I'm off to serve an LDS mission in Kobe, Japan from June 2015 to December 2016. My mom will be keeping this blog updated with my latest letters, photos, adventures, etc.! Also I would LOVE to hear from everyone - katya.wagstaff@myldsmail.net

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 2 in Japan Monday August 24

First, still figuring out the picture situation...so sad! I have lots
I promise and you'll see them eventually!!

Anyways, so last Monday was my first rainy day- I don't have a kappa (full body rain cover thing) so thank goodness the rain hasn't been so bad, just a few days and not consistently pouring! After emailing at the church, we went grocery shopping- that was pretty exciting becauseit's the same minus almost everything is in Japanese and I don't understand, but I thought it was really fun (remember it's the littlethings!).

That night we went to Kaori Shimai's house for FHE with her and her less-active mother. I can't understand very much of what people say, but since she was older and speaks quietly with I think no teeth or something, I really didn't understand what she said and turns out Sands Shimai has a hard time with her too (yo katta!), thank goodness Kaori Shimai is there to help, though I think we did pretty well! Nicest thing ever though- so you know how I have my freaky looking mosquito or "ka" bites all over my arms? Her mother was very worried about it and grabbed some itch stuff and took my arm and started applying and Kaori Shimai took the other arm and got to work- I felt a little pampered! :) seriously though it was so nice of them.

Tuesday was a great day because we were pretty busy! After study and lunch ( oh ps a little daily schedule: we get up, exercise, blah blah blah, study time is from 8-12, an extra hour since I'm new, then we have lunch and go out.) So after lunch we went to SGG - I don't even know what it stands for, but it's this group of 6 Japanese who get
together at a community center place and practice their English, which they're quite good at. Somehow the missionaries got involved a while ago and that's just what we do now. They were the nicest people! Since
I was new they had me introduce and talk about myself in English-JAPANESE PEOPLE SAY MY FIRST NAME BETTER THAN AMERICANS. They were very interested in my name for a while and there was this confusion
that I'm Russian for a while! Then they heard I like theatre, so they wanted to talk about theatre for a while- so much fun! Anyways so in their meeting they read a few current articles in English, we don't really say anything unless they ask questions, then at the end we get to teach them for 15 minutes, in English woohoo!! We have to go really slow with these lessons. One of the men is a serious former investigator, his only problem is that he doesn't want to stop praying to the guardian God who watches over his fields. The others will keep the commitments given (usually scriptures to read) but their progression is very minimal. So basically SGG is more service than teaching oriented. But really though the nicest people- they had a lot of snacks and they're taking us to lunch to welcome me.

So after that we had a lesson with a 15 year old, not sure if I can give names because investigator privacy is reallllly strict here. Anyways so his mom is less-active and he's interested now. And he complimented my pronunciation, he said I sound really natural -woohoo!! That meant more than everyone else telling me "jouzu desu
ne!" Because he's 15 and isn't saying it to just be nice.

Lesson with recent convert Uguchi Kyodai that night with the talk "Is it Wonderful to You?" And to top of the night- we had mashed potatoes with peaches for dessert!!! We found the peaches on sale at the store-though the sale was still a little expensive, but that was our fun this week! In Japan since people are so clean and healthy, if the food is even slightly close to expiring, they put it on a sale rack for a lot cheaper- yay for us because we don't really care! Everyone says fruit is better here, but I still think Brigham City peaches are better :)

Wednesday a member took us and Elder/Sister Watabe out for sushi! It was a conveyor belt place where you order from a screen and it comes out for you. I figured I better just go for it and try stuff, so I had squid (ika), octopus (taco) and duck for the first time! I least I didn't think I'd had duck before, not sure. Anyways the fish was fine,
I really really really don't like wasabi! ("Eat the wasabi!") it's still really hot and on every piece of sushi and somehow I survived!That was a fun experience, then after we went with the Watabes to this popular snow cone place- honestly it's a fancy snow cone shop that normally has a long line, but it was raining so no one! You
sit down and order and we tried a 100% blueberry with milk and real blueberries - I thought it was almost worth the ridiculous $7 we paid for it! Oh well, good experience, promise I don't/won't always splurge
like that :)

Ekaiwa that night!!! That's the English class we teach - we teach intermediate and 4 people came. It's the end of Obon, the family celebration thing, so some people are still out of town. I loved it! The theme was traveling and we work on pronunciation, grammar, conversation and reading. Really we try and have fun!

Thursday - I have never sweated so much in my entire life. Ever. This humidity is horrendous for my skin, but I'm trying! Great day because we taught 7 lessons (that's a big deal here!) some of the planned ones fell through, but we met random people and they talked to us and it was wonderful! The one I want to mention is the end of the night, we stopped by a lady's house who had previously been dropped just to check in. She was dropped because she was too busy, but tonight she answers and turns out she really likes the missionaries, but her daughter just had twins plus has another kid and husband is really busy working, so she helps out a lot. She was so kind and we talked about prayer and she was so touched! This was all just out on her tiny porch (tiny is basically the word to describe a lot of things here!) and she started crying and really wants lessons again and she wants her daughter to hear them too! That was really special, and on a side note- there were like a billion cats/kittens around her place and this kitten decided halfway through our conversation that it was going to lick my ankles and since the lesson was going so well I didn't want to distract so I just tried to ignore it, then after we left we laughed about it a little because they ignored Sands Shimai and just went to me...weird. Why.

