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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Week 33: September 16-22, 2013 Serving in Kumamoto Japan

I have recently included a number of our Japanese friends in our face book and blogs.  We typically don't include photos of people or missionaries here in Japanese for privacy reasons.  We don't usually cover details of our missionary activities for the same reason.  We love to post pictures of what we do and the wonderful places we are blessed to see.

Monday was preparation day as normal.  We managed to use our bikes today.  A Sister in the new sister's apartment called and said the building owner had been by, due to water coming out of the bottom of the building under the wash area.  They felt it might be due to a poorly installed washer.  We biked there to inspect and determine how we could solve this problem.  We observed that the shower area was the probable source of the leak and not the washer.  The sisters will talk to the owner and let them know our findings.  Later they did this, after not using the washer for a week and having water under the house every morning they showered.  Such is part of our life, not much different than owning a duplex in Orem.

Here is a photo of the area under the shower.  It shows water damage on the iron beam, due to it's depth it is clear there has been water damage for a long time.  Notice the silicone caulking.  Under the bathroom floor boards.  This is very similar to the proverbial "locking the gate after the horses get out".  It will only serve to trap the water in the floor area a bit longer.

Here I am inspecting for water damage.  Oh, a day in the life of a senior missionary with assignments  over housing.

While were there we took a few photos of the kitchen area we had furnished to show the Mission President his wife.  I think it is quite nice.

On the way back to our apartment we passed by the gate where a huge festival parade was to start.

In September, Kumamoto hosts the Fujisaki Hachimangu Shrine Festival, also known as the Drunken Horse Festival because of the horses that are colorfully decorated, given alcohol and then paraded around the city.  Here is a link to a prior year of this:

We were told that not only does it involve drunken horses but the same beverage is used by the human participants very liberally, so we decided it would be best to avoid this one.  We did bike through the gate and the road to the Shrine.  There were many food booths and children games and it seemed quite family oriented, at least during mid-day.

It had been a wonderful, very clear day and for the first time since I came here.  The evening sky had fair visibility of the stars in the sky.  Here is a shot with my small electronic camera.

Can you determine what constellation it is?  Bloggers, compression algorithms really make this shot look poor, you will have to believe me they are much better in full resolution.

Tuesday we had a birthday party for one of the Elders.  My wife my Indo Curry, a very popular dish here in Japan.  She used recipe's she got from a Japanese Sister.  It turned out real good, and was enjoyed by all.  My wife is developing a repertoire of Japanese recipe's for use when we get home.

It is served over rice and spices can be added to adjust the heat level to your taste.  It does seem odd to have potatoes served over rice.

Wednesday was our normal day of teaching English and taking Japanese classes at the International center.  We are now working on reading Konji in our Japanese class.  One we studied was the Konji for exit.

Almost always when you see an exit sign it will have the English along with the Konji, helping us foreigner's to know where to go to get out in case of a problem like fire etc.

On the way back Luetta took this photos of some beautiful flowers:

I took these photos of the name of the stream near our apartment and a small bridge.  I am not sure if all bridges have names like this one.

The third Konji is kawa meaning stream or river.  Anyone know the other two?

These are in Hirogana letters and is read wa-ze-ya-ma-gu-chi-ha-shi.  Hashi means bridge.

Here I am looking at the bridge marker.

Notice the typical stop sign, the red triangle.  I don't know the first Konji (but is obviously meaning to stop), and the last two are hirogana ma-re.

Thursday we went to Omuta to inspect the apartment there.  Along the expressway we took this photo of an exit sign,  here is your Konji lesson.

If we ever need to exit and the sign doesn't have the English with it, it will be real useful to know them.

Today was also our 44th wedding anniversary and we continued on to Fukuoka to attend the temple.  Our married life started in the Logan Temple and it seemed only fitting to celebrate our 44th here in Japan at the Fukuoka temple.  Our life has been blessed by the effects of that decision and is evident in our wonderful family and grandchildren.  We love them all and miss them.

A beautiful day indeed.  We were planning on attending the 4 p.m. session but found out there was only a 7 p.m. session contrary to our memory.  So since we were there early we enjoyed our favorite American store here Fukuoka.

We enjoyed a meal of an all-American style hot dog ala Costco complete with American style sauerkraut.

It was fun.

On Friday we had another beautiful sunset. 

We also enjoyed following the ragnar race of four of our son's and two nephews.  It was grant to be able to send messages via text and endomondo live coaching (while Weston was running).  Here is a map of the relay race route starting in San Francisco.  Who would have ever thought we would have such a running family.

Saturday we checked the Shimizu/Tsuboi elders apartment.  They got a Celestial rating and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with them.  We them were able to catch part of the English Language speech contest that is help in Kumamoto (and through out Japan).  The winner will get a scholarship to BYU-Hawaii.  The speeches we heard were excellent, and the judges had a hard time, but I really enjoyed their analysis which gave all participants pointers on how to improve there English speech abilities.

Sunday was also a wonderful day of Japanese language immersion and opportunity to grow our language and worship the Lord.  In the evening we had our third "Why I believe" fireside.  Our mission president came all the way from Fukuoka to be our key speaker and we had two wonderful conversion stories by converts with a touching musical number by the elders in Shimizu and Tsuboi.  My wife had prepared light refreshments which we enjoyed afterwards and had to talk to all those members and investigators in attendance.  It was a spiritual highlight to our week.

In October, the Kumamoto Castle festival is held on the castle grounds with cultural performances, concerts and archery exhibitions.  We hope we will get to see these and let you know what they are like.


  1. Oh man, I want a Costco hot dog! We don't have Costco here though. The curry looks good too.

    You both are looking fit and healthy!

  2. Did you try uploading the image as a grayscale gif? Jpeg won't handle stars very well. But as it's a black and white image a grayscale gif should work nice.


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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