Monday, August 12, 2013

Week Ten: Japan!

Decorations for Tanabata Matsuri in Sendai.
Hopefully you`re all doing well! This has been a crazy week so far, but very exciting!

Yummy Japanese meal, yakisoba, rice, pickled cucumber, and miso soup.
When we landed in Tokyo, it was pretty crazy. I thought it looked cool and rainy outside, but it turned out to be very intensely humid and hot. Not fun when you`re wearing a suit. It was fun to wander around Tokyo airport and try some authentic Japanese food and drinks, like Calpis. I can pretty much guarantee that I`ll need weekly trips to the Asian Market to survive after two years here. I`ll talk more about the food later, but anyhow, we flew up to Sendai after not having slept since Saturday night at the MTC, so we were pretty exhausted when we got picked up. After we got there, we went off to the church to fill in some forms for our residence cards and got our luggage ready to be shipped. That night was spent in the mission home apartments, which was pretty crowded considering the 13 additional elders arriving in Sendai. We had a welcome orientation at the church again and I got my new area and companion. I`m now in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, just a bit over an hour by bus away from Sendai, but a world away. My new companion is Elder Katayama, a native Japanese who speaks very little English. Meaning, I`m pretty sure he understands English fairly well, but he speaks almost exclusively in Japanese. After we took our bus to our new area, we met the couple missionaries, the Tanaka`s from Kobe. They are very nice, helping drive us to distant members` homes and other such things.

Here`s a picture of Ichinoseki itself! I`ve taken tons of pictures, but it takes forever to send them. So many interesting things here! Hopefully you weren`t worried about the flooding in Tohoku, but you probably didn`t even hear about it, thank goodness.
Perhaps I should describe Ichinoseki. It`s very small-town Japan. The climate is hot and humid, at least for now, and there are lots of cicadas. It pretty much looks and feels like Missouri, with slightly higher mountains. We also have a few neighbouring cities included in our area, such as Kesennuma which was damaged by the tsunami quite badly. The branch itself is quite small, only around twenty people, but it is fairly successful for Japan, having had a baptism per year for a few years (that`s actually really amazing for this country). I got my bike prepared yesterday, so it`s been fun to use it around this city. It`s very old-country Japan, as you`ll see in the pictures. Apparently, there`re also some World Heritage Site temples just north of here that I`ll hopefully visit sometime.

Anyhow, Japan is great! I`m so happy to be in Tohoku, though I haven`t seen a foreigner for a while now. I`ll be teaching Eikaiwa (English conversation class) on Wednseday, which should be exciting! Anyhow, matta ne!

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