Sunday, June 24, 2012



On Monday at 5:30 a.m. we were rudely awakened to a 6.4 earthquake centered closeby!  This was the biggest quake we have felt.  The quake itself was not as bad as I thought it could be and didn't really do any damage or knock anything down.  It lasted about 20 seconds (or at least that was all we felt--it could have been longer but we were asleep!) and the biggest concern I had was, "How long will this last and is it going to get worse?"  Our cell phone immediately went off and told us we were experiencing an earthquake (in case we missed it I guess) and our AP's (missionary assistants to the mission president) texted us and asked if we were okay. 


So then on Tuesday evening we were headed to our English class and there were speakers blarring outside and someone saying something we couldn't understand.  When we got to the Church, the students told us that there was a typhoon headed our direction and it was scheduled to hit Ishinomaki later that night!  No one seemed all that concerned (some had ridden bikes to the class) but our phone rang a couple of times during the class but we didn't answer it because we were teaching English class (no one ever seems to call us with something that important).  Come to find out it was our district leader calling to tell us we HAD TO head home because the typhoon was coming!  We got home around 8:30 p.m. and within a half hour the winds began to howl.  It was extremely loud throughout the night and we didn't get much sleep.  The rain didn't seem so bad but I wondered if the windows would hold up against the wind.  The next morning all was well and we woke up to the sun coming through the clouds and not a sign of any wind damage!  Apparently Ishinomaki where we live had 10,000 residents evaculated from their homes because there was flood danger but I don't think anything really came of it.  But we were right in the path of this typhoon.

Zone Conference and Family English Class

Thursday we had zone conference in Sendai.  It was fun to see all of the young missionaries (and some not so young) and get a shot of enthusiasm in us.  When we have zone conference a nearby Relief Society usually provides lunch and this time they had taco salads!  Well, sort of taco salads.  We worked our way down a long table which began with a large scoop of rice, then taco meat and cheese, then lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and then a few tortilla chips.  But I'm not complaining,  it was really good (especially since I passed on the rice).

We left just in time to go to our family English class.  We were having an indoor picnic.  We had sloppy joes, p-nut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, fruit, and some desserts:

Some of the older students (notice pinata hanging above them):

And then we played some games and broke the pinata.  This is the egg on a spoon relay (the kids were really glad that we boiled the eggs because they ended up on the floor more than once!):

All in all it turned out good.  We learned that almost all of the kids are living in temporary housing because their homes were destroyed and this was a real treat for them.  So now we are that much more excited to teach the class.  Plus the sloppy joes were such a hit!  The mothers were asking us where to buy the "meat sauce" and we explained to them that we made it from scratch and they were kind of disappointed but when we explained it was just ketchup, water, curry powder, chili powder, and mustard basically, they said, "oh, we have those things, we can do that!" so that was good.

Eye Problems

This past week I have been seeing flashes of light to the side of one eye.  I googled it and it said that it could be a detached retina!  Anyway, to make a long story short there was a doctor at our zone conference who said to go see an eye surgeon so we did.  He did a thorough check and said there was no detachment and not to worry about it unless it got worse or I became concerned again.  Also he checked for macular degeneration which is common in diabetics but he assured me there was no sign of that either.  WHAT A BLESSING!  And also, since we have Japan insurance (which costs us about $100 for the whole time we are here) we only had to pay $30 for the doctor visit!

Street Signs

I realized for the first time (I know, we have been here for this long and I am just figuring this out!) that Japan has NO street-name signs.  I mean, not just neighborhood signs, but ANY signs that tell the name of the street you are on.  No wonder it is so hard to figure out where we are going.  We just use our GPS.  People do have addresses but I haven't figured out what that means.  These are the signs on the highways that point the way to towns or cities or major highways or where the freeway is:


Today was stake conference so we headed to Sendai again (we are in the Sendai Stake).  We took with us two members of the branch.  Calvin actually spoke in last night's adult meeting and did a great job.  Anyway, today's stake conference was a satellite broadcast made especially for the people of Japan so we were able to listen in an overflow room in English!  It was really great.  The speakers included President Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks plus an area authority and the General Primary President.  There are only about 125,000 members in all of Japan so it was amazing to hear the General Authorities talking right to these people and telling them what to do.  Their basic message was to get more converts and especially to reactivate members, especially the priesthood holders.  Also they want more young men to serve missions so they can be a strength to their country.

So what do we do on Sunday after stake conference instead of chatting for hours at the Church?  Well, we went to one of the member's houses and had lunch and then we played Japanese dress-up:

And Calvin got into the act too (this is his looking-manly picture):

They are trying to make us both more Japanese:

And the four of us girls:

And For You Skeptics

A while back I said I had made some "norens" which are room-divider curtains.  Carolyn wrote and said they looked like oversized pajama pants with no elastic.  So I decided to show you a photo of one hanging in a member's home which is actually really nice.  It is an embroidered sheer with some flowers on it and the back curtains are tied to make it look really nice:

What an eventful week!  Stay tuned for more this coming week.

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