Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 64 - April 22-28, 2014

 We found Koinobori flying in the wind on the way to Miahara (grocery store) this week. 
Following the good advice of the mission doctor and his wife and the example set by our children and our International Center Japanese teacher we decided to do as our daughter was doing and train for a 5K using the free program C25K or "Couch Potato to 5K".   We have finished week 6 or a 8 week program and are feeling great. 
This week we checked apartments in Kumamoto, Nagamine and Yatsushiro.  In Yatsuchiro we enjoyed lunch of Indian Nan Curry.  I had Cheese Nan Curry.  It had cheese inside and on top. 
Saturday was our day to work at the Fukuoka Temple. 
On our drive back to Kumamoto we stopped by Costco where we found dragon fruits for sale.  They looked interesting.  We had not tasted dragon fruit so we bought a package.   They are not a very sweet fruit but interesting to taste and so fun to eat.  I cut it in quarters and then scored it.  The pieces of fruit came easily off the skin.  It was amazing. 
The construction for the fifth new home started this week in our taxi cab parking lot.  The four homes that have been built are all two story beautiful little homes.  Families are starting to move in. 
Sunday in the Relief Society lesson we read a quote by George Q. Cannon
from the talk "To My Grandchildren" by President Henry B. Eyring given during the October 2013 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He said this about how God has prepared you and me and our children for the tests we will face:  "There is not one of us but what God's love has been expended upon.  There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed.  There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save.  There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning.  We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and He has actually given His angels - invisible beings of power and might - charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping."

Scripture of the Week
Moses 1:39
For behold, this is my work and my glory-to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 63 - April 15-21, 2014

April 15 is my mother's birthday.   She was born in 1910 and would have been 104 years old this year.  This is mother and dad's wedding picture.  They were married October 9, 1946 in the Salt Lake Temple and honeymooned by going to the Utah temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In those days one had to have a different recommend for each temple attended. 
Tuesday was zone training and interviews with President Gustafson.  The AP's did the training and part of it was a mogi in the church parking lot.  I enjoyed the flowers in the flower bed on the side of the building.
The three AP's stayed at the Kumamoto Elders apartment.  Wednesday morning we drove them very early to the Eki where they caught the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kagoshima for another training.  The picture was taken as we drove into the Kumamoto Station.
We then headed for Nobeoka to do an apartment inspection.  We enjoyed the carp streamers that were flying during the three hour drive. 
 I enjoyed trying to take pictures of them from a moving car.
This is the display on our balcony of Koinobori which means carp streamer in Japanese.  They were traditionally flown in Japan to celebrate Tango no Sekku (端午の節句?),   This holiday is now designated a national holiday and called Kodomo no Hi (子供の日) or children's day and celebrated the last day of Golden Week, May 5.   Koinobori are flown from April to early May.  The black carp is for father, red is mother and then traditionally a carp for each son.  We have included our daughters.  The Koinobori were traditionally flown in honor of sons for a good future and in the hope that they will grow up healthy and strong.
Again on preparations day Elder Koberstein and I attempted to bike to Tatsudayamo Ryo Kuchi park.  The park appeared not to be open today but we did come across Mt. Tatsuda Park.  We decided to walk through it.  It was beautiful!
 We walked though the small graveyard.
We then looked at Taishoin Shrine which are four tombs called Yotsugobyo built for ancestors of the Hosokawa family.  This is just one of them.  They date to 1637 A.D.
We then walked through the Moss Garden "Koke-En".  We were fascinated by the bamboo.  Some bamboo trees had been cut down that were 6-8 inches across.  It looked like the roots were sending up new shoots about as big around as the ones that had been cut down.  What an interesting site.
The "Koke-En" reminded us of a time while traveling in England when we were told, "everything is green, the roofs are green, the rocks are green" etc. 
We reached a chained off road with a sign but not being able to read it, we were not sure if it was the park.  There appeared no other road options so I enjoyed the huge azalea bushes in the parking lot and we headed back to our apartment finished with another biking adventure.
Scripture of the Week
John 15:13
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 62 -April 8-14. 2014

This week we checked missionary apartment in Shimizu/Tusboi and Omuta.  As we were driving to one of the apartments through the very narrow streets a good size truck pulled in ahead of us.  We followed it and come to one of the tight corners with mirrors only to check and see if any one is coming. The truck was going along and then started to back up.  Soon we saw another truck about the same size coming around the corner.  They passed to our amazement and then this smaller one followed.  Driving in Japan is amazing.  Drivers are generally courteous and work together to make it work.  We are continually amazed at what we experience.

After checking the apartment in Omuta we had the opportunity to take the missionaries out to lunch.  They chose Tustamina Yakuniku.  Here we each chose all of what we wanted to eat and cooked it on the grill.  I enjoyable lunch.  Great job Omuta!

