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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 24 - July 15 - 21, 2013 Japan Fukuoka Mission

This was transfer week and everything gets mixed up.  On Monday we helped with transportation of two of the sisters to the mission home to get training to become sister trainers.  They were way excited.  Our preparation day was moved to Tuesday, but that worked out fine, with relaxed senior missionary rules, we got to talk to our children on Monday, which is Sunday in the States.  With Tuesday being the temporary preparation day, several missionary companionship's ended up at our apartment on the eighth floor to use our two computers to email home and friends.  This is always fun, and we like to help the missionaries.  It was rather odd as the day moved on eventually all four of the companionship's ended up at our apartment.  I got a belated surprise birthday, complete with cake and special meal.  One of the sisters had made rice ball on egg and spam base.  The use of Spam as a meat appears to be fairly common in Japan, especially among missionaries. 

Before I know what was going on and it being lunch time and I was hungry I ordered pizza for the whole group.

They gave me a most creative birthday card aka Mobile aka spiral cutting project that I hung from our light.  Their greeting were written along the spiral arms the this model of the collision of two spiral galaxies.

I even got a second birthday cake made by this sisters.  Making cakes in the very small japanese ovens is a real trick.  Their microwave ovens double as a regular convection oven.

My wife had already got me a special birthday gift, complete with appropriate filling material.

In Kumamoto, the Kumamon bear represents this area and you see his image everywhere.

The day ended with a wonderful sunset.  This is the day the missionaries get their phone call wheather they will be transfered or not.  The sad but also good news is that two of the eight will be transfered on Thursday.

The next day we continued to dine on spam, egg, rice ball that had been left with us.  Here is a close up of how it looks.  The need for sticky rice is apparent to keep this these things together.

Here is a random thought, it may seem odd to have this blog about our mission but not see any pictures of missionaries, at least recently. We have been asked to not include such pictures in publically viewed sites or use names of them or their investigators. Oddly some people have been known to use this and other information to cause problems. If you would like to be on our mailing list with more details about the missionary aspect of our work, let me know.  Not everyone follows this policy but we have decided to be protective of these wonderful missionaries who work so hard to find and teach many wonderful people who are investigating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

On thursday, actual tranfer day, we helped get the missionaries to bus stops as needed here is one pulling out, with on elder being tranfered and also two other from a nearby area that will be going home at the conclusion of their full time mission.  Now they get to be member missionaries.

On the week-end we had two fun ward activities.  Kumamoto on Friday had a summer fesitval.  We had been asked to provide one game.  We set up watermellon seed spiting contest.  Japanese love watermellon.  Here is the playing field.

The winner got his projectile way back onto the driveway beyond the red sidewalk.  The winner in the 18 and over was a Japanese missionary.  We also had other age catagories and gave away prizes. 

On Saturday the Nagamine Ward had an inteteresting Ward Party called a Nagashi Somen party. They set up this bamboo trough arrangement with flowing water, and let cold somen noodles (thin less thatn 1.5 mm dia.) flow down them. You then catch them with your chopsticks and put in your bowl with a special sauce and other ingredients and eat. Very fun.

Here is the trough.  They got and split the bamboo for this.

Putting the noodles in the trough.

Here are the precooked and cooled  noodles (ice on the noddles) with a bamboo bowl that some got to eat out of.

Here is my wife enjoying some.

They had another activity, that when I heard about it I wondered what a mess.  Apparently they like watermellon so much that they enjoy putting in the air then hitting it with bamboo sticks and when it breaks everyone eats part of it.  Well I was relieved that when it finally came if was a paper ball painted like a watermellon with candy inside.

The front of the Kumamoto Stake Center was recently greatly improved.  Here is an old picture on the Google street view:

And here is how it is now.

Both parties were held on this front lawn, which is directly across from a major university and just down the street from a large hospita.  All the traffic got to see us having great fun and be attracted to the the church.

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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