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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 21 - June 24-30, 2013 Japan Fukuoka Mission

Monday June 24 we suggested to the Kumamoto District leaders that we could meet at our apartment at 7:00 a.m. (which is Sunday 4:00 MST in Utah) and watch the worldwide broadcast "The work of Salvation".  They took us up on this and we got to listen along with family and friends in America.  Afterwards we had a fun pancake breakfast. 

Afterwards the sisters had invited Luetta to make sushi rolls and she was happy to be able to learn how to do them just right from a native Japanese sister.  Here are the ingredients (egg, fried spam sticks, carrots, and cucumbers) and starting to spread the rice on the sea weed wrap.

Adding the ingredients to the rice layer.

To wrap them you put a layer of plastic wrap on a bamboo mat then roll them such that the 1" of sea weed that you didn't put rice on overlaps onto other side of the sea weed.  That way they stick together with the help of the sticky rice.

Then you slice them.  Here is the finished product along with Salsa and Chips that we ate for lunch.  A Japanese/Mexican lunch.

Here the wrap is on the outside.

And here the wrap is on the inside with the rice exposed and covered with sesame seeds.

The entrance to the Kumamoto Stake Center had a large rolling iron gate and high walls that made it virtually invisible from the street and not very attractive.  Recently it was redone with grass and a low wall, it is very inviting.

It is such a wonderful improvement that as the missionaries contact people in the area they hear how glad they are that we "fixed" it up.  It may be con incidental for planned, but it will be great for the new policy of having church building tours in all the church building around the world announced in the Worldwide broadcast.

Thursday and Friday we inspected apartments in Saga and Sasebo.  Sasebo in on the far western side of Kyushu island that we are on.  It is a fairly long trip.  After the Saga inspection, we got to Sasebo before dark and went to the Kujukushima National Park, which consists of numerous small islands and is very beautiful.  Even though there was a cloudy overcast we got some good pictures.  First from the Kujukushima view platform.

Then at the Saikai Pearl Sea Resort, sort of a water theme park, with a dolphin stage, which was closed and lots of water activities.

There was also a dive shop here, I suspect there is some awesome scuba diving here in the park.

They have some awesome large ships you can take tours of the islands on,

as well as host of other smaller crafts such as kayaks, etc. that you can rent.  I was so wanting to try one out, oh well.

On the way back to the hotel, in the rain, on shot of the large commercial shipping cranes in the bay.

When we got back Saturday we had one of the worlds smallest watermelons:

It tasted great and the price was right.

I came across the awesome poster and I loved it.

It is truly awesome, that God loves us personally and individually.  How it can be I don't know but I know it is true from the witness of His spirit to me.  I know science has discovered some wonderful things about the cosmos, but I feel there is much more to be known and ultimately correct revealed religion and fully discovered science will in fact describe the same thing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Week 20-June 17 - 23, 2013 - Fukuoka Japan Mission

This week we had some interesting activities.  We had a quite preparation day with normal classes Tuesday and Wednesday.  Things are going well with teaching English Class and the Japanese classes we are are taking.  We do a lot of studying these days, because: "Language is one of your most powerful tools" (Missionary Handbook p. 12) and "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36). It is a real debilitating to be virtually deaf and dumb in the Japanese Language.

Thursday we went to Yatsushiro and inspect the apartment there. Everything looked good and we didn't even have to buy anything. It was raining this day but here are a few of the photos on the way:

We loved to low hanging clouds touching the mountains.

We have a grand-daughter named Naomi, so we loved this English School.  It seems that a lot of english speaking foreigners make good money teaching English Conversation in Japan.  The church offers this for free, as a community service.

The current stage of the rice fields are always of interest.  We are told that it has be a relatively dry years and rice is not doing as good as it should.

We got to experience our first typhoon here in Japan.  It was going to hit Koushou Island (where we are) Late Friday.  However it finally stalled just off coast and reduced to a moderate raid storm.

Here is our favoite grocery store that has an outside area which is normally sun shaded with tarps, but here the tarps are being used to prepare for the storm.

Here is the steam next to our apartment, with increased water flow from the rain caused by typhoon Tembin. We got quite a bit of rain, but as monsoon's go it seems to have been rather minor. Glad for that, but I'm sure we'll see more before the typhoon season is over, in the fall.

Saturday night we had a Missionary activity of taking investigators and new members to see the local soccer team.  It was an impressive stadium, but very few in attendance.  The team name is Roasso.

We had a visit from Kumomon the Kumamoto promotional character and the team mascot.

Sadly they lost 4 to 3, a very high scoring game for soccer.  An unusual event is when the team members had to come before the crowd.  In our section the fans were fairly quite, but when they went to the sections dressed in all red with big banners and flags, who created the most noise in the game, they showed their displeasure with them for losing the game.

Here is a video of the routing section.  They were amazing with how hard they yelled for their team.

That was a very fun night and there was only sprinkles as we walked to our car.

Sunday was as always a great learning experience with 6 hours of complete Japanese immersion.  We hear more and more words as we study and the weeks go by.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week 19 - June 10-16, 2013 Japan Fukuoka Mission

Last Preparation day, Monday June 10th was a fun day.  We decided to bike to the sports complex where we will be attending a soccer game next week end.

