Sunday, May 27, 2012


A Visit From Neighbors Back Home!

This week we spent a day with some of our neighbors back home:  Roger and Barbara Ishino, their sons Zach and Nathan and friends Todd and Janet.  They were visiting Japan for a week and wanted to come to Sendai since it was Roger's old stomping grounds (mission) more than 30 years ago.  We met up with them at the train station and then took a bus to the city museum.  Here is Zach modeling a warrior helmet:

We were running short on time and decided to forego the rest of Sendai (the big city) and go to Matsushima (which we love of course!).  We got on the train once more and within 30 minutes we were there and hungry.  We introduced the Ishinos to our favorite "dive" restaurant.  This is Nathan (who just got off his mission to Korea) deciding what to order from the menu:

Well, so there is no real menu but the offerings and prices are written on pieces of paper on the wall!  It is kind of tricky for those of us who are "Japanese-challenged" but we have learned that there are two kinds of meals:  raw fish and fried food.  They both come with soup, rice, salad and a few other things which are all good.  The raw fish would include your choice of:  tuna, salmon, squid, fish eggs, steamed shrimp or octopus.  The fried would be:  chicken, pork, shrimp, oysters.  I generally go for the fried oysters.  Calvin likes the raw fish.  And for your information, the Ishinos pretty much chose one of each and shared.

Then it was off to the rest of Matsushima.  Unfortunately it was raining but not to worry--many of the places outdoor offer umbrellas!  The gardens of Entsuin which we went to last month were so much nicer--very green and lush.  Here are a few photos:

Zach and Nathan at the caves:

Us with Roger and Barb with beautiful Matsushima in the background:

Notice that Roger has on shorts!  And they think I am crazy for wearing short sleeves.  I think it was just wishful thinking on Roger's part.  It was actually pretty cool weather that day.  Anyway, it was fun spending a day with the neighbors and speaking ENGLISH!


We spent Wednesday doing service with the young missionaries (as opposed to us OLD missionaries).  We drove to Shichigahama about and hour and a half away and had an orientation of what we were to do:

After the orientation (which included tons of bows and applause for everyone who came), we did an exercise routine to music which apparently is really famous in Japan.  Like we needed exercise, when you see what we got ourselves into!  Then we donned rubber boots (it had rained a lot the day before) and gloves.  And went to our worksite:

Yes, it was a large field (the picture above makes it look pretty uncluttered but was really not) and we were to get rocks, debris, etc out of it.  It was really muddy so we were glad for the boots.  But it was a good time for us all and those young missionaries are amazing--never a word of complaint, in fact, they saw the big slabs of cement and rocks as a fun challenge!  We actually spent four hours cleaning up that field (2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon).  After putting the debris in piles (burnable and non-burnable) we put it into bags and took them to the side of the field to be picked up later:

Those bags were amazing.  I never saw one rip and we were filling them with large rocks!   And besides rocks and cement we also found wood, pipe, clothes, and pieces of tile plus a lot of other junk.  As you can see, we were in a lot of mud so we were glad for the boots. 

After lunch, the elders found a sumo wresting amphatheater (leave it to them!) and this is what happened:

After two hours of hard labor--there's always time for a little sumo wrestling!

Other Tidbits from the Week

***We began a new English class last week which was supposed to be billed as a "family English class" but has become a "children's English class" and is quite challenging!  We have around 10 kids ages 8-11 and a couple of adults.  It's quite the class since these kids know almost no English.  But we are learning to be creative.  We got a library card at the Ishinomaki library and checked out Green Eggs and Ham in English and Japanese and read that to them (in both languages!).  We also did a guess the number of candies in a jar type of game and have some crafts in mind for the future!

***A member made some rice (lightly sweetened I think) with whole chestnuts in it!  It was so good!  I may have to butter her up for more of that!

***I am trying to get better at making casseroles in the rice cooker so here was my first attempt:

Yes, it is rice with wakame! (and onions, chicken, mushrooms and soup base).  Not too bad for my first attempt but I think I need to reduce the amount of liquid.

***We went to stake leadership meeting in Sendai yesterday.  We rode with Brother Watanabe in our ward who must not like the freeway because we went the whole way on surface streets.  It was quite an adventure--saw places I've never seen before!  Anyway, I saw something different than I have seen before here.  His car was a stick shift and since the driver's side is on the right instead of the left, you use the stick with your LEFT hand!  It is still the same as far as where the gears are so you end up going closer to you as your go up in gears.  Way too hard for me!

***We are back to teaching our investigator Abe-san.  He works for a nursery and it has been so busy lately that he took a couple of weeks off.   It was so good to see him again (and he came to Church today).  He has had some heart problems lately and was really emotinal as he told us about them and began to cry.  Calvin told him about priesthood blessings and asked if he would like one.  He answered yes so President Onuma (our branch president) and Calvin gave him a blessing.  It was so wonderful.  The spirit was strong and afterwards he felt the peace he needed.  He is going to see a doctor in Sendai this Tuesday.

***A young girl in our ward who has her missionary papers in but hasn't received her call spoke in sacrament meeting today. She talked about missionary work and what she has been doing to prepare.  We took her to a zone conference a couple of weeks ago and then she went tracting with the sister missionaries afterwards.  She said she now realizes how hard it is.  She thought they would just go in houses and teach people and then found out that many people are not home or wouldn't let them in.  Also it was tiring and late into the night (they tracted until 8:00 p.m and it is dark here then).  We have become really close to her and see her several times a week at institute, English class, doing service, and she helps us and comes to our investigator discussions when she can).  But she also helped me to realize that being a missionary isn't always that easy and not what you expect.  But it is rewarding and an amazing experience!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sakamoto's!!!! It is so fun reading all about your hard work and many adventures! You guys are hard workers!!!! What a special experience. Can't wait to find out more!!
    Marcie (Frank) Ward