Monday, February 24, 2014

Life in Tama

The main train station in our area is at Tama Center.  All of the
light-post-banners and directional signs in the area portray Hello
Kitty characters and the words "Hello Kitty's Town", and there's a big
Hello Kitty display thing in the middle of the plaza.  That's where we
hand out Eikaiwa (English class) fliers.

Our ward mission leader put together a pizza party/talent show on
Saturday.  We invited our students from Eikaiwa and everyone else in
the area we knew, and we had fun.  There are quite a few musicians in
Tokyo.  One of our investigators played the organ, one of our Eikaiwa
students played his harmonica, and one of the other missionaries'
friends rocked out with his guitar.  Then the next day, the ward did a
big sandwich party right after church.  That was also fun.  ^__^

Elder Peters and I were walking through the park one day on our way to
Tama Center, and we ran into a huge group of elementary school kids
who were eager to use the little bit of English they knew.  One of
them came up to us and said, "I want to be a game creator!" XD

Monday, February 17, 2014

Epic Snow Service

I'm in Tama now, with Elder Peters as my companion.  We share the apartment with two other elders.  It's really nice having four elders in one area.  We get to divide assignments and chores and bounce ideas off each other, and extroverted Elder Peters has more people to talk to than introverted me.  Elder Peters is awesome.  He cooked peanut butter cookies in a frying pan last night, and they turned out better than the ones we put in the oven.

We had another big snow last week!  It's really unusual for this part of Japan.  I think I mentioned last week that the cities just aren't prepared to handle it.  Here in Tama we were helping vehicles of all shapes and sizes get unstuck, because they didn't have snowplows going on all the roads like they would in Utah.  On Saturday, there was one huge semi truck that got stuck on a main road by our apartment.  It had six wheels on each side.  The driver gave up, put his curtain up, smoked for a bit, and went to sleep, and that semi truck just sat there for a few hours.  Elder Peters and I and the other two elders were directing traffic around it when another Japanese person who had been helping with the snow came and found out what was going on.  He knocked on the driver's door and yelled at him for a bit, and then the driver was willing to cooperate while we helped him out. We alternated between pushing this semi truck and digging out the snow around the tires, and it took an hour or two, but we got this truck turned around.  By the time we finished there were about four or five other people helping out.

The other elders helped a few other huge semi trucks get unstuck, too.  I heard it's supposed to snow again this week.  This has been fun.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow in Yokohama

I'm getting transferred this week, from Hodogaya to Tama.  It's only been six weeks, but I'm not surprised; it sounds like young missionaries get moved around a lot in this mission.  I travel to my new area on Thursday.

We got a snowstorm on Saturday.  From my perspective, it really wasn't an awful lot of snow.  Nevertheless, every event that weekend (including church) was canceled and the public train system was shut down.  The people here just aren't used to snow, I guess.  It was the first time I've seen decent snow since I got here.  Elder Otsuka and I were able to help a couple of vehicles get unstuck.  ^_^

Monday, February 3, 2014

Going Digital

Each missionary in the Tokyo and Tokyo South missions now has an iPad Mini.  Along with it came a new app which serves as both my planner and area book (with all of the area's teaching records).  We can also use it to show videos and pictures when we're teaching or talking with people. It's quite handy.  ^__^  I heard that we're the first missions outside of the United States to get these.  It's also possible that our mission will be going online in the near-ish future.  A lot of the missionaries in the U.S. are already using Facebook in their missionary work.
I'm really happy that we get to use iPads in our work.  I love technology.  ^__^
Every Japanese dwelling has this area at the entrance called the "genkan".  When you enter the genkan, you always take your shoes off before going any further into the house.  Always.  The shoes you wear may not touch the floor of the house.  Sometimes Elder Otsuka will realize he forgot something as we're heading out the door, and then he'll take off just one shoe and then hop on one foot in order to retrieve whatever it was he forgot.  (Slippers are okay to wear inside the house.  But shoes are forbidden.)

This is our church building!~ The classrooms and offices are all on the second floor.  We only have one ward that meets here.