Monday, August 27, 2012

White in Ebetsu!

Hello! So I probably am only going to have like fifteen minutes to email today, so my plan is to write as fast as I can and see what I can get in! Today has been really fun though -- pretty much all of the Sapporo missionaries (well, plus Ebetsu) went to the Sapporo Olympic park together today (they had the winter Olympics here in like 1972) and now we have music practice (yep, we're practicing every week again... I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but we're doing an encore for the Atsubetsu stake). Wow that sentance got super long, but the point is that I don't have time, haha.

But, I want to write! Because this past week was especially awesome because yesterday I got to see a baptism for the first time during my mission! It wan't one of our investigators, but it didn't even matter because it was so happy to see. It was actually a father and daughter -- the mother is a member and the daughter had turned eight so the father decided he wanted to be baptized with her and it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. The father, Taira San, actually came up to the Elders a couple of weeks ago and said he would like the be baptized, and has been meeting with them since then to prepare. He really wants to set a good example for his family, which is awesome -- right now they have four kids, and the mom is pregnant with twins. We got to teach Rin Chan a fun little lesson this past week too and it was so much fun -- we used all of our fun examples for gospel principles, including folding some origami and seeing what presents we have from Heavenly Father, and had just a great time. Yay!

Ok, I have a few minutes so I might be able to send a picture... I will try to be fast!

I got to take Imanishi Shimai to Oregon this week! We got to see Mt. Hood and the MAX and even sip a smoothie made with blueberries from Oregon. Ok, maybe we were still in Ebetsu but it was great to have a taste of home! Literally, haha. The Gresham-Ebetsu exchange is a hip place.

If I can't see it, it is like it isn't happening.

Ah and practice is resuming but we had a BBQ!

I will try and see if I can fight the elders for come more computer time after!! LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2012


This past week was Obon, which is a Buddhist holiday in Japan. I don't know all of the specifics (it was described to me in Japanese... if this is factually flawed, I apologize. I recommend some fact checking, haha), but families gather together and pay respects to their ancestors by going to their graves and giving food offerings over a span of around three days.  People were a little scarce (pretty much everyone goes back to their parent's or grandparents, and since there are lots of college students here they all disappeared), but it was pretty cool to see because I got to learn a little more about Japanese culture, and because they had cool festivals called Bon Odori going on at the same time. We got to stop by for a few minutes during our breaks, so pictures are included!

Here, I shall proceed by describing my pictures. It always seems like a pretty solid plan.

First up, Oregon in Japan! Last week after sending the email we tried to stop by an awesome building I had noticed when we were housing close-by a week or two ago -- the Gresham Ebetsu exchange! I was so surprised when I first saw it. Unfortunately it is closed on Mondays, but we want to go back during part of our break sometime soon. There's a sign saying they have Oregon blueberries! A taste of home, 4,500 miles away.

The first bon odori

We ate food! Always a solid plan. First we had a delicious meal with everyone at a member's house, and then we ate delicious parfaits with Nobuya Chan, who is in the Ebetsu ward and preparing to put in her mission papers. We did some missionary work together after, which was fun.

This week was also special because we had a long sisters exchange -- usually we do it once a transfer for only one day, but this time it was for two days and a little bit. I got to work with Koyama Shimai in Ebetsu. It was actually my third time doing an exchange with her, and I loved it as always. She joined the church three years ago and you can feel her testimony so strong when she talks to everyone on the street. 

The first day of the transfer just happened to be her one year anniversary of arriving in Hokkaido, so we went to Bikuri donkey for dinner.

During the transfer we got to do some service at the Takamatsu house... picking red tomatoes and purple eggplants and digging for potatoes!! It was so much fun. The people in Hokkaido are awesome -- they have tiny yards but they are the best at using every space to grow delicious vegetables. It was great to get our hands a little dirty and help out. Plus, Sister Takamatsu is always super entertaining.

more of the vegetables! We ate delicious curry there afterwards.

After sister exchanges we always meet at the Sapporo train station and then go to a delicious buffet together. This time was weird because it will probably be the last time Masuda Shimai will be here for it! She only has one more transfer left. Oh, and our table had a cool view this time.

The last of them! This was a big picture week. You're welcome, haha. The last Bon Odori pics are of one that was close to our apartment.

LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Time is pretty much up. But I will type out the scripture super quick because I know you were waiting for it.

