Bonus email! It isn't p-day, but they decided to give us a few minutes today to tell you that we are still alive.
We made it! Everything went really well with the traveling and all of our flights. We had 8 people going to Sapporo, five gaijin (foreigners) and 3 Nihonjin (Japanese natives), with us the whole time and the Nihonjin were super helpful to have around once we hit the Tokyo airport. And we flew to Tokyo from Seattle with all of the missionaries going to Tokyo with us, so there were probably like 30 of us on the plane together. And we saw the Elders from our district going to Fukuoka waiting in the Tokyo airport, so the whole thing was like a party!
We got to the Sapporo airport at around 8:30 p.m. here (like 6 a.m. Utah time) and met our mission presidents, who took us to a Japanese restaurant in the airport for dinner. I couldn't eat a ton because my body was kind of confused about what time it was, but it was great! Especially because one of our teachers said his first meal in Japan was McDonald's, so... this was definitely better than that.
We spent the night at the mission home, and then today we've just had a lot of fun training meetings. We went to lunch at a Japanese BBQ type place, where you cook the meal yourself on a cool little grill, and that was the first time I really started to feel like I was in Japan, because Northrop Shimai and I were at a table of only Japanese speaking missionaries. It was fun! Before that it didn't really feel all that different here -- the airport looked like it could have belonged anywhere! But I always feel like I haven't actually gone anywhere different when I'm at the airport.
Also today I found out who my first companion in Japan is! Her name is Masuda Shimai, and she is super nice. I'm way excited to get to know her better. She's also a Nihonjin, so this will be a fun adventure with the language right from the start! Apparently there are only three Gaijin sister missionaries in the mission right now, and two of them and Northrop Shimai and I! The other two are both super new too, because it's Cooper Shimai, who was our Senpai, and the Krock Shimai (who is actually Australian), who was Cooper Shimai's Senpai, meaning she's only been here for 12 weeks. And then the rest of the sisters are all natives! It's pretty cool. And it will be so wonderful having a companion who understands the language perfectly and knows all of the cultural details of like. And hopefully I'll learn the language fast... Our first area is Atsubestu, which is in the city of Sapporo. It should be especially awesome because the new temple site is in our area! They haven't done much other than break the ground for it yet, but it's so exciting that we'll be working in the area right next to where it should be!
Ok, I should probably go because I think we're going to do a little proselyting in a few minutes until we have dinner. Wish me luck! It'll be hard... but good. You have to start sometime! And I feel like it'll get easier with practice. It's nice that we've had until today to start though, because apparently the Nagoya missionaries, who got to their mission earlier in the day, had to proselyte from the airport back to the mission home!
It's still so incredibly crazy to think that I'm actually here in Sapporo, and that I'll be staying here. And actually starting to do all of the real missionary work stuff. I don't think I can fully comprehend it at all yet, but I'm super excited. Ganbarimasho! I'll do my best. And it'll be an adventure!