My day is never complete unless an elementary school student boy has told me I’m beautiful or a high school group of girls has called me cute. It’s just going to be such a severe punch to my ego when I land in the States and I’m not showered by compliments all the time or having people ask to touch my hair.
That aside…my body is so broken….I feel like every time I sit or stand or move something is cracking or in pain or I’m coughing up my lungs. So this is the obaachan life. But I love every minute of it. I was passing out English flyers and this song from over a year and a half ago suddenly popped into my head “There’s no place I’d rather be (instrumental bridge)”. I don’t remember anything else or who sings it, but that one line was perfect for the moment (Lilo & Stitch?).
It seems like life is in fast forward.
Monday : went to Kichijouji for a family home evening event centered on Christmas and gratitude in the mission home with a girl a met on the train who is studying French in college. she was so cool!
Tuesday: practiced with all the missionaries and Tama shimaitachi for hula, ukulele, singing, etc. we are the personification of “jack of many trades, master of none.” Had district meeting and then a half English, half Fukuin lesson with a focus on service throughout the Christmas season. In Japan Christmas is purely commercial – cake, chicken, parties – so it’s nice to give people something more to think about and invite them to serve others this Christmas season.
Wednesday: Had a half English, half Book of Mormon lesson with our Guatemalan friend. Got to iron out some points of confusion (no, Jesus Christ was not reincarnated and born again as a baby in the Americas). Then had a very fun English class and Kid’s English class. Except that I can’t actually speak English anymore. I just now tried to say “oh I didn’t need to share that with you,” but said “O I didn’t need to share you that.” Who needs grammar anyway?
Thursday: The big day. After practicing and having an amazing prepared bento lunch, we shuttled over to the Sagamihara Old Folk’s home and got dressed in Hawaiian clothes. Along with a Santa and one funny-looking reindeer. We performed, I also was the announcer, and with only a few kinks everything went more or less smoothly and some people were so moved by the singing they began crying. Success.
Wednesday: Had a half English, half Book of Mormon lesson with our Guatemalan friend. Got to iron out some points of confusion (no, Jesus Christ was not reincarnated and born again as a baby in the Americas). Then had a very fun English class and Kid’s English class. Except that I can’t actually speak English and it seems like life is in fast forward.
Thursday: The big day. After practicing and having an amazing prepared bento lunch, we shuttled over to the Sagamihara Old Folk’s home and got dressed in 🌺Hawaiian clothes. Along with a Santa and one funny-looking reindeer. We performed, I also was the announcer, and with only a few kinks everything went more or less smoothly and some people were so moved by the singing they began crying. Success.
Friday: Explored the area and delivered Christmas Advent calendars to people, met some amazing people. After visiting someone we went and knocked on the neighbors doors and at one door the woman said something quickly and indiscernible and then said she was fine, and didn’t open the door. The next door, the same woman answered, and this time opened the door (for some reason the genkan had two doors) and quickly beckoned her husband saying excitedly “Honey, it’s ok, it’s not the (unnamed missionaries of another religion) it’s the Mormons with a Christmas message!” And the two of them came out with a completely different reception and watched our Christmas video intently and showered us with questions. Apparently they had visited temple square before and were very impressed.
Saturday: We headed over with a Tama shimai to Sagamihara for a harmonica concert that one of her friends was performing in whom she wanted us to meet. She got hopelessly lost however, and was a terrifying driver, so I find it a small miracle that we arrived safely. We were definitely the only people younger than 60 at this concert, but let me tell you, if you ever chance to attend a harmonica concert, count yourself lucky. It’s really…something. We were going to take the train back, but she needed help navigating, so once again, we held our breath and prayed really hard most of the way back. I love that woman but I am never stepping in her car again. Right afterwards we met with another friend and headed out to Kichijoji and there attended a Little Witnesses Shibuya Institute Christmas concert. In a surprising series of events I ended up translating the concert/presentation into Finnish from Japanese for someone I had met at Stanford a few years back. My Finnish is rusty, it’s official.
Sunday: It was a busy day full of miracles and seeing lots of people I thought I wouldn’t have the chance to see before I left Japan. One friend finally returned from her father’s funeral, and shared how much the scriptures we sent her while she was gone comforted her and helped her see that death isn’t a scary thing. I also gained a strong testimony of fasting (going without food or drink for 24 hours while praying for something extra special or especially needed). We started the evening before at 5:30 but as the schedule worked out for Sunday we weren’t going to have time to eat anything until 9pm, a very long time to go without any food or drink, and we would be very far from our apartment. But, the next day, as events unfolded and appointments got swapped around for various reasons we ended up visiting a Tama shimai at 5:30, and she invited us in and said she had also made us dinner, something we weren’t expecting at all. It’s a Christmas miracle!! But actually, my entire time in Japan, every single time it looked like we wouldn’t have time to eat, someone always gave us food, without us even asking or indicating we hadn’t eaten. Tender mercies.
It reminds me of the verse in the New Testament:
22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat …24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? (Luke 12:22,24)
Monday: We had splits and an old man gave us a sweet potato.
Today: We went to the temple, my last Temple P-Day, and it was surreal. Then we had lunch with two of my favorite people in the world but I’m sworn to secrecy about who it was. 🤐
Time is fleeting,