Sunday, December 27, 2015

The adventures of Jasmine tea! (That's what everyone calls me here richa) 莉茶


This week was fantastic, we received many blessings.
Although there weren't many people anywhere, we talked to all of the people that we saw.
On last Monday, we went to some recycle shops because my companion is a huge nerd and is trying to find Yugi-oh cards and so we went there. Since it is certainly okay, there is not much to do anymore on p-days. 
Then on Tuesday, we went home teaching with Sogabe Kyodai and then out to lunch. Then we were on the way to another house to visit and he said that Costco was right there, and then he said he had a card but had never gone and he asked if we wanted to go. So we did. And he was so amazed at everything there. Everything is huge, well American size. And at one point he looked down one of the garbage cans and then voiced his opinion in the word: whoa! And he was so impressed. 
Then we passed the butterball turkeys they had for sale and he looked at that and was like, that's the most butter I've ever seen! We had to explain that it was turkey and he was even more amazed! The normal size of bird you can buy that I've seen is like a chicken at Smith's or Walmart. He was really impressed. And then we saw the milk and it comes in gallons! Wow! He couldn't believe that people cold drink that much! Then we were done with looking and we were going to go to the food court. I mean it's Costco, come on, and we said we were going to buy a whole pizza so we could take some home.  We pull out our money and he was like, put that back, and he pulled his out and said, why don't you get one each. So crazy, and he wouldn't let us pay and we were only going to get one and then he was like what kind is the best, and we were like combo, and so he just went on up and ordered two combo pizzas and payed and so we had no choice at that point. So yep that's Tuesday.
And on Wednesday, it was the emperor's birthday, and so there were these trucks with guys saying stuff about him. The government buildings were all closed and it was just us and the truck guys so we didn't get to do much.  
On Thursday, Ayabe had his Baptism  interview! And he passed! 
And then on Friday we did stuff because it was Christmas, and we went to the Furukawa's house and had a family home evening and that's about it. 
Then on Saturday we had a baptism service to go to and prepare for etc. and then Ayabe got to be baptized! So cool! He was so happy! And then on Sunday, he was confirmed and that was one thing he was most excited for. He told us he was really excited to receive guidance from God and to always be able to have the spirit. That's so cool, I think that is something that we sometimes take for granted; we have a member of the Godhead with us and receive guidance and can be told what to do from someone who knows exactly what we should do. He was so excited for that!

Then we got to go and teach the Yamamotos that night and it was a great lesson!  That's it for this week, tune in next time for more adventures of 莉茶 長老

Elder Bunch, Ayabe, and Elder Dante Richardson!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Teeter totter with an angel

This week was transfers and that was really weird. On Tuesday, we went down to Nagoya to switch companion and then we all hurried back home. Then me and Bunch Choro had to go get on another train to go to a member's house who lives extremely far away. So we went and go on the train they told us and then we were told, after we got on of course, that the train we were on was a limited express and you had to pay more. We had just put three sen, about thirty dollars, on our train cards and so we didn't have much cash. So they told us that we had to pay more for our tickets to go to the place we wanted to. Then he told us that we couldn't pay with our cards for this type of train. So we had to pay about 3 sen for that ticket. Then we were told that we had to move to the car that isn't reserved. It was a huge hassle.

We were told to get off at Hida Hagiwara, so naturally, we were waiting for that stop, we also made sure that this train was going there when we were talking to the ticket man. So we're looking for that stop and we are looking at the marquee that tells the next stop and it says 次は下呂。Which says 'next is Gero'. And it was like that for maybe about an hour. So we were like, we've got to be the next stop. So we wait and are talking to each other and stuff and then we see that the next stop is Takayama and we know that one is out of our area. Especially because it is the name of another area that is even in a different zone. Then the Katsuragawa family called us and they were like, why didn't you guys get off? And we said that we forgot which one it was, even though we had a piece of paper written by her that said Hida Hagiwara. And they know how far away the next stop is and so they were like, ok we'll see you some other time then. And so we didn't want to tell her that she got the name of the stop wrong and so we just told her that we made a mistake.

