Sunday, February 3, 2013


So we are into February!  And the beginning of February is familiar to Americans and Japanese.  February 2nd in America is groundhog day--the day that we believe a groundhog can tell us how long winter will last.  In Japan on February 3rd it is setsubun--the day you throw peanuts out the door to ward of evil demons.  Hmmm, who thought of these things and why do we buy into them?!


Those of you who know are family, know that we are into playing games.  So it was natural that when our district decided to have p-day together last week, I volunteered to bring some games.  The Japanese always seem to LOVE games but for some reason, they seldom play them.  In the past year we have come up with several games and I thought you might like to see some of them.

First, the "hold a marble with chopsticks" relay and usually the girls seem to have an edge mostly I think because the guys get too excited and are in too much of a hurry:


Next we played a "frog game" that I have pictured before.  Basically you launch these round frogs and see if you can get them into a grid of holes:

Next, a variation of jenga except there are different colors of blocks and you throw a die to see what color you must remove:

And finally "guru guru" which is a take-off of the leaning tower of pisa.  It is actually quite tricky and not so easy to do (as you will see). The looks on their faces say it all!:

So where did I get these games?  Two of the games I got at the local Toys R Us and one I got at the second-hand store!  (YES--the same Toys R Us).

Stained Glass Again

I have shown stained glass a few times before but I thought I would try it again at our children's English class (last time we just did fall leaves and this time I did cutsey pictures that the sister missionaries helped me do).  It actually turned out to be a good project again.  I never seem to know what will work with those kids and what flops!:

Some of you have asked about this project and I am planning on bringing home some of these paints later this year.  You can buy the paints at the dollar store for a dollar for the larger size (like acrylic paints) or there are smaller tubes which come in packages of five colors for a dollar.  So this is a very affordable project and would be great for YW, cub scouts, achievement days, etc.  For the kids I use plastic sheets which are actually plastic sleeves that come 14 for a dollar at the dollar store!  So put your order in if you want some.  Not sure if they are sold in the states but they say "glass paint" on the bottles and they are made in China.  You may remember we did them for a Christmas project and could probably become Christmas ornaments if you use your imagination!

Nabe Again

This seems to be a redundant blog but we had nabe again but this time it was such a work of art that I had to show the photo I took:

As you will recall, it is a bunch of veggies, soup base and meat cooked in one pot and then enjoyed by all:


Last month I had a conversation with a man which is a little unusual in and of itself since my Japanese is limited.  But this man who is a member in another branch was pretty persistent about talking to me and I found him rather easy to understand so it worked out well.  He was very interested in my background and I explained that my grandparents had gone to America almost 100 years ago to seek the American dream because they were poor here in Japan. 

He was very interested to hear about this because he actually thought that most Japanese at that time went to Brazil (hence the large Japanese population in Brazil).  He didn't really know that many Japanese went to America.  Then he was very interested that my grandparents settled in Utah and Idaho--not California or the Pacific coast.

As he listened to me he said, "So you might say that your grandparents were pioneers--and even missionaries although they didn't know it."  He explained that because they had gone to Utah, we had become members of the LDS Church and maybe it was not such a coincidence but God's plan all along.  And now we were back in Japan giving back to the people of Japan in thankfulness to my grandparents.

I have thought of that conversation many times and it makes me even more grateful to be here.


In front of our house in Utah in the winter there is a patch of snow that rarely melts because the sun hardly ever hits hit.  It is at the top of our driveway.  And usually the snow is piled up there from shoveling the driveway.  Almost every year, one of the kids builds a "snow cave" with that mound of snow.  So when I saw this just around the corner from us it was a flashback to home:

It is a snowcave which seldom gets sun and was made from snow that was shoveled from the street and piled up next to the building.  (The weather has been quite bearable this past week--it was in the 50's yesterday--hopefully that groundhog is right this year!)

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