It’s a Zoo!

This week was a crazy mess all over the place and I loved it. On Saturday, I was invited to attend the interpreters’ training in Kichijoji, and learned about the different types of interpreting and how to be an effective interpreter. I also found out that if you find a niche you can make great money, so future career…???¥¥¥  Unfortunately, when it was my turn to practice interpreting,  he started talking about working in a cannery in the middle of the ocean and for some reason those words never really came up in normal conversation so I just had to struggle my way through it and say lots of technical words in Japanenglish.  

This week we also got to have a lesson with a long-time less active member H Shimai, who is deaf (we met with her last week as well). She gets so excited every time we visit, it’s touching. She always teaches us phrases in shuwa (Japanese Sign language) and we just make up the rest, and write down what we want to say on an erasable tablet.  

We met with our other friend from Peru, and her son was being moody, so it took me about half an hour of coaxing to get him to come to the table so we could start our lesson. He reminded me of my little brother (except three years ago, I’m sure you’ve changed now Niko!).  

In one lesson we used Easter candy with a younger girl we’re teaching to explain “tithes and offerings,” but instead of being excited to get candy, she started crying. We were completely bewildered and upon coaxing her to explain why, she exclaimed that she had gotten money before and had spent all of it! It was possibly the saddest and most adorable experience ever. We explained that it was totally fine and comforted her with more Easter candy from America. It worked.  #onlyonbase

This week we were on base nearly every day. One day we were asked to help at an elementary school math night, playing board games that helped children learn. Afterwards we went to find a friend who lived on base who’s building I remembered, but whose room I didn’t. We wandered around and finally knocked on a door and met a young man who started by complimenting my shoes, calling us lovely ladies, and then telling us not to worry, he would show us the way. He was distracted a few times as he stipped to compliment the clothing and tans of his girlfriends along the way. Unfortunately he took us to the room of the wrong person, who possibly was very intoxicated because she ran up to us and hugged us, saying she knew us. Except we had never seen her in our lives. So we never actually found our friend, but we had an adventure doing it!  Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase “food baby”

Saturday night we had a Latina family night back in Shonandai, and I got the chance to help teach the plan of salvation/happiness in español. As always, the food afterwards was fantastic, and the questions were very off topic (I.e. What substance is a spirit made of…???).  I’ll take Six children and one toddler. How much will that cost

Easter Sunday was an amazing experience! It was a really interesting meeting schedule Sunday, including the moment I had to participate with the young women performing for everyone – in Japanese, Alto, signing shuwa to the song – and as my little sister says, “sometimes you just fake it till you make it.” Apparently it worked.  

We had a man talk about forgiveness and the Atonement. When he was a young man he told his brother he never wanted to see him again after they got in an argument. The next day his brother committed suicide. He talked about his journey of grief and acceptance and finding forgiveness – it was powerful. 

We were invited for dinner on Sunday to base, and had a great old American feast, except for me, they made me curry. #vegetarian. It was delicious! And obviously I had my fill of sugary sweets because what Easter is complete without too much sugar?

That’s all for now! I went to the zoo today, and the Japanese KNOW how to make a good zoo. My new favorite animal is officially the Okapi.


Smiley Shimai



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