We went by this police station (Koban in Japanese).  I took this picture only because the name looks so much like Kobin.

Interesting scare crow on a garden we passed.  Looks like an inflatable bird like thing on a string on a stick.  I wonder if it really works.  We noticed they had a whole row of peanuts, we will have to check them out again and see if ours mature at the same time.

Interesting sculpture by the Soccer stadium.

This sport complex has lots of great fields for Tennis, running, baseball as well as the two large building for soccer and and indoor swimming dome.

Here is the blue running track that surrounds the soccer stadium.

On the way back took pictures of these fields, note the tracker in the flooded field, apparently cultivating rice.

Tuesday we took a bike trip to the local post office, which is also has a Post Bank ATM machine.  We can receive packages through this post office, if the home delivery fails.

We also went to the 100 yen store (think dollar store) and mom saw this nest in the roof eves of birds with their young ones nearly ready to leave the nest.

On Wednesday we went to the International Center for our English class we teach and the Japanese class we take.  On the bike trip there Mom had a car come out from a side street, stop, then start up again.  This surprised her and made her front brake to much and nearly fall on the sidewalk.  She caught herself but in the process must have twisted her knee.  At the time it didn't seem to be any problem, but after three hours at the classes, she was in pain and limped badly to get to our bikes to go home.  She toughed it out and we finally made it back, but we feared how bad it might be.  She asked for a Priesthood blessing, so I called the Elders and they came over and help me administer the blessing.  The blessing indicated she would be OK and be able to finish our mission.  We were still fearful of how bad it might be and decided to wait till morning to see how it felt and if worse determine if we should see a doctor.  To our surprise, despite our faith in the blessing, she felt much better the next day and has gotten progressively better each day.  Even the swelling is nearly gone and she is getting around with a knee brace as good as before.   We regard it as a miracle, she is even talking about biking again, after a sufficient recovery time.  We will use very conservative judgement on that.

As you might suspect you seldom take pictures at such a trying time.

On Friday, I found three small American flags in the back room and we decided to display them as a recognition of flag day, a little early due to the international date line.

After many cloudy days the sky cleared up some and I got this photo of Venus.  The compression algorithm's used by Blogger makes it look fuzzy.  Oh well, I tried.

Here is a poor dip of the big dipper through clouds that were not apparent until the time lapse photography.

And the cloud filtered moon.

I sure miss my telescope at home.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Week 18 - June 3 -9 2013 Japan Fukuoka Mission

Monday was a regular day since preparation day is moved to tuesday on every transfer week.  However, one of the sisters in our zone had training at the mission zone to be called as a sister trainer (sister equivalent of a zone leader).  Consequently her companion asked to stay at our apartment during study time since she could not be alone as a missionary.  As a result of that we were unable to open our Skype to talk to family.  We really missed talking to them.  We took a stort bike ride to a dinner with our ward mission leader and family.  It was lots of fun especially coming back on back roads led by the elders who bike fast and furiously.  Due to recent rain it was very clear and the mountains just to the south of us were very clear.  This photo doesn't do it justice.

Here is our apartment building, we are in the top apartment on the far left.

An the apartment just below us are drying there cloths in the normal Japanese apartment style by handing them outside on the balcony.  If you look closely at our apartment you will see Luetta's garden.

  On Tuesday, preparation day, we were able to put in a long bike ride (at lease for us as missionaries with 7 speed bikes) of 18 miles.  We tried to make it to the Astonomical observation location east of town but didn't quite make it before it was to late, and storm clouds were threatening.  Here is a typical stream bed in the city (probably better called a water diversion channel).  The monsoon season is about upon us, it will be interesting to see if it fills up, stay tuned.

This is a rice field after the flood irrigation has been drained.

Here is a Heron.

And in a garden area near the river (with it's birds) there were numerous scare crow's, one of which is shown here.

Our bike ride got a little late and as this picture shows rain was threatening.

In fact we got pretty wet before we made it home.  We were both happy when we made it home that night.

Wednesday back to the International Center for both teaching English and learning Nihongo (Japanese).  We typically park our bikes in a parking lot by the City Hall and walk along the river with the castle long wall on the other side to the International Center.  Here are two photos of this parking lot.  It costs 100 yet per bike if you are there over two hours.

On Thursday we visited an investigator and gave here a reading assignment and home work.  We feel she knows the gospel is true and has felt the spirit testify to her, but may have not recognized it.  We believe she will be blessed to read the scriptures we have her and answer the questions we gave that address how to feel God's answers to our prayers.   I know this is real as I have done it in my life.

She later called the missionaries, who speak Japanese, and asked a few questions about it and was studying it and planned on completing the assignment.  Unfortunatly it was raining on Sunday when she was planniong on coming to church and we would discuss the assignment.  She only walks and was unable to come.   We will see here again this week and see how it is going.

It is so much fun to be able to bike around Kumamoto on missionary activities and keeps us in good health and weight, I hope.  Here is my favorite wheels.

Kumamoto is a very interesting place and so much fun to get to know more and more.

Here is the Kumamon, a symbol for this area, also enjoying biking in Kumamoto in the rain.

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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