Sunday, May 24, 2015

Zone Conference, Yamadera

We had our Zone Conferences this week.  We attended with the Sendai Zone at the Kamisugi Chapel.  There were two other conferences this week, in Koriyama and Yamagata.  Next week will be conferences in Morioka and Aomori.

This is our new mission banner.  The scripture is 2 Nephi 16:8  "Here am I, send me!"

President and Sister Smith's messages were based on a talk by Bishop Causse at the Mission President Seminar last year, "The Consecrated Missionary."

We discussed the differences between being a good and honorable missionary and being a consecrated missionary.  It's fun to see the notes in both languages.

After lunch, we sang "Happy Birthday" to the April, May, and June birthday elders and sister.

On our way out to Kakuda on Thursday, we could tell that the rice is really growing.  The field is turning green!

We have been having beautiful weather.  But, we can tell that it's warming up.  So, on Saturday, we decided to go to Yamadera before it gets too warm.  This is an amazing place that dates way way back to 860 AD.  The main temple is said to date back to 1356!  It is built on a steep hillside.  There are several different shrines.  And to get there, they have 1000 stone steps!

You have to start somewhere!  We rode the train from Sendai.  It took about an hour (not a bullet train).  It was a five minute walk from the train station before you start climbing stairs.

This is a wood carving buddah.  You can see where everyone has rubbed him for good luck.

Some art along the path

There are several little shops selling hats and walking sticks, etc.

Quite a few children made it too.  Nothing to it!

More steps!  I was starting to wonder if this was such a great idea.

Lots of carvings on the way too

Almost half way!

The cedar trees are amazing

Coins have been left in the rocks here.  Mostly 1 and 5 yen pieces.

The guards at the gateway

At about 800 steps, there is a mail box??

Finally!  The highest place.

The bell tower

The valley below is beautiful!

Wait!  There's more!  I think a family lives here.

There's another place if you go the other direction.  And take a crazy ladder bridge.

And just a few more steps up to the viewpoint.

The little town and the train station.

It was worth it!

On our way down, the Black Cat delivery guy was on his way up to the shop or house with a package in his back pack!

We also saw a little bent over woman making her way up the steps.  The man with her said to us (in English!)  "My Grandmother is very strong!"  No kidding!

A view from the bottom looking back up.

When we got back to Sendai, we stopped at a Ramen Shop the elders had told us about.  This is how you order.  You put some money in and push the button for what you want.  You get little coupon tickets which you take inside and they ask you what kind of noodles you want, and hand you your bowl of ramen.  Only catch is, you have to be able to read the konjis.  Alan knew meat and vegetable.  So he got meat and I got vegetable, thinking that would be the healthier choice.

My vegetables were all fried up into a birds nest

No chairs here, you stand up and slurp away!

The kitchen door was propped open because it was warm inside.

We needed to find some puzzles for an activity.  We found the Toys R Us store.  Here's the Transformer section:

But we couldn't find any coloring books!

Meanwhile, some of the fun we're missing back at home:

Our Michael finished middle school.  Going into high school!  Plus a Happy Birthday!

Little Brother Daniel had his first piano recital!

Our Perry finished Kindergarten!  Ready for First Grade!

Abigail is also finished with Kindergarten and going into First Grade.

And her baby sister, Paisley, is getting into trouble!