Sunday, March 25, 2012


We had a busy week this week!  On Tuesday and Wednesday we had Couples Conference; on Friday and Saturday we were at the Tokyo Temple, and on Sunday we had branch conference.  Here is the rundown of what we did:

Tuesday and Wednesday found us in Sendai (one and a half hours away) at Couples Conference.  There are six couples in our mission:  three from Japan and three from America.  All of us connected  immediately and we had a great time.  Those Japanese couples are incredible!  They bring with them so much enthusiasm and experience that it is hard not to learn from them.  We arrived at the conference wondering what else we needed to be doing and if we had enough to do.  We left the conference wondering if we had enough time to do everything . 

Some of the things we talked about were:  how we can find service opportunities in our communities, how to visit and help the less active people in our branch, how to work with and help the members of our branch, and how to help and fit in with the younger missionaries in our mission.  We had such a strong spirit of what we are doing here and had fun at the same time.  We went out to eat at a great Japanese restaurant and got to know our mission president and his wife better.  PLUS it was great to stay in a real house (the mission home) and be served food without having to cook!

Here is a picture of us at the conference:

Friday morning at 6:00 a.m.found us on our way to Tokyo.  But before we actually got to Tokyo we made a stop at COSTCO!  Yes, Costco here in Japan.  We brought plenty of cash (cash only except a Costco credit card) but didn't spend as much as we had hoped.  There were lots of things that were very familiar (lots of Kirkland brand products, Orville Redenbacher popcorn--microwave and plain, Skippy p-nut butter, snacks, etc.) but there were a lot of Japanese products which we bought some of those:  especially brown rice.  Some noticeable absences were:  no sour cream, powdered sugar, or granola bars.  An interesting price:  $40 for 2 lb. of butter!  But all in all it was a great experience as you can see below:

The above photo has a caption:  WHERE'S THE BEEF?  Notice that they have all-PORK hot dogs!  This is not a complaint:  just a cultural difference.  It was great anyway.  Plus one funny note is that the Japanese love their pickled veggies and sauerkraut is no exception.  They had a big tub of sauerkraut with the other condiments and lots of people were just taking a scoop and eating it whether they had a hot dog or not.


And I had to add this picture of a store near the temple in Tokyo.  Notice the Bettty Crocker cake mixes.  They have a price of 787 yen.  That's about $10 for one box of cake mix!

We finally made it to Tokyo around 4:00 p.m.  Destination:  the Tokyo LDS Temple.  We stayed in the basement of the Church next door to the temple where they have dorm-type rooms.  Since it was our stake's temple day the place was so crowded.  In fact, Calvin and quite a few of the other men ended up sleeping on the floor in the chapel!  But it was a wonderful time to attend the temple.  We went to an English session on Friday night and 2 Japanese sessions on Saturday morning (we had English headphones).  Our one regret was that some of the members of our branch were going to come but didn't make it because they were driving overnight and there was a big snowstorm in the Ishinomaki-Sendai area and a big rainstorm in the Tokyo area.  We left Tokyo around 12:30 and arrived back in Ishinomaki around 5:30 tired but energized by the great week we had had.

On Sunday we had branch conference which meant that the leaders from our stake came and attended our church and had lots of leadership meetings.  After our Church services we had a meal with food brought by the members.  I had to include this picture which is incredible.  One of the members brought this sushi that I have never seen before.  It has a square of egg in the middle with pink rice and white rice and a quarter of a cucumber.  It was so beautiful I had to take a picture.  And for all of you fish haters--no raw fish!

So that has been our week.  So exhausting but so great.  Plus, we had the biggest earthquake that we have felt thus far tonight.  Just thought I'd mention that.  But we are fine . . . .


I just wanted to mention something about the mail service once again.  On Tuesday afternoon we asked the missionary couple in the office to order us some "mugi."  It is a wheat cereal.  Anyway, I am not sure when it got ordered but on Saturday when we got back from Tokyo we had a delivery attempt notice that they had attempted to deliver it on Friday at 12:30.  The mugi company is about 2-3 hours away.  We called at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night because it said they would answer anytime.  Well, within FIVE MINUTES of when we hung up they were at our doorstep!  Yes, this was 7:00  on a Saturday night!  Unbelievable.

1 comment:

  1. It's great to follow your blog, Julie and Calvin. We hope you won't mind if we forward it to a few of our friends and relatives. Your experiences and the good saints of Japan inspire us to want to serve with more humility and desire. Joey & Nancy