Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Green Mountains

They changed the transfer schedule again.  We're still getting transfer announcements on Saturday but transfer day is Thursday again (instead of Monday, which apparently caused some problems when they tried it lat time :P).  My companion is transferring out this week, and my new companion will be Elder Cluff.  This is going to be his last transfer, and he's coming back to his first area.  I've been charged with making sure he doesn't get "trunky".  

We went up to the furthermost corner of our area last week (a place called Tsukui), and I realized that I'm relatively comfortable with Japanese city culture, but I'm a bit more clueless when it comes to country culture.  o.0  Fortunately the country people are a lot more laid back, so it's not as bad to mess up.


This is the most bizzare No Soliciting sign I've ever seen.  (It says something more like "we refuse all soliciting", which is normal in Japanese, but that cat...)

Monday, June 22, 2015


For all the zone meetings and mission conferences and what not in our
mission, it's done in English with someone interpreting it
simultaneously into Japanese for the native missionaries.  The mission
office has a set of interpreter devices (radio receivers with
earphones for the listeners, and a transmitter with a microphone for
the interpreter), and for most meetings the interpretation is done by
older missionaries (or missionaries who happen to be at least fairly
fluent in both languages).  When a General Authority comes, usually
interpretation is done by a member who does interpretation

(By the way, "translation" is for written language, and
"interpretation" is for spoken language.)

I got invited to an interpreters' training last week, and it was a
really good experience.  A lot of the principles we talked about apply
to missionary work and to life in general.

Japanese and English are some of the hardest languages to interpret
into each other.  In order to get the meaning across with our
abilities without falling too far behind, we usually have to simplify
and sometimes reduce to the most important parts of each sentence.  We
just have to remember (and this is one of the principles I really
liked) that they'd rather get 40% or 50% than 0%, so we just work to
get that percentage as high as possible and let the rest go.  It's
like that in missionary work or the rest of life; there's a lot of
things we just can't get perfect, but when it has to be done, 70% or
50% or 30% is better than 0%.

Some other principles were things like understanding the speaker's
feelings and what not, and imagining how what you're saying sounds
from the listener's perspective.  Brother Wessman (who was giving the
training) said that changing complex sentences to simple ones is the
same skill as tailoring the message of the Gospel to people who aren't
familiar with it already.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Meat and Vegetables

I got word the other day that my brother got called to the Little Rock
Arkansas mission~!  He reports to the MTC on September 9, so he's
going to be in the field about a month before I get back home.  I'm
excited for him.  ^__^

We had a ward BBQ last Saturday.  In Japan they don't really do
hamburgers and hot dogs, but they had all other kinds of meat.  It was
pretty good.  They had potatoes too, but those all got eaten before I
got to them.  We got to bring along some investigators and students
from English class, and they all had a good time, too.  :3  It was
kinda cool because I was here for last year's ward BBQ, too.  Last
year they did it down by the river, but this year it was up at a
campsite place up in the woods.

We found this out in the farm country.  Basically, you drive through
and buy things from machines.  They had food, drinks, and other really
random stuff.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Persecution :P

So, last night, my companion and I parked our bikes in the parking lot
of an apartment complex and walked down towards the end of the parking
lot, getting ready to knock on some doors, even though we suspected
that most of the complex was uninhabited.  Then we got an email to our
phone, so we stopped to check it.  There was a big guy in a red
tank-top behind us walking in the same direction, and I was getting
the feeling that he might be some trouble (not particularly dangerous,
but troublesome.)  While we were looking at the phone, this guy came
up to us and asked us what we were doing, and then he yelled at us to
GET OUT.  And my companion asked him "why?" and the guy just started
yelling and ranting.  So I'm like, yeah OK I get it, and I just turned
and started walking out.  (The guy, in his rant, did mention that
nobody lived there, which more or less confirmed our suspicions.)  My
companion said afterwards that he was really tempted to just start
yelling back in English, but he turned and followed me.  I started
pulling out my keys to unlock my bike, but the guy started following
us and yelling louder, so I just picked up my bike and walked out.  I
didn't pay much attention to what the guy was saying; it was mostly
along the lines of "hurry up" but he did rant something about
religion.  After we were out of the parking lot and on our bikes again
we just picked a different block to work on.

Interestingly enough, that's the only time on my mission (19 months so
far!) that I've been yelled at like that.  I hear missionaries in
other places have to put up with that kind of thing a lot more often.
Japanese people are really nice.

  "And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name's sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and
shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;
  For ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall
be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were
before you." 3 Nephi 12:10-12

Just before that we had visited a really cheerful elderly fellow who
was very happy that we stopped by, and on the way back into our
apartment we passed another guy who greeted us with a smile and a
"good night!"  It's interesting to see the variety of attitudes in the
world (all in the same city, too).

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Is This Real Life?

There's a religion (?) that started in Japan, and in English it's called Happy Science.  (In Japanese it's 幸福の科学 kōfuku no kagaku, which means the science of happiness, well-being, and abundant life.  I'm pretty sure it was the Japanese founder himself who came up with the English title, but I'm not sure.)  We pass the local Happy Science building every time we leave our apartment, but last week was the first time I ever met a Happy Science member.  It so happens that he's the oldest Happy Science member in our area.  And he was a pretty happy guy.  xD  We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Apparently, as part of their philosophy, they take all the best teachings from all the different religions in the world and put them together.