Monday, January 5, 2015

The ocean, 正月 (shougatsu or New Years), and splits.


My week has been busy! I can't believe it is over already!

月曜日 Monday
Indoshima! Today we went as a district to indoshima! It is in the
southern most part of my mission. I was surprised to see so much
forest, where I currently live there is hardly any at all. The views
were amazing, it definitely made me feel more like I am in Japan.
After the hike through the forest we went to the ocean! It was
amazing, sadly it still gets dark at 6 pm so we saw it in the dark,
which was still awesome. I collected some sea shells and we took a lot
of pictures. After we then hiked to indoshima, I highly recommend
googling the place. We only had time to hike there for about 30
minutes until we had to go so we could catch the train. Indoshima is
an island that had a giant lit up light house, it looks absolutely
amazing at night. On our walk along the ocean one of the
other-elders-in-my-apartment-whom-I-gave-the-book-of-Mormon to told me
he has started to read it and asked me questions about it. It was an
awesome experience.

火曜日 Tuesday
Splits! I split with Elder Fukuchi, a Japanese elder in my district,
he goes home after this next transfer. We had an awesome time. We
decided to go to the park because it was close to New Years and there
would be a lot of families outside. We went to one park and found a
group of men fishing, then off to the side a mother group of men
playing some curious looking board game. I ventured over there and
watched for a little bit and at the close of the game I asked if the
man would teach me, he then laughed at me and said no. But I stayed
and watched the next game anyways (I think he was worried I was going
to annoy him). I was careful to be very quite unless spoken to and
observant. At the close of the next game, the old man whom laughed at
me told me to sit across him because he was going to teach me! The
game is called Shogi a form a Japanese chess. It is very very complex
but a lot of fun. At the end of the game the old man was so impressed
with the way we carried ourselves he invited us to come back and play
with him! I told other missionaries about that and it turns out they
all had asked old men in the park at one time or another to play but
they have said no. They were blown away with them teaching me. After
we biked to another park where we played some soccer with a few
teenagers with two balls. One shot to me I let roll past so it would
go to a little kid who had been watching really intently at our game.
He then kicked the ball as hard as he could back to me, to his
surprise I kicked it right back to him and we passed the ball back and
forth. After our game he ran back to his parents and I talked to them.
The mother spoke way good English, she asked if I was a soccer coach
from America! I told her no but I am a missionary! We had a great
conversation and I plan to play soccer some time soon with them again.

水曜日 Wednesday
The last day of 2014! Hard to believe it went by so quickly. We split
back from the splits yesterday and elder Leftwich and I went to the
park. There was another group of young boys playing soccer with their
father. I motioned for them to pass me the ball and a game then ensued
between us for a 2 hours! I rolled my ankle on the ball but I could
still walk so it was okay. We had a blast with them. After we went as
a district to TGI Fridays, there's one in the big city of machida! It
was way good, they even had American menus! It was a good way to
celebrate New Year's Eve in Japan, everywhere was closed for the

木曜日 Thursday
A new year! Japan is the first country to celebrate the new year!
Hence the nickname: land of the rising sun. It is very big in the
culture to celebrate New Years by waking up early and watching the
sunrise. The day before we went to the church and found a way to get
on the roof since the area has so many houses there aren't many other
ways to watch the sunrise. So we woke up at 5:30 , and ran to the
church and climbed onto the roof. I attempted to make a time lapse
video of it but it ended up being too cloudy to really tell. It was
amazing when the sun broke through, you could tell it was a new year.
We then made French toast as an apartment and talked about New Years
resolutions. After my companion and I decided to walk along the river
on the bike trail and it started to snow! Talk about a way to start
out the new year! When we got home we made some delicious chicken
Alfredo, my mom sent me some dry packets of it, it was amazing! Thank
goodness for those! Then we held our weekly planning session, this is
where you and your companion talk about the people you meet, and are
teaching and how you can help them more, then you talk about your
companionship, usually this takes about 2-3 hours. We plan much of our
week out mourning this time, I made bread during this time.

金曜日 Friday
Splits again! Today I split with one of the zone leaders, Elder
Hansen. We went to the park and talked to a man from Australia
teaching at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, it is the Japanese
version of MIT. He is a chemist, it was good to talk about science
with someone, he has talked to missionaries before and told us some
words of advice,none of which was to write our families often! It was
good counsel. Then we walked on the streets for a little bit. We
walked into a family playing on bikes, we walked past and then
stopped. And we decided to stop and talk, Elder Hansen told me I
needed to take lead, so I asked the kids to race! They were surprised
and said yes! It was awesome! We raced for a little bit and talked to
them. After we had a lesson with Elder Hansen's investigators Ryura!
He was way awesome, we talked about having the light of Christ and how
we can gain it. I related a lot of stories from living on the farm to
the gospel and faith! It was awesome! I am amazed at how many farm
references I can make. At their apartment I found a FRENCH Book of
Mormon! I am surprised at how much of the book I can read no problem.
I am reading it aloud every day for ten minutes to keep it up.

土曜日 Saturday
We split back around 1 o'clock. Elder Leftwich really wanted to go
play Shogi with the men in the park. So we walked to the park and the
old men thought that he was my brother! It was great! We watched them
play for a little bit and then they told us to get a board and join
in. It was awesome! After we went to shinyurigoka for a dinner with
some members, it was so good! We brought our friend from the gym. It
was super good we had a sausage chicken and cabbage stew, omelet rice
and pot stickers, it was amazing!

日曜日 Sunday
Wow. Today was amazing! We had one of the guys we are teaching come to
church, he is way awesome. We taught him a lesson after church it was
really good. I am understanding about 70% of everything said which is
awesome. After church we ran to meet with an older man whose wife is
in the hospital, and has been for quite some time. We spent about an
hour and a half with him and talked about his adventures in life he
has been to America, Spain, Italy, and France! We had an awesome
conversation. He told us he wants to come to church on Sunday and see
what we are all about. I found this man while passing out flyers a few
weeks ago, he said he went to church on Saturday but no one was there,
it was a miracle for sure! After we went to a train station and handed
out more flyers and a drunk lady came up to me and asked if I was
single. She then told me how her friend wants a boyfriend. It was an
interesting conversation to say the least...

月曜日 Monday
I went on splits again! This time with Elder Kojima (the kanji for his
name 小島 means small island) we went to the southern most part of my
area to talk to people then we went to Naruse to hand out eaikaiwa
Flyers and talk to people, I had a great conversation with a teenager
and we plan to play basketball latter this week. Then we went home and
made some delicious ramen! Elder kojimas companion and my companion
joined us. Then we went to shinyurigoka to hand out more flyers. I was
stopped by a 7 year old who started to talk to me in English (they are
now teaching English from kindergarten up here) I told him my little
brother was seven but his mother thought I sad my son is 7! I told her
I was 18 and she realized I meant my little brother. I can't believe I
look that old. The kid I talked to earlier in the day said I looked
like I was 35! After handing out flyers we got donuts at mister donut,
elder Kojima really wanted some. Then we Tim Tam slammed, it made for
a good night and a lot of sugar!

Wow! Another week has gone by! It is crazy how fast time moves here. I
have really liked this quote that I read this past week. With the new
year having just arrived and many of us going back to school I thought
this would be appropriate,

"Washington never went to school. That's why he was an educated man,
he never quit learning."
George Moore

Love you all!

Elder Nathan Dunn

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