Scripture of the Week:
Words of Mormon 1:7 (Book of Mormon)
And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

(We may not know how all things will work out in the future, but we do know that God knows everything that is and will be, and that he loves us so we can trust him. He knows how we can receive the most happiness in this life and he will tell us how if we listen. If we act on our promptings to do good we will always be led to a better place.)

Fun Japanese word of the week:
negau = hope, wish for

Monday, August 13, 2012


I am at the same place as last week (sitting in a massage chair, sipping an icee and eating curry...) so I can`t print out emails, so just to make sure I have time for everything I will just send some pics and captions first, and then if I have more time write some more after!  Here we go!

Last week after emailing here we all played darts for a good two hours, because they had all these fun varieties of games you could play (for example you could try and take over Japan Risk-style if you hit the right numbers. We all fought fiercely over Hokkaido). I am not very good, but I managed to win a few games! Our arms may have been kind of sore the next day though...

This past week was Yukari Chan`s birthday, so we threw a little party! She turned 21, so I may have pretended a little bit that it was Amber`s birthday party (she turns 21 next month) since I won`t be there. It was a lot of fun to just chat and eat cake and such. It was her first birthday party! In America I feel like the saddest thing anyone could ever say is that they never celebrated their birthday at all, but in Japan that is sometimes more normal? Anyhow, I enjoyed being part of her first party and implementing strict American birthday rules, like the birthday girl has to eat the cake first. We got to meet again on Saturday which was great, especially because she is going to be gone all this week... on an archaelogy dig in another part of Hokkaido. Cool, I know.

We played in some parks...

And joined in on a ward picnic! We met them at the end of a long bike ride and chatted and ate good food.
We ran into one of the member of the Ebetsu ward while she was in her garden and got to help pick tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers and even take them home with us! 

Today it is raining... reminds me of home! Everyone keeps saying that from Obon, which is a three-day Buddhist holiday starting today, Hokkaido starts getting cold. Summer went by super, super fast! Hopefully we get another few days of warm weather.

Today we stopped by the Ebetsu Glass studio for a few minutes. It was pretty small, but still cool. They have a window where you can watch people when they are blowing glass. I happen to think that the building is super cute.

Scripture of the Week
Alma 5:33-24 (Book of Mormon)
Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: repent, and I will receive you. Yea, he saith: come unto me and ye shall partake of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely.

Fun Japanese word of the week
Hakkutsu = excavation, dig

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Questions and Answers email

So... I am not entirely sure what I did this week, haha. I was going to look at the pictures I took and then describe them... but I only took two and they are of district lunch so that isn`t too interesting. My bad! I will improve for next week.
Right now we`re actually at an internet place with the whole district, which is fun because they have free drnks and afterwards we are going to play darts and pool and stuff. It is also super entertaining to listen to all of the Elders talk (and sing) while they email. This week was pretty normal, which of course still means that it was great. We were able to keep meeting with Yukari Chan and we even met some other great people too.  I will let you know how it progresses! But for now I think I will go back and answer some recent questions I`ve gotten from the parents that I haven`t been able to get around to answering. Probably other people have had similar questions?
1. Is it summer yet in Hokkaido?
This past week it was actually super hot here! We may have had to take ice cream breaks a lot. But I think that overall it is still colder than an Oregon summer, and a lot shorter. Yesterday it rained all day, and then at church one of the members said that from here it starts getting colder... Masuda Shimai said that last year it started getting cold, like you would want to wear a jacket, while there were still sunflowers out. But I think if it was super hot all of the time it would be hard to do missionary work because the sun kind of saps the energy, so maybe that is a good thing. But hopefully we will have a little bit more warmth before the winter comes!
2. What do you do with luggage when you have transfers?
My dad was right when he said it would probably be a disaster if we tried to ride our bike with our two suitcases!  Here in Sapporo we actually send our bike and one suitcase with a delivery service, and then carry one suitcase and bag with us on the train and such when we go to our new area. There isn`t a weight limit on the bag you send, so I definitely put all of the books I received at the MTC and every other heavy thing I saw in that suitcase. What I didn`t know was that the apartment in Ebetsu is on the third floor... and doesn`t have an elevator. Sorry delivery guy!
3. Where are the areas that Sister missionaries can go to in Sapporo?
Um, I don`t remember all of them, but most of them are within Sapporo city limits or are really close (like Ebetsu is on the border). The only exceptions are Obihiro, Hakodate and Asahikawa. Uh, find a map.
Ok, that is probably it for now... Love you all!!!
Scripture of the Week:
Jacob 3:2 (Book of Mormon)
O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.
Fun Japanese Word of the Week:
shiwa = wrinkle



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