Service One Again
On Thursday we again found ourselves at a service project. One of the districts in our mission had a project to clean up an investigator's yard--well what used to be her yard. She lived in a very heavily hit area of the tsunami. We have been to this area before and it is pretty much totally destroyed. When we got there we found a lot with not much rocks, pieces of tile and glass, and a few weeds and other small items of trash. There was another group of people also helping and we ended up putting in about 4 hours of service clearing out the above-mentioned items. Kind of as a sidenote, I have really come to love the ceramic tile roofs in Japan. The one in this photo is on a house across from our church. I always think it is so beautiful:
It's hard to tell from the picture, but there are also ornate tiles on top of the triangular arches on the roof and the tiles are really thick and heavy (ceramic). So I have come to see the power of the tsunami when we pick up pieces of tile like these:
(You know, you love the hat!) Anyway, many of the tile pieces are this size. Many are much smaller, and some larger. Hardly any survived whole. Notice the ground. By the end of our day, the lot looked really nice, or at least was free of debris.
Here we are having lunch:
The lady that we were helping provided a great lunch (rice, marinated cucumbers, salad, drinks, jello cups, etc) and some of us brought a few enhancements that added to the food. We are the yellow shirts. The blue shirts were another group who came to help. The house was completely leveled except the genkan (tiled entrance) was still there--the floor, not the rest of the genkan. But it is only a tiled flooring about 3x4 feet. But I did find a few things lying around still in tact: a child's toy car, a bag of marbles, and a cereal-sized bowl made of glass! Really I don't think anyone else found much of anything--I found them kind of hidden in some bushes.
And true to any Japanese service project or whenever you get together for that matter, you MUST take a picture before you leave of EVERYONE:
The only downside to this service project was that Calvin has a hard time letting the young missionaries do the heavy work so he has been recovering from a backache ever since then!
The rest of this blog is going to be bits and pieces that I can't figure out how to connect. First, remember how I said the hillsides were full of sakura (cherry blossoms) a few weeks ago? Well, this week something new came out. I am not sure what they are but they look like lilacs but are trees. They are all over the hillsides growing wild:
And next to the roads (especially farther away from the city), there are tons of rice paddies. And they are under water! The two fields farther away:
We will keep you updated as they grow!
We thought we might go out for breakfast this past week because we thought it sounded good (you know, pancakes, eggs, omelets, etc). We could only find one family restaurant open at 7:00 a.m. This one is open 24 hours I think because it is next to the gambling halls. Anyway, our breakfasts from a breakfast menu (about 5 choices) served only 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Calvin's:
And mine (I doubt it would help if I mentioned that it came with a RAW egg that I dumped into the rice with some soy sauce):
So much for breakfast . . . .
One of our members came into institute class last week very excited. She had found Mr. Donut donuts at the grocery store and they were ONLY 100 yen apiece! They were actually really good except that the chocolate frosted ones aren't really frosting. More like a waxy cocoa that is not sweetened that the donuts are dipped into--but they look really nice. And there were some that were called "churros" that were just that churros but bent into kind of a triangle shape the size of donuts. Apparently Mr. Donut used to be a big thing here but the tsunami wiped it out so this was exciting news that Mr. Donut was back. And they were the best donuts I have eaten in Japan:
So you may wonder how much these two dozen "inexpensive" donuts really cost? Well, my calculator tells me that in American dollars they cost just over $30!
I may have mentioned that we have a new English class which includes children and adults. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about this at first but things are looking up. The kids are getting used to us and vice versa. Plus last week we had about 10 kids and 5 adults so we now try to do a combined class for part of the time and then separate for the last half. A couple of weeks ago we read Green Eggs and Ham which was a hit and then this past week we read Big Dog Little Dog. We were able to get both the English and Japanese versions so that was helpful!
Last week we talked about families so the kids made "family trees" with pictures of their family on them:
So who couldn't love these little boys?!
Not much else happening. The work continues and we continue to be around some of the best people in the world. One thing that happened this week was in our English class at the Church. We were talking about the world and I asked what they thought that Americans thought about the Japanese. One of the men (about 55 years old) who speaks really good English said, "Well before the tsunami other people thought we were just people who ate rice and they really didn't know about us. Now they know that we are real people, that we are honest, don't loot, and are hardworking." I saw tears in some eyes as he said that. They are proud to be who they are and are determined to get back what they have lost.