Friday, January 11, 2013


So in an effort to do the trendy thing, I am listing the top ten things that we have done this week.  Here goes:

#10  Reminders of Christmas

Christmas was not that long ago and we had some reminders of this.  First, our branch president gave everyone a poinsettia!  This is actually a pretty big deal because we didn't really see any of them around and PLUS it was in a small pot but has really nice big blooms:

And this is a "Christmas Tree" we saw in our travels.  It is made of boards found after the tsunami:

#9  Year of the Snake

In Japan they follow the Chinese signs.  This is the year of the snake and we are reminded of this quite often.  Even in the bakery:

#8  New Year's Eve Soba

Right as I was getting out food for dinner on New Year's Eve, our doorbell rang.  It was our branch president and his wife.  They brought us (unbeknownst to us) the traditional Japanese New Year's Eve dinner.  It is soba with buckwheat noodles.  Everything is symbolic of something around here.  So the noodles are symbolic of a long (noodles are long) and healthy (buckwheat) life.  (Plus some shrimp tempura to go with it)

#7  All You Can . . . "

On January 2 we took the sisters to the mall!  This is apparently a big tradition (like Black Friday?) to go to the mall during this week!  We found out that a big thing this week was the "all you can buy" in a small bag or basket frenzy.   We saw this lady putting all the yarn she could get into a small basket for 1000 yen ($12).  These people know how to make walls on the sides, stack high and get the most for their money!  Hard to see in the photo but she had stuffed extra skeins of yarn into bigger ones and got really creative in her stacking!  I am sure she ended up with over 20 skeins of yarn if not more.  The basket was pretty small.

And we caved and bought all the dried sweet potato slices (good) you can get into a small bag.  The thing is you can get tons into it because you basically can layer and balance and so forth.  Then when you have balanced all you can, a store helper helps you put all of it into a plastic bag.  This is what we got (really a lot for how much it usually costs!). 

#6  Single Adult Party

We invited the single adults, sister missionaries, and branch presidency and families to a party at the Church.  We had a good time eating sloppy joes, chips, baked beans,  jello, and do-it-yourself crepes.  And someone brought rootbeer and ice cream for floats!  We played the "candy bar game" and sang Happy Birthday to one of the members who had a birthday a couple of days before.  Oh, and one of the highlights was that I made homemade French bread.  They are LOVING this homemade bread thing!

#5  Eating at the Church:  Yaki Niku

We had a wonderful dinner at the Church with the branch president's family, missionaries, and and some non-members.  These non members really love the members and love to have yaki niku dinners.  That is we cook MEAT on grills on the tables. (Yaki is grilled and niku is meat.) There was a HUGE amount of meat and everyone couldn't  believe that we were in Japan and eating so much!

A small amount of the meat:

Some of the sister missionaries and their investigator enjoying themselves:

#4  Going to a Jinja

I put this at #4 but the next few could probably be quite equal.  On New Year's Day we visited a Jinja which is probably the biggest deal in Japan as a New Year's activity.  A Jinja is a Buddhist shrine but it doesn't seem to matter what religion you are.  THIS IS A TRADITION.  Many people go and ring the bell at midnight.  This wasn't really midnight but you get the idea:

There were TONS of people there as I said before and even booths lining the streets.  We ate some soup and something that amounted to a small round thing made of some crepe-like batter with an easy-over egg inside! 

And then we made our way to try to see a shrine nearby.  The lines were long -- as in 2 HOURS long!

So we settled for just looking around the grounds and taking some pictures:

And we even saw an area where you could get your CAR blessed!:

#3  Writing Japanese Calligraphy

This is apparently another Japanese New Year's activity that people love to do.  We put a tarp on the floor, newspapers on the tables and took ink and brushes in hand:

And these were some of the finished products:

Note:  Not sure what you are supposed to do with the finished projects but it seems that this is one of the "joy in the journey" projects.

#2  Eating Traditional Japanese Food

Sister Usui and Taeko made us some traditional Japanese food that was fit for the gods.

We had tons of sashimi (raw fish), make-your-own sushi, already made sushi, traditional Japanese foods, fruits and veggies.  We were so stuffed afterwards!  A big thank you to Mieko and Taeko Usui!:

#1  Best Family Photo of the Season

And in the Number One spot as the best New Year's happenings  goes to the best family photo of the season:  Ben, Alyssa and Celesta Ting-Ting Green (and Ting-Ting's little dolly friend):

May we all be as happy as they are this year!

Post Script

Since it has taken almost a week to get this blog to post I will not be doing another blog this week.  We have had a pretty full week getting back to English classes, zone meeting and specialized training meeting.  Probably the highlight of the week was when we went to our English class in Miyato which is right next to the ocean and is a fishing village.  When we got there they gave us PRESENTS!  Unfortunately the photos have not been downloaded yet so I guess that will be a discussion for NEXT week!  Have a good one.

1 comment:

  1. We met Celesta Ting-Ting Green at Aleese Morgan's wedding. What a beautiful happy little girl. I am so happy for Alyssa! Keep up the good work and the blog posts!