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


  1. Wonderful girl, experiences, mission, testimony and life!

  2. Natalie!!!! i just love your blog posts! You are always so positive and always look so happy! I just love you! keep it up out there :)



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