Saturday, May 4, 2013


So this has been Golden Week!  And an eventful one it was.  In Japan they have four holidays within a seven day period (birthday of a former emperor, constitution day, greenery day dedicated to nature, and boys' day) so it becomes the third most notable holiday time of the year.  The first and second are New Years and Matsuri in August.  PLUS this week was also highlighted by the blooming of the sakura (cherry blossoms) so everyone was in a festive mood. 

Monday Activities

On Monday we usually spend the morning skyping with our family but last week it was cut short unexpectedly when one of our members Takie came over to the Church where we were and asked us if we would like to go to lunch with them.  We went to a soba (noodle) place that is SO good.  In fact it is so good that this is the second time in two weeks that we have gone there with her:

And then you have to know Takie to know that that was only the beginning.  We were off to Wakuya Castle!  It is a small castle about an hour away where there were tons of people celebrating Golden Week:

While we were there they had a children's activity where the children could go into a pond area and catch fish with their bare hands!  Here they are waiting for the action to begin:

Notice, some have bags hoping to catch them that way.  Some even had water in their bags!  Once the go-ahead was given it looked like this:

And if you look closely there is a girl in this picture wearing black that has a BIG carp that she caught:

On our way home we stopped at a vegetable shop and I spotted this that I had to buy because it reminded me of my childhood.  It was bota-mochi which is a mooshed up rice ball with sweet beans on the outside.  It was delicious.  Even more than I remembered:

Tuesday:  Lunch at the Church

On Tuesday we had lunch at the Church with some ladies we know.  Kimi's (on the left)  daughter was here from Tokyo and she lived in the U.S. for quite a while and wanted to practice her English with us so we obliged.  I made some pasta and rolls and they brought sushi and other goodies.  It really was a nice time and we ate a lot!

Wednesday:  Sendai/Mission Home

On Wednesday we decided to go to Sendai to check out the senior discount shinkansen (bullet train) passes.  We got to the train station right when the travel office opened but decided against getting the passes because (1) they cost to get them and (2) they were good for a year and we were only going to be here five months and (3) I could get a 30 percent discount but Calvin could only give a 5 percent discount!

Anyway, we still had a nice time buying the only 2 lb package of powdered sugar that we have come across and eating this:

They are these balls made of something like corndog batter and inside are fish cakes!  They are actually really good and you eat it with ketchup on it!  Apparently they are native to Sendai.

Afterwards we went to the mission home to get some things to give to another missionary couple we were going to be seeing the next day (see we do missionary work!) and also Calvin fixed Sister Rasmussen's PC which she was excited about.

That evening we had our English class and it was great (for me!) because we divided our class into Beginning and Intermediate and I had the intermediate group and they are so fun to teach!  They are pretty much fluent and LOVE to speak English!  Calvin's class was a little more trying.

Thursday:  District Meeting

Thursday was our district meeting in Furukawa just over an hour away.  It was fun because we now have two couple missionaries and then just four other young missionaries.  We got to see the Wright's (couple missionaries) apartment and I must say I am a big jealous because she has an oven!  Elder Wright grew up in Taylorsville around 4800 S. and Canal Road and went to Cottonwood High School so we had lots of the same memories.

On the way home the sisters asked if we could go out to eat so we did.  We went to a 100 yen sushi place here in Ishinomaki.  It is the place where the sushi goes around on a belt and you pay $1 per plate.  It is so fun and GOOD! 

Saturday:  Golden Week in Matsushima

On Saturday we decided to BRAVE the crowds and go to Matsushima to see how the holiday festivities there were.  I say "brave" because this is how the traffic was:

There were people everywhere and it took us twice as long to get there than usual.  This is the park in Matsushima:

So I decided if this was our LAST golden week, we needed to eat accordingly.  So here are some photos of food we ate that day.  First we had some octopus, squid, scallops and sea snails:

Calvin eating an octopus leg:

And then some black sesame ice cream (yummy believe it or not!):

AND a cream-filled donut in the shape of a fish that was wonderful (how could you NOT think that anything with the words "cream filled" and "donut" was delicious?!):

And the fish brings us to the celebration of Boys' Day.  In Japan they fly big fish to commemorate boy's day.  The black one represents the father we heard and then there are others to represent the other boys in the family.  We are not sure what that top fish that is just decorated and doesn't really look like a fish represents:

Other Things

So that was basically our golden week review.  But I did take a few other photos along the way that I thought were of interest.  First, a sign advertising a chiropractic clinic nearby that I find a little disturbing (not sure I would want to go there):

Then some photos of how close to the railroad tracks the homes and apartments are:

Hold on to your kids (and your ears!):

And a CLOSE UP photo of our outside entryway.  It was so filthy that I went out and scrubbed it.  Before it was dark gray and the grout was completely black:

And not to be outdone, here is McDonald's rendition of Golden Week festivities:

Hope your week is GOLDEN too!

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