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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Week 6 - March 10-17, 2013 Japan Fukuoka Mission

I have not done a good job keeping up my blog of events surrounding the new adventure my wife and I are having, serving a Mission to the Japan Fukuoka LDS mission serving in the Kumamoto area.  We expect to serve here until January 5th, 2015.  It has been a very busy six weeks between training and learning the most basic skills of survival in a foreign land, but very exciting and rewarding.

This week Started with a fun Young Single Adults, Family Home Evening activity.  The zone leaders in our area are both being transfered out this week.  Elder Oba will be an assistant to the President and Elder Ushiro is completing his mission this week.  Elder Morris was moved into the area in advance to become familiar with the working being done here in advance since an unusual transfer of both elders is happening.  Here is a picture of them (l-r, Elder Morris, Me, Elder Oba, Elder Ushiro).

Luetta and I had a big day of placing posters for our Eikaiwa (English class) at numerous places in the Kumamoto and Nagamine ward areas.  Here is one picture that right in front of the Kumamoto Stake Center where we meet and our apartment is near.  What great luck (actually blessing) to have such a great place and many other great ones.

We had a fun Young Single Adults Famly Home Evening activity at our apartment.  It was an ice cream party at our apartment.  Elder Ushiro who is completing his mission this week is always fun and made taco flavored ice cream which created lots of laughts looking at the funny faces he and others made as they ate it.  Here is a picture of the preparation.
If someone told you missionary work was just hard work, which it is, there are also wonderful fun times and deeply spiritual experiences.

Luetta and I are keeping tack of all the Japanese licience plates from the various areas of Japan that we see while driving around.  Here is one.
This is from Kagoshima (鹿児島) on the southern part of the large Kyushu Island we are on.  This is the seventh out of 117 we have seen so far.  I guess we won't see them all.

Since Elder Ushiro was completing his mission and prparation day was moved to tuesday due to transfers, we took Elder Ushiro and Morris to Mt. Aso, something he really wanted to do before returning home.  Here are pictures on the way up.  See the steam belching out.
 This is a monument on the flank of the volcano.

 Here we are walking about 1 mile to the top, a car cost money.
 Luetta by a map of the caldera area.
 The windy top by the caldera filled with amazingly blue hot (60C) water and steam.
 Warning sign, I obeyed.
I was so exicted to see large sulfur deposits that were from Mt. Aso for sale (stand on first picture) that I bought one (see the second picture). Its name in Japanese is "Io" which is the same spelling as the volcanic moon of Jupiter Io, however they have different pronunciations.
 As a Chemist you can imagine my excitement to get a native deposit of elemental Sulfur.
Wednesday was are wonderfull Nihongo (Japanese) class at the International Center downtown.  We have a wonderful teacher named Kotsuka Motoo (first names are last in Japan).  He continued to teach us Hiragana with special work on the forming of good characters and stroke order which is very important to get good looking characters with appropriate spacing.  We also did preparation for and teaching of our English class.  Luetta had a game pulling items from a bag and describing them in English, which was enjoyed by all.  We included a little fish in a globe that was given as a gift to us.  the fish is a Kingyo (Goldfish).  It was a very rainy day and attendance was down.  It appears that large storms take about 5 days to reach the western U.S. coast., if true Monday should have a storm.  Let me know.

Thursday, was the 14th or 3.14 which is pi(e).  In honor of pie day we got the closest thing that we have seen here called Anglel pie, really a cookie.

We spent a long time trying to figure out the address system here in japan.  Typically an address will have the prefecture or state (Kumamoto), then the Shi (Kumamoto), the the ku (Chuou) then three numbers 9-5-28.  The first number is the chome (Obiyama), the next is the block number, and finally the last number is the building number.  The building number is in the order in which they were built not any sequential number system like we have in America.  Here is photo of an itentifing sign above our mail boxes inside the front door to our apartments.  It shows the block number as 5 (go), and building as 28 (nijuuhachi).
We walked around our block looking for the Chome (pronounced chomay) like there are in some parts of the city, but none was to be seen. Here is a pole sign giving our chome name and number.
Friday was a great day of Japanese Skype class etc.  However, in the evening we were invited to the 171st Relief Society Birthday.  Here is the hand written sign for this event on a white board. 
Luetta had fun singing with the Relief Society choir in Japanese!
Saturday was a fun day with Eikaiwa at 2:00 in the afternoon.  It was a fun class especially since we had two women come as a result of the first poster we had put up in the Lobby of the International Center in downtown Kumamoto.  We were so happy our work has started to pay off.
You might enjoy this road sign which has an arrow the way you shouldn't go.  Its that fact that it is yellow and preceeded by an X that mans don't do it.  This is a good idea since a right turn with a center divide would put you in oncoming traffic.
The adventure continues, as after a very full Sunday the Nagamine Ward had a dinner at which I ate ankaki yakisoba with octopus.  It tasted good.


  1. It's awesome to watch you learn about Japanese.

  2. Looks like you are having a great time! You are so close to us, but so far away! :)


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I have worked 30 years at Del Monte Foods in Walnut Creek CA, 5 years at Ralston Purina in San Diego CA, 7 years at Carnation in Oconomowoc WI