January 7, 2014
JAPAN JAPAN JAPAN
I know, I made it. Crazy, right?! I don't even know how to start this post, so I am sorry if it is a little choppy. Because we went to the Tokyo Temple today (coolest place int he world!!!) we are a little short on time.
When we got off our 15 hour plane ride and landed in the Tokyo airport, we apparently landed with some Nickelodeon celebrity. So when we came out of the international gate, we had about 100 screaming Japanese girls with signs cheering. Apparently she was right behind us. Anyway, we walked through this whole fan line with security guards and everything! I have never felt more welcomed by a nation in my life.
President Wada and his wife are so awesome. He absolutely loves the Book of Mormon and, while staying at the mission home, we read it almost the whole time (in English. Thank goodness)
My new companion is Tsuchida Shimai!!!! She is from Fukuoka and I love her so much! She is a lot of fun and is teaching me the art of not freaking out every five minutes. The only problem is that she doesn't really speak English. She does know quite a bit of vocab and has learned quite a bit of phrases. (her favorite is "Are you drunk?") I am trusting the Lord will help us as we try to work through the language barrier.
My sister in law asked me about culture shock. Well... to be honest, I was wondering for the first two days if I was on a strange television show like the "Truman Show", where everyone spoke this made up language and my reactions were being filmed. Then that turned into, "I wonder if these people get confused by their own language?" phase, and now I am comfortably cruising at "this language is not impossible! The Lord will help!" So (for anyone going on a mission) your culture shock might be a little like that. I am still at the point of following my companion around like a lost puppy.
So, here are some fun facts about being a missionary in Japan for those who don't know:
-The toilet seats in nice buildings are really hot. I don't know why, but they are. Whoever invented that is a genius. I would buy them a soda.
-When meeting with a member here, the first question is " "Where are you from?" The second is: "Do you ever want to get married?" I think it's adorable!
-A lot of Japanese people speak English. Well, some English. Enough for everyone to want to speak English to you.
-Um, I just poured cream instead of milk into my cereal. Would not recommend it
-They have a drink here that everyone at the MTC affectionately named "cigarette water". Because it tastes like cigarettes. And everyone loves it!! I, however, do not love it. I do not even like it. So I bought a bottle and am determined to drink 2 glasses a day until I do. So I do not offend members, I want to love it.
-Another thing about their toilets: when you flush, there is a little sink on top with soap that starts flowing water. I haven't used it yet. I am scared to.
Japanese people are amazing. They are innately polite and very kind. And they all are very short. I would like to be more understanding like they are.
-My third day I was having a little bit of trouble. I felt bad that I didn't understand my companion and was feeling quite overwhelmed. Then all of a sudden, a picture of a strangely drawn elephant on a white board came into my mind, along with one of my MTC teacher's voices: "How do you eat an elephant?" Then the inevitable answer, "One bite at a time." That is how you have to dendo. Actually, that is how we have to live. Things have gotten much better since then.
I am in love with the people and the work here. I love having the opportunity to share with people happiness. A lot of people here think it comes from money or nice suits, but those who know, know. And sometimes people just need to be told. And those who listen, love it. Because the Gospel is awesome. And Heavenly Father is amazing and looks out for each of us. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of Him.
You all rock! I think everyone should become a missionary. It is pretty amazing!
Ai shite imasu!