Am I in Japan or Latin America? (2nd edition)

I’m sitting in a room in Japan, listening to all the people around me speaking Spanish, finishing reading an email in Finnish from my grandmother and beginning to write my blog entry in English. Who’s confused? This seems to be a theme during my mission.

On Thursday I arrived at kichijoji to pick up my new bean and to see off Eyring Shimai. I was ridiculously sad she was leaving and very curious who the newest addition to our threesome companionship would be.

Surprise surprise, it was a Mexicana! Castañeda Shimai is adorable and dendo (missionary) fire and excited to talk to anyone. Her Japanese is also astoundingly good for only studying for nine weeks, I can tell she’s been studying really …. I want to say ‘nesshin’ but I forgot the meaning in English… Alright fine, studying really ‘hard’. (That was anticlimactic.)

Here we are:  

Sanchez and Castañeda Shimai knew each other from the missionary training center because in mission age they are only 9 weeks apart, so they are really close. It’s pretty adorable, they’re always hugging and giving each other back rubs and chattering in Spanish. I just try to understand what’s being said and if it’s not relevant I tune out again. It was a little lonely at first but then I realized, when else will I live in an apartment full of Latinas? So I’m using it as an opportunity to just get better at Spanish.

On Saturday we had a Christmas musical event/party hosted by the Fujisawa ward at the church. Over 250 people came and all of our mama eikaiwa and normal eikaiwa (English class) students performed! For the shimaitachi (sister missionaries) alone, over 24 people that we invited attended and loved it. The show featured bell and recorder music, singing, a men’s chorus, sand art used to tell a story, a children’s choir, and a violin/flute/piano trio. It was fantastic.

Here’s a little glimpse of what you all missed out on:


The next day we had two Christmas focused church services, one in Japanese and one in Spanish, and 9 people we invited came! After the Latina seisankai (sacrament meeting) we had food and music and got to teach several people.

In between the two services, we went caroling at the train station with Fujisawa Ward members and attracted quite a huge crowd who all clapped after every song. Once we finished we were able to give away four Books of Mormon to people who asked for them and found five new people to teach. Love those Christmas miracles.

One of these people is not like the others…  

Yesterday we went to the biggest train station in the area, Fujisawa eki (station), and did a kubarikai/caroling event where we handed out English class/eikaiwa flyers while caroling. One German man came up to me and asked if I was part of a school. When I replied I was a missionary he asked if I was Mormon and I responded yes. Then he said: “I love Mormon missionaries! They’re so kind and always dressed nice.” So now I have added pressure to look good every time I leave the house.

Today we went to the temple in Tokyo!


In terms of Christmas, I know it’s this week but I don’t really have any plans so I guess I’ll just wing it. It honestly feels like after the weekend Christmas is over, but I’m excited to skype home to my family for the first time since coming to Japan!

Me-ri kurisumasu! (Merry christmas!)



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