Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 59 - March 18-24, 2014p

Thursday found us driving to Beppu to check the Elders apartment there.  It was a rainy day when we left and we were wondering if we would see snow as we drove though Aso.
We were blessed to have only rain and a few patches of snow on the mountain peaks for our trip.
 The Elders in Beppu has a clean apartment and received a celestial rating so we treated them to lunch at an all you can eat in an hour barbecue.  It was amazing all they would eat.  We enjoyed their company and lunch together.  We are so blessed to serve a long side the young men and women who have been called to be missionaries right now.
For the afternoon we enjoyed the aquariums at Monkey Hill in Bepp.  There was a nice show staring walrus and seals going on as we arrived.
Marine life was beautifully displayed but whales were only found in the children's play area of the aquarium.
We enjoyed watching the display of small (pencil size) colorful eels.  They would go under the sand and come out and wave in the water.  They look a lot like grass if you did not look close at them.
We also enjoyed watching the Cleaner Wrasse at work.
The aquariums were amazing and one could look at fish at many (three I believe) different levels.  This big fish was at the deepest level.  It was a beautiful place that looked so like a real life home for the animals that were housed in the zoo.
The walrus, when not preforming, seemed to enjoy human company.  
We enjoyed the Toyoka Inn breakfast Friday morning before checking the Oita Elders apartment.
This week we have watched the fifth home on the taxi cab parking lot framed and receive a roof.  It looks like there is one more lot to build on.  
Sunday morning as we drove to church in Yatushiro we saw trees that looked like possible cherry tree starting to blossom.  It will soon be cherry blossom time.
Picture of Kimpu Sunday evening at sunset.  It was beautiful! 
Monday was not preparation day and we had the opportunity to visit our new friend in the foothills.  We arrived at dusk.  The birds were really singing beautifully.  We do not hear birds sing in Kumamoto on the eighth floor of our apartment building.  It was a real treat.
She had fixed a meal for all five of us.  The Sisters were in a threesome as one of the Nagamine Sisters had gone to the honbu for some training.  The meal was wonderful.  She then taught us about the Japanese way of serving a meal.  It needs to be pleasing to the taste, beautiful to look at and pleasing to the heart.  The meals are served on dishes appropriate to the season.  Japanese homes have dishes for Spring(Hara), Summer(Natsu), Fall(Aki) and Winter(Fuyu).   Our table had chopsticks make from cherry wood.  Spring is cherry blossom time of year.  

Scripture of the week:
Moroni 10:4-5 (Promise in the Book of Mormon)
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 58 - March 11- 17, 2014

Wednesday (Suiyobi) afternoon found us at the International Center (Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan) for a Japanese (Nihongo Kurasu) class with our former teacher.  Following the class we will teach an English class (Eikaiwa) before returning to our apartment.  The picture above is one of the flower arrangements at the Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan this past week.  We see the small pink blossoms out in gardens around the city right now.
We started our first round of apartment checks since we returned to Kumamoto.  This week was the  apartments of the Kumamoto/Nagamine Elders (Choro) and Sister (Shimi).  The Shimi apartment has one closet for four Shimi.  It is very crowed.  We were able to find this wardrobe at a secondhand store near their apartment for 3900 yen or about $40.  It has four drawers on the bottom and a mirror bonus.  The ward mission leader in the Kumamoto Ward was able to arrange for a truck to transport it and help to load and unload it.  It was an amazing miracle how it all worked out.
This week was a very unusual week.  We generally treat the Choro and Shimi to lunch if their apartment receives a celestial rating.  The Yatsushiro Choros treated us to the famous "Wheatly Family Chocolate Cake".  It was a wonderful treat and surprise for us made by their Eikaiwa students.  It was delicious.
The fourth home in the taxi cab parking lot was started this week.  They laid the foundation.  It looks like there maybe room for one more home on this little piece of land.  Amazing!!
The Kumamoto/Nagamine Charo/Shimi earned a celestial rating on their apartment check.  They decided to have a lunch at "Joyfull" on Saturday but one of the Charo was asked to serve in Fukuoka Friday.  He left on the Shinkasen (bullet train) Saturday at noon.  The decision was to have breakfast at our apartment Saturday morning.  We made French toast for the group.  It was nice so that he could say goodbye.  He had been serving as a zone leader in Kumamoto for the past six months.  Pictured is Elder Koberstein cooking French toast.