The name of the station, we found out is Hida Hagiwara, and the name of the city and stop is Gero, which is also out of our area... So we went to Takayama and then we had to turn around and head back, but we had like a half an hour until the next train came. So we tried to find somewhere to eat, and then we couldn't and realized we had no money on us so we went to a convenient store and looked for an ATM so we could buy another ticket, because you can't pay with the card, and then there wasn't a working ATM. And so we go to the machine, because I had  maybe about 4 sen on me still. And we buy the tickets and then when we try to get on the platform, he tells us that this is not a passenger ticket, he said we needed that and a passenger ticket to get on the train. So we went in and talked to the guy at the desk and we told him where we wanted to go and he told us how much it was and I looked in my wallet, because at this point, Bunch had only ¥14 which is like 14 cents. And I had like 1 sen left and we were pulling out our coin purses, when he saw that we had a credit card and he said we could pay with those. So we did.

And then we headed to the platform and the train was there and it was blowing its, let's go whistle, so we ran and made it. And then Katsuragawa Shimai called and said they would meet us at the Gero station and they would give us a bento. Like a packed lunch or dinner sort of thing. And so we get there and we feel really dumb and they are standing with the station security and they give us the meal and we apologize profusely and then hurry back on the train, and then it doesn't move and we can see them right outside the window. Super awkward.

Then we go and we know for sure what stop to get off now and we relax a little. Then when the sign says Gifu and the train stops, we go stand by the doors and wait and then the doors don't open. We
start kind of getting really anxious because we don't want to spend more time on the train or spend any more money on trains that day. So we are really worried, then we realize that the station was not Gifu. It was just a stop to wait for another train or something. Then we got off at Gifu and got home on time. We walked in the door and looked at the clock and it was 8:57. We made it. And we spent over a hundred dollars each on trains that didn't really even go anywhere. At least it is reimbursed.

So yeah, then on Wednesday we had a lesson with Ayabe and he is preparing for baptism. His date was set as the 26!!! Ayabe is 34 and he was a former investigator who moved to Hokaiddo for something and he just got back and he had progressed a ton. We've taught him three times just to review and he is totally ready! And then we had eikaiwa as always.

Thursday, we went and did some Mall dendo, which is pretty much walk around the mall and talk to everyone who is there. And it is great, because no one is in a hurry there. If you dendo the eki,
everyone is trying to get somewhere and in the mall, they plan to be there for hours.

Friday, we taught Ayabe again and made sure he was ready to be baptized! Then we visited some less active members and made sure they were doing well.

Then on Saturday, we practiced for the Christmas Program that the ward had that night that we all were inviting lots of people to. And we were singing. Pretty great. We sang with a Peruvian family and since the missionaries are gaijin, obviously they can all sing in Spanish... Haha... So we sang there and it was a blast, we hung out at the church all day with the members and then all night with everyone that came. And Ayabe came to that, we were excited!

Then on Sunday, it was church and Ward Council, and we hung out with the members some more. And that's when all of the Young Women, their mothers, the YSA girls, and their mothers, straight up told us that they think we are attractive, how are we supposed to respond to that? As missionaries I mean. What the heck? So yeah, that's how church goes for us.

So this week was pretty wild with Elder Bunch. Lots of stories and lots of money issues, because reimbursements take about a week to go through the system.

And I guess some people might want to know about my new companion. He is from Mapleton, Utah and he loves video games. We look really similar from behind, or at least that's what we are told. He likes Yugi-oh and he listens to music non stop in the apartment. Usually video game music, so it is great. Also he is a Star Wars nut. And his sister sent him some music from a video game called undertale or something and we have been listening to that a lot. It is pretty great, we can almost play one piece on the piano as a duet. It is super cool.

And I forgot, on Sunday, it was Bunch's first Sunday in the ward, so everyone wanted to meet him. And this white guy who is in Japan for work came to our ward because he still wanted to go to church, so I sat next to him and translated the meeting.  And everyone before and after sacrament meeting looked at him and thought he was my new companion, and asked all sorts of questions as if he was. And he just started learning Japanese. It was great. When one guy in particular talked to him it freaked him out a little. Brother Yamada just said that his name was Yamada and he has this way of talking where he will just look at you for a little bit (he's literally crazy) and so the white guy, Josh Lillywhite, was like, what did he just ask me? And I just told him that he just said that his name was Yamada. Too funny.

Too bad that Brother Lillywhite will be going to a different ward, I thought he was cool. Anyway, that's pretty much my week.

