Saturday, July 27, 2013

Week Eight

Nothing much has happened much this week, except for getting our travel plans yesterday! We were hoping to get them on Thursday, but apparently Pioneer Day (which we didn't celebrate here) kept the mail from coming on time. However, it's just great to see that we will be leaving pretty soon! Our itinerary is kind of weird, we leave the MTC at 2:30 am, catch an American Airlines plane to Dallas, after about an hour fly American Airlines again to Tokyo, and then fly to Sendai on ANA after about five hours in Narita. It's going to be pretty crazy. The rest of our district, the one's going to Tokyo, are flying through LAX, but they don't even leave the MTC until around 11 am, so we'll actually arrive in our mission before them! I made a chart of our flight plans converted into Utah and Japan time, so I'll send that sometime later. After getting our plans, it's been so much harder to focus on anything, because all any of us can think of is actually going to Japan. 
We also had a leaving devotional for Japanese missionaries, and it was amazing. We heard about how Heber J. Grant had declared that Japan would be one of the countries where missionary work becomes most successful. After hearing that, and how they believe that Japan is now ready to really receive the gospel, we all knew we had been called to the best mission. It'll be kind of sad to say good bye to all the missionaries going to other parts of Japan, but it's still really amazing to finally start doing the work in Japan. 
I hadn't actually heard from Andrew yet, but based on what he said to Aunt Cheryl, it seems that he's been super busy. It's crazy what his experience has been like, good thing it's easy to enter Japan. Not much else to say, I'll probably be spending the next week packing and finding things to ship back home. Tell Eliza I sent her a real letter. If you have any questions, I'll be on for a bit, and I'll come back on around three as well (can't stay on too long due to laundry). 待ったね!

We arrive in Sendai at about 8 pm their time, so at least we'll be able to sleep once we make it to Japan. The Tokyo group doesn't get to Tokyo until 11 pm! We've been looking at Sendai and can tell that it's the most amazing city. The MTC is fine, but it gets really boring after a while. Sometimes it feels like time doesn't really exist here. I think we've started going a bit crazy, the funnest thing we've done recently is feed a sparrow out of our hands (the birds here are really friendly).

Yeah, we've heard that we are going to have two days at the mission home, and then right to our area, which could be way far from Sendai. I actually have to go now, but we'll be back at 3:00 or so. Be ready!

I miss decent food. The food here is normally fine, but it's extremely repetitive, so I'm getting very bored of it. Our district is probably the most loved in the MTC, I've never seen another group get more packages and letters. I'm pretty sure Snow Shimai alone gets more than most other districts.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Week Seven

おはいようございます!This week has been pretty interesting, now that everyone seems to be going. It was pretty sad to see Andrew and Carlin leave. On the last day, Carlin told me he had a few Chinese grammer books to give me, and so I went to the Chinese residency to pick them up. It was a bit crazy, though, because the Chinese take forever to leave their classrooms, so we ended up leaving their apartment around 10:15, which is when we're supposed to be in our rooms. We still made it back before it was too late, at least. I think they were ready to leave, though. 
After a while, this place can get pretty boring, with the same schedule week after week. Sometimes, it feels like nothing is really happening here. Wednesday was pretty crazy, though. New Japanese missionaries finally came in, this time heading to the northern missions that we're going to. As usual, I was hosting, and I finally got to host someone going to Japan, which was cool even though he wasn't going to Sendai. My other people were going to Tempe, Boise (Spanish speaking, native speaker), and Sydney. The amount of people going to Japan keeps growing, which is pretty exciting! 
Also on Wednesday, we had TRC with real Japanese people via Skype. We had gotten a letter informing us of the change from TRC with people here and Skype TRC, but it hadn't provided us with a time, so we didn't know when we'd be doing it. Then, on Wednesday, an MTC employee came in to our classroom to tell us we had five minutes to get to the computer lab to start talking to the Japanese people. Some people were pretty stressed, but it ended up being really interesting. Our video feed worked poorly, so me and Greenburg Choro had a bit of difficulty understanding a lot of what our person was learning. She was pretty nice though, and she spoke a tiny bit of English. She was in Kobe, so she said some things a bit differently, but it was overall a great experience. 
Right now, we're all waiting on travel plans that should be arriving on Thursday of next week. That's pretty much the only exciting thing happening for a while. Also, I was told I couldn't have my name written in Kanji because Earl in Japanese would seem like a prideful title. That was kind of disappointing, but I can sort of understand. I'll say more in later emails today, but I'll probably have to retrieve laundry soon. 待ったねえ!

