This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

30 Oct (31 Oct in Japan) 2011 Wakayama Japan

Week 70
Mission Log
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  I hope that everyone is doing something frightfully fun for this holiday that only comes around once a year.  I guess it`s still the thirtieth back in the States, but here, it is already Halloween.  I started this Halloween off perfectly with a scary Halloween nightmare last night.  It involved a lot of us being in a dark, old, scary mansion and people started disappearing.  It helped me get off to a good start and really get into the spirit of this holiday.  We had our ward Halloween party on Saturday, put on by the Young Single Adults of Wakayama.  It was a blast.  There were tons of kids that all had a good time, and there were probably fifteen or more people there who weren`t church members.  I decided to go as the guy from the Matrix.  All that I had to buy was a toy gun from the dollar store.  I then just put on my trench coat and black tie.  Everyone liked it.  The little kids all thought that I was a detective though.  It was cute.  The whole night, they kept calling me "Mr. Detective."  What is everyone back at home dressing up a for Halloween?  You should send me pictures, or at least tell me about everyone`s costume. 
It`s a beautiful day outside.  A member from the ward next to our ward is going to take us out golfing.  I hope that it`s fun.  I`m helping my companion pick out his classes to sign up for at BYU.  He`ll be going home pretty soon.  We have to go to the mission home again today, and it`s a couple of hours away.  So, I`m going to get going now.  I`ll talk to you again later.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, October 23, 2011

23 Oct (24 Oct in Japan) 2011 Wakayama Japan

Week 69
Mission Log
Wow.  It sounds like everything is changing back in Puyallup.  It`s not going to be the same at all by the time I get back.  I`m pretty sure that I`ll be coming back in July, but that isn't completely certain. 
This week went pretty well here.  On Thursday, Elder Ringwood from the Seventy came and spoke to us.  His wife spoke as well and there was much to be learned from the experience. 
I don`t have very much time this week.  We have to travel into Osaka again to meet with everyone in the zone.  What is the plaque at the library for? 
The Young Single Adults are putting on the Halloween Party here.  It`s going to be a lot of fun.  I`m pretty excited.  I still don`t know what I`m going to dress up as yet.  If anyone has any ideas, they can e-mail them to me, but it will probably be too late already when I read it.  What is everyone back at home dressing up as for Halloween? 
The weather is beautiful, warm, and sunny right now.  It was pretty stormy on Friday, though.  The winds and rain were pretty strong.  There was even a bunch of Thunder and lightening at night.  It was pretty cool. 
I have to go now.  I love you all.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, October 16, 2011

16 October 2011 (Monday the 17th in Japan) Wakayama Japan

Week 68
Mission Log
Another week has gone by, and everything is still going just fine.  On Tuesday, we got to work with two of the nearby Elders, and one of them was in the same district with me in the MTC.  It was cool to work with him again.  Then, at night, we went to Osaka for a meeting with the Stake Presidency.  It was pretty cool.  On Wednesday, we had interviews with the mission president.  He`s a good guy and his wife is very nice.  We wanted to go down to a place in our zone called Shingu for a day to help out the missionaries there.  The thing is, Shingu takes about eight hours to get to.  We spent most of our day on Thursday going down there.  We worked with them on Friday.  Then, we left really early in the morning on Saturday and rode the train forever to get back to Wakayama.  Between that and going to Osaka for the meeting and the interviews, we hardly had any time to work in our own area.  It was a fun week though.  Have you ever seen or heard of the movie "The Cove"?  It turns out that the cove in that movie is in Shingu.  There are tons of protesters at the cove all the time.  While in Shingu, I was able to eat some raw dolphin and some raw whale meat with a lot of whale fat.  I thought that they were both pretty good, but the other missionaries that came didn't like them at all.  On Sunday, I had to teach the Gospel Principles class about the Law of Chastity.  My companion and I take turns teaching Gospel Principles class each week.  After church we went to an event that was going on which they called International Cafe.  We get invited to all of the International events because we`re Americans.  I expected this event to be a gathering of a bunch of foreigners that live in Wakayama.  While there were quite a few foreigners, the majority of the people there were Japanese people who liked English, like foreigners, have been to another country, or were just bored.  It was fun. There was a little performance and snacks.  Then, there was a time for everyone to get up and just talk with people.  Everyone would just come up to us because we`re Americans and start a conversation with us.  We used the opportunity to teach them about the gospel.  We found four new investigators there in like thirty minutes.  The food was also pretty good.  There are a lot of koi fish here.  In Japan they are everywhere.  There are especially a lot in the moat that surrounds the Wakayama castle.  The koi that are white, orange, red, and/or black look nice, but over half of the koi that I see here are just a really ugly brown color.  Japanese people think that they are really pretty, but they actually don`t look nice at all.  They`re pretty gross.  Wakayama is a pretty big city.  It`s probably four times the size of Imabari.  The church here is also really nice.  It`s a proper building that the church built.  The chapel is on the second floor.  That`s actually pretty common for the churches that we build here.  It looks like a normal church building that we`d have back at home, except, it has two full floors, there`s no gym, and there aren't any pews.  It just has folding chairs that we have to set up every week.  Everything is going really well.  I`ll talk to you again next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, October 9, 2011