Merry Christmas on Friday! Have a good one Homies!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Merekamakimaka and lots of curry!


This week was pretty uneventful...except transfer calls! But first let me talk about the rest of the week. On last Monday, we went and did the futsu p day stuff, then had a mogi with Nagato Kyodai that night.

Then Tuesday, we got a text that transfer calls would be on Friday night instead of Saturday morning, and we went on visits with Sogabe Kyodai and he took us out to lunch at Staminataro, which is a tabehoudai or all you can eat. It was the best thing ever, you cook your own meat at the table on a grill thing and you can really grill anything there, so we had a lot of fun with that. Then we went home teaching with Niwa Kyodai that night.

On Wednesday, we had trainers training and got to see all of the people in our doki (same transfer as us) and that was great. Then right after that, I went on yet another  companion exchange. This time, I went to Ichinomia with Elder Hovorka, who is in my doki, and therefore, also a bean. It was really fun, we went and taught eikaiwa that night and the next day we went and did some OYM (Open Your Mouth) and as to follow the righteous traditions of our fathers, we had Indo Curry for lunch. Then we went and OYMed back to get ready for a member appointment, and we were talking to people and then a kid that we talked to said that we could meet up and talk more about the gospel and such. And he let us write down his phone number, so score for the beans! Then we got lost on the way to the member's house and then found it and read in the scripture with him and nodded whenever he said something and understood nothing really that he said about the scriptures, but Conger Choro (Elder Hovorka's companion) told us that a lot of the members can't understand him either because he talks so fast. Like really fast. Then to finish the night, our whole district met up at the eki (train station) and we did some caroling, then we switched back there and I went home with Laumatia Choro.

On Friday, we had DTM and it was really good, we then had yogenkai, which is where you guess where the whole district is going due to transfers, Elders Moulton and Hall were there too, they are our zone leaders. This was Moulton Choro's last transfer, so we had to guess how long it will take him to get married, I gave him a week. Then we went to CoCo's curry for lunch; this isn't Indo Curry, it's curry rice. Then we did our weekly planning session and then anxiously waited during transfer calls at home. When I say anxiously, pretty much that means we were listening to music, doing origami, eating popcorn and M&Ms, etc. Then the call came...

On Saturday, we packed mostly. And cleaned. Then we went out and dendoed around the eki.

Then on Sunday, yesterday, we went to church, had an appointment with an investigator who didn't show up, and then went and practiced for the ward Christmas party show thing. The missionaries and the ward missionaries are singing. One of the members, Tammy, who was born in Hawaii a long, long time ago ( her words not mine) is singing with us and always wants to start singing "Merekamakimaka" or at least that's what she calls it. Then we had lunch with a member and we did some dendo to try and find some people.

So yeah I guess it wasn't uneventful, just nothing majorly huge happened...

Also just a reminder to those of you who may wish to send packages to Japanese Missionaries. You can't send packages by FedEx, DHL, or other companies like that, you can only send it through either the post office, or through BlackCat, only these can be forwarded to the missionary and the others will sit at the Mission Office and they said that they don't want to have packages there, plus all the missionaries want the packages sinner rather than next zone conference, which is in like a month or two. So yeah, there is the message from "Honbu Santa".

Well enjoy the Christmas lights, if you have any, and go see Star Wars on Friday!


P.S. Elder Laumatia is being transferred to Fukui to finish training Elder Bradshaw. I am staying here in Gifu and Elder Bunch is coming here.  We were really surprised to get a call, since we thought we would both be staying, but we think this will be a good change.

The proper way to pick a persimmon.

Monday, December 7, 2015


This week has flown by! I can't believe that it is already Monday again! We were really busy this week and everything seemed to go perfectly. We had a movie night (Meet the Mormons) and invited a ton of people! We even had this guy end up calling us and we invited him and he came! He is pretty cool, probably mostly because he is the kickboxing champion of Japan. But he said he really enjoyed the movie and he wants to keep meeting with us. So great. We haven't had a lot of appointments this week because everyone went to Tokyo for a celebration. It was the emperor's son's birthday or something. Anyway, pretty slow but really busy. On Tuesday, we biked from Gifu to Seki. (Another city in our area) it was a thirty mike trip. It took all day and we talked to a lot of people there. We were kind of disappointed but also kind of glad that we didn't find any investigators up there. Of course if we had, we would have to take the train a lot.

