First kokan (splits with Sister Training Leaders) ever. It was good. The STLs arrived tuesday evening while my companion and I were eating dinner at the branch president's house. We ate sukiya (pronounced "skiya"), which is like meat and vegetables cooked in soy sauce and sugar and then dipped in raw egg. So delicious! At first Beane shimai was skeptical because she had never had it before, but it was so good, she really liked it!) So while we were eating dinner our STLs, Lofthouse shimai and Hayashi shimai, arrived at our apartment and just hung out together after they visited some old investigators in the Ako area. Sister Lofthouse served in Ako last July through November, so she knows the area well.
Granted, at first it was a little awkward having the STLs chilling in your house and stuff but we got used to it. We did planning together that night and then we studied at church all together the next morning... I don't remember telling you about that change back in August, but sisters and elders now switch off studying at the church every morning to follow President Monson's counsel. They also sat in and watched us do our futsu (language) study and then critiqued us later. Anyway... back to kokan.
We ate lunch and they trained us some more on the whole new less active focus thing. After lunch we split up, and I went with Lofthouse shimai. She is so nice and so much fun. She's a lot shorter than me (of course... being half japanese) and I enjoyed the one on one training. Our plan for the day included trying to visit our 10 year old investigator's mother before she went to work. But we missed her, just barely. . . I guess it wasn't meant to be. And then we tried to meet with the daughter, but she was sleeping! I miss the good ol' days of naps! So we did some housing together and then we went back to meet our companions before Eikaiwa started. It was a good kokan, I learned a lot. Ever since the kokan, I've been tightening the ropes a little bit in our companionship. Nothing too strict, just shining things and making sure that we are obedient in all things.
Then conference! Conference was awesome. It went by too fast. I swear I used to think that the Sunday morning session took FOREVER. But now I'm like, wait... did I just watch 8 hours of conference and it's over? What? All the talks were so good and I felt so inspired and lifted after watching it. I swear, something that makes you feel that good has got to be true.. just saying.
Favorite talk would have to be President Uchtdorf's talk. I LOVED it. I loved how he made gratitude not just listing the things we're grateful for but to have that constant spirit, in times of darkness and light. That will keep us buoyed (that took me 5 tries to spell right.. my english is failing) and strengthened when things seem to just fall apart. That's something I'm going to repent of because I can definitely be more grateful in the circumstances I'm in. Because it's not about what I want. It's what the Lord wants that really matters.
I also loved Elder Andersen's quote of "To your Heavenly Father, you are infinitely more precious than a tree." That you are. I sometimes often forget my divine nature. That I'm a daughter of God. What does that really mean? It means that we are more than just human. We're not just here by circumstance or coincidence on this earth. We have a purpose. We have a power. God is looking out for us and really wants to help us. We just have to let Him. We just have to realize who we truly are and when we do, we will want to follow our Heavenly Father with a stronger determination.
A couple of non-gospel related things though, to share in the cultural experience of Japan. In Japan, they do not have american drains. Meaning they have what we call a "food net" because food cannot go through Japanese plumbing. So they have these metal buckets (with holes in them) that we put the food net over and it catches the food and we throw it out once a week. Today... I decided to clean it more fully and it was one of the most disgusting things I have ever done. I don't believe anyone has cleaned it since missionaries have lived there. There was mold growing on the metal basket. There were globs of food rotting in the bottom of this drain thing. I can't really describe how horrible it was. Imagine cleaning out that food thing you have in the sink that you press a switch and it chops it up (I forgot the word). Yeah... try cleaning that out after it not working for a while.... I pray I won't have to do that again for a while...
Also something new I've recently learned in Japanese. In Japan, they don't really use the word "you" or "anata". It's actually considered to be kind of rude because it's the same as saying "I don't remember your name". I learned this in the mtc. But what I've recently learned are the various forms of you and I that show more respect/disrespect.
For example the highest and most respectful form of I is "watakushi" which no one uses except the 70 apparently. Thank you whiting choro. The most futsu is "watashi". Women sometimes use "ashi" which I haven't really heard but I've seen written. And old men or okinawa jin's use "washi" Okinawa to Japan is like hawaii to US except they speak almost a completely different Japanese. (gotta love slang) With anata though, I've only heard one word that is only used from old people to young people called "anta" If you use it to your parents... you will get slapped it's so disrespectful. In Japan, they don't have "swear words" persay but they do have disrespectful words. So... watch the way you address people. It's important.
so the pictures I'm sending was the jinja we went to last week. It was a quite secluded jinja where nobody was there and had some really cool historical stuff. Like a rock with ancient kanji on it. Couldn't read it to save my life (then again, I can't read normal kanji to save my life).
Still, now the sakura are going away. So sad. But I'm happy because that means it's going to be warm!!!! Yeah!
So that's all for now. Thanks for all your support and love
|Ancient jinja or garden in Ako|
|Love the Sakura! Love Japan!!|