Monday, February 24, 2014

Week 55 - February 18-24, 2014

Monday we went with the new office couple to Raman after a long day at honbu.  Fukuoka is famous for its Raman.  Elder Koberstein enjoy hot (flavored) Raman.
My Raman was chicken and not hot, but very good.
The Raman place is pictured on the right hand side of this street in the picture above.
Elder Koberstein was able to get his suit dry cleaned after we were asked to stay another week in Fukuoka.  We tried to drop it off Wednesday morning but he was told it would not be done until Friday morning so he decided to have it done in Kumamoto.  While waiting in the car we were parked by a home that had beautiful Fukuoka Swiss Chard like vegetable growing in front of it.  I wonder if this is the variety of vegetable grown only in Fukuoka.  It is a very good spinach like vegetable served with traditional New Year foods, I believe. 
It is time to pack again.  Wednesday was scheduled to be our last day in Fukuoka at honbu but in the morning we were called into to the mission presidents office.  He asked us to stay another week and work with the new office couple.  The new office couple wanted to be out of the hotel so we agreed to move out of the apartment on Thursday morning as scheduled and stay at a hotel until we left for Kumamoto.
This new twist meant we would not have the weekend for washing our cloths in Kumamoto.  Since we were asked to stay in Fukuoka and move out of our apartment, we washed cloths for the coming week after Eikaiwa Wednesday night.  We needed everything dry and ready to pack Thursday morning.  This is one of the two drying racks at the Fukuoka apartment.  The other one is on the balcony.  Both places hold about a load of washing.  Before we moved to Fukuoka I had seen these racks but had not used them.  They actually are quite convenient and fold up out of the way nicely.  Pictured, I am hanging up towels so they will be clean for the new couple moving in.
After moving out of our apartment we went to honbu.  The auditor and the new financial secretary were very glad to see Elder Koberstein.  We worked about an hour and then the auditor offered to take all four of us out to lunch.  We went to Jioza which is a Chinese restaurant.  Pictured is my lunch.  It was delicious.
It is time again to celebrate the festival of the dolls. The ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel that we are staying at has a beautiful collection of dolls on display in the lobby.
We parked the car at honbu and biked to the hotel after work on Friday using our new bike Garmin.  It is amazing the little streets through housing sections of the city that the Gamin took us on, until we came to the main street where the hotel was.  It was a fun 30 minute ride.  Elder Koberstein took me to Tao-li (Chinese) Restaurant here in the Hotel for dinner.  It was a fun seven course meal.  All very tasty and beautifully served.  Pictured is the appetizer of beef, shrimp and calamari we enjoyed.  Missions can be so much fun and quite an adventure at the same time.
Dessert was a light custard and a bean filled mochi ball covered with sesame seeds.  It was delicious.
Saturday we had no laundry to do and no cleaning in the hotel.  It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to bike to the Genkai-Nada Sea which is part of the Korean Strait between Japan and Korea.  It was about a 24 mile bike ride which included a ferry ride back.  This picture shows the spit we biked out on.  The two large white building in this picture or Marine World Japan and a hotel.
The bike ride was filled with adventures.  Our first was passing the Tochoji Temple.  We walked though the court yard.  It was beautiful.
One wall had many Buddha's in a row.  Each was a different pose and some looked very old.
This was an interesting place where you can see three layers of roads on the right and bridges stretch over the water farther down. the river.
This sign was posted on one of the bridges we road across.  We wonder if the machi is a sister city to Oakland, California as we found firer fighter uniforms from Oakland, California in the fire stations educational museum.
We enjoyed a bike ride through Wonder World.  We were told we could bike on the blue trails.  The exhibits were quite spread out so everyone was renting bikes for the day.
Our goal was to see the Korean Strait so we biked to the look out point.  We saw a beautiful beach with sand but no people.  It was a little cold.
We rode the Ferris Wheel like ride.  This one goes very slow and never stops to load or unload its passengers.
 Seats are enclosed and nice and warm on a cool day.
We found a ferry that was big enough for our bikes and rode on it back to Hakata Port.  We then biked from Hakata to our new home in the ANA Crown Plaza Hotel.  A fun ride on a beautiful day in Japan.

