My True Followers

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 55 February 17 - 23, 2014

This was a very interesting week, it was to be our last few days in Fukuoka, moving to Kumamoto on Thursday.  We got all packed up in the days preceding Thursday.  However, on Wednesday we were asked to stay on for another week to train Elder and Sister Smith a little more.  We were also asked, if it would be OK, to move to the ANA Crowne Plaza hotel and let the Smiths move into the Mission Office couples apartment that we had been staying at.  We agreed and starting on Thursday February 20th we moved to the Hotel.  On Thursday and Friday the church auditor came to review our operations.  I had expected to be gone, but it was good since Elder Smith didn't have any background to answer his questions.  In any case, with that background here are some of our activities.

On Monday I decided to get my suits cleaned at a convenient shop on the way by bike and car to the Mission home.  Here is what it looks like.  The Katagana (クリーニング or in romanji kuriningu) means cleaning.  It is so convenient, I drop them off on the way to the Mission Office and pick up on the way home.

Just down the street and around the corner is a small park which has some trees in bloom.

That night we took the Smiths to a resturant down the road from the apartment that serves shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) which is meat (we choose chicken) with lots of various Japanese vegetable cooked in a special flavored broth.

Luetta was kind to me and allowed us to have the spicy side (lower) of the two sided pot, which on a stove in the table where we eat and is boiling all the time.  It was very good.

It helped encourage the Smith's who very feeling very discouraged with all the new things they had to learn in their Mission Office missions.  I certainly agree it is a lot to digest.  And, Elder Smith is a professional account, but practiced a specialty most of his later life.

We had a wonderful experience that night where, as we were ordering, (it is always evident that when we order we don't know what everything is), a woman came over what offered to help, since she had great command of the English language.  She was very anxious to talk to us in English, as many are.  I thought and then asked since you like English, why don't you attend our English class that we teach.  She was way excited and was very happy.  We talked a bit about our class where we are currently reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and one of the chief characters is named Laura.  This woman indicated she has taken the English name a Laura because she loves this series of books and especially the TV series, Little House on the Prairie.  It was an amazing coincidence that we went out this night to this restaurant and met this lady who loves what we are studying, or maybe not.  In any case she came and enjoyed the class and expects to keep coming.  Yea, another student.

I don't know if you have seen this poster, it is so true.  We missing being with our family and so many wonderful activities such as the Gilbert Arizona Temple dedication that our granddaughter will be part of.  We hope is some small way our activities will help and this poster says.

With another couple here we enjoy going out to eat, something we don't do a lot of alone.  On Tuesday we had Ramen.  What they have here is nothing like you get in plastic packages in the States, and so very much better.  Here is my spicy (からい / karai in japanese) bowl.

Here is Luetta's milder one.

Well our packing continued, here is a typical way of drying cloths indoors in Japan.

On Thursday after finding out we would not be moving (on Wednesday) the auditor came and treated us all to Jiaozi, a Chinese dumpling, like food that can be either steamed, boiled or fried.  These are fried.  There are very good and fattening.

It has been a big week for eating out and our morning weigh-ins are showing it.
Luetta loved the Japanese doll display in the lobby of our hotel (ANA Crowne Plaza)

"Hinamatsuri" Fesival also called Girls Day, is celebrated in Japan each year on March 3rd.  It was on year ago we were in Kumamoto for this festival and saw these dolls in the shopping malls and in a members home where they invited us to dinner one night.

Well since were were on a roll eating out we decided to continue it and ate at a very expensive Chinese restaurant called Gao Tao-Li.  We had a multi-course dinner with main courses of beef, shrimp, and calamari.  It all tasked so good, and I'm sure it didn't help our morning weigh-ins.  First hor dourves.

Waiting to be served the waiter took our photo.

One of the main courses.

Shrimp rice.

More, main course with the rice.

And dessert.

Well after all the eating this week, we used preparation day to get in so much needed exercise.  We took a long bike ride (about 24 miles) to the other side of the Fukuoka (actually Hakata) bay by land.  Here is the course we took.  It was getting late and so we took the ferry back to Hakata Port near our hotel to avoid traveling in the dark.

