Sunday, November 11, 2012


Another week and more tries at getting a Japanese driver's license.  Monday was try #1:  not successful.  Wednesday was try #2:  not successful.  But Calvin, ever the optimist, thought he was getting closer.  Friday was try #3 for the week:  SUCCESS!!!  Yes, Calvin came back from the driving test with the coveted blue ticket--symbol of a passing score! 

We decided to celebrate by going out to dinner.  We chose a nearby restaurant that we had been to a few weeks ago for lunch.  But this was dinner so we were interested to see what a few extra yen would give us.  We were not disappointed:

In addition to the regular buffet, we got shabu-shabu.  This was a large pan of water on a hotplate on our table.  We went to the buffet and got meat and veggies to cook in the water.  Then we got small bowls of sauces for our cooked food.  YUM!  This was in addition to the buffet:

This main buffet has a large selection of veggies, tempura, salads, pastas, sushi rice, noodles, salmon, etc. etc.  Then there is a smaller buffet of rices, soups, and curry.  And another is a dessert buffet (including ice cream) and your choice of many drinks.  Anyway, the whole thing is reasonably healthy but really tasty.  Many of the dishes are very Japanese-style.  We ate till we were stuffed.  Maybe worth the five tries at getting the license!

So now we can look forward to getting reimbursed the $300 it cost to get the license!

Still Fall

We can't help but notice that in the States it looks like winter has set in (albeit a little early).  What with hurricanes, nor-easters, and snowstorms it certainly looks like winter.  But here in Ishinomaki it is still fall.  The temps are generally in the low 60's or upper 50's but the lows are only about ten degrees lower.  It has rained quite a bit lately but even the rain is not all that cold.  No sign of frost yet.

All around us, we see that things have changed from the deep greens of summer to the muted colors of autumn.  And there are even a few brilliant colors around:

And a pomegranate tree nearby:

And why do Chrysanthemums always look so much better in the fall?:

Also, along the roadside there are these small paintbrush-looking plants everywhere.  Any ideas what they are?:

And finally, a fall craft project we did in English class.  I looked all over for paper lunch sacks and finally BEGGED the cashier at the local grocery store for some of the ones they used that were under the counter!:

From Fall to Christmas

As I said, it is still fall, but our Relief Society is in the Christmas spirit.  Yesterday we had an activity making angels and Christmas wreaths.  Here is what we did:


Up close view of these wreath made of styrofoam rings and small squares of fabric:

Actually a really fun time was had by all.  The wreaths are not that big (eight inches or so) but a great project. 

Lesson Learned

One lesson I learned from the projects we have been doing lately is that we are all different.  When we did the paper sack puppets, I had cut out all of the pieces and had the kids glue the pieces onto the sacks.  Yet, every puppet turned out different.  Each had it's own personality (one even used the hair as a beard!) but each turned out great.

Then when we did the angels in Relief Society, the same thing happened.  Every angel was different.  And the wreaths:  so different as you can see.  Yet we began with the same materials.  The first (sample) wreath was rather plain--just green fabric but from there everyone had their own ideas of what to do. 

So maybe that is how it is with life.  We are all different.  Not better.  Just different.  We all have our own personalities.  Yet a wise Father in Heaven knows us all.  Our children are not the same.  They are each different.  We have a set of twins (about 11 years old) in our children's English class.  They look a lot alike but they are definitely different.  They wear different clothes; they wear their hair different; they have different personalities.

I also have started buying some kokeshi dolls here in Japan.  They are only made in this region of Japan but each is carved individually and hand painted so each one is different.  They are not terribly expensive because they are abundant but each is unique in its own right. 

We had a lesson in Relief Society today about being kind to one another.  In the lesson it talked about judging others.  I began thinking about how funny it is that we sometimes judge others when we are all different.  How unfair it is to judge when we are not on equal ground.  And how wonderful it is that we are NOT the same. 

Blanket Update

Just thought I'd let you know about the blanket project.  All 50 of the large blankets are finished or are being finished (actually there are very few that have not been finished I think).  In addition, there were about 50 smaller lap blankets done.  Everyone was excited to see the project so successful and some even were a little disappointed that there weren't more blankets remaining. 

There are only about ten larger blankets that are finished that don't have homes yet but we are hoping to give those out during the Christmas season.  Also the smaller lap blankets are in the process of going to nursing homes. 

It was a great project. 

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