Monday, July 14, 2014

June 23, 2014 email

Mom and Dad,

Being in the city again is awesome! Kyoto is one of the coolest places in the mission, and the Shimogamo area is right in the most city-like part of it! The church is close to a really big Shinto shrine and there are tons of other super famous shrines and Buddhist temples, including the Golden Pavilion. There's a famous castle not far from the church....and that's just in this area. Just outside this area in surrounding ones there're more way cool places to go to! Mineta Choro and I are going to be busy on preparation days, for sure! Fortunately, there are two computers at the church, so there's still plenty of time for email after all the fun outside. This place is the best!

There can be more talk of the awesomeness of Kyoto later, though. It'll take a while.

Last week, the bike problems returned! Actually, they returned while I was on the last kokan in Kurayoshi. Apparently they got back to the eki by the apartment and found the back tire to be flat. They fixed it, but I think they managed to create a billion other problems in the process. I got back and found that the back wheel wasn't quite straight anymore and had to take off the brake pads and try to get it in the straightest path for the time being. Long story short, last Monday, it popped again, but we had to go a whole bunch of places. Another long story short, the wheel became even less straight, and a lot more jagged around the rim. Finally, as we were taking it to the bike shop, the tube got caught in the gears. I managed to get it to the shop to take care of it all before I transferred out! No worries, especially now that I have a REAL mountain bike again that doesn't have ANY problems. Also Mineta Choro is using Bogey's old bike, interestingly enough!

The week was crazy again because when you transfer, you do all you can to meet with all your investigators. There are two that live waaay far away but don't really have ways of getting to the church. We were able to meet with one for a bit at the eki, but weren't able to have a lesson. The other we weren't able to meet with at all. Then, there are all the members that try to see you before you transfer out. There are lots of people trying to see the missionary before they leave.
Thursday we had to leave Tottori to spend the night in Okayama so I could make it to the transfer spot on time. That place is actually the previous honbu for the Japan Okayama Mission. There's also a ladder and hatch that leads to the roof-I think I've mentioned it before. What else would we do but sleep on the roof. It's actually pretty common for a few people to sleep up there whenever there're missionaries spending the night there. I did get a number of mosquito bites on my forehead, though, as did everybody else that was up there.

The next day was transfers! My first day in Kyoto! We got to the house at around 2. Oh yeah, the Shimogamo apartment is actually a duplex! Anywho, we had a lesson at 6, so between weekly planning, lesson planning, and teaching a lesson we couldn't get much else in. But, my first day was pretty great!

Saturday we finished up weekly planning and had some finding time before Stake Conference started. We went out and streeted in the most city-like place of the area. It was like dendo'ing in Times Square! The best part was the very first person we stopped and talked to wanted a lesson on the spot! He also made a return appointment so we have a new investigator! The city is seriously the best! After that we streeted a little bit more, then headed back for Stake Conference.

Naturally, Sunday morning also was Stake Conference. It was a special Japan-wide Conference, so every single stake around Japan was having Conference. The Sunday session was a broadcast from somewhere else--Salt Lake, maybe. The boradcast consisted of talks from Elder Walker of the Seventy, Presiding Bishop Stevenson, Sister Oscarson--YW General President?--and Christofferson Choro. Amusingly, Christofferson Choro mentioned his recent visit to this mission when he spoke to all the missionaries and members in the Osaka Stake! Pretty cool stuff!
Shimogamo is pretty flat, though not quite as flat as Tottori, but WAY more flat that Kitarokko. Once you start getting into the outskirts it's gets kind of hilly. The ward here is super awesome. There are about 80 or so active members and they're all way cool. Then again, if you live in Kansai, of course you're cool. There're also tons of gaijin! I mean TONS! I swear I see almost as many gaijin on the streets as I do Nihonjin! There are lots of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese! Kyoto probably has one of the highest gaijin per capita in Japan....behind Tokyo, if it's not the highest.

Mineta Choro understands English pretty well when he reads or hears it. He's from Hokkaido way up in the north where it snows from September/October to April/May. He's way cool and into really deep doctrine like I am. We've actually had a couple conversations about Revelations and Abraham and such. He also taught me how to play Shoji--Japanese chess. I don't know any strategies though, so I kind of suck at it still.

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