The evening was filled with a dinner appointment with an investigator who served us sushi.  It was an interesting evening that ended with a discussion about the gospel and prayer.

Saturday morning we had an Easter activity to which we invited our Eikaiwa students and families.  It was a fun Easter Egg hunt and information about Easter.
Saturday and Sunday we then enjoyed listening to the 184 General Conference sessions.
President Thomas S. Monson shared this poem in one of his talks.

I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody's need make me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.

I think I can relate to the teaching in these short lines.  I have never regretted being kind.
My garden is growing again this spring.  These are my tomatoes that I started from seeds a few weeks ago.  Radishes from our balcony garden are almost big enough to eat.
I enjoy the flowers.  This hardy one has survived 4 months without care and now has beautiful blossoms for me to enjoy.
For preparation day we attempted to bike up to Tatsudayamo  Ryo Kuchi park.  We passed a very large graveyard on the way.  I like the very old grave marker that looked something like a surf board. It still had readable kanji written on it.
The trees were beautiful even though we did not actually get to the park.  We hope to be able to find it when we go to the ward picnic later this month.

Scripture of the Week
1 Nephi 10:19
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Week 61 - April 1-7, 2014

On Friday we picked up our oldest son (chonon) at the International Airport in Fukuoka.
Saturday was a day for rain, cherry blossoms and the Kumamoto Castle.
One of my favorite parts was the music played in Hosokawa Gyobu-tei which was the residency of the Hosokawa Clan during the Edo period.
April first was my birthday.  It was a real treat to have our chonon help celebrate.  We celebrated by hiking straight up Mt. Kimbo.  Kimbo is the tallest mountain seen from our balcony in Kumamoto.  
At the top of the mountain one can see Kumamoto city on one side and the Shimabara Sea.on the other side on a clear day.  
At the top we enjoyed watching little birds feed in the cherry trees.  This is a picture of one of them.  Does anyone know what kind of bird it is?
Wednesday found us again at the Kumamoto Castle with our Japanese teacher as a guide.  
As we left the International Center (Kokusai Kouryou Kaikan karasu) after our Japanese class and English Conversation (Eikaiwa) class we bought bentos and enjoyed dinner under the sakura trees.  We had okonomoyaki and takoyaki.  It was a fun dinner.  We ended the day teaching Free Eikaiwa in the evening at our church in Obiyama.
Thursday morning we drove to Nagasaki by the Kumamoto Ferry.  We visited the Peace Park and the Bomb Museum in Nagasaki.  
We hiked to the lookout point were one can see the sky line in 1946 and today.  
We drove to the top of Mt. Inasadike to see the beautiful view from that point.  The top of the mountain was in a cloud so we decided to take a ride on the tram so we could take pictures.  It was fun but the pictures have water spots on them as it was raining outside.  
Friday we visited the hot springs on Mt. Unsen on our return trip to Kumamoto..
Our next adventure was seeing the top of Mt Unsen.  In 1993 it blew its top and lava poured out of this volcano for five years.  Currently it just steams and grows a bigger cone.  
We visited the Unsen Observation Station.  It is a place were the people can became educated about this volcano and is situated in the path of the 1993 pyroclastic flow.
I found the channeling network outside the window interesting.  When this volcano goes off next time they hope to be able to guide the lava flow to the sea.  
On the way back to the Ocean Arrow or Kumamoto/Shimabara Ferry and to Kumamoto across the Shimabara Sea we visited Shimabara Castle.  Like the Kumamoto castle much of it has been reconstructed to preserve/share local history.  
Before going inside the staff took pictures of us. Don't I have two handsome samurai to stand between?
We drove to Yamato-cho to see the ''Tsujunkyo''(通潤橋) Bridge.release water back into the river below.  It is always a beautiful site and a wonder to me.  It was built about 1853 to bring water to rice patties on the side of the river without water.  A water duct brings water across the top of this master piece of engineering.  This bridge today is stilll used  to bring water to the other side of the Todoroki River.
For our next adventure we hiked to the Gorogataki Falls.  It is down river from the Tsujunkyo Bridge.  It was a beautiful 50 meter falls and well worth the time.
After our church meetings on Sunday we had a wonderful dinner.  Akemi showed us how to make Chicken Katsu, Miso Soup and Fried Tofu.  
It was a delicious meal.  Now to try making it myself.
Early Monday morning found the Koberstein's headed to the International airport in Fukuoka to say goodby to a fun filled week and visit with our chonan.
The cherry blossoms are gone but have given way to the beautiful azala hedge below.  Life is this way for me, a wonderful visit with our chonon is over but new experiences await.

Scripture of the week:
Moroni &:13
"But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God."