Scripture of the Week
Genesis 9:13-15
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall mo more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 54 - February 11-17, 2014

When I was a student at Ricks College, in one of my classes we learned about tatting and that it was becoming a lost art.  I was very excited to share this information with my mother.  To my surprise she pulled out of her cedar chest a few tatting books and lace she had made, she than preceded to show me large doilies that had been on our family piano and her sewing machine as long as I can remember.  Her sister Lydia had made these beautiful pieces of lace.  I was quite amazed at the knowledge my mother had.  She showed me her bone tatting shuttle from her childhood.  I was very interested in learning to tat, so we bought some thread and a red plastic tatting shuttle.  She taught me a simple lace pattern.  My life got busy.  I married and had children.  Many years later I looked at the shuttle and lace I had made and could not remember how to do it again. 

What is tatting?  I have learned here in Japan that tatting has a 2000 year history.  The knots it uses were first used by fisherman to make fishing nets.  This knowledge was handed down to weavers who used a finer thread and smaller shuttle to make lace.  The lace was sewn into satin and velvet for royalty to wear.  Children and handmaidens were taught to tat edgings that were quickly bought up by the weavers who would add the tatting edgings to their garments and charge large sums of money for them.
Here in Japan I met a wonderful lady who gave me a tatted bookmark.  I asked her who made it. She was amazed I knew tatting when I saw it.  At that time a year ago I did not have time to have her show me how to tat.  We were only in Fukuoka for a night before heading to Kumamoto.  

We have spent the last three months working at the mission office in Fukuoka.  She has been so kind to me and showed me again how to tat.  Here are two laces I have made.  It is amazing that I came half way around the world and have the opportunity to learn again this art of lace making. 
Missionaries are moving again. Look at the bikes parked at honbu.  Many of them are waiting to be shipping to different parts of the mission.
We have been given the opportunity to work in the temple this next year two Saturdays a month.  We are excited to have this opportunity.  We had previously worked in Oakland temple.
This is the Oakland temple with the Christmas lights.
Elder Koberstein and I have enjoyed biking from our apartment to the mission office (honbu).  This is the road in front of the temple that we bike on.  I love it because it has very little traffic.
Elder Koberstein is ready to ride to our apartment.  It is a 15 minute bike ride, through city traffic.  We have enjoyed our bikes so much here in Japan.  They are easy to park and travel nicely on very small roads, passing other vehicles or pedestrians are not a problem and they can park safely almost any where.  On small roads cars cannot pass.  One car has to pull off and let the other car pass before proceeding down the road.  It is an amazing process to drive on the narrow roads in a car in Japan but drivers here work together to make travel work.  It amazes me to watch the process.
On the way to honbu Monday morning Elder Koberstein and I stopped by the dry cleaner and dropped off one of his suits.  You can see his bike parked outside and him standing inside.
We rode though this little park after leaving the cleaners on the way to honbu.
The trees think spring is here.  They are starting to blossom. 
After finishing at honbu we went with the new office couple to Shabo Shabo for dinner.  It is a cook your own dinner type restaurant.  We had chicken, vegetables and fruit for dessert.  A wonderful way to finish a very busy day of training.

Scripture of the Week
Ether 12:12
For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; therefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 53 - February 3-10, 2014

This is a pizza delivery store that we bike past on the way to the bank in Fukuoka.  Pizza is delivered on three wheeled motorcycles that can easily navigate on small streets in house areas of the city. It was early in the morning so the delivery cycles were parked in front of the store.  I think they probably get very good gas millage.  It is a very practical solution for pizza delivery costs.
On Tuesday the MSM went with Elder Koberstein and I to do the paper work for establishing residency in Fukuoka so that we could proceed with getting our Japanese drivers license.  We then went to the DMV where we were told to come back at one p.m.  This began three afternoons of attempts to get our license which include at written test and an in car driving test. Pictured is a part of the driving course.
Pictured above is Elder Koberstein finishing his in car driving test.  Foreigners who have a license in another country have a different tests given than natives.  We are thrilled to be given the privilege to drive this next year.
Our license is for two years but we do not have to put a sticker on the front and back of our car saying we are beginner drivers because we had driven in the United States.  Notice the sticker on the hood of this car.
These are the stickers Japan used to mark drivers.  We are glad that we don't have to put a sticker for drivers over 70 years of age on our car yet.  I wonder if letting other drivers know your age helps prevent accidents.
Saturday Elder Koberstein and I biked to our Japanese class.  This is a very busy shopping street near the class.  There are shops that natives use to fill  daily needs i.e.fruits and vegetables shops.