9 Oct (10 Oct in Japan) 2011 Wakayama Japan

Week 67
Mission Log
Hey, how`s everything going back home?  Things are going well here.  I like Wakayama.  It`s a really cool area.  The people here speak much differently than they did back in my last area.  All over Japan, people speak differently based on the area they live in.  It`s not just pronunciation either.  It`s completely different words and ways of speaking.  I`d say that the difference between the last area I was in and this one, is a bigger difference than between the United States and England.  It`s like this all over.  Around here, everyone speaks Osaka-ben.  Because it`s so different in different areas of Japan, it takes some getting used to each time you transfer. 
General Conference was really good.  I especially liked all of them.  The Priesthood Session was really good.  I also, really liked Elder Yamashita`s talk because he`s from Japan.  Now that conference is over, that`s the cue that we have to start wearing suit coats all the time.  It`s still pretty hot, but we have to wear our suit jackets whenever we leave the apartment now.  Someone gave me a free suit jacket the other day.  It`s a pretty nice jacket.  It might be my favorite one. 
We got to go to the mission home for zone leader council this week.  It was really cool.  We discussed what to do in the mission this month and things like that.  Then, we came back and taught all of the district leaders in the zone about the new mission training plan.  We also go on companion exchanges a lot in order to teach and train all of the missionaries in the zone.  It`s pretty fun.  I only get to work with my companion for about half of the time.  That`s about all that I have for this week.  I`ll talk to you later.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Monday, October 3, 2011

2 Oct (3 Oct in Japan) 2011 Wakayama Japan

Week 66
Mission Log
Things are going really well here in Wakayama, Japan.  How is everything going back in the United States?    Wakayama is a nice place.  It`s a much larger city than Imabari is.  It`s the biggest city in this prefecture, which happens to be called Wakayama Prefecture.  It`s not a super big city though.  It`s a pretty medium sized city.  There aren`t really any huge skyscrapers like you usually see in big cities in Japan, but there are tons of building that are like five or six stories.  Other cities will just have a small area of the town that is super super tall, but Wakayama is just kind of big all over the place.  The ward has about 75 to 80 members that come each week.  That`s the biggest ward that I`ve worked in so far.  There are a lot of young single adults here, and also a lot of children.  It`s a pretty good place. 
The weather is starting to cool off quite a bit.  I`m kind of glad, because soon we`ll have to start wearing our suit coats around all the time.  It rained quite a bit on Friday, but other than that it`s been mostly sunny. 
My new companion`s name is Elder Burhoe.  He`s from American Fork, Utah.  He`s blond and a little taller than me.  He likes sports and having fun.  We`re getting along great so far.  We wake up extra early in the morning so that we can study some, then run to a nearby park and play football.  We played frisbee on the first day, but it broke and we just have a football now.  There`s also a nearby tennis court.  So, we might go play there some mornings as well.  Sports are fun. 
For those of you who have already watched conference, don`t spoil the ending for me.  I haven`t seen it yet.  In Japan, everyone watches conference in the church one week later than when it actually happens in the United States.  If we tried to watch it live, we`d have to watch it in the middle of the night.  Instead, each ward gets it on a DVD and they just play it in church on the next weekend.  I`m really excited to see general conference this next weekend. 
I`d love to go through the Salt Lake temple some time.  It seems like it would be a great experience. 
Right now I`m emailing in like an international community center type place.  It`s for foreign people that live in Wakayama.  It has super nice computers.  I really like it.  Also, they`re free.  In some areas, you`ll have to pay money to go do your weekly emailing.  I`ve pretty much run out of things to say now.  I love you.  Talk to you later.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift