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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week 12 - April 22 - 28 2013 Japan Fukuoka Mission

Mom's balcony garden continues to grow. 

We have harvested the last lettuce plant in the second from top pot and eating yummy salads with it and radishes also grown in the top top. Notice the tomato plants started from seed in the bottom four pots, they figure into missionary activity later in this post.  Well Monday night was another fun YSA Family Home Evening,  The sister born strong testimony of the gospel and how the missionaries have helped her feel included and she is now helping a lot in YSA to give back.

Tuesday was a really fun Zone P day.  All the areas except Oita, Its just to far away, joined us at the Kumamoto Castle Picnic area.  We had lunch (including feeding the pigeons) then played ballon capture the flag, water ballon volleyball.  this was all followed up by a visit to the Kumamoto Prefecture (similar to a state)museum of art.

Here is the picnic for the missionaries:

And the pigeons:

Not pictures of the balloon capture the flag as I was playing.  But it involved tying a balloon with along string to your foot and racing to capture the enemy's flag ( a balloon that you stomp on and bust to capture their flag).  If anyone stomps on and breaks your balloon your out.  We lost real quick due to a spy who had prior knowledge of the game and used a very long string so that his balloon was still back at the start line by the time he reached our flag.  Very tricky.

Here is beach towel balloon volleyball:

At the art museum we couldn't take pictures but it was fantastic exhibit of art from Japan, both modern and ancient.  Ancient is really ancient there was a small ceramic figure that was from the eighth century.  My favorite was a long (about 30 feet) painting of various locations around Kumamoto done in a very pleasing style.  The scan does not even come close to doing justice to either the postcard or the original I saw.  You will have to come over to see it, it is fantastic.  I bought a number of postcards with these places and here is my favorite.  It is a waterfall that I hope we can visit someday.

One of the more unusual is shown here.  I thought it is rather biblical in style, and the man has a large western nose (we are known as having large noses here in Japan).  Others disagreed with me.  What do you think.

One of the interesting features of almost all public buildings is the umbrella stands.  The one here took the cake as you could lock your umbrella in for a small fee.

Mom and I biked to and from this activity, about 4 miles each way.  It was a great trip but light rain threatened all day.  Here mom is waking her bike down a steep hill down from the castle leaving early before the group dinner, as we don't have any rain gear yet.  It is a good thing we did as it started to rain pretty good when we got home.


We are following the Shigamoto family who live in Tokyo.  You will remember that their son lived in our house as a missionary for the California Oakland/San Francisco Mission for a total of 9 months before we left on our mission to of all places, Japan.  Here is a photo of Mt. Fuji near Tokyo by his father.  They have invited us to come up and see tokyo sometime.  I hope we can.

Wednesday was Japanese class at the international center which is always a lot of fun, we finally finished the Hiragana and are going on to Katagana.  We always enjoy visiting with our teacher Kotsuka Moto and the other advanced student Antonio for Seville Spain.  We had received a call earlier in the week and were able to contact two employees of the International Center who want to take free classes from us at the international center with a third one to join in two weeks.  We are getting to know more non LDS folks here in Japan.  At our English Class this evening we were delighted that a man joined our class.  He had responded to our advertisement at the International Center.  He enjoyed it so much that he emailed that night and said how much fun it was and he plans on continuing.

We had received and email with the transfers we were to help with on Thursday, it was a full day of driving elders to and from train and bus stops to apartments.  It took all day from about 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  We only lost one elder but found him one bus stop before the planned meeting point.  Daniel will be interested to know that the elder we lost is from Sao Paulo, Brazil and speakes excellent english which he says he learned in the MTC, but its hard to believe that he got that good in the MTC.  Our zone increased by two missionaries this transfer.  We are on our way to doubling the mission in one year.

Saturday there was a softball game at a local park, which we biked to and watched.  While there we talked to (via translators) to an elderly lady who could not get over all they americans that were there, three young Elders and us.

Saturday night was Stake Conference Adult session, an especiallly spiritual one for me.  Sunday was State Conference and Priesthood Meetings.  To get all the stake together is a difficult thing with the large distances involved so the concentrate the meeting.  We had the missionaries over for lunch between the two Sunday meeting.  It was easy with sandwiches and wonderful cookies, brownies, potato salad, and macaroni salad made my Mom the night before (just barely).

Another amazing week.

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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