Things are going well here. The only American food I miss is McChickens. They have a McPork, and a big chicken patty thing you can buy. I usually get both and combine them into a big McChickenPork. It`s pretty good. The also have a fondue burger at McDonalds. It`s a chicken burger, but the chicken patty is dipped in cheese. It`s really good. Members never invite the missionaries over for dinner like they do back at home. We have two baskets at the church, though, and people put food in them for us sometimes. They put a lot of what they think Americans eat (lots of flour, sugar, popcorn, and hot chocolate usually). Now that I have a Japanese companion, we get Japanese foods too.
It`s starting to get cold here. If you decide to send anything here, I could really use warm gloves, a cool scarf, and a beanie.
I haven`t seen or heard of any upcoming holidays other than Christmas. Some places already have Christmas stuff up. That`s weird. Christmas is super far away. I`m excited to see what Christmas is like here.
I had to speak in church yesterday. I was really nervous. Somebody special was visiting our ward, but I didn't understand who they were. My topic was preparing for the second coming. When he gave me the topic, I told him, "I don`t even know how to say second coming in Japanese." But, I worked really hard, and I think that I gave a pretty good talk. I talked about the parable with the three servants that get different amounts of talents from their master in St. Matthew 25. I also told a story the Pres. Hinckley shared in stake conference a little while back. It was about Native Americans, and the boy having to spend the night in the woods in order to become a man. I love that story. Then I read some of the words to the hymn "The Day Dawn is Breaking". People said that it was really good. One of the visitors that was with the special guy said that he was way shocked at how good my Japanese was. I had a list of a few difficult vocabulary words up at the podium with me. Those were my only notes. All the rest was from my head. I`m really relieved now that it`s over.
There is someone sitting at a nearby computer that is sipping their drink really loudly. Aahh! All Japanese people eat and drink really noisily here. They loudly slurp up everything. It`s just how they eat. People here don`t think it`s rude or annoying or anything. My companion only eats two different meals. He has what he thinks are all these different meals, but to me they just seem like slight variations of the exact same meal. He either has rice with chopped meat, onions, and peppers on top, or he has noodles with chopped meat, onions, and peppers on top. That`s all he eats. He only ever uses two utensils, and they`re both chopsticks. He doesn't even use a spatula or whisk or anything. They have an extra long pair of chopsticks that they use for cooking. This morning he had a piece of toast with butter on it and he got the butter out and spread the butter with chopsticks. He looked like he was having a tough time with it, but he didn't get a knife or anything. He just kept trying with his chopsticks. I have influence on what he eats a little bit. He like COSTCO muffins now. And, he has toast now and then. He still hasn't eaten any cereal or sandwiches though. It`s probably because cereal would be difficult to eat with chopsticks.
They sing all the hymns so slowly and unenthusiastically in church. And, it seems really quiet because there are only 35 people instead of the 200 people at home.
I`m glad everything is going well back at home. I`ll write to you next week.
-Elder Isaac D. Swift