The Shimi in the Nagamine Ward asked us to pick them up from an appointment.  It was up near the foothills of Aso.  The person had many beautiful flower garden around the family home.  The first picture is the same pink flowers in the flower arrangement at the Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan.  There were many bulbs in blossom.  It was a real treat to share the flower gardens.
This little bush is the snow (yuki) flower (hana).  It is just starting to blossom and will be white on top when in full blossom.  It looks like snow so is called the yuki hana.
This beautiful display of dolls so traditional for Japan this time of year was on display in the home. The holiday is Momo-no-Sekku Hinamatsuri which takes place on March 3 in Japan.  Matsuri means festival and is a time to pray for the health and well being of young girls.  Hina means dolls.  The dolls were originally made from straw and grass.  The celebration of this festival in Japan is traceable to the Edo Period (1603-1867).
We were served a different fruit called Pomelo, shaddock or pummelo which is a hybrid between a grapfruit and orange.  It looks something like a grapefruit but is much larger and does not have the bitter membranes between the sections.  It is juicy but peal able with your hands and not messy.  We are going to have to find out more about this fruit.  We enjoyed the treat.
Sunday evening we biked around Lake Ezu and handed out Eikaiwa fliers.  It was a beautiful evening to be outdoors and fun to met others enjoying the evening. This is the park next to the lake as the sun was setting..
This is the sun as it was setting over the lake.  It was beautiful!

Scripture of the Week 
John 7:17
If any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Week 57 - March 4-10, 2014

After returning to Kumamoto we have taken a few days to get organized, do taxes etc. I borrowed the sewing machine from the Honbu Couple apartment and was able to made the pillow shams and bed skirt fit our bed.  We have a queen size bed and comforter with king size pillow shams and bedskirt.  They were beautiful but did not fit the bed in our apartment.
  I was able to make them queen size using the borrowed sewing machine.
The net has been remove and fresh look is visible on this little building.  We wonder if it is going to be a home for new neighbors too.
This week we biked do the International Center and signed up for Japanese classes again.
It is across the mote from the castle.  Notice the cherry trees are still bare.
We biked past the YouMe grocery store on the way back to the apartment so stopped and bought some needed grocery.  I think we almost forget we were on bikes but between my backpack and the little cloth bag I keep in my purse we were able to get everything home.  Bikes are amazing modes of transportation.
In the afternoon on p-day Elder Koberstein and I biked by Hanaoka Mountain.  At the top is a stupa that has Budda's remains.  The stupa and remains were donated to Japan by the Indian Prime Minster Nehuio as a prayer for world peace 
and spirit stones around the stupa representing those who died in action during World War II.  
This is a view of Kumamoto city from the top.  It was a fun bike ride to the top but way more hill than I had hoped for when we decided to do it.  We had a fun ride and great day.

Scripture of the Week
Alma 32:27-28

But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words,

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.  Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold,if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it our by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts, and when you feel these swelling motion, ye will begin to say within yourselves-It must needs  be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 56 February 25 - March 3, 2014

We enjoyed our stay at the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel. Pictured is our last breakfast.  Elder Koberstein enjoyed the more traditional American breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit and french fries.
My breakfast was more traditional Japanese.  I really enjoy the salads and fruits they serve at least in hotels for breakfast.
After a nice lunch with the mission president and his wife and the new office couple and a full day training at honbu, we headed back to Kumamoto.
To my delight and surprise my two flowers have survived the four months of neglect.  The larger plant actually has blossoms on it.  Both were very dry but alive.
The taxi parking lot we view from our balcony has three beautiful family homes that are or soon will be occupied.  The little shed like building looks like it is being worked on too.  You can see the net it is wrapped in.  I wonder if it to will become a small  single family home too.
This picture is from ground level look at our apartment building and our new neighbors homes.  We live on the eight floor of the apartment building.  I am glad these homes will not take away our beautiful view.
We took a short bike ride along the creek/drainage area on Saturday.  The narcissus like flowers that grow along the edge of the creek/drainage area are beautiful this time of year.
I harvested the peanuts I planted a year ago.  The pot was not ideal for peanut growth but now I have seen the peanut plant and successfully harvested some.  It was a fun learning experiment and now I can taste raw peanuts.  I think I will prefer them roasted like we buy in the store.
I enjoyed the beautiful pansies that grew in the balcony garden at the Fukuoka office couples apartment.  I decided I wanted to try and grow some pansies in Kumamoto.  I hope they do as well.
We had a granddaughter who danced in the Gilbert Arizona Temple Cultural Celebration before the dedications of the Gilbert Arizona Temple.  Sunday morning in Japan we were able to get this event on the Internet.  It was wonderful to be part of this very special event with our granddaughter.
This is the title of liberty flag that our granddaughter made for this special event.
The area where the performance took place is a bowl that collects water when it rains.  This picture was taken after the performance was over.  The temple is visible in the background.  Prayers were answered, the show was able to go on even though it rained.  Check out this link for more information.

Monday we stopped by to see a friend who lives in the Nagamine Ward.  She gave us a cup of corn soup and chirashi sushi.  She said this is Japanese sushi in English.  It was delicious.  I like sushi that is cooked.

Scripture of the Week
D&C 31:9
Be patient in afflictions,
 revile not against those that revile. 
 Govern your house in meekness,
 and be steadfast.