Friday we drove with the Watabes to Niihama for district meeting! There's us and the STLS and 1 set of elders in our district. We start with J-Kaiwa (Japanese) and since I'm the only new one, district leader and Sis Watabe took me to another room. Murakomi Choro (not sure about my spelling) is Japanese. We practiced chopsticks at first
by trying to pick up ping pong balls- everyone try it!! It's practically impossible! Anyways, meeting was great, it's nice to remember were not alone at all! Then we went with the Watabes to an appointment to one of the little islands- our area includes 3 other little islands that we really just can't get to on bike, so the Watabes usually take care of those more. So we went to this lady's house- ps streets are impossibly narrow! So she has a cute little 2
year old who played with Watabe Choro the whole time while we taught- she's really interested, most people don't have her level of interest,or at least don't show it, so we're really hopeful about her! We taught Plan of Salvation and I talked more than I have before, so I felt really good about it!

Saturday was very different than planned but still wonderful,especially because we found 2 new investigators! We were out riding and these girls- 2 friends that are 14 are learning English in school and talked to us- they are so sweet! We explained that were missionaries and they hadn't really heard much about Jesus Christ, but then we mentioned Christmas and They knew what that was and were very excited. We showed them "Because of Him" - ps the greatest video ever. And they were really interested, so we have an apt with them this week- one of the girls even texted us after we left and told us in broken English thank you in advance and she couldn't wait- WOW. Now I'm really excited! This branch neeeeeds youth- 2 girls. No YM, a 21 yr old RM and an 19 yr old putting in papers.

Also we went to La S cake shop- the owners son is investigating and she's slightly curious, so we dropped by and bought a little something for us, and for a less-active we were visiting. French pastries -yummy! Plus she gave us free ice cream cones- Japanese ice cream tastes a different than ours but still great. Basically I've been in love with all the food- Sands Shimai knows how to cook pretty basic fast stuff but it's all been great and easy to learn -yay! Maybe I'll be shopping at the Oriental Market when I get home, who knows!

Sunday I was feeling a little down and homesick in the morning- it's hard to go to church in Japanese, but after we had "uta renshu" song practice, for the upcoming stake conference! Yay for music- they love me :) were singing the primary song, "I Know that My Savior Loves Me" I don't remember the translation, but it went really well- I love
these members. After church when we were biking to someone's house, my chain popped off and we stopped and got it fixed and even though that was such a little moment, for some reason I just felt like God loves us so much
and he knows what's going on and he's in control. All it took was a broken bike. Lots of people not home, but we talked to everyone we saw and it lifted my mood so much! Plus dinner was "yakiniku" basically beef bacon with rice. And anmochi ice cream - weird but good!

I love you all! I'm still transitioning here, but I like it!
Love, Wagstaff Shimai
Sent from my iPad

Hopefully I answer all the questions! First, apartment...eventually pictures! It's really nice - small but actually more normal sized than I thought. We have one of the crazy toilets with lots of buttons, they're a little weird so I usually
don't use them. Though their toilet paper is pretty weak because everyone has the water cleaner button. Potentially more than you wanted to know...:) we have a genkon, then walk up the stairs and there's a main room with tiny kitchen, table and our desks for studying. Then the bedroom, and  another room which currently is storage for all of the stuff from the elders apartment (they were taken out of Imabari a couple transfers ago, but will likely be put back, so we just have all of their stuff. Toilet is separate from bathroom, and the shower is kind of a room- I'll send a picture but it's bath and shower, but you don't shower in the bath. Also apparently dryers are really rare here, no one has one, you just see clothes hanging on balconies everywhere.

I love the food! Dad asked about mugi cha- yes I've had it and hate it, strong word, I'll just have to get used to it because it seriously tastes like garbage water to me. Japanese desserts aren't very sweet at all- if we eat something sweet, it's probably/most likely foreign. Lots of rice, and basically I'm not very good at descriptions but it
just all tastes Asian to me, nothing too weird. I mean besides taco.

The members are so nice and have a basket here that people put food in for us- so basically the norm is not feeding us, but giving us food. They are very generous! One old lady has always gotten he missionaries
a carton of milk and loaf of bread- both pretty expensive products here! Besides water we drink lots of Aquarius- it's just a plain sportsdrink- everyone is worried about heat stroke.

Oh that reminds me! Everyone is very concerned about my skin and keeping it white- I carry 70 spf sunscreen everywhere and it's a good conversation piece! Apparently the highest here is 50 spf. Everyone carries umbrellas in the sun. The women, particularly older usually wear these arm covers- so long sleeves. Yes I did have freakish mosquito bites last week- the miracle was that they didn't itch too much. Maybe because I was more focused on my sweat, not sure! Supposedly the heat will be going down soon, that'll be nice!

Also, I can read emails anytime during the week ps, not that I have much time, but usually 5 or so minutes in the morning and at night. I love you guys so much! Working to find he joy in missionary work -this week in the morning I'm a little more discouraged, sad, but once we get out and talk to people, I've come back really happy every night! I didn't think adjusting would be hard at all,but it really is different, but I'm taken care of and doing really well! Actually we just barely went to Setsura's place (15 yr old) and gave a short lesson and committed him to baptism!!! Okay the first commitment with" once you find out his message is true, will you be baptized?" But still, I thought it was a big deal! Woohoo!

I loved hearing about your week,good and bad. Yay Mexican food! Dancing all day exhausting. ACT bleh, but good. Good luck with school! Classes sound good, library assistants maybe not so much :)
Love, Katya

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