This transfer went by so fast! Transfer calls are on Friday night! Laumatia and I probably won't move at all, because I'm a bean-chan, but stranger things have happened. And I have met a few missionaries
in our zone who have been ripped from their trainers a little prematurely. But they turned out ok.  Haha.

On Thursday, we went caroling with the Ogaki Elders and our Sisters at the Gifu Eki. The Ogaki Elders were staying the night and we had district meeting the next day. And we had a really good time. It ended up being the Sisters singing, and Cline Shimai played the harp, and the Elders were out talking to people. I had a run in with a man from England that was really interesting.  It went as follows:

Me- "Good evening, how are you?"
Him- no response, but then he takes out his earphones that I didn't notice he was wearing and looks at me questioningly. (pretty normal feeling up to this point)
Me- "what brings you to Japan?"
Him- "what's it got to do with you?"
Me- "um? Nothing I guess."
Him- "are you or are you not peddling religion?"
Me- "well yeah."
Him- yelling from this point on, "then back away and keep to yourself."
Me- while backing away "ok, I'm sorry. Have a nice day."
Him- looks at elder Dana, an Ogaki Elder who always is smiling, and says, "you thinks somethings funny?"
Dana- "no."
Him- "why don't you all keep your faith to yourself? It's a personal thing, don't shove it into people's faces that don't want it."
Us- "sorry"
Him- "do you know how many problems in the world have been caused by faith?"
Us- "no?"
Him- "wow, you can't even answer a few basic questions about your own religion and your going around peddling it?"

Thankfully, at this point the crosswalk turned green and people were crossing.

Him- turning to group, "you all should just keep your faith to yourself and stop bothering the rest of us."
Laumatia- who had stepped forward the moment he sensed danger and saw this whole thing start to go down, he always full of rage and he's a Polynesian and bigger that pretty much everyone in Japan, "ok, have a nice day."
Him- in a confused voice, "you have a nice day too" finally crosses the crosswalk.

So yeah, that was pretty great. It made me think that the lesson that I learned there was don't talk to gaijin, but then shortly thereafter, we met a really cool British guy who owns a school and was just the nicest guy ever, he even ended up coming to our movie night. Probably just because he fell in love with Sister Cline. So I guess the lesson is to talk to everyone and don't get too offended when they react in the craziest way imaginable, ok not the craziest imaginable, but still pretty crazily.

On a different note, we met a white guy in the mall who we didn't get to talk to because he was in a hurry and so were we, but anyway, he looked at us and just said, "Hey Elders." That was so cool, to be recognized, all the Utah missionaries walk around like celebrities and we are the freaky, huge, not Japanese people! Haha, I only know because I was a Utah missionary for about two hours! #walkingtosportsauthority anyway it was cool.

I have been having an awesome time here. I have really grown to love this ward. I don't ever want to transfer out of it. I would seriously be ok living here for two years. The members are so awesome, we had a movie night on Saturday and we went to set up and instead found the room et up with the projector and everything and a plate of cookies with a note saying have fun and things like that.  They do stuff for us all the time.  It is so great.

Everyone is so impressed that my parents served missions, and that my Grandpa did when he was young and both sets of grandparents went on missions.  They just think that is the coolest.  Even nonmembers who come to eikaiwa (English class), they are all really amazed that we would come, and then we tell of our parents doing it.  Wow, they love hearing about that.  And they are soooo impressed that everyone up to me in our family have gone on a mission, and the fact that most of our family speaks really similar languages. And then they all laugh that I am in Japan and speaking a language that no one understands except the Japanese.

So this week for DTM, we went out for Indo curry afterwards for lunch. Ok, let's be honest, we always go out for Indo curry after DTM or ZTM. I got a horan curry set. It is like spinach in a normal chicken curry, it was awesome.

The naan is always great.  If we are in a place other than Gifu, the curry places usually have endless naan as long as you still have curry.

Well life is good and I sleep on the floor, drink milk from the carton, look fabulous daily, feel really tall, and they don't sell candy canes in the store. Have a good one and enjoy all the time you have to go see Christmas lights, go to Costco, etc.


Christmas decorations!