Monday, January 20, 2014
I hope everyone is doing absolutely fabulous today! I think about you all and hope that all of you are doing quite well.
This week was an adventure. Here are some fun facts about Japan to brighten every one's day:
- If you are a foreigner in Japan, people will openly stare at you. Especially children. We were walking by a day care two days ago and all of the kids ran up to the window, pressed their faces against the glass, and stared as we walked by. That is common. Of course, in Japan, everyone has been gaijin on television and even from far away. But if, as a foreigner, you talk to them or stand next to them, they freak out. I love being called "exotic" here- my pasty self.
-On that note, all Japanese students are required to take 6 years of English in middle school and high school. So they all can understand quite a bit of English. They actually know a lot of vocabulary. So, when a gaijin starts to talk to them, often they will want to answer in English- slow English with the most adorable accent ever (seriously, I love Japanese people so much) So learning Japanese is an act of love- because you could probably say messages in English and they could understand the basic idea of it. But when you say it in Japanese, it shows that you respect and love them enough to choose to speak their language-0 to make it more convenient for them.
-Japanese are very action oriented. My companion and I talked about love this week, and she says that the way couples show affection for each other here is not by snuggling or kissing- but by serving one another. Actions and deeds are how love is really communicated here. I think that is very important.
So, how was this week? It was very good.
I am learning a valuable lesson. Missionaries called to Japan find, at the start, that they tend to be good at either one thing or the other: speaking or understanding. They are supposed ot even out at some point. But I have found that I can better understand what people say than I can pronounce the words. That is very humbling. At home, I often figured that if I spewed out enough pretty words or sounded eloquent enough, that would make my opinion right. But here, I am learning that a lot of the beauty and wisdom that God gives us by listening and caring about other people. When you care enough to listen and are not totally focused on what you want to say, life becomes so much easier and we can learn a lot more. And you can love a lot more.
Funny moment of the week: The ward mission leader (coolest person ever.) called us and asked me what kind of food I wanted from the ward. Frankly, I have no idea what I am eating half of the time here. So I asked for him to surprise me. He didn't like that. Finally, my companion asked if I liked potato chips and said, "Sure."
This is a proof for the Japanese people: they always try their best to help others. So, now, I have about 10 containers of Pringles sitting in my apartment. :-)
I love you all!
Keep being wonderful,