This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

JAPAN 27 Feb 2011

Week 35
Mission Log
This week has been good.  The time is getting faster and faster.  I still feel like I`m a brand new missionary, but my mission is already a third of the way over.  It`s crazy. 
It`s raining quite a bit here right now.  I had to put my rain suit on to come to the email place.  It`s only rained two or three times this transfer.  The Bishop`s wife said that it will get cold for the next three days, then warm up all the way through Spring.  I hope she`s right.  I like warm a lot better than cold.  It`s not really cold now, though.  The weather`s pretty nice.  It`s just never sunny.  It`s always cloudy. 
Tomorrow morning we will get a phone call with the transfer announcement.  Then, on Thursday morning, we will move (if we transfer).  My companion thinks that he is going to get transferred.  I think he`s probably right.  I wonder who my new companion will be.  I wonder if he`ll be Japanese or American.  Statistically, I`ll probably get an American companion, but for some reason I've been getting a lot of Japanese companions.  I want to work with another American. 
When we visited a family in the ward, their daughter was the shyest person ever.  It took a while before we could get her to say her name.  Yesterday, she gave a talk in sacrament meeting.  She went up to the podium and she was crying.  It took a while for her to be able to speak, but she recited all thirteen of the Articles of Faith.  There was a big pause between each one and she was crying throughout the whole thing, but she made it through all thirteen without any mistakes.  When she got done, she ran down from the podium and ran into her mom`s arms in the front row.  I was really impressed that she kept going and she did it.  It was inspiring. 
We got lost on Thursday night.  We were an hour late getting home and we went way out of our area.  We had to stop at a police station and ask for help.  The policemen didn't know how to get to our apartment because it was so far away.  They found some maps though, and we figured out how to get back.  That was the first time that we got lost.  We still have no idea how we got way out in Uji City (a near by city). 
The Big Mac is only two dollars right now.  I might eat a Big Mac for every meal now.  Are they doing the Big American Burgers in America right now?  It`s what they`re doing here.  I think the most recent one was the Miami Burger.  At first I wanted them to do a Washington Burger, but then I thought about it and realized that a Washington burger would just have apples and Salmon on it.  And, that would be disgusting.  I hope they never make a Washington Burger.  Did I already tell you that someone in my ward is from Auburn?  I thought that was the craziest coincidence in the world. 
I hope that all is going well at home and that everyone is happy and healthy.  I`ll right to you again next week (unless I transfer to Maizuru.  They don`t have email there.)  I love you all.  Have a good week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, February 21, 2011

JAPAN 20 Feb 2011

Week 34
Mission Log
This week has been good.  When I study in the morning, I always study in English.  All the missionaries do.  You can understand a lot better.  Even the missionaries that are super amazing at Japanese do their scripture study in English. 
It randomly got really cold for a couple days this week.  It snowed quite a bit.  Everyone was pretty surprised.  There are a lot of crows here.  It`s probably the most common bird I see.  People have cats and dogs for pets, just like at home.  I never see any wild dogs running around or anything. 
Today we climbed a mountain with an investigator.  He`s 62, but he was just flying up the mountain with ease.  It was impressive.  Twice this week someone got mad at us and said they were going to call the police.  I don`t know why.  We were nothing but nice to them.  I just said "Hi, how are you?" and they freaked out.  It was interesting. 
I miss going to the temple.  I really want to go again, but we don`t have a temple in this mission.  So, I can`t. 
There wasn`t really anything special this week.  It was just a normal week with not much worth writing about.  I hope everything is going well at home.  I love you all.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, February 14, 2011

