Sunday, June 23, 2013


Yes, so this week's "topic" (a Japanese word pronounced "toe-peek-coo") is climbing.  We spent a great week with Emily and Kelly and began our week climbing Yamadera.   It is a temple on top of a mountain and to get there you must climb 1,000 stairs!--and actually there are MORE than 1,000 stairs because once you get to the temple there are about 50 more stairs to see the sights at the top!  Here is what we saw when we got off the train station at Yamadera:

Yes, that mountain was the climb.  It was us four and our friends the Saitos:

We rubbed Buddha's belly for good luck:

And then began the climb:

There were even signs to tell us how far we had gone (270 stairs--only 730 left!):

More stairs:

And finally 1,000 stairs:

And the temple at the top:

See I told you:  more stairs at the top!

But it was not as bad as you might think because it was a great day and there was plenty of beautiful scenery all around.

And then heading back down:

We got back just in time to shower and go out to eat 100 yen sushi with some branch members:


I don't think it would be worth coming here if we didn't make our pilgrimage to Matsushima.  So here is Kelly wading in the water at the beach:

And eating our favorite "fried or raw" choice of food from the menu on the wall at this restaurant:

Off to Tokyo

Thursday we were off to Tokyo!  Our first day we took the bullet train to Tokyo station and then went to the temple to drop off our luggage.  We decided to go to Odaiba, an area of Tokyo which is fun to visit.  We wanted to check out the trick art museum.  They are pictures on the wall that seem to pop out at you and you can take photos of each other which are pretty tricky.  Here are some examples:

More Climbing

Could I just say that in our three days in Tokyo we probably climbed MORE than 1,000 more stairs just in the train stations!  Even with the occasional escalators or elevators, the stairs are definitely the norm!

Tsukiji Fish Market

On Friday morning we headed to Tsukiji Fish Market.  It is just as you would expect:  one of the largest fish markets in the world where fishermen bring their catches of the day and they are shipped all over the world.  There are TONS of fish:

Men cutting fish:

Lots of hustle and bustle (you have to watch out or you will be run over):

And even fish soup bones galore:

Kelly eating squid:

And Calvin showing off his catch of the day:

And if you ever wanted to know what edamame PLANTS look like:

Asakusa Temple/Meiji Temple

Asakusa is the most visited shrine in Tokyo.  Even on this rainy day it was filled with people:

Here we are at the temple:

At the Meiji shrine we saw two wedding parties.  Here is one:

And the family photo:

And our photo with the guard:

Climbing the Easy Way

This is the Tokyo Government Office Building:

And it is definitely the cheapest way to see Tokyo from up high (it's free!):

We got back to Ishinomaki around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night pretty much exhausted, cleaned up, showered and went to bed only to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to head off to Sendai to be missionaries once again!

We spent Sunday picking up the Asia North area doctors (physician and psychologist) and their wives, bringing them to Church with us in Ishinomaki and then showing them the disaster sites around here and then taking them back.  Good to be back again to cooler temperatures and less humidity!

One Last Climb

So one month from today we will be leaving Ishinomaki and going to the mission home one last time.  We will be returning home on the 24th of July!  For those of you non-Utahns, the 24th of July is a state holiday commemorating the pioneers coming to Utah.  It will be a time for celebration for us to be with our family and friends again.  But even as I write this I am sad because we have come to love the people here as well.

Our eighteen months here have flown by.  We have one last month to climb here in Japan.  But I am sure there will be more mountains to climb when we get home.  Every day is an adventure!

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