It'll be sad to say goodbye to the majority of my district, but other than that, it will be extremely wonderful to leave.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Week Six

こんにちは! This week has seemed longer than the other ones, but things are still going well. All of us are getting a little bit bored of the MTC, but we still have a lot to learn, so it's OK. Right now, we've begun having other missionaries teach and be taught by each other  so me and Greenburg Choro are teaching Snow Shimai with Day Shimai acting as a church member. Snow Shimai is being a neighbour of hers from Midway and it has been interesting. We've gotten her to read from the Book of Mormon and pray about the restoration. They've said our lessons have been pretty good, but our latest lesson was taught in an empty classroom in the Spanish building, which was interupted by a group of four elders sitting in and watching us teach in Japanese. Eventually their teacher took them to the correct classroom, but it was a bit more scary teaching in front of an audience. I've been acting as Daniel Parrish, which is apparently the same person Andrew had chosen, which I hadn't known about (he had said he was being a church member). Snow and Day Shimai's lessons have been very good, but we'll see if they can convince me to be become a full member of the church. Our lessons to our teachers have also gone well, though we only taught twice this week. Komeda San forgot about our lesson on the Word of Wisdom, so we had to re-explain everything to her, which was a bit annoying though the lesson ended up being really good in my opinion. We also taught Shohei Kun about the Word of Wisdom, which he was willing to follow, since he is too young to have started any of the really bad stuff. 
In other news, Greenburg Choro was allowed to receive a Kanji name for his tag, so I'm going to try to write them again and see if I'll be able to get a Kanji name printed in time. I never thought they'd allow us to do that, so I hadn't even tried, but hopefully I'll get to be 伯爵 Choro. Yesterday, we had an English fast, which meant we could only speak in Japanese. It was really long and difficult, but it was interesting. We had to speak in Japanese to a few police officers, but they eventually understood what we were saying. Pretty much everyone I know outside our district is leaving on Monday or Tuesday, which is pretty sad, but I'll get to see Andrew and Carlin in the basement of our classroom building on Monday night, so we'll get to say our final good-byes. Right now, all I want to do is go to Japan and start doing stuff like them, but I'll keep working to be prepared to go there. またね!

Our district and Tingey Sensei with the candy Snow Shimai's mom sent each of us.

It was a bit rainy last Sunday, so we got this picture too.

Here's me and another Elder Earl. He's going to the Czech Republic. I don't think he's actually related to us, but he wanted a picture, and I got one too.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

FHE Reunion and Naming

Kirk was able to get a picture with everyone who was in his FHE group while at BYU!

Email from the Sendai Mission:

Just a note from the Mission office requesting your assistance on a couple of items.

#1   We have to order your name tags and meishi (business cards) within the next 2 weeks.  In doing so, we need your name, as you would prefer it written, in Katakana.  If you do not have a preference or do not know how to do this, then we will do it for you.  I need you to respond to this email ASAP (please,  within a week) so  I can get the process rolling.  With 24 missionaries coming in August, the printing companies are requesting more time to prepare the cards and tags.  If we don’t hear back from you by July 17th, we will process your Katakana name with the best guess of our resident Japanese office experts.  J

#2  We also need your name as printed on your passport in English and Katakana.  So if you take care of my first request, that will pretty much take care of the second as well.  I feel your pain with the Japanese language, so I’m trying to make this as easy as possible. 

We are so excited to welcome you to Sendai!  You will love our mission!!!  The rainy season should be over by the time you get here, and you will get to enjoy the heat and humidity of August and September!  Yeah!  We’re all looking forward to that one.  ;-)

God bless you as you continue your studies in the MTC.  Your efforts there will pay huge dividends when you begin serving in Japan. 

Much love,

Sister Rollins  

And Kirk's response:

おはようございます!Some of us were actually going to email about whether we could choose our katakana names, so thanks so much for this! My full passport name is Kirk Montgomery Earl, and my Japanese name that I'd like to have used is カーク*アール. We're all excited to go to Japan in about a month, Sendai's going to be great. ありがとうございます!

Just in case you were wondering, Kirk's Japanese name カーク アール is pronounced Kāku Āru.

Week Five

This has been a pretty interesting week, especially with the 4th. I thought we probably wouldn't do much, but they actually let us out of class early so that we could watch a real movie (17 Miracles, about the handcart companies). It was pretty cool. It finished at 10, which is when we normally are supposed to be in our dorms, but then we got to go outside and watch the fireworks, which didn't finish until around 11:00! It was pretty crazy.
Other than that, this week has been pretty normal, but good. The Japanese is slowly improving, which is always good. 
We've been teaching our two teachers lately, and it normally has been good, but one of our "investigators" is addicted to tobacco, which we hadn't realized until we started talking about the Word of Wisdom, so that has been kind of difficult. We also got to teach at the TRC for the first time, which was pretty interesting. We didn't really know what to expect, but our lesson went reasonably well, considering we were teaching an RM playing himself. 
By the way, Andrew and Carlin should have gotten their travel plans yesterday, so Andrew will probably email the details on Monday. I haven't seen him since yesterday afternoon, but he had said they were getting them that night, and everyone I know leaving at the same time have their plans. By the way, yesterday we decided to randomly wear our rain jackets to class for no reason whatsoever, and that night it was very stormy on the way home from class. It was much more comfortable with our jackets! By the way, does mine have a hood? I haven't been able to find one. 

I showed Elder Cottle the thing you had put in the ward newsletter, and he was laughing. His mom apparently has showed all the parents of our district members his blog, so we know how popular his post has been in the real world. I got to host again this week, and only one was going on a foreign language mission, with ones going to Brazil, West Indies, Long Beach, and Pocatello (poor elder). Andrew and Carlin also hosted for the first time, they hadn't realized that you don't actually need to be invited to host, you can just go up whenever! I think that's all to talk about this week, you can email me any additional questions.