Sunday, November 25, 2012


Thanksgiving in Japan is nonexistent; I shouldn't be surprised since the Pilgrims never did make it to Japan I guess.  But it was our last Institute class on Tuesday so we had a party.  Our Branch President surprised us by saying it was close to Thanksgiving so he brought this:

It was a big plate of turkey!  And gravy to go with it.  I am not sure where or how he cooked it but it was really thoughtful and we were extremely THANKFUL!  And it was cooked really well--moist and tender.  As you can see we enjoyed it all:

Last Hurrah

As I am sure you are well aware, we have been basking in the autumn colors.  This past week we took the sisters to Matsushima and saw some more spectacular colors:

But alas (and maybe hurray in your mind!) this is the last of the fall photos because we also saw this:

Thankful People

During the past year we are thankful to have met so many people.   I thought I would highlight a few who are not by any means all but a few memorable ones:

Takie (and her sister on the right) is one person I have mentioned often.  She is a hairdresser and makes sure we are more than adequately fed.  She and her non-member husband take us out to dinner, feed us every time we drop by, and even brings us food to our apartment on occasion.  But even more important, she has a love for the Gospel and is always wanting to share it.  She says that feeding us (and doing my hair) is her way of serving the missionaries:

Brother Hirayama is over 90 years old and is at Church every week.   He is totally blind, lives by himself, and gives massages (he is a retired massage giver) after Church to anyone who wants them (and they line up, believe me!):

Sister Umehara has such a bad back that she is bent over and uses a walker to walk.  She lives in an apartment on the fourth floor (with no elevator, of course!) so it is amazing that she can even make it anywhere.  She knits, crochets, and draws amazing pictures.  She is the one that drew the picture of Ramona a while back:

The Onumas (President and Michan) are really amazing people.  President Onuma is our branch president and in addition teaches our institute class.  He is very knowledgeable in the gospel and fills in the extra minutes at sacrament meeting almost weekly.  We have seen many photos of him in the aftermath of the tsunami being a help and a support.  Through it all, their own apartment was inundated with water.  His wife, Michan is the Relief Society secretary and teacher.  She also works full-time and takes care of their family of boys.  She is always happy and optomistic.

The Saitos (Yuichi and Satomi) represent the young marrieds in our branch.  They were married last year.  Yuichi is in the branch presidency and Satomi is in the Primary and is the ward organist.  Satomi is from the Tokyo area so they go there often.  They might be considered the yuppies of our group since they own a Costco card!  Also Yuichi went on a mission to the U.S. (Oregon?) and is an English teacher:

These are only a few of the people we mingle with each week.  We are indeed THANKFUL for all of them.


I keep forgetting to tell you about our experience at our children's English class a few weeks ago.  While we were having class we had an earthquake (about 5.0 I think).  Anyway, as soon as the earthquake began, EVERY student quickly got under the tables they were sitting at (as instructed I am sure).  As soon as the earthquake stopped, most got back on their chairs but a few stayed for a while longer. 

THEN the man in charge of the community center where we were at got on the TV to check out the possibility of a tsunami (since we were right next to the ocean) and soon reassured us that everything was okay.  No tsunami.

AND THEN within FIVE MINUTES every parent of our children showed up in case they needed to rush them to higher ground!  It was a humbling reminder of what they had been through only the year before (they all live in temporary housing) and how they must feel everytime they feel the ground shaking.

And can I say, it is quite often that we feel earthquakes around here.  We had another 5.0 a couple of days ago (why are the bigger ones always in the middle of the night when we are in bed?!).  Lately it seems we feel them a few times a week.

Here Comes Santa Claus

So Japan may not know about Thanksgiving, but Christmas is another story.  The stores are rampant with Christmas.  You would think we were home.  The funny thing is that we think that the people get in the Christmas spirit but they don't really celebrate Christmas!  On Christmas day, it is business as usual, including school.  So we will keep you updated on what is happening. 

And sadly, we have seen a lot of Santa stuff, but not one mention of the birth of Jesus.  I have wanted a Nativity set with Japanese people (like on Temple Square) but even those in our Church say that they have never seen one of those.  (I heard for a price, a high price, you can find one on the internet.)  We have the DVD of the birth of the Savior.  I think we will be watching that more than once this year . . . .

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