Sunday, February 17, 2013


Some weeks seem especially busy.  This past week was one of them!

The week began on Monday (p-day) which began fairly normal.  We were invited to go to dinner at the home of a family in our branch (along with the sister missionaries).  It turned out to be a birthday party for two of the boys (ages 12 and 9).  The festivities began with dinner:  do-it-yourself sushi!  I had to SHOW you what happens when you have sushi in Japan.  It includes tons of sashimi (raw fish) as you can see:

It was so good.  Then the birthday cake.  Actually there were two.  One the mother had made was a chiffon-type cake with whipped cream and strawberries and the other:  a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake!  It was wonderful as you can imagine and the price I can't even begin to imagine!  I never buy them in the states because they are beyond my budget so I would assume that here in Japan they are even more pricey but -- oh well -- we enjoyed:

On Tuesday we had district meeting in Izumi about an hour from here.  We had a shorter than usual meeting, then the missionaries went into the city by train (trying to strike up conversations with people as they went) and did some streeting.  We all met up an hour or so later at CoCo Curry House.  It is a curry restaurant chain.  Actually Laura and Eric ate there in Tokyo I think when they were here and liked it but we had never been before. 

I ordered the curry noodle soup and then I pointed to a picture on the menu to Calvin and said it looked like something he would like.  He agreed and ordered it.  THEN a waitress appeared a few minutes later with a box with some pieces of paper in it.  She said since Calvin had ordered that particular item he was eligible to draw a paper and see if he won a prize!  So Calvin reached in and drew out a winner!  He got this spoon which was in commemoration of this restaurant chain being in the Guiness Book of World Records for being the largest curry restaurant chain (who knew?)!

Our district in front of the Coco Curry House Restaurant (actually there are a few in the U.S. -- mostly in California):

Tuesday evening we had institute class.  Wednesday morning our English study class with the sisters and Wednesday night English class.

Thursday we I got up early to make some French bread.  By about 8:30 a.m. we were at the Church baking, doing our walking exercises at the Church, and at 10:00 a.m. having study group with the sisters.  At 11:00 we went with Tatiana Taylor (who teaches English here in Ishinomaki) and Marie out to eat lunch at a pasta restaurant at the mall.  I had a WONDERFUL creamy lemon pasta with asparagus AND all you can eat bread (croissants, different types of rolls and breadsticks).  So much for the diet this week!

We did a little shopping and rushed back to get the sisters to take them around to deliver valentines to members and less actives in the branch.  We delivered until we were close to our children's English class in Miyato.  This was about 6:30 and English class began at 7:00.   Our project for the night:  bird feeders!  Here are some photos.  We made them out of milk (here milk and juice) cartons and the kids did a great job:

Friday more exercise at the Church, making chocolate chip bars for an activity on Saturday, and studying English with the sisters.  Also made donuts for the evening ping pong activity as a practice for my big cooking demo the next day.

Saturday morning we went to the handicapped temporary housing units where we do service the third Saturday of each month.  Mostly we do hand massages:

But I decided to also bring some balloons and do some balloon creations to see how that went (many of the people are handicapped--emotionally and physically).  It turned out good.  The people actually seemed to stay for a longer period of time and enjoyed seeing what I could make:

Saturday evening was the much anticipated (and dreaded) Relief Society activity that I had been asked to do!  We made cinnamon rolls and donuts.  However, beforehand, the sister in charge of the activity asked if I could get the people that came involved too--not just a demo.  So I decided that we could do groups--four groups, one at each table. 

I gave each group a glob of dough and had them make the cinnamon rolls!  It turned out really fun.  It was kind of chaotic because you must realize that I do not have the skills to actully EXPLAIN what to do and the others don't have the skills to UNDERSTAND my English!  But I did have the instructions written down in Japanese (thanks to the sister missionaries) for each of them to read.  But you have to understand also that these ladies had never really seen cinnamon rolls much less eaten one (at least not until we got here).  So this was an adventure and they had a great time:

And the looks on their faces when they ate the cinnamon rolls and donuts are worth a thousand words:

And, of course, they had to have a group picture afterwards:


We got another carton of eggs that are SOFT BOILED!  Really, if you wonder what they taste like:  they taste like soft boiled eggs.  I am not really into COLD soft-boiled eggs so I do warm them up a bit before eating them.  But the interesting thing about these eggs were that on the package they are labeled as "Radium" eggs.  With a name like that--well let's just say I would never really BUY them!:

And a fun thing that the sister missionaries have been doing is making a certificate of thanks and a candy chain with a sembei (rice cake) medallion to go around the necks of people they want to say thank you to.  Then they have the person stand as they read the certificate of thanks and the other sister missionaries hum this graduation tune and then make the presentation.  If that doesn't make sense, here are some photos of people with their certificates and medallions.  First, Mari:

And next, Ryoko:

It sounds a bit odd but the people here all love it and no one ever balks at having his/her picture taken!

And maybe that is a thought I will end with.  The people here are often shy or hesitant to initiate anything.  They will wait forever to eat anything until someone says you can begin eating (even refreshments at a church function).  They don't like to be in the limelight. 

BUT when it comes to taking photos that is something else!  Every event is a photo opportunity and NO ONE ever says NO!  In fact, in front of a camera, they come alive!  They even have the booths with the cameras that take a strip of photos that are enhanced to make you glamorous or whatever with different backgrounds, all over the place.  And EVERYONE I know has done it multiple times. 

Why is it?!  This is NOT an exaggeration:  I have probably been in more photos in the last year than I have in the previous THIRTY years!

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