JAPAN 13 Feb 2011

Week 33
Mission Log
Happy Valentine`s Day!  Everything is good here.  In Japan, Valentine`s day is when girls give gifts (chocolate, etc.) to guys that they like.  One month later they have White Day.  That`s when guys give a gift to girls that they like.  All the girls in the ward gave us treats or something yesterday.  They say "Happy Valentine`s Day" in Japan. 
Some popular sports are baseball, basketball, judo (a type of martial art with throws and stuff), archery, kendo (sword fighting with wooden swords), and ping pong.  Everyone likes ping pong.  Every church here has ping pong tables in it and very few of them have a basketball court. 
I`m excited for the cherry blossoms.  I hope that I don`t transfer just so that I can see the cherry blossoms here.  In cherry blossom season Kyoto is the most beautiful city in the world.  There`s no debate about it.  I think I will get to stay here for another transfer. 
In Japan, the big break from school is Spring break.  It`s like two months long and it`s when everyone moves up a grade.  That break is going on right now.  The English class here was mostly college students, but they all went home for Spring Break.  So, I only have one or two students each week now. 
We do tracting sometimes here, but we call it housing.  There are a lot of areas in the mission where they do nothing but housing all day long.  That seems like it would get really boring really quickly.  One half of the mission is mostly city and the other half is mostly country.  In the country areas the just do housing all the time. 
Elder Cook came and spoke the mission.  It was great.  Did you know that He and Elder Holland were companions when they were missionaries?  I didn`'t know that.  I think that`s crazy.  Sister Cook, President McIntyre, Sister McIntyre, and two Seventies and their wives all spoke.  The Seventies were both Japanese.  It was a really cool meeting. 
I finally feel like I`m starting to get the hang of things now.  I feel almost like I`m a normal missionary now and not just a new missionary who just follows his companion around.  Japanese is still pretty hard.  When Heber J. Grant went on a mission to Japan, he was never able to get Japanese down.  He called it "The Devil`s Language" and when he got home, he asked the First Presidency to send him on a real mission.  That makes me feel better when I struggle with the language. 
I hope that everything is going really well at home.  I love you all.  I`ll talk to you next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac D. Swift

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

KYOTO 6 Jan 2011 (7 Jan in Japan)

Week 32
Mission Log

I`m glad to hear about how great everything is going back at home.  Everything is good here.  It`s getting a lot warmer here.  I still wear a sweater with my suit, but I usually don`t need a coat jacket or even gloves anymore.  I`m glad to hear that Dad is still making super cool ultimate killing machines.  I like hearing about what Dad`s working on.  Then, when people ask what my Dad does for a living, I can tell them lots of interesting stuff.  Is this plane the same one that you said hunts submarines and shoots them out of the water?  The albatross thing is very funny.  I did know what an albatross was.  It mentions them in the New Testament. 

Yesterday, in church, the opening song was "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam."  It`s just a regular song in their hymnbook.  I think that`s funny.  We had investigators in church though and it probably seemed a little weird to them.  The words are at a child`s level.  They didn't sing it like how I always did in primary though.  They sang it more like how they normally sing songs in sacrament meeting.  More slowly and seriously.  It was way weird.  No one jumped out of their seat at all at the jumpy parts.  Here, even in primary the don`t just or anything at those parts.  It`s just a normal song to them. 

My companion really likes ramen.  So, we've been going to different ramen shops in the area.  In Japan they have tons of ramen restaurants.  It`s not just the packages of instant "Top Ramen" that you get in the stores.  They do have instant ramen in the stores too, though.  It`s just the same as at home, except the flavors are different.  The flavors here are soy sauce, miso soup, and pig bones.  They`re way good.  Pig bones is the best.  I eat it all the time.  The ramen at restaurants is way better than instant ramen, as you probably guessed.  Ramen restaurants are probably the most popular restaurants here.  There`s one close by that always has a line that goes our the front door and down the street a little ways.  They`re closed on Mondays, though.  So, we haven`t been able to go there. 

I got the package you sent.  Thanks for the CDs.  All American missionaries love EFY CDs, even though most didn't like them before their missions.  I've acquired two other EFY CDs from a friend here.  I now have five EFY CDs and a few other CDs that I got from people.  Maybe I`ll give them to Caleb when he goes on his mission.  Right now, he probably thinks that he won`t want them, but upon becoming a missionary, I`m sure he`ll grow to love them.  The Arizona house looks really cool. 

Nothing too exciting is going on here.  I`m still not fluent in Japanese, but I can say anything I want to say pretty well and I usually understand most of what people are saying, except when I get put on the spot.  Then, it`s way hard to understand for some reason. 

Everyone in Japan reads comic books, men, women, children, and adults.  I don`t get why they`re so popular.  You don`t even have to ask someone if they read comics or not.  You can just ask, "Which comics are you reading right now?"  There`s one called Slam Dunk that`s pretty popular.  I think that one sounds cool.  Lots of missionaries here buy comics books just before going home.  I don`t think I`m going to do that though. 

Elder Cook is coming to speak to the mission in Kobe on Saturday.  Everyone is very excited for that.  It will probably be the coolest thing ever.  I`m excited. 

That`s all I have to say this week.  I will write again next week.  I love you all. 

-Elder Isaac D. Swift