So not far from the hotel, we came across a shrine and took some pictures and got an autograph of the shrine.  This autograph is a typical activity for people visiting the shrine, and consists of the name of the shrine painted in Kanji.  Here is a photo of this one we got, at a cost of 600 yen.

Here is a photo of the Monk that made this for us.

Legend has it that this temple was founded in 806 by Kukai upon his return from T'ang (modern-day China).  The principal object of worship here, a statue of a standing thousand-armed Kannon, has been designated a national cultural asset.  The temple grounds also house a hexagonal building with calligraphy by prominent people of the day engraved on the inner doors, as well as the grave of the Fukuoka feudal lords.  In 1992, the "Fukuoka Giant Buddha" was installed here, the largest class wooden statue of a seated Buddha in Japan.  We didn't get photos of either, but here are some we got at the entrance.

After this we continued our trip around the bay.  First through a very industrialized portion of the Port.  This is a container ship called the Nippon Express.  Nippon is one way of writing Japan in Japanese.

Another large ship being loaded, it appeared, with many, many cars.

After a long time making our way through all this we found a not so glamorous spot for lunch from 7-11.

It did have a cute bay side beach, that we saw someone water skiing on.  During the summer I suspect it is well used.

After this we finally got on the "spit" of land that leads to the other side of the bay which has some fun parks, a Marine World (Which we didn't have time to visit) and a place called Wonder World.  You can even continue on to the next island that is now connected with a "spit" also, which you can bike around, we would love to do that some day.

Here we enter the Wonder World gate though these tunnels.

In Wonder World there is a place to rent bikes.

We already had ours and so we headed down the wonderful bike paths, marked with blue stripes.  At various spots you can stop to see different things, here we are at the Genkai-nada Sea, which is part of the Korean Strait's.  This the ocean for this part of Japan with the Sea of Japan to the North, and the East China Sea to the south.  This is at the Shimidai Lookout.

There are pine trees on the inland side of the observation platform.

I love the aquamarine blue over the sand and the darker blue over seaweed in this area.

Here is an example of the bike path, note the path the other direction separated by the plants.

Other places we passed but didn't have time to stop at were, Sunshine Pool, Animal Forest, Seaside Hill Shioya (restaurant), Wildbird Pond (Luetta was sad), Sky Dolfin (don't know what that is), a host of flower etc. gardens.  However we did finish at the "Great Ferris Wheel" which we had seen from a great distance and had decided to ride it to get pictures from that vantage point.  Here are a few interesting views.

Looking back to the industrialized port area.

A view of the fantastically long "slippery slides" for kids to play on below the wheel.

Out towards the ocean with Ainoshima island with the huge cliffs on the left side.

A view back along the "spit" of land that we biked to get here.  The two large buildings on the right Marine World (lower) and a huge resort Hotel called The Luigans.

A view into the gigantic Ferris Wheel, that moves very slowly to allow these great view.

And from a distance, one revolution per ticket only.

After a rush to find the correct ferry port we just got on board as the gang plank was going up.  This one allowed bikes, the first we went to didn't.  It was a blessing.

Our bikes gave us a great fun day.  Hers and,


It is such a joy to have this fantastic experience on a mission in Japan with my wonderful sweetheart.  It has had many ups and downs, but overall a very special experience.

My sweet bride of 44 years.


  1. These are some great pictures. I'm drooling over the food ones. We have a ramen restaurant here that we like called Ai Ji sen. I've gained a lot of weight here..... By the way, did I tell you Paul and I are branch missionaries here? We are currently teaching some after baptism discussions and some gospel essentials lessons.

    1. Wow, how cool to be branch missionaries in China. Is it in the Chinese Language. Yes, the food is great and my weight shows it, so more, more, more biking required.

  2. I love that your bikes take you on great adventures! My dad recently got a new bike and my mom is shopping for one! You have inspired them to be more adventurous :)

    1. Wow, how cool that your parents are getting bikes, we will have to plan an adventure with them. What do you think?


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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