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

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