So I guess I am digressing a bit but I did want to begin with a questions that will be answered at the very end so you can be thinking about your answer. What do we get GIVEN to us more than anything else as a gift? We have gotten this once this week, once last week, and once the week before. And I would say we have averaged getting this at least once a month throughout our mission. What is it?
So, of course, one of the flavors of Japan has to be the rice fields. They are just now being planted, basically, under water. About the time they are harvested, we will be leaving. So sad.
And we are not absolutely sure why but the tractors can plow through them without sinking. It must be VERY hard ground underneath!:
Hmmm . . .
There is such a difference in houses here. In the same neighborhood you see really nice houses and then you come across a house like this and wonder who could live in something like this:
And then you look a little closer to the house and you see something interesting on the roof:
A satellite dish! Maybe the inside is better than the outside . . . .
Another flavor of Japan is that most of the houses are quite drab BUT every once in a while (and quite often actually) you see quite the colorful array of homes and apartments:
I can say the same for the cars. Most cars are white, black or silver. BUT very often they are any other color of the rainbow and especially PINK. And don't think that that is a woman's color. Oh no, men are very into pink. In fact, men wear pink and even carry around pink man purses. And I still haven't gotten used to men wearing hooded jackets with that thick fluffy fur on the hoods.
Everywhere you see vegetable gardens. They actually plant many of their gardens in the fall (things like onions and other hardy veggies) so right now they are looking really nice. But also there are gardens EVERYWHERE. This is a photo of some veggies growing outside of a business next to one or the busiest intersections in the city. They are eggplant and cabbage:
So with four little boys in the Primary, who would have thought that a good activity would be making carnations for their mothers for Mother's Day? It turned out to be a fun activity that those little boys stuck to for at least a FEW minutes!:
Flower Arranging Activity
And not to be outdone, some others got together at the Church on Saturday and did their own flower arranging. It was really a great activity even though I must say I don't feel all that comfortable arranging flowers. I am way too left-brained I guess.
This week saw some interesting goings on in our mission. We had zone meeting:
Our zone is pretty big and may soon be split. It was also transfer week and so when we had zone meeting the missionaries already knew if they were going to be transferred in the next day or so or not. We have one area in our mission which is called Niigata. Beginning July 1 that area will no longer be in our mission but will be part of the new Tokyo South mission.
So this week the missionaries basically found out if they will be in the new mission or not. It was totally bittersweet for all of us but especially the two from our zone that will be leaving our mission. Elder Carter, our zone leader and Sister Stubbs, our newly called sister mission leader will be in the new mission. It was pretty heart-wrenching when we sang, "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" and Elder Carter gave the closing prayer as Sister Stubbs sat next to us and sobbed.
The missionaries get so close to one another and love this mission and all that they do. We lost Sister Shuto this week when she was transferred. Everyone was sad to see her leave (and she was also in tears whenever she said goodby to anyone). Here are some of the branch members with Sister Shuto:
But we got Sister Watanabe who will be a great asset to Ishinomaki. She has been to BYU Hawaii for two years and speaks English!:
Long-Awaited Answer to the Question!
So what is it that we are given so often?!!:
The answer: Strawberries! I have to admit they are good although I am not a total strawberry lover. But Calvin LOVES them so it is a wonderful treat for him because they are pretty pricey (ONE of these packages is $3-$4).