The couple that will be working in the mission office fly in tonight.  We will be training them in the mission office this next week and then returning to Kumamoto.

Scripture of the Week

Genesis 9:13-15
I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.         

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 52 - January 27- February 2, 2014

Japan is an amazing country.  They have many small places to work and make small front end excavator to do the work in small places.  On the way to honbu on Friday morning I saw them loading this small  front end excavator on a truck bed.  I had been watching this little guy work on a lot all week thinking I should take a pictures.  It makes so much sense.  The average person can afford to use a small  front end excavator and it fits in a small lot.  Bigger is not always better for a job.
   This hotel MILKYWAY has become a land mark for us going to honbu and church.  Not only has it the right name for Elder Koberstein but it is on one of the corners where we turn.
This is a bug we found on the kitchen floor.  Hope we don't see more of them.  It is on the sheet music to the Japanese children's song "Red Dragonfly" (in English).  The music is beautiful.  The first verse talks about the dragon fly being red like the sunset.  It is a persons memories of childhood.  Verse two  talks about  picking mulberries and putting them in a basket.  Verse three talks about an older sister getting married being part of another family.  Verse four the red dragon fly in on the top of pole in the field.  Any ideas on what type of bug was in my kitchen.
Saturday was prep day.  It was a beautiful day in Fukuoka.  Elder Koberstein and I biked to our morning Japanese class.  In front of the building were these beautiful winter blossoms.
After our Japanese class we decided to bike to the Hakata Ferry terminal.  Elder Koberstein had been told it was by the Fukuoka Dome so we headed that way only to fine out it is not very close to the dome.  We  passed this wedding chapel.
There was a wedding in process Saturday when we happened on it.  It amazes me that places for wedding often look a lot like Christian churches.
Our ride took us on to Hakata Fishing Port and Kamone Plaza (since 1999).
We love this propeller almost as much as children.  It is amazing it's size.  It was in the Kamone Plaze (since 1999) next to the fishing boats.
Kamone Plaze has several light structures that remind me of light Christmas trees in the USA.  I wonder if they mark the park at night year around.
We biked past a larger boat flying the Japanese flag.
We do not often see the flag flown.
We passed a little shrine with a horse and Japanese flag flying (two in one day).
We make it to the Hakata Ferry terminal.  There was a seal art in front of the building that was a favorite with the children in the area.  We found a minute without children on it for a picture.
It was late in the day when we arrived.
There were many destinations and ticket counters to choose from.  Reading kanji and oral communication are a challenge so we decided to save the trip to the Korean Straights for another adventure.
I enjoy the large fish tank inside the stations.
On the bike ride home we passed this piece of art work called the swing.  We are not sure how a swing is seen in it but it was interesting to look at.
Our return trip home included the Ohori lake, skirting Tenjin (the center of Fukuoka) then on to zoo hill.  This picture if of Elder Koberstein walking up one of the steep narrow streets on zoo hill.
This is an extremely narrow street to a home.  Believe it or not a car is  parked in front of this home.  It would be an amazing drive.
Cars in Japan have mirrors that can be fold against the car for tight parking etc.  It makes it easier to walk between cars in tight parking garage etc.  This car feature I had never seen/used before coming to Japan.  Do new cars in the states have fold in mirrors?

Elder Koberstein and I had a fun seventeen mile bike ride on a beautiful winter day after a busy week inside for me at honbu.

Scripture of the Week
Moses 7:18
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.