Monday, September 29, 2014

Family Night / Autumn Equinox / Furukowa

Monday was our Family Home Evening at the Mission Home again.  The Sisters from Kamisugi did the musical number.  It was wonderful.  We had a cello, a violin, piano and voice.  "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go"

We were in charge of refreshments.  Sister Rollins left her popcorn maker and some popcorn here, so we were making popcorn all night.  Mostly plain, but also some kettle korn.  Everyone loved it.

Tuesday was a national holiday.  It is Autumn Equinox!  We had a party at the ward in Tagajo.

Here's our little cutie Sumi

Then we went into downtown Sendai to meet Sister Furukawa.  She is the cook for the mission and she was helping us with some shopping (and sight seeing.)

We passed through a park on the way and discovered an October Fest was going on.

Note the German and Japanese flags

At the mall, we discovered a fashion show was going on

Oops!  Security doesn't like photos of the "fashions!"

These little side streets off the main mall are like the olden days shops.  It's probably a big draw for night life.  Lots of little cafes and bars and boutiques.  They were mostly all closed for the holiday.

As we passed by these boys, they said "Hello".  We were so surprised!  First, that they spoke to us, and second, that they spoke English!

Showing the peace sign!

They were waiting for their grandfather who was inside the store.

On Wednesday, we drove back up to Furukawa and put the beds and some shelves together.  We had one elder going home.  Elder and Sister Hill brought him to meet us then we brought him back the rest of the way to Sendai.  This gave him a chance to say goodbye to the Furukawa elders.

We sent Elder McClellan home with a bang!  We had an earthquake during the night and a rainstorm Thursday morning.  But we got him to the airport on time!

Our missionaries had a musical number on Sunday.  Sister Smith goes home on Friday and three of the others are being transfered this week.

After church, the bishop gave everyone a chance to say nice things about Sister Smith while the RS sisters prepared a little snack for everyone.

My visiting teacher discovered that she missed my birthday (two months ago) and decided we were still going to celebrate.  We (Sis. Smith, Taylor, Shitami plus my 3 visiting teachers) went across the street to a little cafe and had a wonderful lunch.  And a fabulous cake!

Happy Birthday to Anderson Shimai (that's me!)

And for you construction fans, in the previous photos, there was a six inch deep footer around the building.  Now they have poured the slab on top of that footer.  However, they are not tied together at all. The floor is about 16 inches thick (!)  Four inches goes down into the same hole for the footer and they put rebar on 6 inch centers everywhere.  So it looks like the first floor can slide on top of the first footer.  Handy for earthquakes, apparently.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A visit to Johgi Nyorai Saihoji Temple

It seems that a week goes by pretty fast these days!  We have had some amazing experiences once again.  As usual, we start the week on Monday morning with our office staff meeting.  Then we're off and running after that, and try to keep up with President and Sister Smith.  They were gone on Zone Conference meetings from Wednesday until late Friday night.  Apparently the mission tour with Elder Whiting does not count as a zone conference, so they were back to back.

Also, we had a missionary complete his mission, well, sort of.  Elder Yamada has been working with us taking care of all the apartments and registration of foreign missionaries.  So, we all went to dinner with Elder Yamada and his wife.

They were telling us of their experiences during the tsunami.  They were separated for four days, not knowing if the other one was safe or not.  Sister Yamada saw the wave coming and headed for the hills.  She stayed in a tent for four days until it was safe to try to get to the city.  She found her husband at his mother's house.  Their home was destroyed and they lost their car.

Sister Yamada is one of the leaders of the boy scouts here.  So, I showed her a photo of our latest Eagle Scout.

This is our daughter Sunny with her husband Sam and their family.  Jacob is setting a good example for his younger brothers.  We are so very grateful for our family and for Heavenly Father's care for them.  We have been richly blessed this week.

Tuesday morning, Alan and I got up early and drove out to Aizu and dropped off another bike for the sisters there.  When we got back, we loaded up the mission van and took off to go to Furukawa.  We have a new couple arriving in the mission soon and we are setting up their apartment.  With .... Elder Yamada.  So his "retirement" has not lasted long!  He is going to be helping us for a while!

The new apartment is in the same building as the elders live in, so they got to help unload the van and carry stuff up to the third floor.  That bridge in the background is the tracks for the Shin Kon Sen (Bullet Train).  It goes right by here several times a day.  It makes kind of a "whooshing" noise, not too bad at all.

The church meets in this building right next door to the apartment.

Then we went to some second-hand shops and found some furniture for the apartment, and let the elders help us carry it again.

Here Elder Y is standing on the "new" table installing the lights.  We were pretty tired after this, so we went to a late lunch at this soba noodle shop.

Good thing I asked for a small!  Talk about a bucket - o - noodles!  With fried tempura, it was quite the carb load!

