evening after working at the honbu we drove to Costco and went shopping.  We enjoyed the lights that still mark the shopping center as well as the hot dog from Costco we had for dinner.
Friday we took a walk in the zoo which is next to the honbu and temple.  It is on a hill but build so the animals and cages are not really visible from outside the zoo.  This picture has the temple's angel Moroni in it.  The hillside made many layers possible.  It is a beautiful place that has been enjoyed by the public for 60 years.
This is the elephant enclosure in the middle of this large city.
My favorite part was the view of the temple from many places inside the zoo.
The temple behind the train tracks.
It is amazing that the temple is so visible from the zoo yet the zoo is so well worked into the hillside that it is not very noticeable from outside.  We do hear the monkeys howl some times though.
So much to see on a walk though the zoo.  It is a not to miss spot in the city of Fukuoka and we chose the best day (cool without a large crowd).

Scripture of the week:
John 10: 17-18
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Week 49 - January 5-11, 2014

On Wednesday after our lunch walk around the Fukuoka Botanical Garden which is on the hill by the mission home.  
It was a beautiful walk filled with hills, stairs and beautiful views.
People who have homes near the garden are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place on a hill.  This is one of the streets our path lead us to look down.  It seemed very steep to drive but the picture does not make it look as steep.
We found trees inside the garden in blossom even in the cold of winter.
Japan is amazing.  So many flowers blooming year around.  
A closer look at the blossoms of this Camelia bush.
This is the entrance to the gardens.  A ticket gives one entrance to the zoo and the gardens.  
Looking toward the temple from the top of the hill near the garden entrance.  You can see the angel Moroni on the Fukuoka temple.
What a beautiful sight as we near the temple.  We have been blessed to work here.
We are back at the temple and honbu.  What a pleasant walk on a beautiful path/road in front/up the hill from the temple in Fukuoka.
We have been in Japan almost one year.  It is time to think about getting our Japanese drivers licence.  This week we started the process with the new AP.  We were able to get a certificate of residence and then have our United States Driver's licence translated.  In our call packet it stated to make sure that your drivers licence did not expire while you were in Japan.  We renewed ours in January.  In Japan it is required that you have driven in the country you are from for three months in order to get a licence here.  We had only had our licences for one month before coming to Japan.  We had been obedient and also obtained a five year driving record so were able to have our licence translated after a trip to the apartment to get our driving record.  When we returned to honbu Elder Koberstein had received and e-mail which stated that people from Canada and other countries had an agreement with Japan and could get a drivers licence without tests.  The AP was rejoicing because he was from Canada and though he had been able to get his licence translated he was a few days short of three months and was not able to take the test.  He was not prepared with a driving record as we were.  We look forward to taking the drivers test next weekend in Kumamoto. 

Saturday was filled with two Japanese classes and things you normally do on preparation day like laundry etc.  This is a picture of our bikes that we rode to the 10-12 noon Japanese class.  My bike is white and Elder Koberstein's is blue.  It is about a five mile ride on a very cool day in January.  We enjoyed the opportunity to talk to native Japanese speakers.  
After the class Elder Koberstein wanted to check out a bike store in the area.  We are looking for a new bike computer.  The big sports store we found did not have a computer with GPS maps on it.  They only had those that record your heart health.  We like to be able to find where we are going and know how far we have gone.  The shopping center is over by the whale and Ferris wheel.  We are on top of a bridge.
  It was after lunch and there was a McDonald.  We enjoyed a fish burger.  The third time we have visited McDonald's in Japan.  The whole meal was very much like in the USA.
We then chose to ride the Ferris wheel.  It was a wonderful ride in enclosed carts with heated seats that felt very good on a cool day.  The Ferris wheel is never stopped.  It moves very slow and you get on and off while it is moving.  
Here are views from the ride. 
This is the shopping mall from the air.
The ride was way to short, though it went very slow.  We hardly had time to warm up form the cool winter day. 
The bike ride back to the apartment bought us to the plaza with the Fukuoka tower in the back ground.  The Fukuoka tower is the tallest building in Fukuoka and has a restaurant on the top so we have been told.
We passed the International School and the Fukuoka City museum on the way home.
Our evening class is above the Bus terminal.  The picture was taken when we biked pass it in the early afternoon.

Scripture of the week:
John 14:28
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you.  If ye love me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Week 48 - December 31, 2013 - January 4, 2014

This week was transfer week for the mission.  We had 16 new missionaries arrive from the Missionary Training Center (MTC) and ten missionaries that finished up their missions and returned home.  It was a busy week shuffling suit cases from/to the Hakata train/bus Station and the Airport to honbu.  The mission rented one more van so as to be able to do this job efficiently.  Elder Koberstein was given the opportunity to drive this extra van full of luggage and missionaries.  It was an interesting experience.

On transfer day we started runs at 6 am.  It was dark outside for the first drop off.  At our ten o'clock run we met four of our missionaries from Kumamoto who were being transferred and traveling though Hakata Stations.  It was bitter sweet to say good by as they move to different areas.
This picture is looking away from Hakata Station at the taxis parking lot.  I took the picture from the spot where we were parked.  It amazed me how many taxis were waiting for riders.
The week before transfer week all missionary mail is held at honbu so that it can be forwarded to the missionaries in the area they will be serving in.  Pictured is the weeks worth of mail ready for pickup by the mailman.  It is amazing the volume of mail we receive for the mission in one week.  Some of it is probably because of the Christmas holidays this time though.
Sister Funakoshi from the Fukuoka Ward invited us over for a traditional Japanese New Years meal.  Each food on the plate has meaning.  It was beautiful displayed on beautiful dishes and very much enjoyed by me.
Our main course was mochi soup.  Mochi (餅) is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice.  The rice is cooked then pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape.  It is a traditional food for the New Year.  Families get together to made mochi as it is a lot of pounding.  The mochi is on the bottom of the soup dish.  This soup had a piece of fish, mushroom and a green spinach like vegetable grown in Fukuoka along with the mochi.
It was time to take down the Christmas decorations and hard to do it at the same time.  I enjoyed them so much.  Christmas is a wonderful time of year!  We enjoyed Skype call with family and then an afternoon bike ride.
We passed this exhibit on our bike ride.  They were brightened up for the New Year!  All are dressed in red.

  This is a picture by one of the large rivers near the ocean.
 We biked pass the Fukuoka Dome where the Paul MaCartney concert was held mid November when he was here on tour.  You can see the bottom part of the Hilton building that is next to it on the left hand side of the photo.
We happened to saw the Paul MaCartney truck arrive in Fukuoka last November.
This is a picture of the big Hilton Hotel is next to the Fukuoka Dome from the back side and bay.  It is an amazing building but the photo doesn't do it justice
This is the Fukuoka Dome from the bay.
I got practice doing stairs with bike runs on them.  Maybe I will learn to be proficient at them yet.
The route we took was amazing and not possible by car.
We enjoyed watching the Common Pochard (Aythya Ferina), a Eurasian species of duck, feeding.  One groups we saw was eating bread fed to them by people and the other group we saw was catching little fish.  It was fun to watch them catching and eating little fish.  I did not realized duck ate fish.
The biking goal for the afternoon was to bike to the bay and then to Costco for hot dog just for fun.  We got started to late and did not make it quite to Costco because of the time.  A fun day and Costco waits for another days adventure.  The picture was taken in September of me eating a hot dog at Costco.

Scripture for the week: 
Doctrine and Covenants 58:  27-28

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves, and inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.