Sunday, March 17, 2013


So I guess missionary work is not all work . . . or so it seems this week.

We began the week with district p-day which turned out to be basically, eat, play games, lean back and relax, and enjoy ourselves for a few hours.  Here are the elders having a WONDERFUL time because we had MEXICAN FOOD!  Mexican food is one of the things that is pretty nonexistent here in Japan and you don't realize how much you like it until you get here and can't have it!  We had tacos and fajitas.

March 11th was also the two year anniversary of the big earthquake and tsunami.  It came and went with a minute of silence.  In our Wednesday English class we talked about hobbies and last week we invited all of the students (around 12-14) to come prepared to talk about their hobbies.  They all did a wonderful job but two stand out in my mind.  One man said his hobby is martial arts.  He said he had a lot of photos of him doing martial arts and getting awards but they were all destroyed in the tsunami.  Then our branch president said his hobby used to be painting but . . . you can guess the rest.  Anyway, he brought a recent picture he had drawn.  It seemed so sad to realize that not only were lives lost (which of course is the most significant loss) but also many tangible memories were lost.

On Thursday (March 14) it was White Day!  You have probably forgotten what White Day is so I will refresh your memory!   Well in Japan only the girls give on Valentines Day and the guys reciprocate on White Day!  So our week was filled with guys giving out things to the girls.  Like our branch president made cookies and gave them out at church; and another brother at church gave out bags of goodies (mostly chocolate) to the women; and I got some chocolates from Abe Kyodai who was recently baptized;  AND the guys in one of our branch families (actually the guys are not members) made me and Elder Sakamoto lunch.  Here are the guys cooking:

And this is the finished product.  Nabe!:

It was so good.  And there were also a few other things to go with it like this:

That little plate of meat that looks and has the texture of beef is actually WHALE!  I thought it tasted a little wild (more like elk or something like that) but it was okay.  Probably not something I would go looking for at the store anytime soon!

That evening we had our English class with the kids in Miyato.  It was Okuda-san's (the community center director's) birthday so we decided to throw a surprise party for him.  It worked out well since he had a meeting and came back just in time for us to celebrate.  Here are the boys decorating cakes:

Their finished products:

And the card that the girls created:

And us with Okuda-san looking pleased with the whole thing:

On Friday I decided to use the leftover pudding and whipped cream from the cakes and make another cake and take it to the weekly ping-pong night.  I found out that you ONLY have cakes at certain times in Japan.  I was asked several times during the night whose birthday it was!  Cakes are also very popular at Christmastime I remember.

On Saturday it was double party time.  I went to the annual Relief Society birthday party and Calvin went to a Young Men's cooking activity.

The Relief Society party was AMAZING!!!   Very Japanese and so fun!  We entered to find as the decoration, a Girl's Day (Hina Matsuri) display:

Girl's Day was March 3rd and these displays are typical.  Next, we sat down and had make-your-own dessert (to save for later).  It was sakura mochi.  Sakura is the cherry blossoms and mochi is the mooshed up rice.  Anyway, these were the ingredients we had to work with:

And here is the finished product which we made using plastic gloves:

So yes, mooshed rice, sweetened mooshed beans, and a leaf--and yes, you EAT the leaf!  But yum it was so good!  Next course the soup:

Also really yummy.  And then some tempura and other meats.  The pink things are shrimp chips:

And then this wonderful sushi rice:

There was so much food that we all took tons home!  And we were so stuffed!  We also had a short program and a video of the Relief Society activities in our stake this past year.  It's no wonder I can't lose weight!

So, while we did the above, the Young Men were cooking their own concoction of omu rice:

Here it is up close and personal:

It is basically a Spanish rice with scrambled egg on top.  Hate to say it, but somehow I was glad I was a Relief Society sister that night!

Then if that was not enough partying.  Tonight we were invited to our branch president's home for a birthday party for Brother Abe.  We ate okonomiyake and birthday cake and I think I almost had to roll home once again. 

The diet begins tomorrow!!!

And really . . . we are on a mission!

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