We took a short bike ride today, the first after Luetta's knee injury. Her is knee is doing great, what a great blessing this has been that it has healed so well. We came across a new flower at our local stream. I learned they are 4'oclocks.
We were told that we can plant the seeds when develop, so I looked them up on the web and here is what the seeds look like. Can't wait to try them.
As proof that we actually rode our bikes here is a picture by a new store, where we got dessicant cup to help remove the moisture from our apartment air. It is so humid here that the minute you step out of air conditioning your skin feels wet and your cloths feel damp. It doesn't take much walking till things are actually wet.
Our Japanese Instructor at the International Center used his own money to buy us a gift of a classic Japanese tale about a princess. We are in the process of reading it. The Japanese characters are in rows from top to bottom and you read the book from our normal back to front.
We are learning to read it and it has been fun, maybe we are reading at an early grade school level.
We are so impressed with the wonderful improvement in the landscaping of the front of the Kumamoto Stake Center, it is so attractive now. This will clearly help with the announcement that all church buildings will be used for tours by the missionaries. The number of visitor center's have increased by thousands in one decision. Now we need people that want to come.
On Tuesday we walked to the post office and I had to have my picture taken in front this this Japan size BMW vehicle.
We have just started a holiday called Tanabata. Wishes are placed on very colorful paper streamers on bamboo trees. Here is one on the way down to the International Center.
And here is one in the International Center.
They are very beautiful and colorful. Tanabata (七夕, meaning "Evening of the seventh") is a Japanese star festival, originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on July 7 of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August.
July 4th was celebrated by inspecting the two apartments closest to us. Both got Celestial rating so we took them to lunch at the Gull Gray resturant. It was fun. While inspecting the apartments we played the Star Spangled Banner on my ipod touch for them. Most had not noticed that it was the 4th of July.
On Friday we inspected the apartmetn in Omuta. Here are the rice fields on the way. We continue to notice how they are progressing. It varies with region.
For their Celestial work at keeping the apartment clean we went to a soba noodle place. Here is picture of what the food looks like.
The Soba noodles are rather large in diameter and made from buckwheat. The side dish was various seafood and vegetable tempura.
On Saturday after English class we took the zone leaders to Nobeoka. This area has been closed since before we came due dwindling number of missionaries. but now with the wonderful increase in new missionaries it will be opened at next transfer (July 18th). We were to visit the branch and several less active members to give the branch some attenti on and get them ready for the new missionaries that will help them grow the branch. We went on the visits to several members and attended church on Sunday (Fast Sunday) All four of us missionaries were asked to bear our testimonies which we enjoyed doing. It is a small branch, about 20 people in attendance, but they have a very nice smaller building.
On the way to and from we went substantially south of Oso (the volcano of previous posts) and saw much wonderful scenery. The mountain areas away from the large cities is so green and lush with many stand of lighter green bamboo groves in the midst of other evergreen trees. There was a logging operation on this trip.
Japan has more tunnels bored through it's mountains than I have every seen anywhere else. Here is one with a very interesting decoration on it's front.
In Nobeoka, they were also celebrating Tanabata.
The entry into Nobeoka is a dramatic gorge. Taking pictures in the car it was impossible to avoid the guard railings, which I was very happy were there. The river have many places with excellent white water rapids that I would love to run down.