Wednesday was a little more normal.  It was Alan's turn to have a dental check up.  And they were ready for us, as usual.

She even let Alan have one of the puppets for a while!

And, it was our 40th wedding anniversary.  Last year for our anniversary dinner, we were in Kazakhstan.  We went to a Japanese restaurant there, never dreaming that the next time our anniversary rolled around we would actually be living in Japan!  This time, we know where we'll be next year, so we went to a ... Japanese Restaurant.

Shitami Shimai came with us.  We went to this little cafe next to the church in Tagajo.  They kept bringing out more dishes for us.  They brought out some salmon, sushi, chicken and two kinds of salad, rice and noodles, sweet potato.  I don't know how they made all this food in such a tiny kitchen.  The food was great too, and they had old Beatles music playing.

We were almost late for English.  Good thing it was close by.

Afterwards, they played a game of Human Battleship.  The kids loved throwing bombs (paper wads) over the ping pong tables trying to hit the other team.

On Thursday afternoon we drove out to Kakuda for the English group at the Walbro factory.  On the way out, we stopped to take some shots of this farmer harvesting his rice.

The fields have turned yellow.  And it's nice that we've had several days without rain.

In the background is bales of rice hanging up to dry.  That's the old fashioned way to harvest, before they used these cute little combine machines.

One of the men in our English group is also a rice farmer.  But he said he is unable to plant crops now because his field is in Fukushima, where the nuclear accident was and it's too dangerous.

After our group, we headed back to Sendai.  We stopped at a furniture store to try again to find a bed for the new couple.  No luck with the bed, but we did get a great deal on the curtains.  And another store near by had some area rugs that we purchased.

Friday evening we went out again to the mall.  The main store there is Seiyu, which is owned by Wal-Mart.  Here we found some blankets and bedding.  We asked, meaning that Alan asked, someone for some advice.  Turned out that her English was better than Alan's Japanese, so she told us  (in English) what kind of blankets would work well.  When we told her it was for Furukawa, she said, "you'll probably need more blankets there"(!)

Saturday was another big day.  More for fun than for work though.  A sweet little sister from the Nagamachi Ward (Sis. Nukui) offered to take us to visit a temple about an hour out of town.  Her cousin and his family live very near.  The government built a dam which made them relocate to a new home.

This is one of the most beautiful homes we have been in.

The photos are of her grandfather and great grandparents.

This is a place of honor for their ancestors.

Incredible carvings.

This table sits in a hole in the floor.  I am sitting on the floor.  It can be heated under there in the winter time.

And the children's shoes, bike helmets and jackets are all in order.

Here are the darling children.

Next, we went to their tofu shop and they treated us to some fried and fresh tofu.

On the table is the tofu ready to be fried.  On the left it is in the fryer.  They have a very busy, popular business here.  I was wishing there was some honey and cinnamon!

Up at the end of this street is where the temples are.  It's a little tourist stop.

Lots of kinds of fish snacks!  We did not sample any of them.

Sister N's mother is wearing the red kimono.  She is a singer and performer.  This is a poster for an upcoming performance.  Too bad it's on a Sunday.

The guards at the main gate.

This dragon is a water fountain where you can wash yourself, or get a drink in preparation to worship.

Incense burning

She told Sister Taylor to ring the gong.

This first building is a mausoleum for the founder, built in 1927.

This statue is in memory of the children lost due to abortions.  Those who have had an abortion come and seek resolution and present a small toy to the children who were never born.

This is the main hall. Sis N's cousin is a priest here.  We were able to visit with the high priest for a few minutes.  He was a very nice man.  He told us about his visit to Brazil.  He has a son there who is considering marriage.  We shared our common experience of travel to Brazil and the lovely people there.  Especially our daughter-in-law, who is also half Japanese!

This hall was built in 1999 using neither nails nor bolts.  They say it is put together so well that it is able to withstand the natural threats here (earthquakes and typhoons).

Some artwork in the office area

This hand-stitched tapestry is amazing!

Here we are in front of the pagoda.  There are only 32 pagodas in Japan that are 5 stories high.  It is a Buddhist symbol for the eternal peace of mankind.

And some harvested rice along the road.  The dried stalks are used to weave tatami mats.

Our next stop was to a rest home nearby.  Sister N's grandmother recently moved into this facility.  She is 93 years old and still very bright.  She can calculate numbers in her mind very fast!  She told us "thank you" for coming to see her, then giggled at herself for speaking English!  Delightful!

Next was a resort and bath house.  It is located at a natural hot springs that the locals have enjoyed for centuries.  Sister N's father was the interior designer here.  (She knows everyone!) It was fabulous!

The first thing you see when you enter the resort.

A museum area has Date's armor

A replica of what this area was once like.

This pool is outside

And a fun little model in the gift shop