My True Followers

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 77 July 21 - 27, 2014


 Amazingly we are observing our second rice growing season here in Japan.  Here is the rice near Kumamoto.  In general the rice fields are more developed in the mountains.  The best guess is that the fields are planted later in the season in the lowlands since a previous crop of other grain etc. is harvested first.  Whereas the mountains can't sustain the earlier crop which allows for earlier planting of rice.


Here is a rice field in Aso, somewhat in the mountains.  The rice is taller and thicker, although it is hard to tell from the angle in this photo.


With the reduction in missionary minimum age we are involved in the largest build up in missionaries.  Consequently we are opening new missionary apartments frequently.  Here are typical items we buy to furnish the apartments.

First sleeping futons.  Traditionally Japanese sleep directly on the floor or Tatami mat floor.


Fundamental needs, include a refrigerator and laundry washer.  I don't have any pictures of typical ones.

Typical stove in a Japanese apartment is a gas two burner (almost like a large Coleman camp stove).  The drawer in the front is a small broiler, typically for fish, but I've cooked steak in it as well.


A microwave is typical equipment, normally Japanese microwave oven can also do convection baking also.


We also buy a toaster oven, which if you buy the right one you can do convection baking as well as toasting.


A rice cooker is basic to all Japanese cuisine.


All missionaries need an iron.


Desks and chairs are basic for study needs:


The computer screen is just for display, missionaries don't get computers yet.


We try to buy items as much as possible from recycle stores, which are prevalent.  Here are some really good buys on dresser drawers.



Here is a good appliance stand at the recycle store.  A good deal at 10,800 yen.



Who would have thought we would be called on a mission to go shopping, but we are happy to be part of this unprecedented increase in missionaries and help them have the apartments they need to live in and serve from.

On our trips this week we came across a logging truck, which are found in the mountains.  They log "Sugi" trees which are Japanese cedar, but the logs are tall and straight.


Also we saw this wagon ride in one of the mountain cities.


We finished off the week by serving in the Fukuoka temple, it was wonderful.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Week 76 July 14 - 20, 2014

It has been a standard week for us, with
Monday - Preparation day,
Tuesday - YMCA Japanese class in the afternoon and Hospital English class in the evening,
Wednesday - International Center Japanese class and English Class in the afternoon and English class at the church in the evening
Thursday - Apartment Inspection including a lunch for the missionaries.
Friday - Apartment Inspection including a lunch for the missionaries.
Saturday - this was different from normal with a church open house in the evening.  We had invited about 8 people, but none came.  Our friend, had invited a coworker and we enjoyed talking to her, and helping her two children feel included during the dinner following the presentations.  It was very enjoyable.
Sunday - Meetings between two wards.

It keeps us busy, especially with the long bike ride to downtown on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Next week we go to Beppu and Oita for inspections,  this week or next we will be furnishing a new apartment in Beppu to hold 4 sister missionaries (3 will enter this transfer).  Only a short while ago this city had no missionaries, but after the 4 sisters they will have 8 total.  This is all part of the wave of missionary numbers, and excitement caused the the lowering of the missionary ages.

Here are a couple of skyscapes from our balcony.



At church our friend had to take the bus due to very heavy rain fall (the forecast was no rain), when she got to church this was the scene of the church building and almost totally blue sky.  Amazing.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 75 July 7 - 13, 2014


This week was marked by the wonderful miracle of our fifteenth grandchild who is our sixth grandson.  Tada... Joseph Benjamin Koberstein born July 6th very early in the morning.  Oh ya the other two people in the photo are his parents Daniel and Karla Koberstein.


My 66th birthday was on Wednesday the ninth.  It was a very busy day but at evening English class I was surprised with a happy birthday song.


We also had a typhoon come this week, it is very early was was very strong out on the ocean, but weakened to very mild storm by the time it got to Kumamoto.  That was a blessing, even though many missionaries were looking forward to their first big one.  In preparation for the typhoon many people took precautions, we moved our bicycles and garden inside.  The bicycles are in our extra room, used as a bedroom for visitors, see the futon in the large plastic case.


Here is Luetta by her tree size cherry tomato plant.


I am hard at work on the computer beside the garden.


This is the watermellon plant.


The plant in the center is a zucchini plant but got mold on the leaves and had to be tossed.


Luetta made some delicious Hiroshima style Okonomoyaki.  Here they are cooking, note the Hiroshima style has the noodles on the bottom.


Here is mine with Okonomoyaki sauce on it.


Luetta's has the sauce and fish flakes.


After the typhoon was gone we had an awesome sunset.


We are slowly picking up a few of the Konji character's that we see all around us.  Here is a sign at a nearby shrine.


It seems to a dryer rainy season than last year and we have been wondering when the Cicada's would come again.  They just started with their very loud buzzing in tree at our jogging track this week.  We also found one on our entry balcony.  They are big, over an inch in length.


On Sunday I got a second birthday wish during Ward Missionary Coordination meeting.  A wonderful friend, Akemi, made me two cakes.







Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week 74 June 30 - July 8, 2014

When we are biking to downtown Kumamoto, we always pass this very small shrine on the corner where we cross the street.  They are all over.


The most common bicycle type in Japan and at rental shops are simple bicycles for everyday use, called mamachari ("mom's bicycle"). Mamachari are typically equipped with a basket and/or a child seat, a simple lock, a kickstand and just one gear.  The kickstand on the first bike is very stable but very heavy, I had never seen anything like it until I came to Japan.


Here is Luetta by what I call here Tomato trees.  They are growing very tall and bearing lots of cherry tomato's.


At the International Center they had put up their Tanabata tree and we found out wishes on them, here is mine.


With these views of the tree (actually just a large branch) as a whole.  This first view is from the landing between the first and second floor.


And this from the first floor.  We have our Japanese and English classes on the second floor.


These Tanabata trees are all over, here is one in a local store.


Friday was July 4th and it is not celebrated here in Japan.  We did our regular apartment checks at the Omuta Elders and since they had a "Celestial" rating we offered to take them to lunch.  We went to YakiNiku (which is grilled meat on a small BBQ at your table) along will all kinds of other foods that are all you can eat.  So I got my BBQ


and I made a Independence day dessert with Red, White, and Blue sherbet.


It has been a very nice week, Now, on Sunday we are looking forward to our first Typhoon of the season.


Wish us good luck.  It is suppose to be here in 72 hours or less.

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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