Ok, email first this time! I'm at the honbu (Japanese for headquarters. We call the mission home the honbu here) so I can print out my emails to read later if need be. It's quite nice. And I'll answer some of the questions I've had from my parents about daily life that other people might want to know too.
1) Is your apartment in a highrise? What kinds of things are nearby?
My apartment is super nice! I would totally live in it if I wasn't on my mission. It's in a type of apartment complex that the Japanese call a mansion. I'm not sure what exactly qualifies a building to be a mansion here, but it has eight floors and our apartment has two rooms (one for sleeping and one for our desks and such) and a kitchen/living room area. Oooh and we have a washer and dryer too, which is super convenient. It's a great place. And it's pretty close to the train station too. Yep.
2) Tell us more about Masuda Shimai! (Ok, that's paraphrased)
Masuda Shimai is awesome. Her first name is Ayako and she is from Chiba-Ken, which is really close to Tokyo. I think she lives near Narita Airport. If anyone knows where that is. I was there for a few hours... but I don't really know where it is in relation to Tokyo still haha. She speaks a good amount of English, but she isn't fluent. Just like I'm definitely not fluent in Japanese. Although her English is way better than my Japanese! We may not always understand each other 100%, but we have the same goals so it works well! She's lots of fun. And she has been on her mission for a year so she knows a lot. She's a pro.
This week has been really great. I'll admit that it started out a little rough, but the past few days were a ton of fun and things just seemed to come together really well. We found new investigators, which is something we have really been struggling with, three days in a row! And we were able to find a lot of potential investigators too. The Atsubetsu missionaries hosted a ward Family Home Evening (we have an activity in our church where families basically hang out with each other on Monday nights so they can have quality time together, since family relationships are so important. Usually families do it in their own homes, but sometimes they"ll do it with other people like we did last week) and we had like five potential investigators come! And there were so many other wonderful things too. I'm really excited to see what this next week brings.
Ok, now I'm going to send pictures and talk about those. Because I'm getting behind! And it is much easier to talk about photos.
This week we had companion exchanges! So for a day I worked in Ebetsu, which is a different area close to Atsubetsu, with Imanishi Shimai and Koyama Shimai. They are both awesome, so it was a lot of fun. And it was cool because since there were three of us I got to watch how to Nihonjin companions work together -- like how they will trade off who talks when and such. Since I can't speak Japanese fluently yet Masuda Shimai usually has to do most of the speaking for us, haha. Watching them work together was really helpful!
Easter pictures! I really wanted to send this last week, but now is good too. I mentioned it a little last week, but on Easter before conference we opened up our Easter baskets and it was super entertaining and fun to explain American Easter traditions to Masuda Shimai. When you hear about the Easter bunny for the first time it's probably kind of weird haha. But she loved it! It was funny because none of the Nihonjin knew anything about it, but since when we went to conference that day all of the Gaijin (foreigners) were in the same room to listen to it in conference, and we were all talking about Easter candy and packages. And we'd definitely nibble on the candy between sessions.
I can't remember if I have sent this one already or not? At the beginning of this transfer it was awesome in Atsubetsu because we had 6 missionaries working in our area. But two weeks ago two of the missionaries, Elder Kawasaki and Elder Migita, finished their two years so we went to the mission home to see them off. I only knew them for a few weeks, but they were wonderful so it was sad to see them go!