Monday was my wonderful wife's birthday. We had a fantastic time with almost all our children and grandchilden giving here a birthday wish over Google+ hangout.
Today was not Preparation day, since we had district meeting and interviews with the Mission President, Gustafson. During District meeting she was given a surprise birthday party complete with cake.
Not sure why my name is on it, but it was very nice of them all (actually the sisters made it). They are so very kind and like to honor us both.
The Elders made a most fantastic fold out card with our favorite transportation. Our Bike trip from Canada to Mexico has become well known with Mom's Nexus providing pictures to facilitate geting to know members and all.
And to top it all off the created a start of a Japanese Cook book. Mom has been frustrated with being able to use Japanese ingredients and methods, so they provided this great help and plan on adding to it.
The front of the book is in Katagana, used for foreign words and says, "re tsu pi" and is meant to sound like receipe, but ususally is only faguely close. By the way there are lots of foreign words as we look at the stores around town.
All in all a very special day for Mom, I plan on adding a bicycle to here birthday gifts as soon as we can decide on which ones are best for our needs.
Here is Mom busy at here work station, with her favorite pictures on the bulletin board.
Tuesday was actual preparation day. We did normal chores, then had the Missionaries (both zone leaders and both sisters) over to our apartment so they could e-mail and Mom made a fantastic taco lunch with homemade flour tortilla's. the Missionaries were besides themselves with enjoyment. We had a great time together.
Wednesday was a very busy day first going to City Hall for our second drawing for Community board advertisement space all around Kumamoto we were awarded 'C' group position 8 which is eye level, which all you marketing guru's out there know is the best position. After this we went to International Center for our Japanese lession (2 hours long). It was real fun as we had another person in our class, he is from Seville, Spain but is married to a Japanese girl and working her. Now we have two people to get to know. On the way back to the car at the church we walk along the Kumamoto long wall of the castle. We enjoyed to favorite treats for lunch. I got chicken grilled on a stick and Mom got takoyaki. Here are pictures of them.
Luetta, Takoyaki in the making. It includes Octopus.
My Chicken Sticks, the more exotic sounding name is Yakitori. I got a pepper flavoring.
Thursday and Friday were also very busy, we got up early and drove to Kumamoto Port where we boarded the Ferry, Acean Arrow, for a trip across Shimbara Bay, to the city of Shimbara and continued car travel to Nagasaki.
Here is the Ferry.
On the Shimbara side of the huge bay (it took 1/2 hour to cross) we saw Mt Unzen, the large mountain in the background.
The Shimabara Peninsula (島原半島, Shimabara Hantō) is a popular hiking destination that lies to the east of Nagasaki. Formed by the volcanic eruptions of Mount Unzen at its center, the peninsula was the site of several deadly volcanic eruptions, including recent eruptions in the 1990's in which several people were killed and some outskirts of Shimbara City were destroyed. We drove on to Nagasaki.
Here we inspected both the Elders apartment and the Sisters Apartment. At the Elders apartment we learned more about the woven bamboo, Tatamie mats that are used to sleep on in the bedrooms. We understand they are very breathable and allow good air flow under you as you sleep which is very nice on hot humid nights. At least in this apartment the mats (about 2 inches thick) are underlaid with what looks like styrofoam (also about 2 inches thick). This structure is on cement blocks with spacing of 1-2 feet on centers. I did not expect this and under rough housing may give way and break which is the problem they have. We are trying to see if the apartment owner will repair this problem which causing sagging areas in the floor which is their beds. People generally sleep on the floor on futon's, which are single bed size pads that they fold up into thirds during the day. They usually sleep under covers also called futon's but are more like what we call a comforter, both of which in sheets on the bottom and a sheet sleeve for the top. Here is a picture that illustrates what this looks like.
Having a full day of driving, inspections, and buying items needed in the apartments, we finished with just enough light to visit peace park, promoting peace at the site of the Nagasaki Atomic bombing during world war II. Here is the main peace statue.
Friday, we go up had our Skype class and had breakfast the the Toyoko Inn. Here is what Mom had.
We continued on to Isahaya, which on the way back to the Shimabara Ferry. Inspections and shopping constituted the work of the day. We got back with a little time before the ferry left so took a tour of the local Shimabara Castle. Here is a great shot we got of the massive structure.
Finally we entered the Ferry for our return trip,
Of course we could not resist taking pictures of the children feeding the seagulls following the ferry.
glad to be back to our home away from home.