Monday, January 6, 2014

1/6/14 email

Happy New Year!
Mom and Dad,
Well, this week was a rather rough week. I'm over my illness but I've had chest congestion from mucous as well as continuous coughing. It was kind of tough to work, especially with this being the hilliest area in the mission.

New Years is a huge deal in Japan!
Following prep day last week we had a shokuji with the first counselor in the bishopric and his wife. The GC investigator was also invited along, so it was way cool to spend some more time with him and help him make even more friends in the ward.
Last Tuesday, there was no eikaiwa again due to New Years. We did go out to this one part of town that's in the boonies and housed there. It was like being in Nishiwaki again! Most of the people were too busy to meet with us because of "oshou gatsu no junbi" (prep for New Years.) We headed back to the apartment to do work in the area book since that was probably the most effective thing we could've done. We had shokuji with a family in the evening.
Then on Wednesday, we had yet another shokuji--but lunch, this time--with a family. After eating together we went to the house of one of their friends who has interest in eikaiwa and a little in the Gospel. They weren't home but they left an eikaiwa chirashi and a note in the mailbox. First referral we've had in a looong time! After that, we went back to the apartment and did weekly planning. That's usually done on Thursdays, but since that day was New Years, we'd have an even harder time finding people to teach. Thus, we did it a day early. That night we had dinner with the bishop and his wife again (they had us over on the 29th). Following that, we all went over to visit a less active in the neighborhood.  He's an American that married a Japanese lady. They're both members but less active. I must say, mom, you would absolutely LOVE that woman. You two have a lot in common regarding government and the current issues they're facing with the water system in that area.
Thursday! We hit the road to go waaay out! We were able to find a member to take us to the bike shop and pick up Pace Choro's bike. Fortunately, the bike shop is a big jump in the direction we wanted to go, so we took my bike with us, picked up his, then we headed off. We housed out there all day. We found some pretty cool apartment buildings that weren't lock-outs even though they were ten stories high. We also biked a little further out to find this one PI. That place where the PI lives looks just like Nishiwaki. It was way cool to dendo out there. Flashback to my trainee transfers. We spent all day doing that then made the long ride back down a highway to the apartment. We kept up a pretty fast pace on the highway and it still took about and hour. I slept well that night!
On Friday we had one more shokuji for lunch. The family that had us over has a non-member grandfather that they want us to teach. He is a very funny grandpa. In Japan, a common phrase at meals is "serufu saabisu" which is just 'self service' with a Japanese accent. Meals are usually community dishes that you take freely from if you want more food. Well, this grandpa went to the kitchen and came back with a bottle of sake--Japanese rice wine--and said 'alright, my self service!' The meal was all traditional Japanese New Year food. It involves a lot of "delicacies"--you can probably imagine what I'm saying. It also involves normal sushi rolls, so I figured I'd eat a bunch of those. Unfortunately, the parent and the grandmother kept going 'do you know this? Have you had it before? Here, try some!' I ended up with a plate full of things that were "delicacies."
Friday night we had ANOTHER shokuji. We went to the house and we started out doing calligraphy, which was way fun. We then made a bunch of takoyaki--fried octopus in batter--and ate dinner. Takoyaki actually isn't that bad, but every time I eat it I always realize I'm chewing on octopus, and kind of start to feel a little sick. Just so you know mom, guinea pig has nothing on the things I ate on Friday.
Saturday we had a lesson with GC investigator. We talked about his reservations--he's pretty much worried he won't be able to focus 100% on work and church at the same time. We discussed it with him and he seemed to get the point.
Sunday. Well, it was Fast Sunday. That was probably the only thing out of the ordinary. Every month the missionaries in this mission send in a list of their investigators who have obstacles out of their control, and all of us fast as a mission for them. We fasted for the investigator who can't get work off. I sure hope that he can eventually. His story truly is a miracle.
I really like the sweater. I also started using a previous Choro's 100% wool sweater, and that one's a life saver as well.
Give everyone my best!

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