I ran out of time this week, apologies…so instead of writing a blog, I’ll just answer some questions my beloved madre sent me:
1) How much do you bike vs. walk vs. take the bus or trains?
Every day, I bike up crazy insane hills that make San Francisco look easy. But hey, great calves, and all in a skirt too. I take trains when I have to go farther than 30 minutes away, and have been practicing reading the kanji on all the signs in the train stations.
2) What veggies and fruits do you eat there?
Our grocery visits go like this: ok we know we have rice and noodles….I frantically grabs as many vegetables and fruits as possible, realize they are way expensive in Yamate, put some back forlornly*, and then pick out a new type of fish to try that I never have tried before. This week it’s octopus and curry covered…unknown fish fresh from the ocean. Then I buy weird-looking Japanese inexpensive snack as a consolation for not being able to afford all the fruit I want.
*a watermelon is literally about 30 dollars in American money.
3) Do you speak only Japanese now with Watanabe shimai?
My companion and I speak mostly in Japanese, but lately we’ve been having her speak in English and myself in Japanese and then correcting each other in pronunciation and verb usage. Before, we spoke only in Japanese, but it was a bit frustrating for me because I’m not completely fluent yet, so sometimes when I wanted to express myself but I didn’t know the words I would get stressed and frustrated, which was stressful for her as well. So we talked about it and now we’re using a mixture of both. I’m learning so, so much every day, though. In the mission they have translators/interpreters so I’m training myself so that hopefully I’ll be chosen to go to a special conference sometime later this year to get qualified to be an interpreter at different events.
4) How big is the ward (local congregation)? Cute kids? Do they like missionaries?
The ward/ congregation I attend is about 60-70 people, of all sorts of nationalities: Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Canadian, American, Portuguese, etc. There are several crazy kids who run around yelling and they are all adorable. Everyone is very supportive and welcoming–I really love all the people in this area so much.
5) Have you given any of the Marimekko napkin packets away? Do you give gifts in general when you go visit people? (In Japan, it is customary to bring small gifts when visiting a home.)
Yes – everyone in Japan who knows about Marimekko (and most women do) love it, so often when we visit families we’ll bring some as a small gift.
6) Do you need anything?
Letters, emails, pictures, MUSIC! (Violin or piano instrumental preferred. Self-performed is even better) *
7) How is sleeping on a tatami mat?
I actually love it. It’s really comfortable and I’ve slept well every night.
8) Is the weather changing yet?
Actually yes! I was able to wear fall clothes for the first time this week and it was the best! It’s been cloudy and drizzly lately, but it’s kind of peaceful. It’s almost misty at times. It’s still supposed to get warm, before it cools down officially though.
9) How many missionaries are in your area?
In my area there are four elders and myself and my Douryou Watanabe shimai.
10) Do you feel every day a little more how Heavenly Father loves you and all people?
Why yes, yes I do.